Is This Horn Track distorted ?

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Is This Horn Track distorted ?

Post by Rokas108 »

Hey guys

I just can't get my head around this, I have an 8 French horn lead recorded by a session musician. Everything that i got from him is great but there is this lead part which almost feels like it is distorting or something. I looked at the wave at it looks fine but there is some high resonance which is driving me nuts and is making a mix muddy, I try to find it with an EQ but it seams that it is all over the place between 2000-6000Hz. Can you guys listen to this track and let me know if you think it is distorting or just some odd instrument resonance?

https://soundcloud.com/rokas-dan/horn-t ... Mb5CeOjgZG
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Re: Is This Horn Track distorted ?

Post by manwilde »

To me it sounds nothing at all like distortion. If anything, there´s very obvious room ambience, with bright reflections from something like hard walls, whether this was picked up by the mic or added as an effect afterwards I wouldn´t know.
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Re: Is This Horn Track distorted ?

Post by James Perrett »

It almost sounds like it has been fed through a distortion pedal and an amp to my ears. However, I'm not that experienced with recording French Horn so I don't know whether it is possible to produce that sound naturally with the instrument by blowing extremely hard.
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Re: Is This Horn Track distorted ?

Post by Rokas108 »

Thanks guys for clarifying at least i know my ears are not fooling me :D
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Re: Is This Horn Track distorted ?

Post by forumuser840717 »

James Perrett wrote:It almost sounds like it has been fed through a distortion pedal and an amp to my ears. However, I'm not that experienced with recording French Horn so I don't know whether it is possible to produce that sound naturally with the instrument by blowing extremely hard.


It's perfectly possible to produce that sound by either blowing very hard, or by manipulating the air flow through the horn by a combination of how one blows it, the type of mouthpiece one chooses, and the position of the hand in the bell of the instrument. There again it's also a factor of the choice of instrument. Some will go very overtone heavy and brassy quite easily, others are much harder to get that tone out of, needing a lot of air and compression in the air column to push them into that resonance. Another influence is the "wrap" or geometry of the horn, and things like the geometry of the bore and taper, particularly in the bell section, the thickness of the metal used and the type of alloy used.

In this case, though, it's mainy down to a really nasty recording with a shedload of very boxy room colouration on it, in a room that sounds far too small and live for playing at that volume. I'd suggest finding a bigger and/or more dead (and evenly dead across the spectrum) room and changing the mic and/or mic position to something that doesn't make the instrument and room resonances more pronounced. The spectral problems aren't just pure frequency things but time related smeary comb filtering type things and resonances which would be hard or impossible to null using EQ, or bury by adding reverb but to some extent it would depend on how it sits in the mix. If it's buried in a fairly full/rich texture it'd probably be ok. If it's in a very exposed mix or a comparatively loud element of the mix then it'll just sound as it does.
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Re: Is This Horn Track distorted ?

Post by Funkyflash5 »

I'd say it sounds a little "over-blown" and like it was in a room with a hard surface(s) somewhere creating almost a slapback like reverb.
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Re: Is This Horn Track distorted ?

Post by Hugh Robjohns »

I'm with the two posts above. I don't think there's any peak distortion here (or intentional distortion effects). French horns can have that kind of edgy sound character, especially if they are being a bit 'over-blown' -- which of itself might work fine in the context of the track -- but the travesty is that it's been recorded in what sounds like a small, hard-surfaced, resonant and generally nasty-sounding room which is really inappropriate for a high quality recording IMHO.
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Re: Is This Horn Track distorted ?

Post by Folderol »

It does indeed sound like a particularly horrible room - I don't notice distortion though.
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