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Old May 3rd, 2020, 03:50 AM   #31
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

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Old May 3rd, 2020, 10:51 AM   #32
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Sorry, didn’t understand this post. I am getting emails when people post on my thread.

Could you give me a brief explanation of the spectrograph? Checked the cost of the software you used... that’s not going to happen!
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Old May 3rd, 2020, 02:53 PM   #33
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Here are some quick photos of a "COVID home studio" I threw together in a few hours so someone locally could record voice tracks at home. Luckily the room was carpeted to begin with. (Note the alcohol and disinfectant wipes on the table beside the keyboard.)

This was a spare bedroom, so fortunately we had a supply of mattresses and quilts. I stood up a mattress covering each of the two windows; this will slightly block outside sounds (luckily this is in a quiet neighborhood). Then I placed another mattress in the corner between the first two. For good measure, I draped quilts over all three mattresses. Most importantly this will deaden two sides of the room so will cut down significantly on reflections.

The talent stands about six ft. from the nearest hard surface, and faces toward the dead corner of the room. This is nowhere near the mid-point of either axis of the room, so it avoids possible problems from standing waves. Copy sits on a conventional folding music stand, so no hard surfaces there to reflect the talent's voice. The mic is on a boom, it's perhaps 30 degrees off the central axis of the talent's head, so pops are not a problem.

Note that the mic is facing into a closet (which is behind the talent). This is the mic's most sensitive direction (it's cardioid) so it's important to reduce unwanted sound from this direction. The clothes rod in the closet is draped with quilts, and the upper shelf is loaded with quilts and pillows. Thus the mic will pick up very few reflections from this area. The mic's back side (its least sensitive direction) if facing the corner between the windows; this may perhaps slightly reduce pickup of any outside noise.

The mic is USB; the headphone plugs into the mic for zero-latency monitoring. The laptop w/ editing software is within arm's reach of the talent, sitting atop a dresser. A heavy blanket is hung on the front of the dresser, and hopefully should help with at least high frequency reflections.
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Need guidance on quality and equipment-dscf1048-50pct.jpg   Need guidance on quality and equipment-dscf1047-50pct.jpg  


Last edited by Greg Miller; May 3rd, 2020 at 03:54 PM.
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Old May 4th, 2020, 06:01 AM   #34
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

I feel I have taken enough of your time, but I am truly grateful of the assistance.

Once my desk fort was built I did a whole series of tests moving closer / further back box no box.

I would like to convince myself that the no box recording is better, as it is one less thing under the desk.

http://monkeyonmyshoulder.co.uk/wp/w...0/05/nobox.wav

However, I think the box does deaden the sound a little.

http://monkeyonmyshoulder.co.uk/wp/w...0/05/inbox.wav

As per, these are both untouched by edits or tuning. I can here that 'nasal' qulaity you talked about. I am not sure if that is a sound issue, or an impending sniffle which is definitely about to arrive.

Next time I rebuild the fort I will take a picture. I have knocked it down to get on with the day job for a couple of hours.
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Old May 4th, 2020, 06:27 AM   #35
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Eric,

Don't worry about taking up time. If I didn't have time to check the forum, or thought this was becoming non-productive, you wouldn't hear from me. ;-)

You've mentioned so many different room configurations that I'm honestly confused. By all means, if you reconstruct your space at some future time, please take a photo or two to accompany your description.

The two latest samples sound much better than the earlier ones. Most of the room resonance is gone, and the intelligibility is better. Of these two, "inbox" sounds a bit better to me. Definitely more dead, and a bit less of the resonant(?) nasal(?) quality. The room problems are reduced to the point where, indeed, subtle differences in mics may become more important.

A friend has a Blue Yeti, which she uses for scores of commercial broadcast tracks every day, and I just listened to some of those tracks. They definitely do not have the somewhat resonant quality that I hear in your files. This characteristic possibly might be your mic ... or it might be reflections under the desk (I hear the sound more in "nobox" than I do in "inbox"). Or it might be a peculiarity about your voice.

By the way, there are multi-layer sheet goods, with foam outer layers and some heavier inner layer (originally lead, but now sometimes other materials instead). These are intended for soundproofing of vehicles, boats, etc., but might be more effective than foam-only products ... for example if you want to abandon the small "box o'foam" configuration, but need some sort of treatment under the desk.

IMHO you've made a lot of progress thus far. Good luck! Hope to hear back from you before too long.
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Old May 4th, 2020, 07:30 AM   #36
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

The Yeti is supposed to be a better mic than the snowball. It does cost more. The snowball was my first purchase of sound gear and so might not have been the best choice. However, as you have proved, it isn't really the limiting factor at the moment.

However, I am wondering if the nasal thing might be the snowball foam cover. I will try removing that next time I am recording. I have also ordered a boom to try getting up close and personal to the mic. That is assuming I can get it to work upside down under my desk!

I will also search out a couple more cushions to add to the fort. Will keep you posted.
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Old May 4th, 2020, 10:16 AM   #37
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

I'd guess that you'll have trouble fitting a boom under your desk. You might consider a flexible gooseneck instead. I imagine they are available in various lengths.

Carry on!
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Old May 4th, 2020, 11:47 PM   #38
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Hi Eric,

Here's a handy explanation of how the spectrograph / spectrogram thing works, giving you a much more informative visualisation of the audio you are working with.

Quote:
A spectrogram is a detailed view of audio, able to represent time, frequency, and amplitude all on one graph. A spectrogram can visually reveal broadband, electrical, or intermittent noise in audio, and can allow you to easily isolate those audio problems by sight. Because of its profound level of detail, a spectrogram is particularly useful in post production—so it’s not surprising that you’ll find one in tools like RX 7 and Insight 2.
More at: https://www.izotope.com/en/learn/und...ctrograms.html

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Old May 5th, 2020, 05:34 AM   #39
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Update:

Scissor arm arrived. I have now got my under-desk studio working. It’s a rise and fall desk and so I will also play with the working height, but it is a perfect reading location. So much more natural than any other configuration I have tried to date.

Works well once beloved goes out or starts watching TV. I can live with this.

http://monkeyonmyshoulder.co.uk/wp/w...20/05/desk.jpg

No box or clutter, so it is quite easy to convert in a few minutes. I am happy with the sound. It isn’t quite as dead, but it is also less nasal and a few more cushions are on their way. The blue duvet rolls down to close off for use.

Link included to a sample.

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

Just in case you wondered why I am doing this, here is a screen dump of a message. These thanks go to you folk on this forum:

http://monkeyonmyshoulder.co.uk/wp/w...020/05/why.jpg

I have no doubt I will add to my ‘studio’ over the next few recording sessions, but I now think the next requirements are ‘skills’.

AND I suspect you all know the addiction. ‘Oh, a mic with a pre amp that converts to USB’ Hmm, can I sneak that onto budget somewhere…

Isn’t this where we started!

Awesome help and forum. I looked at some of the posts and really haven’t a clue of 99% of what is being discussed here.
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Old May 5th, 2020, 05:44 AM   #40
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Mate, welcome to the forum. This is where we all learn stuff. Amazing bunch of talented people hang out here and there's not much that can't be answered.

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Old May 5th, 2020, 10:51 AM   #41
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

I've been listening to all the recordings as they come in, and for my ears, demboom.wav is perfectly listenable, and sounds OK.

A few things concern me in the process. Having sat behind the glass for many recording sessions, one of the biggest problems comes from matching end of day 1 recordings with start of day 2. In difficult spaces, mouth to mic distance changes make massive differences.

The popular voice over mics in good voice rooms tend to be placed a little further away, and the room's acoustics make this perfectly doable. This also makes session to session matching much easier.

For VO artistes who work from home permanently, repeatable acoustics are vital. From the recordings I suspect you are working a little close - for practical reasons and 10mm can be critical to enable matching. I also wonder about your processing. It's very common for newcomers to recording to not get the capture right, then spend ages trying to fix it. The professional voice over artistes rarely tweak or process their audio at all. They sit down, press record and the little template they use adds their preset treatment and that gets sent off. Their headphones are of sufficient quality that any errors or problems can be heard.

I've done a fair few products for visually impaired folk - and once you get the physical setup sorted and made repeatable, the speed of recording can be pretty impressive. Few pops to edit, the occasional clonk where something gets kicked - that kind of thing.

The rise in podcasting seemed to generate new microphones, and I don't quite understand why? I suppose cost, and USB connectivity (in my humble view, not remotely a positive feature).

A modest audio interface and one of the budget condensers create capture equipment usually better than the 'new' products labelled ideal for podcasting - when inside is a very standard dirt cheap electret element that will change timbre between batches. I wonder if a manufacturer buys 5000 elements from China, and when they run low, they buy another 5000 that are physically the same size, but perhaps are a totally different product. Happens all the time with LED lighting that I also import. I buy 20, they're great. Order another 20 to discover they look different!

Buy Shure, AKG, Sennheiser, or the German products and a twenty year old one sounds the same as a new one.

That last recording for me is perfectly workable. Perhaps a little gentle and repeatable EQ, and some light compression, again - repeatable, and you're done.

EDIT - blind cheap mic shootout.
This just arrived in my inbox, quite interesting.
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Old May 6th, 2020, 04:13 PM   #42
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Hi Paul, thanks for the input. A couple of under desk tweaks mean the mic is fixed distance from the wall and I am leaning in a comfy position to do a two hour read. My ideal is no tweaks, but I need to use the noise reduction and knock off a little bass. I’d guess 2 inch from pop filter and 6 inch from mic.

I think I now have a repeatable formula, but this is the skill building I now need. As this is non fiction, then no voices to keep track of.

I have decided to press forward to get all of the chapters done and then loop back to the beginning to fix the first few sections. Hopefully by the end, I will have a routine. I hope to have my first stable files ready to go by the weekend, depending on wife’s clatter schedule.

I am not going to change the mic, regardless of how tempting the gadgets are. Until, maybe the second book.

But I am actually happy with what I am cutting at the moment.
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Old May 6th, 2020, 05:46 PM   #43
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eric Tomlinson View Post
A couple of under desk tweaks ...
I can remember when that meant something entirely different.
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Old May 7th, 2020, 01:32 AM   #44
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Oh no! Two nations divided by a common language! Certain words and phrases can do this.

I confess crawling into my duvet fort does feel like regression/ escaping our current situation. Hope we all have a life after covid!
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Old May 7th, 2020, 01:43 AM   #45
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Re: Need guidance on quality and equipment

Maybe now is the time to buy stock in a mask-making company.
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