Pink Noise for Mixing

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Pink Noise for Mixing
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#1

After watching a Recording Revolution video, I found a link to this youtube video in the comment section. It seems like a simple solution to getting a decent, balanced mix…Of course we all have different ideas as to what a “good” mix is.

What do you people think of this?


#2

quite an old technique, mixing with test static, broadband static etc, Tv technicians used it to check sound levels long time ago.
For mixing, use it with a grain of salt. It works on simpler music, house music etc decently well. But it can ruin and squash the feeling out of a jazz or blues mix or literally anything with woodwind solos lol

do it only in mono though to get a solid mono pullback. Helps in taming a mix initially.


#3

You forgot “pink panther” in the tags. I’ve never personally done it, but I’ve never been very adventurous in my mixing techniques. I hear it’s really good for cancelling out certain frequencies, or narrowing the spectrum down to solve a problem. I have a limited knowledge of it. It’s related to dithering (I think).


#4

nah nothing to do with dithering. it works in any kind of samplerate, basically allows a listener to “sculpt” the sound to the energy curve of the static, that is all. If you want to pull some more headroom like -12db, set the static to -12 db and match the levels of each track to the static. You will get some headroom.


#5

This is the video I was thinking of.


#6

ah, thats different topic. Op was talking about using the broadband static to adjustlevels of the individual tracks of the mix.

the video is on topic off adding dithered analog noise to the mix to increase or glue tracks, something a lot of plugins do, for example Waves L2, you can add 24 bit type 1 dither to the mixes and such


#7

Sorry, @Wicked. Hey, is this why you have a pink avatar?


#8

Yes, I’m all about da pink.

I’m going to try the pink noise mixing technique to get my next mix in the ball park, and then I’ll adjust the levels to my taste. Definitely not going to rely solely on using pink noise, but I’m interested in hearing the results.

Thanks for that tip!


#9

results are always predictable, the resulting eq curve will be exactly the same curve as of the noise. You are just matching your frequencies to the highest level of that frequency as in the noise. It definitely helps in creating headroom though. You can scale your mix down to whatever level you desire, -12db , -6db etc by setting the noise to that level. The result mix is well just another mix


#10

Its basically just gain staging and you will have a pretty good overall level to get started .


#11

Cool concept to me. I’m definitely going to try it. I think @FluteCafe’s tips will be helpful. Kudos to both of you. Always fun trying different techniques for us novices. lol


#12

Can pink noise be used to “tune” a room?

Blast some pink noise through your precisely mounted monitors and walk around the room taking measurements in each corner and various locations. Then use these to see if what freq. is “building up” or being nulled to then build the appropriate absorbers or reflectors(etc.) In each measured location. (?)


#13

I have seen DJs use it to adjust their EQ curve for their speaker output in a club using an rta mic, placed in different corners of the room… I suppose it can also be used to make acoustic judgement. Maybe if there is a “dip” or a “boost” in the input signal in certain frequencies, could mean treatment is needed for those areas but my acoustic engineering knowledge is not as in-depth. My understanding is that acoustic engineers target select frequencies at a time instead of tackling the whole spectrum.

I do have a friend (lazy one) who does acoustic treatments who can answer this better…


#14

That is what I am getting at. Take recordings (with a ref. Mic) then place in your d.a.w. and analyze what freq. disruptions you may have.

Ex: in the two back corners of your mixing room the files are showing a pronounced area around the 92hz. mark, you can tune your aborbers more in that area to help even out that bump .

I wonder if you get into the “chasing your tail” thing in “tuning” your room? Meaning , if you fix the low freq. build-up , will that cause other freq.s to null or propagate somewhere else?


#15

Broadband static has been used for level matching since TVs and radios were invented.
nothing revolutionary there - calling it pink noise doesn’t make it any cooler than before.
Its been used in tuning PA systems and in recording in mixing since day 1

yes, its used to tune PA systems, concert halls, movie theatres and studios using Real time analyzers… From a treatment perspective while it does identify reflective rooms (interfering and colliding sound waves) it does not provide enough information as to how much absorption is needed, so in most cases rooms mostly go over-treated.

For reflective rooms, there are 2 kinds of reflections, one that boosts certain frequencies (in phase) and one that cuts certain frequencies (out of phase). If room is carpeted, it will act like a low pass filter. Sometimes tackling an in-phase reflective room using static can create even more out of phase collisions. So a lot of times human judgement is still needed.

next pizza break is on you!


#16

I think I might try this too. Reminds me of iZotope’s EQ Matching feature in Ozone. Hah, I wonder if this technique could be applied in a similar way with a reference track. Play the reference track, then turn up your tracks one by one until you can barely hear them? It might not work at all, but just an idea! It could work in a song with really similar instruments to the one you’re mixing. I’m totally going to try this sometime.


#17

it wont work with a reference track unless the sonic pattern of the reference track is exactly the same as your track. Youll get better results just using the static to gain stage and then just use good old fashioned ears to create the sonic movement you desire


#18

I really like his idea of showing the dynamic range increase—good demo. However, he’s totally wrong about noise shaping, that’s not what it does. The term “noise shaping” was a bad term to go with from the beginning, because since dithering is adding noise, noise shaping sounds like it adds shaped noise. It doesn’t, it adds the same noise (usually—though you can skip that step for a different result), and the quantization error subsequently gets shaped. In math circles, “error” and “noise” are often synonymous (particularly when the error isn’t simply a bias).

My take on dither (for the brain):

And musically (practical considerations, value):

And yes, this has slipped off topic because the pink noise mixing technique is unrelated to dither. Basically, the technique limits the loudest frequencies of a track to the 3 dB/Oct slope of pink noise. Not going to win you any awards, but won’t sound awful given decent source tracks.


#19

The idea, in plug-in form, goes back to the early days. Stephen St Croix had a plug-in that would do linear phase EQ. But it also let you get the average curve from a reference source, and difference between your mix, and generate an EQ curve to bring you mix in line with the reference. Fun stuff to play with, but never ends up being a compelling solution, it seems. Probably good for a sanity check. though.


#20

Unfortunately 'yes and no’
Though, Alpha is correct below ( for example if the reference track vocals are in the key of D and your track is in the key of F, the sweet spots of the vocals will be in different frequency dispersion pattern, which means when you match your audio, its matching the tail end of the spectrum, more like apples to oranges which is why a reference track cannot be used the same way) but that doesn’t mean it cant create some interesting mixes. It can create an audio imbalance but we are in the industry of experimentation so you never know where the results will take you :smiley: