Re: Peter Huebner

Subject: Re: Peter Huebner
From: Shane Turner (
Date: Wed Apr 20 2005 - 03:14:40 EDT

I find this kind of topic very interesting. I listened to the whole
example. So I'm going to take guesses. First impresssions are technical:

The vast majority of mp3's I've encountered have a rolloff point at 16Khz.
This one does not....

Second note, I'm not sure where the stereo wideners are, many samples are
mono (except for that alto flute sample and I assume some string samples).
Similar-sounding samples seem to be panned stereo to create a "widening"
effect. String samples are often pitch-shifted upward, and are faint
behind the other instruments. It is like he's trying to constantly create
high-frequency information to excite the ears.

Third note: the mix constantly seems to revolve around contrasting
reverberated and dry, mono sounds:

Dry samples in the foreground. Flute samples mainly, and some bells.

Lots of delayed verb, like at 4'20", a bell with the attack slope reduced
sounds in the right, and echoes in the left. (and the same sample with the
original attack sounds just prior to it).

He will contrast stereo and mono samples. Two examples: Between 20" and
28" there are stereo string samples on the left, and suddenly a "melody" 3
descending notes played by a completely mono string pad in the right.
Notice this motif is introduced by some sort of woodwind oboe-ish sample in
the middle of the mix. #2: Around 48"-55" you can hear dry, unreverberated
bells in the left, accompanied by bells in the right, with that delayed,
extremely bright reverb. like for example a waves rennaisance verb with the
treble eq-d way up.

Another thing:
He's compressed at least the background (consisting of samples with slow
attacks and long decays, heavily reverberated)... quite a lot. It never
seems to drop below a certain volume level. The overall frequency slope
remains exactly the same for the entire piece except for the sudden twinkle
of a bell here and there. Maybe, some multiband eq which constantly keeps
the high frequencies balanced at a certain level? It uses very little
actual bass instrumentation, and what is there is very quiet (sometimes on
the attack of a sample). The mix seems to be constant midrange. My first
rough guesstimate apparently as previously stated is that the mix excites
the ears by constantly feeding them with extremely bright sounds.

Honestly, the second time through, the mix made my ears start to feel rather
funny. Also some of the samples have a tendency to suddenly just shut
off.... like the bell at about 2'08" with the long tail that suddenly just.
ends. And some times in my opinion the reverb sounds just terrible, like on
the attack at 1'13".

(I also know that at about 5 minutes I seriously get a sudden urge to listen
to dire straits. [We have pitch shifting, captain].)

Seriously, though, I'm just scratching the surface taking potshots at 2 am
here... (out of interest, though). (And while I have nearfields, my
listening environment.. sucks.)


----- Original Message -----
From: "Dominique Bassal" <>
To: <>
Sent: Tuesday, April 19, 2005 11:02 PM
Subject: Peter Huebner

> It seems that I did a lousy job in explaining the context of my first
> question to the list about Huebner. I will try again:
> I have a calibrated room+speakers situation, which means that I enjoy a
> rather flat monitoring. In this room, the Huebner mp3 creates a curiously
> "empty minded", but still very effective fascination, although I
> personally hate everything about the music, the guy, the sites, the
> pretentious prose and the whole cultist scene. But if this was a
> "standard" new age production, I estimate that I would have listened for
> about 30 seconds and then push the space bar once and for all. Instead I
> found myself listening - on and off - to maybe a total of 10 minutes.
> Let's say that this creates, in my case, a "sound-vs-musical-interest"
> ratio of 20:1.
> Now, if whatever Huebner does in his studios can only develop its full
> manipulative power in a "flat" listening situation like mine, it's one
> thing, but if it "works" about everywhere, I feel that this is something
> that EA composers have to know about, only for the technical aspect of
> it. This is part of our job... So my idea is to take advantage of the
> wide variety of monitoring situations available among composers to find
> out what is happening here, and to ask everyone who wishes to participate
> to listen to this example:
> 0641%20Zen%20Symphonies/06412%20Zen%20Symphony%20Nr%202.htm
> ...and just post back to the list how many more minutes than normally, if
> any, you have listened to it for pure "audio" reasons: 2:1, 3:1, 10:1,
> etc.
> We can do guessing about his production "tricks" later on, if the results
> show a good proportion of very high ratios... but we should certainly not
> summarily dismiss Huebner's very specific audio production competences
> just because he is an arrogant guru. I happen to own the Miroslav Vitous
> collection, along with a good selection of stereo wideners, software and
> hardware, and it is quite evident to me that Huebner's "technique"
> involves a little more than that.
> Best
> - -
> Dominique Bassal

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