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We had an ADR session to dub a video game working with Nuendo. After several months, we decided to do some lines again due to a change in the translations, before realizing the microphone was positioned differently relative to the talent in each session. The difference in the volume and the tonality is so noticeable, that stitching the new recordings with the old ones makes the end result sound unnatural.

Is there any way of fixing the issue in post without having to do a new ADR session? Are EQ match and normalization sufficient to match different ADR sessions? Does the mic positioning bring an additional parameter to the formula?

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  • The only way to properly do this is to redo the session - mic placement is a huge factor in the recorded audio.
    – Rory Alsop
    Jan 25, 2022 at 18:42

2 Answers 2

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I'm going to throw this in as the beginnings of an answer. We can work it up later.

Was the talent consistent? Is this 'just' a placement issue? There are EQ-matching plugins you could try [or Izotope RX has one if you've got that] but you might also have to de-verb it to lose even the tiniest bit of room sound, then fake it all back in afterwards. Normalisation won't fix anything except overall levels, but a judiciously-applied multiband comp might make some headway. Ya for re-shoots, huh;-)

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  • All recordings were produced in an acustically treated room to eliminate noise. The talent was instructed to perform based on the previous sessions. I think we can skip the de-verb step here. I just want to know whether EQ-matching is the remedy for inconsistent mic placement, so I can invest on necessary tools and spend my budget towards there instead of redoing the sessions. But to clarify, a new recording will cost more for me, so I would avoid it if there is a cheaper and an acceptable alternative. Jan 25, 2022 at 19:29
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    tbh, you'll find out whether it works once you try it. There's no hard & fast 'yes it will/no it won't' here, there's 'suck it & see'.
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 25, 2022 at 19:38
  • I will try the EQ-matching then. Can you recommend a good tool for Nuendo? Jan 25, 2022 at 19:50
  • I'd just google whatever you can find that's either free or has a good trial period. Same for multibands if you find the 'Berg one a bit hard to work with. [I use Waves multibands (& many other things) - I just like the visual feedback better than most of the others].
    – Tetsujin
    Jan 26, 2022 at 17:42
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I'll give some ideas that might help other than re-doing or EQ matching as Tetsujin said. Another great piece of advice given by Tetsujin is to eliminate the room factor so you only have one factor to play with.

Let's also assume (as you say) that the talent performed in the "same" way. So that leads us to handle only one factor which is the mic behavior to the placement.

There are 2 major factors here direction of performance (where the mic was "hit") and proximity. For the first factor (direction), you should expect more prominent sibilance and a tad higher definition. For the second factor (proximity) you should expect changes in dynamics and EQ, mostly on the bass regions (the closer the bassier). There also might be proximity curves for your microphone which might help!

My take on the subject would be to create a processing that would brutally eliminate all of these factors. The following ideas are not stated with any order, you can experiment with that.

Keep in mind that these processing techniques will change the fidelity of the audio, so if you can't afford that just skip this answer :)

  • Without normalizing try to compress with an aim to match the peak/RMS of each performance, you can use "signature" signals like P's K's and similar stuff that will cause more diaphragm movement. As you do this move in small steps cutting 3-5db's per compression/limiting layer (experiment here). At the same time, you might want to raise the level of the recording of lower amplitude parts so they get a bit compressed as well (but don't just blatantly normalize). You should start with high speeds and high ratios to address higher peaks and as you progress with the compression layers slow the speeds down. As you add more compression layers you should end up at a point where the last compressor has the same behavior regardless of the recording material. Always keep your eye on the peak/rms levels, you want to match that!
  • Brutal EQ, the idea here is, why try to match when instead can "sacrifice" some quality and fidelity to "mask" the differences. Take an EQ and kill the regions that hurt e.g: roll off all the bass until it's "Acceptable", same with the hi's. So now you have a band-passed signal, which is better cause you have X percentage less of factors changing in a sample. Now you can try to notch the EQ generously to give a specific and apparent but also acceptable overall "tone" to the material so maybe the brain doesn't focus on the (now less) differences but it focuses on the similarities. Simply, make the forcefully similar rather than trying to match them.
  • Multiband compression, you could also run both materials in a group with a multiband compressor, adjust levels and thresholds accordingly so you address only what you want out of the two materials (e.g. closer mic is louder on bass, this material should be the one moving the compressor and not the other). For this one grouping is not mandatory but helps in perspective.
  • Phase & Null. Do you have the same words? Do you have excerpts from the material that match in many parts? Null them!, Take 2 channels and put the excerpts as close as possible so they sound like one (in timing). Flip the phase of a channel and play with its fader until you find the quietest spot. Now what you listen to is the "difference" which can help you make better decisions and understand what's going on. Keep a Spectrum analyzer open cause you might miss very highs and lows that actually contribute to the overall signal and different feeling.

I think these are some ideas you could try, not sure if they'd be much much better than just using a matcher plugin and normalizing but if you have problems re-doing it might be worth giving it a shot! Also, keep in mind that there's a lot of experimentation for these techniques (e.g. shelving rather than rolling of etc).

Good luck!

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