Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Samplitude and You Part II

The Restoration Suite
One of the new tools that comes with Samplitude Pro X Suite is a "denoiser" in the "Restoration Suite". The denoiser works on tracks in real-time and you can use a preset noise or a noise sample.
The first thing I tried it on was a classical musical recording -- I had a bit of a hum in the left channel of a recording I made for the Russian Chamber Chorus of New York. Chorus, cello, and piano, recorded at St. Joseph's Church in Greenwich Village.
[I'm still not so sure what caused the hum. Of course, I bring all the gear back to my studio and can't make any of it hum at all. Perhaps the lights were inducting some noise into only one of the two AKG 460's? Who knows?]
Anyway, I tried Samplitude's de-noising on the tracks and... it sounds nice. Very nice.
How nice? Well, actually I decided not to use it actually because the "natural" noise reduction of the actual chorus singing overtaking the noise on the track was maybe a bit nicer (this also means that the sound of the hum will probably only bother me as it is so quiet to start with) but the Samplitude noise reduction was surprising in its lack of artifacts -- the way most noise reduction "chomps" on the signal making it all swishy and chewy.
I spend a lot of time cleaning up dialog in movies. Not enough time, actually, as we have to mix very quickly. So for a long time I've fantasized about having a Cedar DNS 1500 to run all the dialog through.
Instead what I do is run all the dialog through a submix buss that has multi-band expansion, some hard limiting, and now the De-Noiser.
Is it better than a DNS 1500 (at about $5000)? No.
Are we getting close? Sure thing.
Now note that one should go through each piece of dialog in a motion picture and carefully craft the volume and the noise reduction for each phrase of speech. That's not happening. Why? Because I am too lazy we simply do not have that kind of time.
So we slam the dialog into the "SMax11" limiter (which is part of Samplitude) and we do all that expansion and noise reduction and we move on.
Samplitude is funny. It's an immense and fully-featured Digital Audio Workstation. And the concepts (especially the "objekt" editing) are brilliant. But the company that makes it is small -- so sometimes the releases are few and far between and they take a bit of updating to get stable.
On the other hand, I've been running Samplitude Pro X Suite on a very creaky old computer and (knock on wood) it hasn't crashed. Plus (and this is a big freakin' deal, actually) if I have trouble with a project opening in a newer version of Samplitude I can always go back to an older version. If there are special Samplitude effects the older version doesn't have it'll say "plugin missing", but it will read the project.
For those of us who use Final Cut Pro or any Adobe product this is quite the big deal.
Look, screen captures don't show you the video playing in the window!

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