Jason A

Cedar DNS 2 Portable NR unit

51 posts in this topic

Just got word of this unit. For those that aren't familiar, Cedar has been the gold standard for noise reduction processing in post for years. Izotope finally negotiated the purchase of part of their algorithm which advanced the rx line considerably in past few years, but i still feel Cedar is king. This portable unit is very intriguing for certain situations. Especially if you can offer processed and unprocessed signals to post. Thoughts.

 

http://www.cedaraudio.com/products/dns2/dns2.shtml

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Also, just heard back from Cedar and there is an easy way to pass through both unprocessed and processed signal if your using the AES outs.

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This is interesting but as a post mixer I have to say that I would definitely want to do this processing myself, not have it done for me on set. In fact to be honest, if a project came to me with both the processed and unprocessed signals in place I would almost certainly discard the processed signal un-listened-to, and if something came to me with only the processed signal I would be extremely upset. 

This has nothing to do with the skill of the production mixer, but simply that the monitoring environment that the majority of mixers work in (headphones on noisy sets) is not conducive to the sorts of subtle tweaks that are so critical to making NR processing sound natural. Making those sorts of decisions on headphones is nothing like making them on a nice pair of speakers in a quiet edit room, much less on a properly tuned dub stage. 

-Mike

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Besides those PSMs who will want to try this anyhow, however well it works in unpredictable location situations, I can see this for live sound, theatre etc where the BG might not be be so variable.  Live TV mixers are very happy about this--many of them use Cedar systems on their shows already.  It's a loaded gun for sure, but no more so than EQ or compression applied to location tracks, they all have their place in some workflows and not others.

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Emailed Cedar already but if anyone hear about the street price and availability please let us know please.

thanks

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1 hour ago, Mobilemike said:

This is interesting but as a post mixer I have to say that I would definitely want to do this processing myself, not have it done for me on set. In fact to be honest, if a project came to me with both the processed and unprocessed signals in place I would almost certainly discard the processed signal un-listened-to, and if something came to me with only the processed signal I would be extremely upset. 

This has nothing to do with the skill of the production mixer, but simply that the monitoring environment that the majority of mixers work in (headphones on noisy sets) is not conducive to the sorts of subtle tweaks that are so critical to making NR processing sound natural. Making those sorts of decisions on headphones is nothing like making them on a nice pair of speakers in a quiet edit room, much less on a properly tuned dub stage. 

-Mike

 I already possesses a DNS1000 that I used for live tv show it's almost magic... I will not used a DNS2 in a bag situation I totally agree with MobileMike  but it's a good news if a want more separate Chanel in tv show if the price is not to high because it is difficult to get a good price for renting.

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2 hours ago, enginufuk said:

Emailed Cedar already but if anyone hear about the street price and availability please let us know please.

thanks

From Gordon Reid himself :

Price :  2200 GBP + VAT
They're being manufactured as we speak and will be available next month.

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4 hours ago, Mobilemike said:

This is interesting but as a post mixer I have to say that I would definitely want to do this processing myself, not have it done for me on set. In fact to be honest, if a project came to me with both the processed and unprocessed signals in place I would almost certainly discard the processed signal un-listened-to, and if something came to me with only the processed signal I would be extremely upset. 

This has nothing to do with the skill of the production mixer, but simply that the monitoring environment that the majority of mixers work in (headphones on noisy sets) is not conducive to the sorts of subtle tweaks that are so critical to making NR processing sound natural. Making those sorts of decisions on headphones is nothing like making them on a nice pair of speakers in a quiet edit room, much less on a properly tuned dub stage. 

-Mike

Hear hear!! Besides, I have enough to think about on set without adding this. My job is to get the set as quiet as possible, record the voices and backgrounds as consistently as possible, and trust that post is able to use their tools to preserve the original performance. 

I have spent enough hours with the geniuses in post to know about what we can easily get away with, so I'm not getting in the way of production schedule or actors' performances over something that can be fixed with the least amount of processing. If it's beyond that, I do the very best I can, given the circumstances. Either it can be fixed or it can't, but I know I've done my part.

I will add, however, that I work in narrative TV and film with a proper post schedule and team. This tool might be genius for some other areas, as previously mentioned.

 

 

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As a post engineer, I work with both Cedar and Izotope products regularly. I know what they can do and as Mike said, if I received both processed and unprocessed track options I would just go for the unprocessed option first. But, as a sound mixer I know there are a growing amount of smaller productions that have no plan for proper post audio in their workflow, and with those type of productions I am often surprised with a meeting room that has an HVAC system from 1970 that sounds like a series of hairdryers hanging from the ceiling. This actually happens quite a bit in the Seattle market. Tons of internal tech company videos that fortunately will pay full day rate for a production mixer, but post audio isn't an option. This is the primary situation where I could see this being valuable. That is, if it works well. Not for film/TV/commercial work. 

 

So, CrewC. It very well could be perfect for production sound. Just not your specialty.

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Hmmmm, I suppose one can make an argument for it in a given situation but it asks yet other questions.  Is this then just part of your rig? No extra charge? If they won't pay for real post I doubt they will want to pay for this extra.  Use it when? AirCo? Traffic? More ambience than usual? If the man or woman who hired you is cute? Not sure it's really "perfect" for anything but post. Also, if I were a post person  I'd be upset if the PSM's were using this as a way to be a hero and getting into my rice bowl. To each their own though. I still think it's a post tool.    

And for the record, I do IA/LA commercials, TV, Film, Docs, Free b's. Music, New Media, and my own projects.

CrewC

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Would need to charge for it for sure. If it seems applicable, ask the client whether they want to use it, or discuss beforehand just like any other piece of gear. If it it works well, its an easy sell. Just put the headphones on the client and show them the difference. As a post person, this isn't threatening at all. There are plenty of other aspects to audio post other than cleaning dialogue to keep us busy. Not to mention that this would likely only conflict with a small amount of those jobs to begin with. Bottom line is, if it sounds/works good and you can charge for it, why not use it.

 

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It's an endless möbius loop of an argument really. Why use it, why not use it? Do you want a words only recording devoid of any ambience or realness, or a recording that has a good signal to noise ratio that sells real. One that sounds like it looks.  Again, I think this is a post decision best done in a post studio where the tweaking can be done with great prersision. On the other hand, if I can make big money being the magic man, hey I'm game. At the end of the day I doubt it will be that widely used in the field. For those who do jump in, best of luck.

CrewC

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41 minutes ago, Jason A said:

Would need to charge for it for sure. If it seems applicable, ask the client whether they want to use it, or discuss beforehand just like any other piece of gear. If it it works well, its an easy sell. Just put the headphones on the client and show them the difference. As a post person, this isn't threatening at all. There are plenty of other aspects to audio post other than cleaning dialogue to keep us busy. Not to mention that this would likely only conflict with a small amount of those jobs to begin with. Bottom line is, if it sounds/works good and you can charge for it, why not use it.

 

As a post person it is threatening though, and it's threatening to the quality of the final product as well. Say you convince a producer to use this, and pay for it, on set. The producer thinks "hey, this is great, I can get NR done right on set, so we don't have to do it in post. We can save time and money that way." Suddenly the audio post editors and mixers have 10 days to finish an episode instead of 12 because the producer thinks there is less work to do. But really there is the same amount of work to do because the cedar-processed tracks from production were too ridden with artifacts to use, a fact that isn't as apparent in headphones, but is pretty obvious on the dub stage. 

So who loses? Do the post audio people now have to spend their own time, that they are not paid for, to fix this? (A situation which already occurs all too frequently). Or are they forced to use the NR tracks because there's no time for anything else and the show airs with all the artifacting and aliasing intact? 

I do think there are situations where this could be useful as others have pointed out, like live TV, but I don't think it's for anything that then goes through post.

-Mike

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I'm a big Cedar fan and own some of their gear that I use in post.  I sort of don't see why most regular PSMs would get much into this if you knew that your posties had this technology (as they have for some time), I, anyhow have other things to attend to.  I could see it as a special-situation tool, and for sure for live /theatre etc work, but for my normal run of prod sound, not so much.  One concern I have about this box, even for live work, is that I don't see the familiar Cedar sliders I'm used to being able to ride in real time...

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Has the super cmit been a threat to post?  Doesn't seem like it.   Truthfully I decided to stick with regular cmit after demoing the super cmit because for the majority of the work I do I thought it best to do the nr in post, not in the mic.  That was just my decision about my regular work.

Being in the same market as Jason I also work on a lot of jobs where this may be exactly the right tool, like a conference room with a loud HVAC, and no audio post (all too common here, but reasonable).  I know many editors working on these kinds of corporate industrial videos who are using Sony 7506 headphones, or small computer speakers, and they are doing the audio mix that gets delivered to the client.  In this situation they are doing very little work to the audio and delivering to them tracks with mild nr could be a big benefit.  I see no problem charging for the service either.

That is only one situation.  I wouldn't want to deal with nr when mixing narrative work, I have too much to do, and I will usually have the confidence that post will be doing that, more effectively than I can in the field.

In reality, I don't see myself rushing out to buy this unit, but I can see both a benefit and a drawback to using it in the field.

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There is no right or wrong that applies in all filming situations. In the scenario of working on studio movies that might be a year in post, the mix that the production mixer provides is used for viewing and temps for many months before the film is finally ADR'd and dubbed. In this case the subtle use of the DNS 2 could be advantageous provided of course that unprocessed tracks are also supplied to post. Post will always use the raw tracks but the processed tracks will have made cutting and viewing a better experience for many months even though they will not make it into the final mix. The SuperCMIT has its uses and I can see the DNS 2 also having a place. Especially as it has both analogue and AES3 inputs and outputs, I can see me feeding the DNS 2 from an AES output on my Cantar X3 and inputting it digitally back into the X3. That way, a boom, a mix or almost anything could be routed through the DNS 2 as required and with controls on the cart, you can be as subtle as you like. I don't get to try it until next month but for me it could have a place.

Tim

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#: 20   Posted (edited)

I was at NAB and heard this item. It's no less than amazing. I have problems on almost every location shoot I do regarding SOMEthing in the ambience: air handlers, air traffic, roofing crews, Harley's, and the like. Doesn't matter where I am. On some projects, by noon I feel like I'm the one in charge of the roll, and I hate that. Sometimes we have to shoot between incoming jets. This has given me my share of gray hairs. It would change my life. It learns in a millisecond and constantly re-learns. You can dial the ambient sound back in if you want some. If some ambience was wanted, I'd wire a mic around it, and put that track on an iso, and post can put as much or little as they want back in there. 

Of course, I would not switch it on without a fee. It's $4k. It's going to cover those who scout with no ears (or don't scout), but they'll just have to pay for that oversight. When they [don't] hear it, and see how much time it's going to save them on location AND in post, they'll acquiesce (or struggle later).

I have questions about at what point it just stops 'working'. EG: if you were walking up to the interview from the background with a leaf blower, WFO. I'm dying to test the algorithm in the real world. It seems infallible. 

And Philip Perkins, I noticed the SD design earmark instantly.

Edit: I usually have little idea as to what post house (if any) will do with my tracks. I rarely ask where they plan to post, so I doubt many of my clients have access to the DNS 8. This is not NR, nor is it EQ. I would always provide the dirty tracks as well, so post could use that all day, if they really wanted to. 

Edited by Rachel Cameron

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On 2016-04-22 at 8:37 PM, Rachel Cameron said:

I was at NAB and heard this item. It's no less than amazing. I have problems on almost every location shoot I do regarding SOMEthing in the ambience: air handlers, air traffic, roofing crews, Harley's, and the like. Doesn't matter where I am. On some projects, by noon I feel like I'm the one in charge of the roll, and I hate that. Sometimes we have to shoot between incoming jets. This has given me my share of gray hairs. It would change my life. It learns in a millisecond and constantly re-learns. You can dial the ambient sound back in if you want some. If some ambience was wanted, I'd wire a mic around it, and put that track on an iso, and post can put as much or little as they want back in there. 

I gave it a try at the LLB fair in Stockholm yesterday.

It's a truly magical box. I tried it with an omni-directional hand mic and turning the knob, it started attenuating the heavy ambience of all the visitors - Cedar quality. Even with heavy noise reduction (-20dB), it still sounded good, no space monkeys. In a real recording situation, 6-8 dB of attenuation will get you a long way.

I can see myself using one channel for my boom, and the other for the wireless camera feed - cleaning up the sound for all those video editors that don't care much for sound editing. It's going to make me (and the video editors) look great! :-)

And I plan to insert it on the stereo out, or mic group, when I do sound for conferences - most likely get a cleaner and more audible result for the audience and the producers. Win-win.

No hardware bypass, but you can't get everything (the rack version has it).

 

Cheers

Fred

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$4k is cheap for a Cedar box.  The venerable DNS1000 went for over $6k way back in the day.  I have no doubt that it can sound great.  But I also advise that if location soundies start bringing these (kind of no fun in a bag rig, right?) then it will instantly be assumed to be working all the time, and location etc selection will go further towards hell (if that is possible).  We already often have situations where producers etc assume that RX or other post tricks will save them from stupidity, laziness and ignorance; these same folks often have a naive faith in wireless lavs vs boom mics for the same reason.  As much as I love my Cedar studio gear, I'd rather not do this kind of thing on location....but....let us know how it goes for you with it!  If you are doing live mixes to air or web etc then Cedar-on I say.   BTW, Cedar IS a form of NR, the best form!

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On 2016-05-11 at 1:12 AM, Philip Perkins said:

But I also advise that if location soundies start bringing these (kind of no fun in a bag rig, right?) then it will instantly be assumed to be working all the time, and location etc selection will go further towards hell (if that is possible).  We already often have situations where producers etc assume that RX or other post tricks will save them from stupidity, laziness and ignorance; these same folks often have a naive faith in wireless lavs vs boom mics for the same reason.

I got ya!

The difference is that I can make the decision on location, if a couple of dBs noise reduction will save the sound, not assume (or hope) that it can be fixed in the sound editing.

Also, it's going to be interesting to hear if the sound of the lavs will better marry with the sound of the boom, when the boom doesn't add 10dB more ambience than the lavs.

We all know what can be achieved with a properly positioned boom mic. Imagine the background noise being 6dB lower, on location.

If the Cedar DNS 2 works as well as I hope it does, it will improve the result of my work (with minimal effort), because there will always be situations when it's not possible to change location.

Also, it's going to be really interesting to hear how Cedar copes with room reverberation and echoes. If it can bring down the reverberation by 3-4 dB without sounding artificial, much have been won.

Time will tell.

 

Cheers

Fred

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Interesting discussion. I'm curious how real time NR systems deal with unwanted audio of a nature that is best left to non-realtime processing. I have worked with CEDAR before  but am mostly using RX 5 these days. While the automatic modes and manual "learned" sonic footprints  can help with a great deal of problems very quickly they also fall short of dealing with other type of noise intrusion. Leaving them off or going to spectral mode is routine in post but how's that supposed to be handled on the set? Yes, there might be that untouched track but a big part of post efficiency for me is to not have too many choices when I don't need them. I'd consider a mixed track with this treatment over isos with and without it, plus there is the problem that the picture editor made the choice for me thinking the CEDAR track sounded better in his noisy editing suite and now I have to go hunting for and spotting the untreated isos.

As far as TV studio use, I still would prefer my Dugan with a dummy mic (listening to the offending noise and routed nowhere) overriding the mics on the set to keep noise down vs digital NR.

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using the DNS2 on my recent shoot and gotta say I love it! It eleminates all of this low roomy part of the location sound. It just sounds cleaner and dryer.

I don't get any add rental on it. But it gives MY ears pleasure while listening to my sound for 10-14 hours every day. This is the same with my Cooper mixer. I could go with a controller instead but prefer it just for my own comfort.

On my projects post will work with Isos anyway - so I'll treat my mix to my liking. And editorial actually is quite happy as a lot of Screenings will happen before sound post gets involved. 

 

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