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spphoto603
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Isolate Tap Sounds

Aug 29, 2013 5:56 PM

Tags: #tap_dance #taps

I'm working on a dance recital DVD and there are a couple tap dance numbers. I recorded the tap sounds on an external mic and got the music directly into the camera. However, the external mics also picked up the music from the speakers in the audience, so now the tap sounds are a little overpowered by the music. Is there a way to lower the volume of the music and amplify only the tap sounds? Thanks!

 
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
    5,591 posts
    Oct 26, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 30, 2013 3:00 AM   in reply to spphoto603

    If there is a way, then it won't be easy. If the taps are significantly higher in level than the music, then you might be able to expand the music down to a lower level, just leaving the taps at a higher level. This on its own would sound dreadful, but since you have the music there anyway (at the level you want) then it would mask most of the awfulness, generally in the form of 'pumping' noises, that expansion causes. The problem with most tapping noises is that they are relatively wide bandwidth, so using EQ to isolate them doesn't really help.

     

    Without hearing the tracks, it's not possible to say what's possible definitively, but in my experience, whenever anybody does anything like this, the result is invariably a compromise.

     
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  • SteveG(AudioMasters)
    5,591 posts
    Oct 26, 2006
    Currently Being Moderated
    Aug 30, 2013 2:13 PM   in reply to spphoto603

    I had a feeling you might ask that - and that's partly why I said that it wouldn't be easy. You have to use the Dynamics Processor, and that's not the most straightforward effect to use, by any means.

     

    Highlight the file section you want, go to Effects>Amplitude and Compression>Dynamics Processing. Here you will be presented with a diagonal line across the screen, which as it stands represents no change to the dynamics at all - what goes in is exactly what comes out. What you have to do, if you can, is to determine the dynamic point between the tap sounds and the (quieter) music. At this point, you have to add a couple of points to the diagonal line (click on it to do this) and, at the level you want to make the music quieter from, drag one of the points down so that it's vertical - probably about 20dB down. This will distort the lower part of the slope (which will still go back to zero), and often it works better if you arrange that this runs parallel to the original slope - you'll see a green line where it was. To do this, add another point at the bottom, and drag it to the right. Now, what goes in is what comes out, down to the level where you expanded it, but below that, what goes in comes out however much lower you set that vertical drop to. You can drag the points all over the place, as you'll soon discover. Most of the places you can drag them make things sound dreadful!

     

    Anyway, in the list underneath now, you'll see that the bit with the downward vertical section and below say 'expander'. You will have to preview this, probably a lot of times, and there is absolutely no guarantee that it's going to work. I can't even begin to give you an idea of where to turn the slope downwards, because I haven't seen the file. But at present, I can't think of any other way of doing this, and by the looks of it, nor can anybody else...

     
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