Learning Space dedicated to
the Art and Analyses of Film Sound Design
What's new?
Site Map
Site Search
Sound Article List
New Books
DINR vs No-Noise vs Cedar?

Kuch Akhtar:
Would someone with hands-on experience please be so kind as to compare Digidesign's DINR with Sonic Solution's No-Noise and Cedar's Audio Restoration/Noise Reduction Suite in the context of Noise Reduction in "Sound for Picture".

I would have thought that DINR would have run away with  the prize, but it seems that Hollywood is more inclined towards No-Noise. Am I right?

Mark Berger:
With reference to reducing unwanted signal ("noise") in relation to what you want to hear (usually dialogue), I've found several general principles that are helpful.

The first, which is sometimes called "Berger's Law", is "These things work best when you need them least." This means if you have a little bit of hiss, the Cedar DH-1 is great. A lot of hiss, crank it way up, you really hear it work and the artifacts become distracting. 

This leads directly to the second principle, which is . . .
"Piranhas are better than sharks." This is just an aphoristic way of restating what Randy describes - many small bites are more effective than one large gulp. Use some No-Noise or DINR, A little bit of dynamic EQ, some manual gain riding, some Dolby 430, maybe some Behringer or DBX single ended NR, a low level background loop to mask any pumping, and the dialogue will sound more acceptable than trying to do everything with just No-Noise or just DINR. This is because each device is doing a little bit, which it does best, and the sum adds up to a more pleasing, effective sound.

I have found the Cedar system to be more an effective hiss reduction than a broadband noise reduction device.

In terms of No-Noise vs. DINR, I have found that the No-Noise, in the hands of an experienced operator, with the guidance of the dialogue mixer, can produce excellent results. At Fantasy Films, the record company uses No-Noise all day every day to clean up old jazz catalogues, and we have a very practiced engineer do our dialogue work. He comes to the stage, we play him the tracks, we go to his room, he plays us varying degrees of processing, and we get several takes. This process literally saved two performances in Robert Duvall's "Apostle," where he and Miranda Richardson are dining at a Bayoufront restaurant. Fortunately, the bayou was infested with piranhas, so with their help we were able to save the scene.

Randy Thom:
One thing that most people don't know about the process of trying to get rid of noise, especially environmental noise (as opposed to electronically generated noise) is that manual gain riding and eq almost always play a part in what turns out to be the most successful approach. The best technique is often to use a digital algorithm to reduce the noise a few decibels. (More than 6 or 8 dB will usually generate unwanted digital artifacts unless the noise is very narrow band.) And then use some gain riding and dynamic eq to reduce the noise still further. Some choose to start with the manual part of the process, then apply the algorythm.

The most difficult noise to remove, of course, is noise which changes in spectral content and level over time. Classic examples in film post include car and airplane-bys under production dialog. Wind and surf are frequent offenders too.

Can't tell you what "Hollywood's favorite" digital noise reduction system is. I know that both DINR and Cedar were used on Episode One.

I've used DINR quite a bit. It saved us way back on Forrest Gump when ciccadas covered Tom Hanks' dialog at the cemetary. I've used No-Noise and Cedar less, but I know they're both good systems.

My hunch is that if you're careful and persistent with any of the three you'll get good, if not miraculous, results. I doubt seriously that any one of them is clearly better for all applications. 

 Message thread from CAS Webboard  June, 1999 

Visit The Cinema Audio Society Message Archive -  over 100 archived threads 


To Film Sound Design

Star Wars Sounds Film Sound Clichés Film Sound History Movie Sound Articles Bibliography
Questions & Answers Game Audio Animation Sound Glossaries Randy Thom Articles
Walter Murch Articles Foley Artistry Sci-Fi Film Sound Film Music Home Theatre Sound
Theoretical Texts Sound Effects Libraries Miscellaneous