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Old February 8th, 2014, 12:32 PM   #16
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

+1 on the copyright issue - you do realize this is illegal unless you have gotten permission, worked out licensing details, etc., right???

And of course, the legality has nothing to do with whether it's for profit or not...
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Old February 8th, 2014, 11:58 PM   #17
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

I have been hearing a lot more of that "underwater" sound recently from new editors who got too aggressive with frequency-band-based noise reduction. It is fine if you are doing ENG type stuff, but for film it just doesn't sound right to me at all; noise would be much less distracting.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 12:08 PM   #18
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Tom,

Agreed: in reality, except on a sound stage, there is always some background noise, so getting the track entirely noise free is a bit unrealistic.

I always do a spectral analysis first, and look for any noise that is steady frequency and fairly steady level (e.g. motor hum, compressor whine, etc.). I then pull down the offending tone(s) with a sharp (Q~50) notch filter, unless it's in the middle of a very important frequency range. I don't necessarily pull it down to inaudibility, but at least so it's no louder than the other background noises.

After that, some gentle frequency-band NR can generally clean things up pretty well without being too "burbly." Maybe even 3dB of downward expansion as a last step, if the track is still noisy.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 12:55 PM   #19
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

At work, I needed to do a voiceover. We have a very large (100' x 200') unused room and I found a place with minimal reverberation. The problem was the HVAC. The fan was fairly loud, but consistent.

Initially, I had included some music. It really helped cover up the noise. Then the "boss" asks to remove the music - to make it appear like it took less time to make the video. Of course, that added time as I had to do NR - or I would need to sample the noise and paint it into all of the dead spots.

Fortunately, one pass of NR did the trick. The key is that the HVAC noise was smooth and predictable. No underwater warble at all. That said, I've done NR with really bad preamp noise and it was a real balance between removal and "blub-blub". I ended up doing moderate NR and going wall to wall on the music.

The worst situation I had was when there was an extension cord near an unbalanced line from a cheap, unbalanced mic. It was unsalvageable. Rather than a smooth 60 Hz tone, it was "sparky". With that one, we had to do ADR.

My conclusion is that it all depends on the noise. The results can range from near perfect to unusable.

BTW, I know some people who sample pianos for MIDI sound libraries. They record each note from super-quiet to super loud. Even with thousands and thousands worth of gear and a top studio environment, they end up using noise reduction. People don't want to hear any noise appear when they play a note.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 02:27 PM   #20
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
there was an extension cord near an unbalanced line from a cheap, unbalanced mic. It was unsalvageable. Rather than a smooth 60 Hz tone, it was "sparky".
By "sparky" do you mean multiple harmonics, so it sounded like a "buzz" rather than a "hum"... but still constant? Or do you mean that the nature of the noise was constantly changing, clicking, up and down in level, etc.?
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Old February 9th, 2014, 05:32 PM   #21
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Yes, it was a buzz rather than a hum. And it was changing, probably as the camera moved around and the wire moved relative to the extension cord. I'm not sure as I was doing post only and wasn't on the set.

Come to think of it, that was a battery-powered, long shotgun with a transformer to the single-ended input of the camera. They didn't typically have a hum problem but probably ran a long, unbalanced line on the ground. Or maybe something wasn't plugged in all the way. In any case, it was beyond recovery for sure! By contrast, the HVAC removal I did recently was almost unbelievably good.

Frankly, the "just barely usable" case is the most frustrating. You want it to be better. It isn't. You want to avoid ADR. You do. You spend hours tweaking things and the results will never be very good. And you hate the idea of losing the original performances.

That was with a M-Audio Microtrack II. The preamp is really poor. (Much worse than an h4n.) And I don't think the boom op was nearly aggressive enough in getting the mic close. (Too much room reflection.) Again, I wasn't on set but had to live with the results. It was heartbreaking, really.
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Old February 9th, 2014, 07:26 PM   #22
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

I have successfully removed some buzz, using the technique described. It depends on how many harmonics... if they go up only to a few hundred Hz, it's possible, although the more harmonics the more the notch filters will degrade the desired sound.

The worst buzz I ever had was NOT to be from the power mains. It turned out to be demodulated video from a VHF TV transmitter about 1/2 mile away that was bleeding into the system. It was very close to 60 Hz, of course, so I was fooled initially. But the harmonics ran up to the thousands of Hz, and the nature was constantly changing, every time the picture content changed. I never could get a really satisfactory result with the harmonics going up that high, all through the desired audio band. (This was NOT recorded by me, luckily, so I didn't have to own the problem.)
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Old February 10th, 2014, 03:19 PM   #23
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

I assume that the buzz was from the mains in my case but I could be wrong. It was sparky - like a Tesla coil - but with a 60Hz base. The harmonics went beyond my hearing.

And this is why one monitors live recordings. It's not so much to set levels as it is to listen for problems - Do you have audio at all? Is there a buzz, hum, or a bad connection? Is the mic being bumped or rumbled? Is there a car approaching or a dog barking? (In my case, the neighbors have roosters...)

Not being a full-time audio engineer, that's my level anyway. I can hear most problems, but I can't listen for levels of "goodness". For instance, it's hard for me to hear if the room has a nice sound or a crummy, cheap set of echoes. I just can't separate out the outside sound from the sound in the headphones. I get the best sense of the room by standing in place and speaking and clapping without the headphones. And unless the dialog gets really loud or quiet compared to the previous line, I don't try to mix levels live. Some can compensate for actors who drop the volume at the end of their lines, but I'd rather leave more headroom and adjust in post. The last thing I want is to turn off automatic gain control only to add my personal really-bad AGC! :)
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Old February 12th, 2014, 08:01 AM   #24
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jon Fairhurst View Post
BTW, I know some people who sample pianos for MIDI sound libraries. They record each note from super-quiet to super loud. Even with thousands and thousands worth of gear and a top studio environment, they end up using noise reduction. People don't want to hear any noise appear when they play a note.
It is TRIVIAL to do even extreme noise reduction when what you are recording is a SINGLE NOTE. But recording even a speaking voice is a VERY DIFFERENT matter.

I strongly disagree that it is common to just go ahead and record in a noisy environment and then apply artificial noise reduction after the fact. "Noise reduction" is NOT to be used as a "normal" part of production. It is a damage-control emergency measure when you can't do it properly in the first place.

There is no excuse for sloppy recording in your own bedroom. Even a cheap microphone can be used properly to get good signal-to-noise ratio by experimenting with various placement, speaking styles, room locations, acoustic treatments (temporary or permanent), time of day, etc etc. etc.
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Old February 12th, 2014, 09:27 AM   #25
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Having worked on a few of these projects over the years, I would recommend skipping the step of recording to the Zoom H4n, and record directly into a computer based workstation, as there is going to be more editing than you realize.
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Old February 12th, 2014, 01:09 PM   #26
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
I strongly disagree that it is common to just go ahead and record in a noisy environment and then apply artificial noise reduction after the fact. "Noise reduction" is NOT to be used as a "normal" part of production. It is a damage-control emergency measure when you can't do it properly in the first place.
I'm not sure how common noise reduction is; it really depends on the job. In my recent project, it didn't seem like an "emergency measure" whatsoever. I had an available location, a tight schedule, and no requirement for pristine audio. I took a couple of minutes to apply NR, the result was improved, and the client was pleased. NR was just another tool in the toolkit.

Another solution would have been to record room tone and fill the gaps with it. Schedule was king, so this wasn't an option.

I had two possible recording areas: one was quiet with harsh reflections. The other was dry but had HVAC. The dry recording with NR was far superior to the quiet reflective recording.

Of course, it all depends on the job requirements, schedule, and available locations. Ironically, on this job I was told to *not* make it too polished. It was a corporate job and they were concerned that some might think we spent too much time and money on it. My solution? Do good (not pristine) audio and shoot the video with a handheld rig. It wouldn't have taken me another minute to use a tripod but handheld looks "cheaper". :) In any case, I wasn't willing to make "bad", annoying, or difficult to understand audio. People can look at ugly video and choose to look away or close their eyes. Ugly audio is more difficult to shut out and can really harm a project. I could have designed some "pleasingly bad" audio, but that would take more time than doing something that sounds reasonably clean. :)

Clearly, a feature film or television drama has very different requirements.
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Old February 12th, 2014, 05:16 PM   #27
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

This might be a bit outside the square but... Try and find a lip ribbon mic, they give very constant results even from very unfriendly locations.
Occasionally you see them on eBay.
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Old March 11th, 2014, 05:27 PM   #28
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Hello every one :)

Sorry for late reply but got a lot of things to go through because I am totally newbie to audio world.
1st of all I would like to tell about copyrighted issue you mentioned in your replies => I am reading old local books in Arabic which were released before 1930s and being old and free is the main reason to reproduce it for the good of all of us, so the short answer is no copy right violation here :) plus that Egypt is not restricted such as Europe and USA when it comes to such things as copy righted materials :)

I've spent the time since last posting here goggling a lot and read and learn as possible because I do not know any friends in real life who know a lot or any about audio.

Because I am interested in audio a lot (honestly I was not realizing that I am too much interested) and considering making a podcast and audiobook , so I've considered starting like professional and on a small scale.

I've bought the following hardware (as a long term investment):-

Quote:
1) Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone
Amazon.com : Shure SM57-LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone : Instrument Dynamic Microphones : Musical Instruments
1.4 pounds
$99.00
--
2) Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Vocal Microphone without Cable
Amazon.com : Shure SM58-LC Cardioid Vocal Microphone without Cable : Vocal Dynamic Microphones : Musical Instruments
5 pounds
$99.00
--
3) Shure A55M - Shock Stopper for SM58, SM87, SM87A, BETA87A, BETA87C and all

other 3/4 Inch and Larger Handles
Amazon.com : Shure A55M - Shock Stopper for SM58, SM87, SM87A, BETA87A, BETA87C and all other 3/4 Inch and Larger Handles : Microphone Phantom Power Supplies : Musical Instruments
3.2 ounces
$25.00
--
4) Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone
Amazon.com : Audio-Technica ATR2100-USB Cardioid Dynamic USB/XLR Microphone : Vocal Dynamic Microphones : Musical Instruments
1.8 pounds
$59.99
--
5) JZ Microphones JZ|PF is universal pop filter
Amazon.com : JZ Microphones JZ|PF is universal pop filter : Musical Instruments
1 pounds
$119
--
6) Pocket Sound Booth PSB-Oval
Pocket Sound Booth PSB-Oval Microphone Ambience and Echo Reducer | Performance Audio
$42.99
--
7) RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm
Amazon.com : RODE PSA1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm : Microphone Stands : Musical Instruments
5 pounds
$99.00
--
8) Behringer QX1204USB 12-Channel Mixer
Amazon.com : Behringer QX1204USB 12-Channel Mixer : Unpowered Audio Mixers : Musical Instruments
9 pounds
$229.99
--
9) Behringer Ultra Gain Pro MIC2200 Component Rack
Amazon.com : Behringer MIC2200 Component Rack : Microphone Preamps : Musical Instruments
7.6 pounds
$99.99
--
10) Behringer Multicom Pro XL - MDX4600 4-Channel Expander/Gate/Compressor/

Peak Limiter
Amazon.com : Behringer MDX4600 4-Channel Expander/Gate/Compressor/ Peak Limiter : Musical Instruments
8 pounds
$149.99
--
11) Behringer Sonic Exciter SX3040 Stereo Sound Enhancement Processor
Amazon.com : Behringer SX3040 Stereo Sound Enhancement Processor : Multi Effects Processors : Musical Instruments
7.2 pounds
$99.99
It was a very expensive for me especially shipping to Egypt but I thought if I want to make it the right way then I should make it like professional does.
Actually I was about to buy the Heil PR-40 or Shure SM7b or EV RE-20 but after listening to test from recording hacks website as shown here:-
Ultimate Podcast Microphone Shootout | recording hacks
I thought to save some money in the microphone and buy Shure SM57 - 58 and invest instead in the hardware that may improve the sound quality and reduce the noise as possible.

I've just received the hardware few days ago :) (really feel excited as a little kid).

Now I would like to know the right way to connect all of the together ... :-
- XLR cable from the microphone (shure sm58) to MultiGain Pro MIC2200 input channel 1.
- XLR cable from the MultiGain Pro MIC2200 output channel 1 to Multicom Pro XL - MDX4600 XLR input 1.

Now I do not know how can I connect the Sonic Exciter SX3040 !?

Shall I connect the Multicom Pro XL - MDX4600 directly into the mixer? and which inputs in the mixer?

or I should connect the Multicom Pro XL MDX4600 to the Sonic Exciter S3040?

Then connect the Sonic Exciter S3040 to the QX1204 mixer? and which inputs of the mixer? and which outputs of the Sonic Exciter ?

Finally regarding the H4N .. I will keep using it as a recording backup in case I've got any issues on computer software.

Thanks a lot for your valuable time and totally appreciated your help :)
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Old March 11th, 2014, 06:52 PM   #29
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Based on your equipment list, my first choice would be:
Microphone -> XLR -> MIC2200 assuming you want to use the MIC2200 as your mic preamp
MIC2200 -> XLR or TRS -> SX3040 processor
SX3040 processor -> XLR or TRS -> MDX4600 Exp/Lim
MDX4600 Exp/Lim -> TRS -> QX1204USB Mixer (Line In)
QX1204USB Mixer -> USB -> computer (for recording)
QX1204USB Mixer -> XLR -> H4n (for recording)

Wow, you really went for a giant stack of gear!
There are probably many professional voice artists who don't use that much gear.

Do you have a GOOD pair of headphones? How will you monitor your recording?

Here in the US, we have a joke about politicians, that they speak out of both sides of their mouth.
THEY might need two or three microphones for full coverage. :-)

The SM57 and SM58 are essentially the same microphone, but the 58 has a built-in blast filter. Not clear why you needed both?

Last edited by Richard Crowley; March 11th, 2014 at 08:07 PM.
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Old March 12th, 2014, 02:01 PM   #30
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Re: what is the best audio gear i can use to record audio book in my bed room?

Thanks for your reply.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Based on your equipment list, my first choice would be:
Microphone -> XLR -> MIC2200 assuming you want to use the MIC2200 as your mic preamp
Yes I will use it as my microphone preamp. The reason for using it is that when i watched a lot of video tutorials on YouTube there was a common problem for most people regarding a suitable gain and enough phantom power and this is the main reason for me to get a dedicated microphone preamp.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
MIC2200 -> XLR or TRS -> SX3040 processor
What is the TSR? may you provide any link or image so I can get a better understanding?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
SX3040 processor -> XLR or TRS -> MDX4600 Exp/Lim
So the MDX4600 comes 2nd after the SX3040 and not before it?
Please may you tell me (for my on information) what is the differences in between to connect it before or after the MDX4600?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
MDX4600 Exp/Lim -> TRS -> QX1204USB Mixer (Line In)
Why the line in and not a mic xlr input in the mixer? and does the sound quality is differ if connected using XLR or Line In?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
QX1204USB Mixer -> USB -> computer (for recording)
You mea recording using any software on computer, right?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
QX1204USB Mixer -> XLR -> H4n (for recording)
That is a nice tip to use it as a backup recording :)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Wow, you really went for a giant stack of gear!
There are probably many professional voice artists who don't use that much gear.
I was about to only buy only one usb microphone and use it but I've too many recommendations to start like professional in case you got the money for the right suitable equipment, so I thought to do so as a long term investment for what I am doing and in case I may need it later on for any kind of expansion.
But yes I paid some good money plus the shipment and custom to Egypt were really high.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
Do you have a GOOD pair of headphones? How will you monitor your recording?
I've an old samson monitoring headphone but this is the only headphone I used so I do not know if it is good or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard Crowley View Post
The SM57 and SM58 are essentially the same microphone, but the 58 has a built-in blast filter. Not clear why you needed both?
I will use SM57 myself but in case I've a company during recording (and it is probably will happen. so I've got the SM58 for that particular need.

Thanks a lot :)
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