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  • MIR - future sound... some feedback and suggestions...

    Hi, this may not be a welcome post here, but I mean it with the utmost respect for the incredible technical achievement of VSL and their MIR product line, it is doubtless a milestone and a benchmark in the audio world and unmatched as a tool at this time for it's strengths.


    I have had gripes about impulse responses for some time now. Even MIR. It sounds fantastic, there is nothing else like it out there, to be sure. But to me, at the end of the day, as much as it does place instruments impeccably and the realism is amazing, the result of impulse responses, even thousands of them as in MIR, is 2 dimensional, and flat beyond the first impression of the "moulding" of the instruments due to their virtual placement. I have considered even getting a dedicated PC (as I'm a Mac user) and MIR, but I found that although it's less accurate, mixing with a synthetic (sic) reverb is preferable to me as I feel there is more life retained from the original samples, which impulse responses, for me, just completely kill, every time. Especially in complex mixes, they just mush things together (this is where MIR pretty much avoids this problem due to the variations, but still the 2D problem is there for me). Before the engineers at VSL stop reading here... please allow me to finish my point...

    It's a lot to do with preference, of course, however, an impulse response is NOT a real room, it is not really anything close to a real room, it is like a "thumbnail" image of a room, - that is stating the obvious of course - but then again, for this point, it's not.... - it is not even a high resolution photo, let alone actually being there. Furthermore, an impulse response may sound great on simple material at least at first listen there is the perception of realism, but aesthetically, it is very very flat. On complex material it suffers a lot.  MIR goes a long way to correcting this, and I believe the core design and philosophy will stand the test of time, but I want to make a suggestion: simply, replace the impulse response based reverb in the engine with synthetic algorithms modelled on the real room places. To be sure: that is perhaps equally or MORE work as was required to organise and gather all the impulses for MIR as it is now, however, technical issues and present computer processing issues notwithstanding, I believe it's ultimately possible. If done to the degree of dedication and technical level as MIR has been created, I believe this could yield an aesthetic result far in excess of what MIR has achieved. Impulses responses are 2D and limited, and as a "mix tool" I believe they will never match up to a good hardware reverb. Somewhere in between lies the answer... Incorporate reverb algorithms of the level of say a Bricasti or a Quantec, or better ;) and then apply MIR engine / design philosophy together with that, I believe you have the makings of a master tool that nobody in the industry will want to be without... What I'm saying is, why not continue to have the same foresight and depth of vision as you had 10 years ago, and which you have followed through on to date. I don't know how it could be done... what kind of work would be involved, but not doubt on first thought, it seems to me it would take at least as much work as the MIR project has itself taken to date to incorporate this kind of technology into the design and function.

    It may be a decade away, perhaps longer, but that didn't stop you guys having the vision and foresight to record your libraries as you have, dry and direct, with so many articulations, knowing that the software for both the instruments as well as the mixing software, would come in time and you left it open for maximum flexibility. A brave and intelligent move. It's been more than a decade since you started and look where it is. So I don't think this idea is far off of reality, any more than MIR was in 2001. I believe MIR could really be viewed as a stepping stone, as, presently, neither the software / hardware synthetic reverb platform, nor the MIR platform, with the greatest of respect and recognition of what it *can* do (which is a lot), deliver ideal results each on their own, at least to where it *could* be (for me personally, just my humble opinion). Each method has it's merits, and their drawbacks. Combine the two taking the best from each... ?!

    then again perhaps the engineers will think "go to hell!!!" haha.  [:)]

  • mpower88 –


    I’m not a VSL employee or a software engineer, but I think you are so off-base here.


    I got MIR and use it because my hardware Bricastis and Lexicons don’t sound realistic in comparison. In fact they have been sorely neglected in my orchestral template since implementing MIR. While in some cases the hardware may sound 'pleasant', they don't sound realistic. In all cases with MIR, you may optionally append a hardware or software reverb to a MIR venue or even to a 'shortened' MIR venue. Effectively this method uses MIR more as a spatializer and the optional reverb as the reverberant field's tail. 

    In fact, I don't think of MIR as a reverb. It's a device to recreate the sound of a venue and the localization of specific instruments and instrument groups within that venue. 


    There already is a French company that makes a product somewhat like you describe and I tried it out before purchasing MIR. It has an algorithmic reverb and it sounds sorry next to the realism and dimensionality of MIR.


    This seems like a case of ‘Diffferent Strokes for Different Folks’.



  • Hi Jack,

    Firstly, as I said, it's personal preference...

    Second, I haven't heard that French companies attempt at what I have described, but I doubt very much (although I could be wrong) that it is of the scope and depth of MIR. Lets say we compared any standard convolution reverb with MIR - there is no comparison. So I don't know the product you're referring to to make your point, but, I doubt that it is of the scope and level of engineering that I have alluded to in my original post... 

    Regarding MIR not being a reverb, I somewhat agree with your point that you're making - in fact largely. My issue is ONLY with the flatness that convolution seems to me personally to tend to lend to anything it touches. Computers, amplifiers, speakers, are all not "real" things, it's not possible to make something sound entirely authentic with current technology unless we have some kind of 3D sound hologram... science fiction for now... so the point is, how do we create something that is aesthetically closest to what we are trying to achieve as possible - for me that is not with convolution reverb, unless you take the convolution as a starting point for an algorithm - and modulate it and then mix those many algorithms in real time with the level of engineering and expertise that has been put into MIR.

    As I said, neither method for me personally is ideal both has strengths and weaknesses. There are things I love about MIR that it does which I think are marvellous and absolute breakthroughs, and I can completely understand many people not being able to live without it. For me though, the overall sound of impulses is lacking. Perhaps i'm "wrong" in that, just something I've thought for some time, that I hoped MIR would fix, but it hasn't for me.

  • Greetings mpower88,

    Historically I would agree with you that convolution has been 'flat' sounding. There are lots of examples of this - I don't wish to embarrass the manufacturers by naming them all. 

    However the MIR convolution process seems to be unique amongst all the other developers. The careful laser plotting of hundreds (or more) locations within a single venue recorded via  the ambisonic process, and the careful 'stitching' of all these IR's back into the ambisonic process for playback through the MIR interface go exponentially beyond what we've seen before in any convolution product. 

    MIR sounds more real than any other spatial/reverberant enhancer out there. Truly any thing beyond it currently would be science fiction. 

    Yes, we can ask for more. There is no reason to let developers off the hook. We want more!


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    @mpower88 said:


    then again perhaps the engineers will think "go to hell!!!" haha.  

    Go to hell! ;-D

    No - but seriously: I appreciate the thoughts you devote to MIR, and rest assured that we have lots of new ideas and approaches up our sleeves. The topic "spatialization and reverb" is nothing VSL will leave alone for quite a few years to come, that's for sure.

    That said I (unsurprisingly) have a hard time to follow your rationale why MIR fails so miserably, at least for your ears. Maybe it is a question of expectations. Real rooms rarely sound "pretty", and I perfectly understand that the raw realism of MIR venues is sometimes hard to take. (The same is true with VSL instrument samples, but that's a different story 😉 ...) To say that algorithmic reverb superseeds convolution-based reverbs is the exact opposite of my listening experiences of the last 25 years, though.

    Jack Weaver is pointing to a French product which actually could be founded on a concept I outlined eight years ago -> Longcat's "Audio Stage" . The underlying idea and even some parts of the GUI are much like my plans for a Post-Pro MIR, but without IRs, because it's based on virtual room models. I'm very fond of the basic idea, but I have to admit that I wasn't convinced by the acoustic results at all, at least in a musical context (... I just tried the demo).

    Kind regards (and _now_ go to hell  ;-)) ...),

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
  • Hi Dietz, Thanks, I did invite that didn't I ;)

    To your points: I'm glad to hear the topic is not closed! That's exciting to hear for anyone who knows the history of your company.

    I did not say MIR fails miserably to my ears! Quite the contrary it is an amazing success. Rather it solves many problems while not solving some that I had perhaps unconsciously hoped would be solved. Perhaps what I'm trying to say is I'm hoping for the next generation already.

    Simply put, I'm wondering why one couldn't with future technology apply algorithms to the impulse responses you already have, to give them more life, variance, and breath. To me, impulses always sound so flat. Although MIR sounds more real, other mixes have more "life" to them, to my ears. It's a difficult thing to articulate really because at the same time I am genuinely amazed at the realism that MIR generates. I hope this makes sense!

  • This is a very interesting topic, To my ears MIR works very well for some instruments and not so well for others. However, all instruments require an amount of tweaking in order to work in the mix; there is no "one size fits all".

    However, whilst I quite like a bit of algorithmic reverb in the mix, I really don't like the sound without some sort of "placement in a room" as well. For example I like the smaller, studio sounds in MIR together with an extra tail for LEX or Bricasti. I know that this is against purist views of how to do things, but as all recording is affected by psychoacoustics, I don't care. [6]


  • Hi DG, that's similar to what my thinking was, however I found that as soon as you put any signal through an impulse response, it sucks the life out of it. especially with medium to larger mixes.

  • Interesting topic indeed! What I think is a major missconception of MIR is that you just put your Intruments in the room where you think they belong and except everything to sound great. To be honest: when MIR was anounced I also had high hopes that I wouldn't hve to care for mixing that much any more in the future. I guess it will always take experience and skill to do a great mix, no matter which tools you might have ...

    In my opinion, the problem is that most people use samples for a filmmusic kind of sound (even if it might not always be filmmusic they compose). When you use the Vienna Konzerthaus main stage it sounds more like a classical recording. What DG wrote is exactly, what they do on a filmmusic recording most of the time: They record on a rather small stage (compared to a concert stage) and do plenty of manipulation, especially reverb, in the mix.

    I am curious, what MIR pro will do in that regard. I hope it to be more a "creative stagesound manipulation tool", where you can tweak each instrument the way you whant it to sound like. E.g., it may be realistic in theory, that every instrument sits in the same recording room, but it is not necessarily the best result for the sound you are after. Maybe you want the brass to be in the konzerthaus, but for the Strings you prefer a small stage with additional reverb to compensate, etc. ...

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    @mpower88 said:

    Hi DG, that's similar to what my thinking was, however I found that as soon as you put any signal through an impulse response, it sucks the life out of it. especially with medium to larger mixes.


    In my experience the times that this has happened to me was when the original performance wasn't that great to start with. However, as far as the algorithmic reverb is concerned I use this as a send from the original audio files, not after a convolution insert. I hope that this makes sense. [:$]


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    @Another User said:

    What I think is a major missconception of MIR is that you just put your Intruments in the room where you think they belong and except everything to sound great. To be honest: when MIR was anounced I also had high hopes that I wouldn't hve to care for mixing that much any more in the future. I guess it will always take experience and skill to do a great mix, no matter which tools you might have ...

    To a large degree I think MIR can be 'set & forget'. However a lot of us like to expand our spatial/reverberant techniques into what we're hearing in our minds for the mix at hand. Beside, we like playing with things. With the advent of MIR PRo there will be a ton of things we can do creatively with stems and technical tricks. 

    I do like mpower88's ideas for future expansion of MIR.


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    @Jack Weaver said:

    In this regard I was secretly hoping that when MIR Pro comes out that I will still have a regular MIR license and having 2 machines will be able to install MIR on one and MIR Pro on the other to be able to get 2 MIR-type venues simultaneously.  I hadn't run this concept past Dietz yet but on the surface I can't see anything that might stop this from being possible. 


    I guess that this will depends on whether or not MIR Pro is an insert. If it is then there will be no reason not to be able to run a different venue per insert.

    However, I would imagine that in your case you would need 2 licences to run on two machines, just as you currently do with VE Pro.


  • DG: your idea of running the algorithm reverb as a send makes sense but aren't you messing up the placement. Sorry I'm not very familiar with MIR's actual operation... maybe I'm getting this wrong. In terms of the mixes, I was referring to quite good mixes - a couple by Dietz I was listening to from the demo zone, compared with some older mixes from others that sound like they have not used convolution reverb, and comparing those with live recordings from film scores.

  • You could be messing up the placement; exactly as you could when using a multi mike set-up in the real world. So, treat it the same. MIR is the overhead mikes, audio track sends are the sends from the close mikes. There is also no reason that you couldn't use a send from the o/h (MIR) as well. You just have to pan the audio tracks manually for the send, and not for the actual audio track (and this is crucial, or you would mess up the MIR placement)..


  • Yeah, makes sense in the real world, but how does it sound in the virtual world?

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    @mpower88 said:

    Yeah, makes sense in the real world, but how does it sound in the virtual world?


    Using the current MIR loading audio files in Kontakt and then running them in parallel for he audio track sends, it sounds pretty good. Obviously this is no way to work for real, but at least I know what will be possible when MIR Pro is released.


  • Got any examples we can listen to??

  • An easy way to do check this yourself is to do a "Dry Only"-version of your piece once you're ready. There's a dedicated button in MIR's Output Channel. Send this to an algorithmic reverb of your choice. Done. :-)

    Kind regards,

    /Dietz - Vienna Symphonic Library
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    @mpower88 said:

    Got any examples we can listen to??

    Unfortunately not at the moment, because I'm in the middle of mixing an album, but I'll try to do a couple of single instrument examples in a couple of week. Meanwhile feel free to post an example where you feel that convolution has destroyed the performance. A before and after would be really useful to hear.


  • Hi Dietz, I don't have MIR, and I'm on a Mac only set up right now... although I was considering a dual boot system... but for now I'll wait and see. MIR pro looks like a mac version might be coming? If so, I'll look forward to that and what might be possible.