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Author Topic: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.  (Read 809 times)

Mark Brownell

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Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« on: November 08, 2017, 12:41:52 pm »

This is the only topic I'm interested in sharing about. I'm a christian and come from the music industry.

It's time to tame this animal and to share secrets held only by a few in the industry. Mics cause low frequency audio coupling when held too close to the source. Everyone talks about it and almost everyone agrees that the sound man can't fix it in the mix. But that is not entirely true. I've been doing it for more than 24 years.

I'm passing it on here because I've come up against that same old tired resistance while trying to share it with a member of the church I attend. He's the senior musician and has the final word on how things are done. They just got a new bi-amp system with an active crossover. Somebody is giving them strange advice. It could be the man in the mirror or it could be the man that sold them the system. Who knows?

So without further ado, a bow, the big secret.

 The problem is not in the 400hz range where some have written on the forums. The proximity effect is an audio coupling problem around 200hz. Funny those two different values though. 400hz is the first harmonic up from 200hz.

I'm saying that you can pull 200hz out of the mix while filling it back in with a first harmonic. The 200hz proximity mic effect is real physics. So that is the target that must be dealt with. That exact frequency does not have a first harmonic because it only occurred around 200hz. It's not the source of the desired thing being transduced. It's audio coupling to the original source that causes the problem. I suggest shooting your singers with paint balls until they stop eating the mic.

If you pull down 200hz with a soft parametric EQ, not a notch filter, you will have a hole in the 200hz range. That will take a lot of the proximity effect out but give you an unnatural sound. So you take the lowest parametric EQ range and boost the 100hz to fill back in the missing 200hz. That lower 100hz is clean and has no physically coupled proximity effect attached to it. By doing this you fill the sound back in as flat response.

You will need to find the best notch vs soft curve in the parametric EQ to get it working for you. You must use the numbers to avoid conflicts with high pass settings that are above your chosen frequencies around 100hz and 200hz. And you must avoid shelving frequencies caused by the active crossover in the bi-amp system.

If someone walks by and raises the high pass filter on a mic channel to above 100hz then your low frequency fill in will be shelved and all you will have is a hole in 200hz. If it is a drum mic then the sound man might boost the drums in order to fill in the natural range of the drums. Now you get feedback in the first and second harmonics of the drums and you will scratch your head as to where it has come from. With the frequency response filled in at 100hz the drums are there in a full flat response, without a hole, and will be lower in the mix, and without feedback. You won't need to boost them.

I do it to all mics. It takes up two bands of the available four bands for each channel. I use 85hz for the low boosted EQ and 180hz for the original problematic frequency because my board does not have 100hz and 200hz settings. I also set the high pass filter for a mic channel at 55hz, a setting well below 85hz so that the EQ boost is not shelved or masked.

Now I have argued for decades with sound engineers regarding this trick. What I have found is that the very best sound people use the trick and the others don't. Funny how the competition doesn't get the coolest tricks. Funny how job security is a justifiable notion. It was a secret until this disclosure. I have left hundreds of sound experts dismissing this thinking they know better while at the same time watching them continue in their clueless attempts to clean the sound. It should happen here too. People are married to their way of doing things. They are stubborn. So my advice is to try it and see for yourself. You can partially clean up a muddy sounding mix. Now you know how.

« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 12:54:42 pm by Mark Brownell »
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Keith Broughton

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2017, 02:37:35 pm »

I'm a christian and come from the music industry.


Not sure how this has anything to do with the long winded explanation of a simple idea but thanks for sharing this "secret" ::)
Or, use an non directional mic as they do not suffer from proximity effect.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2017, 02:41:06 pm by Keith Broughton »
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2017, 03:28:50 pm »

Not sure how this has anything to do with the long winded explanation of a simple idea but thanks for sharing this "secret" ::)
Or, use an non directional mic as they do not suffer from proximity effect.

and they got a:  Man that's some cuttin' edge technology.  Boosting a litting in an adjacent passband, brilliant, wish I had thought of it.  I think we are all going to burn in hell though for not being nice.

Quote
They just got a new bi-amp system with an active crossover.
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Mark Brownell

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2017, 04:35:35 pm »

Not sure how this has anything to do with the long winded explanation of a simple idea but thanks for sharing this "secret" ::)
Or, use an non directional mic as they do not suffer from proximity effect.

As this was my first post and was following the suggestion to qualify my comments in the guidelines I wanted it known that I keep what I do in the industry short. It's in the church section of the forum too. That's also a clue. I think a non directional mic on a vocalist having a monitor in the blind spot where a cardioid mic pattern would blank it out has a purpose. What trick do you use for a wedge right in the face of the vocalist? It remains to be seen just how simple this "secret" is. There are no simple solutions only simple people.
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Milt Hathaway

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2017, 04:46:17 pm »

There are no simple solutions only simple people.

Yet the smartest people tend to use the simplest solutions.
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Mark Brownell

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #5 on: November 08, 2017, 04:55:44 pm »

Yet the smartest people tend to use the simplest solutions.


OK, show the discussion where proximity effect is mitigated at the board please. I read one comment that had to do with 400hz. I read about different mics. I never read about first harmonics flattening out the mic's response. It's here isn't it. Somebody told this story decades ago right? I got it from a member of the Little River Band out of Australia. Somebody here knows it's simple and can prove it. Let's see it. Step forward and show us all how brilliant you are.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #6 on: November 08, 2017, 05:33:01 pm »

As this was my first post and was following the suggestion to qualify my comments in the guidelines I wanted it known that I keep what I do in the industry short. It's in the church section of the forum too. That's also a clue. I think a non directional mic on a vocalist having a monitor in the blind spot where a cardioid mic pattern would blank it out has a purpose. What trick do you use for a wedge right in the face of the vocalist? It remains to be seen just how simple this "secret" is. There are no simple solutions only simple people.

There are no simple solutions only simple people.

There are also self important windbags "biamp system with active crossover" you lost me there.

You might be the nicest guy in the world but your first post was long winded and pompous.  Think of barging into a party where you know nobody then regaling them with that bout of  verbal diarrhea.

BTW welcome to the forums (ducking and running)

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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Mark Brownell

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #7 on: November 08, 2017, 05:58:51 pm »

There are no simple solutions only simple people.

There are also self important windbags "biamp system with active crossover" you lost me there.

You might be the nicest guy in the world but your first post was long winded and pompous.  Think of barging into a party where you know nobody then regaling them with that bout of  verbal diarrhea.

BTW welcome to the forums (ducking and running)


My first post was not pompous unless it is a threat to you that giving out a secret implies that either you or one of your comrades does not know something. My second post was pompous because it looks like many of you are still going to not know something. I've been leaving people in the dust because they can't stand the idea that they don't know something and that it is threatening to them. If being treated for disagreement results in wounds then try to get past it.

Back when bi-amping was invented they had passive or active crossovers. Two amps is bi-amping. One amp goes to the low end subs and the other amp drives the mains.

Since using "old" terminology puts your undies in a bunch, try knowing this off the top of your head. What is a Hass Kicker? Please try not to be pompous.
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Scott Holtzman

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #8 on: November 08, 2017, 06:36:06 pm »



Back when bi-amping was invented they had passive or active crossovers. Two amps is bi-amping. One amp goes to the low end subs and the other amp drives the mains.


Wow, now if ever I had a point made for me.  Nice response.  Not going to play your game, by the way if it makes you feel any better I didn't not know "Haas Kicker" and the only time I have seen "Haas Effect" used was academic.

However the terms passive and active crossover are still widely used.  A passive crossover would only be needed in a bi-amplified system if the driver complement exceeded the amp count.

BTW my dog is smarter than your dog. 

Lighten up Francis https://youtu.be/0OnpkDWbeJs



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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman
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Mark Brownell

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Re: Proximity Effect, yep, that again.
« Reply #9 on: November 08, 2017, 07:04:14 pm »

Getting back to the topic; Can the proximity effect be mitigated at the sound board and is the technique useful to sound engineers?

I say that if you try it out without clobbering the mix you should actually notice clarity where a mix already sounds too muddy. If you can't fix the performers technique and the other mics are badly placed like guitar amps and drum mics then you might be able to pull it out with the simplistic EQ.

There is nothing online about all the incarnations of the Haas Kicker. There is an example of going after one wave length, very large waves between 40hz and 100hz. I put them in a world class studio in Clearwater Florida back in the early 90's. They were not academic to me. The kind I went after were for 300hz to 500hz with their surfaces aimed at 150hz as a deffusor. A Haas Kicker can be used to pull down a small range of frequency by noise cancellation methods of the first reflection. That process goes way beyond the debate over psychoacoustics.
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