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Old October 27th, 2007, 10:39 AM   #1
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How can I avoid these audio problems??

Hi,

I receive monthly audio recordings which I need to clean up. However, on every recording there are a lot of strong S and F sounds which even de-esser cannot fix. Is there another fix I can try? What can I tell the people making the recoding to do? Would better equipment make a difference? I am not sure what they are using now but I think its just an inexpensive mic into the USB port.
Thanks
Robert
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:10 AM   #2
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Dear Robert,

I would first determine which microphone they are using.

Some microphones have a tendency to produce those sounds.

Then, I would find out how they place the microphone in relation to the person speaking. My guess is that they are speaking directly into the microphone and/or the mic is very close to the speaker.

If you have a mic stand, I would first try positioning the microphone so they are not directly speaking into it. One method would be to mic from overhead, and then point the mic downward, but not directly at the speakers mouth.

Run some tests to determine a better mic placement.

A pop filter may help, but I would first try the above, as they are better in helping with "plosives", such as "P" sounds.

http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...ith_Goose.html

Please let us know what mic they are using, if possible.

Better equipment would definitely help, but mic placement is always critical.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 02:56 PM   #3
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They might be over compressing it as well.

Too much compression will cause S sounds to stand out rather badly.

A de-esser will lower the levels of these but the original sound will still be unnatural.

Generally in V/O work when the S's start collapsing that is an indicater of over compressing.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 07:17 PM   #4
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Putting a pop filter on the mic will keep people from ramming their lips right up to the windscreen. That will help a LOT.
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Old October 27th, 2007, 11:32 PM   #5
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weird sound

sounds to me like the de-esser shouild handle this, the trick is learning the frequency that these anomalies are happening at. take a sweepable eq and boost with a sharp bell and slowly sweep the band as the audio plays back between 1.5k to 7k, this will make the problem shoot out like a canon whenever youre at the right frequency, then set your de-esser accordingly, de-essers are not automatic as far as frequency they need to hit ,you have to tell them to what frequency to react to, if you dont tell them what frequency to react to youll never hear it working, then they cant do their job appropriately, if you de-ess too much then the voice will sound like it has a lisp. pop windscreens do very little to essing sounds unless youre hearing a wind pop from the capsule, i do highly recommend using them for this (poping) but I dont think that is your problem. the mic used shouldnt matter that much, except condensers are more prone to this than dynamics due to their sensitivity at those frequency ranges. you might want to see if your source is equalizing the voice for intelligibility, if they are then see if you can get a copy without eq. If they can put a windscreen on the mic (even a cheap one) that will help with the plosives, plus it keeps people from eating the mic.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 12:55 AM   #6
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Thanks everyone for the responses.

The microphpone he is using is an inexpensive Logitech that plugs into the mic port on his computer:
http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/we...s/258&cl=us,en
Would a USB mic be better?

Jimmy, what do you mean by over compressing? These are not professional speakers (they are doctors), is there any coaching I can relay to them to help with this problem?

Last edited by Robert Nunez; October 28th, 2007 at 10:35 AM.
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Old October 28th, 2007, 10:18 PM   #7
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OK, scrap the logitech mic. No good can come from it.

Couple good alternatives for recording straight into the laptop:
Samson CO-1U on a desk stand, excellent sound for the money, this is a USB mic.

If they might want to listen with headphones, the Rode Podcaster mic includes a headphone jack, also a USB mic, also excellent for the money, but quite a bit more than the samson.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 05:52 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Nunez View Post
The microphpone he is using is an inexpensive Logitech that plugs into the mic port on his computer:
http://www.logitech.com/index.cfm/we...s/258&cl=us,en
Would a USB mic be better?

Jimmy, what do you mean by over compressing? These are not professional speakers (they are doctors), is there any coaching I can relay to them to help with this problem?
In that case it is proberbly something else.

It is something you hear on radio for instance when the voice is over squashed it can bring out these sibilant sounds.

If you have a have a clean recording with maybe EQ made by doctors then I imagne that they wont have used a compressor anyway.

However in carying on with one of the above ideas, if they are doctors then best they leave any EQ'ing alone. EQ is a lot harder to use well than people think. If you do it wrong it just detracts.
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Old October 29th, 2007, 09:17 AM   #9
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De-essing

I still think the de-esser will fix it. regardless of the mic. that is what these devices are made to fix, its knowing how to use the de-esser that makes the difference. a de-esser is basically a frequency band specific compressor that is triggered and reacts only to a specific frequency range. but that frequency range needs to be set according to where the problem is at.because if the problem is at 3.5khz and the de-esser is set to 5khz, you'll never hear it work. but when you have it set properly, you'll definitely hear the difference.
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