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Old May 1st, 2020, 11:04 PM   #16
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Battle Vaughan View Post
If I may suggest, the compression and eq-ing are probably not helping.
Battle, Just to be sure I understand, I think you are *not* saying that the sample he submitted is processed. You're just discussing processing in regard to what he may have done in the past (*not* with this sample) or that he may contemplate doing in the future. Am I understanding you correctly?

It's my understanding that this sample is raw. But I hear so much short-delay reflection (e.g. :07.6 to :07.8) that the intelligibility is badly impaired. I almost get the impression that the reflections are louder than his direct voice some of the time. It's a nasty room!
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 02:26 AM   #17
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Attached here is the audio with the echo removed in Izotope RX7. I think we could still do with better proximity of the microphone, which is why personally I don't think much of those snowball things.

I made an mp3 but it's not supported for file attachments so it's been zipped and uploaded as that.

Andrew
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File Type: zip demo RXed.zip (356.4 KB, 16 views)
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 05:32 AM   #18
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Thanks so much for the effort and comments.

All of the samples are 100% unadjusted. I would love not to have to adjust the sound at all, apart from the edits, but I think the noise reduction is going to stay with me.

The room is a spare bedroom/ office in a new build house. So, currently 2 walls plaster board 1 solid brick and one brick with window. Around a 12ft square. A sofa / desk / chair + a dozen 1 ft acoustic panels. These are currently used to make a booth similar to the one in the shared youtube video. Except, I have gone for one with a hole in as a front. The rest are on the wall behind the mike. This is on top of a bookcase to allow me to stand and speak. 8-10 inches from mike through the pop filter. The window is behind me.

The ’pops’ I talk of are indeed those at 1.95/ 8.97 They are spit clicks I will try to find the mouth lube you mention, as I have tried most of the ‘conventional’ wisdom. The meds do dry my mouth and I have to drink (water) pretty constantly. Of course being a computer geek my blood stream is coffee.

So, following the advice on here:
I first of all cleared a space in the closet and shifted my mic booth into that.

http://monkeyonmyshoulder.co.uk/wp/w.../demcloset.wav

I reckon it is a massive improvement towards ‘dead’ sound. However, two big issues here.

(1) The room with the closet is the noisiest room in the house, over the boiler/ water heater, all water pipes appear to pass through it and an electrical hum from somewhere I haven’t yet tracked down, but I suspect that is the boiler as well.
(2) Reading a book in this position would cripple me. I could do a short record, but not an hour’s reading.

However, I have a rise and fall desk in the original room. This rises to almost 5’ and I can construct a duvet fort and move the tiles under there as well. (I could even stick some to the ‘ceiling’.) I can make this suitable to do an hour or more reading. Hell, if ‘she’ complains, I might be moving in permanently!

http://monkeyonmyshoulder.co.uk/wp/w...05/demdesk.wav

I think the under desk studio is getting closer. I think this is a massive improvement from where we started. There are a couple of bumps and clunks, but I can adjust my seating to stop those.

Is this getting cheeky? My next confusion is recording volume. I can reduce the input in Audacity and speak up. This tends to be better for covering mouth noise, but creates more echo. I can wind the input up and go quiet. At the moment (These samples) I am recording at “9” just below max of “10” and using a normal telephone to a deaf aunt amplitude of speech. I do public speaking, so can go all the way up to meeting hall volume, but I doubt that is what is needed.

Any thoughts?

All currencies accepted. Although I’m liking the matching pennies.

Andrew, thanks for the attempt to remove the echo. I agree that I think I need to achieve a better starting point before repairing. What do you mean by ‘better proximity’ for the mike. I am not 'wedded' to the snowball, but my original question that brought me to the forum was that if I am going to spend money, I want to do it based on the science and I haven't a clue what I am comparing with what.
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 06:13 AM   #19
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Hi Eric,

That latest sample is so much better. By proximity I mean that the source of the audio (your mouth) is closer to the microphone. This will give a better sense of intimacy and a better tone to the voice that is being recorded. I reckon this is the next thing to do to achieve a better result.

Oops/update: I've just had a listen to the recording of your voice at a higher volume and I think I can hear a kind of distortion in it, which I am guessing might be from the plastic(?) enclosure/structure of the snowball mic.

Anyway, I've attached a spectrogram of the audio file from within Izotope RX7 for whatever you can get out of it. What you can see in there is also reflected in the zipped mp3 file that is also attached - the supplied demo audio followed by a copy of it with the "dialogue isolate" plugin applied in an effort to clean out non-vocal sounds.

What I'm hearing in the original audio that is bothering me, I can only best describe as a plastic sort of nasality when you are speaking. You'll need to listen to the before / after with some headphones as it's a comparatively subtle thing. I'm suspecting that the only way forward will be a better / non-plastic microphone. Others here may have a better idea.

Andrew
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Need guidance on quality and equipment-demdesk-denoise-spectrogram.jpg  
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File Type: zip demdesk RXed.zip (744.4 KB, 19 views)
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 08:01 AM   #20
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Thanks Andrew, I haven't clue what I am looking at in the spectrograph. However, I suspect that I will need to to get a lot better. If you would point me in a 'learning direction' plus a couple of clues, I will try to make sense of what you have sent.

In reality, the objective is an audio book. The quality I had (once tweaked) is, believe it or not, about equal to some of the full price audible books.

They are at best played over car systems, but more usually earbuds. But, I also have a lot of tweaks I can do to my duvet fort. It might actually be the poratble sound booth giving that effect, or it could also be a reflection off the kindle I am using as a script.

I am wondering about a 'real mic and pre-amp' but that once again starts the gadget trail.

Thank you so much for taking the time on this. I do really appreciate it.
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 08:13 AM   #21
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

No worries. In terms of 'good stuff to bad stuff' ratio, you are doing quite well. There's some very low frequency rumble you can see along the very bottom of the untreated left side, and that's about it. The level of background noise is very respectable on that recording.

Andrew
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 08:31 AM   #22
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Andrew,

I do hear that nasal quality you mention. It is much worse in the "desk" sample, not nearly so bad in the "closet" sample.

Eric,

Unless the book is a rip-roaring drama, I'd say read in a normal conversational voice. Don't force it. And if the closet will be physically uncomfortable for any extended period, best to avoid that if we can find a suitable alternative.

I believe your mic has two possible modes: omni and cardioid. Which mode are you using?

Are you sure you're being consistent in terms of having the mic pointed toward your mouth ... not your nose, not your chest?

How was the mic held in the two samples? In your hand? On the desk?

Exactly what do you mean by "one foot acoustic panels"?

I would like to better envision the layout of your room, where you are within the dimensions of the room, what direction you're facing, etc.

Biotene is a company that sells toothpaste, mouthwash, and spray (and maybe other products) here in the US. If you can't find that brand, ask a pharmacist for an equivalent product. Or describe to your pharmacist that you want a spray to prevent your mouth from drying. A pharmacist should know what's available in your area.

PS: As a personal favor to me, please quit using the word "pop" to describe something that the rest of the audio world does not call a pop. Call it "mouth noise" generically and I think everyone will understand what you mean. You could call it a "click" but clicks can originate from various mechanical sources, even from electrical sources; so "click" is still a bit imprecise.
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 09:48 AM   #23
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

[QUOTE=Greg Miller;1959186]Battle, Just to be sure I understand, I think you are *not* saying that the sample he submitted is processed. You're just discussing processing in regard to what he may have done in the past (*not* with this sample) or that he may contemplate doing in the future. Am I understanding you correctly?


Yes this is a raw sample, I was commenting on his post concerning his use of effects.
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 10:08 AM   #24
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Thanks. We're in complete agreement. Processing (while it can do a lot of amazing things) will not get rid of all the nasty reflections.
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 10:19 AM   #25
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

A picture tells a thousand words

http://monkeyonmyshoulder.co.uk/wp/w...mic-scaled.jpg

Originally, I had the mic enclosed in a full box of the foam squares. Having seen the video, I have used a handy fold out canvas bag to make up something similar to the ‘portabooth.’ You can see a couple of the acoustic squares in the picture.

I suspect a lot of the difference between closet and desk will be from Mic position. I have kept it in its enclosure. In the closet, I suspect I was above the mic and tried the suggestion of setting it at 45 degree. This was with the ‘booth’ sitting below the clothes on the shoe shelf and me kneeling in prayer position in front of it.

Under the desk, I was probably more directly aligned but there is more clear air around me under the desk. I suspect my mouth was closer to the mic in its booth, under the desk. It was on my office chair with the desk draped in a duvet.

Neither time was it hand held. The switch is in ‘1’ which says for speech (Cardoid) and it really does sound way off if I try either of the other.

On both I did have the square with the hole engaged across the front. I confess, whilst I hear a slight difference between the two, and I think the closet is ‘deader’ I think there is more mileage under the desk. Both for the more controllable noise factor and comfort. I will have the house to myself on Monday and will be able to take more time on set up and test.

Plan of room also here. The bookcase is around 5’2” so the snowball was just about level with my mouth.

http://monkeyonmyshoulder.co.uk/wp/w...lan-scaled.jpg

Never an incorrect categorisation of mouth noise will occur again!
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 10:36 AM   #26
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Thanks for the images, they are very helpful.

To be sure I understand the mic enclosure:

• The folding canvas bag seems like a good idea. The canvas won't cause any reflections back into the mic, and it holds the foam squares well.

• Is there also a foam square in the back of the bag, behind the mic?

• Do you also place foam under the bag, so the bag is not sitting directly on a hard reflective surface? (You should try to avoid secondary reflections e.g. from your mouth to a hard desktop to the mic. Those will cause phase problems with the direct mouth-to-mic signal.) "Ideally" the mic should be on a floor stand, same height as your mouth, not near anything reflective, e.g. not near a hard desktop.

• I suspect that placing that much foam in close proximity to the mic could alter the directional pattern. However, if it helps deaden all the room reflections, it's a small sacrifice.

• I think I would try *not* having the foam-with-hole in front of the mic. Leave the front open as much as possible.

I've cobbled a sketch to clarify the desired position of mic to your head. If the mic is off to the side, not only will it eliminate real "pops" but it will not "see" clear to the back of your throat so this may reduce some of the mouth noises. Of course the mic should be at the same elevation as your mouth. Honestly, I tend to work about 3" - 4" from the mic, but I don't have that box to contend with, my mic is on a boom. It's hard for me to imagine where the copy will go when you are dealing with that box.
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Last edited by Greg Miller; May 3rd, 2020 at 12:31 AM.
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 10:49 AM   #27
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Definitely leave the front open. Not sure why someone would want it closed off - that's a new one to me.

Andrew
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 11:06 AM   #28
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

I got the idea of the front with a hole from trying to emulate the eyeball enclosure. That has the hole in front. I had looked around for something like the portabooth and not found anything other than the eyeball.

I didn't have it standing on a square. Will add that to the plan.
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Old May 2nd, 2020, 11:12 AM   #29
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Just updated my previous post with a sketch.
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Old May 3rd, 2020, 03:23 AM   #30
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Thanks Greg, not wedded to the box, it has been part of the evolution. Sunday is a house clatter day, so doubt I will get much achieved. I will run at least three tests in my duvet fort: no box, open box and closed (with hole). If I can get a good sound without it, it would be much easier. I think I have kept a greater distance from the mic to reduce mouth noise. Ordered biotene mouth spray.
It is all compromises with convenience v quality. A permanent location on the bookcase gave easier recording session. Having to build the fort requires more planning. I suspect the room would need too much attention to ever work. I liked your description as ‘nasty’. It is never going to be a permanent studio, I’m guessing at around 6-8 weeks recording. I did consider moving the wardrobe, but then it would be in the nasty room. Full circle, again.

Not sure I could work a boom under the desk, but the chair is fairly adjustable for height.

Thanks for all the input - still no gadget purchased!
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