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Old July 21st, 2007, 12:44 PM   #1
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Certian types of male voice sound distorted...

In the last couple of months, I've had a rush of jobs with male interviewees or presenters, and there's been a few that sound very close to distortion.

In the interviews I've shot, I know the mic positioning and recording was fine for other interviewees who sound good.

It just seems there's a male, nasal 'pre-cold' sound that buzzes and rattles a bit. The levels are not blown, the EQ is/was neutral, other male voices sound fine.

My stuff was via a hard wird COS-11. Good level, and it still buzzed. The other stuff is similar.


The main presenter sounds distorted, the rest of them are fine.

Is this a case of freaky voice, bad microphone choice or not doing something right? I can't post other examples as I don't have permission from client companies, but am working now on a project where the main presenter seems to have a kazzoo gene somewhere in his vocal system.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 01:36 PM   #2
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I listened and there's no distortion on my system. Listening to the narration, my first thought is that the COS-11 and HIS voice combination clearly emphasizes tones that are VERY resonant. Another mic might not do this, but the recording sounds clean here.

One thing to always remember is that whenever you're listening to audio - you're listening to an audio reproduction CHAIN. It starts with the recording, but then it hits amplification, possibly processing, and finally some kind of transducer that turns the electrical energy into audio waves.

When you hear a problem, it can certainly be the recording itself, but it can also be something ELSE in the reproduction chain. For example, the particular speaker/speakers you're monitoring with might have an issue (anything from a torn cone to a mechanical rattle) that is normally hidden, but that shows up when a certain frequency at a certain level is reproduced.

This is why there's so much talk here about not just "which" speakers work well, but how to install and use them. An otherwise great speaker with a torn cone - sitting on an unstable surface - positioned near a window that subtly rattles at a certain resonant frequency can fool you into thinking you have a bad track when you don't.

Also, electronics and processing might be involved - passing most of what you need, but messing up a particular frequency peak like your narrator exhibits.

This is why the first thing I do when I hear something I don't like is to grab headphones and listen to the track in isolation. If it's a problem with the recording, it "should" show up no matter how you monitor it.

I say "should" because there are lots of times when something sounds great on a limited range speaker like a monitor's built in - but when you get it to the studio and reproduce in full range, you discover stuff like low frequency traffic rumble or wind noise - that the limited range of the monitor speaker masked in the field.

Again, when recording - dependable, trustworthy, reasonably isolating headphones are your very best friend.

Good luck with your track - the project looks very well done.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 09:53 PM   #3
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Matt, there's no apparent distortion in the male (first voice) presenters voice here. Your listening rig may have some boost around 250 cycles.

But he sounds like he's getting over a bad cold and doesn't have enough energy. He sounds very nasally, distracted, stumbles in his delivery just after the start and just after his supered credit fades off.

By comparison the other voices are more animated in their delivery..and they smile!

It's vitally important you secure the listeners 'ear' right at the start, especially with a corporate presentation as you don't know how or under what conditions the audience will listen to it.

If you don't manage this the listener can get confused, distracted, lost, lose confidence in what you're saying and may just switch off.... then turn it off.

I think you've got a problem right at the start. Here's what I'd do.

Edit out his first narration stumble putting in a 1 sec 'pause' there at about 10secs. He takes only one breath in the first 30 secs!! Sounds like you've edited it together there from bits and deleted all his breaths.
Then put 1 sec pauses at the end of some of his off screen sentences, anywhere you can..... maybe recut some of the pix..... if there's still time and you feel it's that much better.

After his credit appears he just mumbles; he's way too fast you're stuck with this, eq and louder will help.

Then experiment with eq. on his voice, roll out some around the 150-250 cycle range, don't overdo it just 1 or 2 db. Then remix the track, lower the music intro to read -3db VU and have his voice start at 0 VU, keep him there right to the end. This'll give him more presence and authority.

Lower all the other voices by 2 or 3db. Listen without watching the meter to assist with the balance. Too many post prod. mixers watch the VU meter without listening to the voice levels in relation to each other.

Your music is recorded and processed by audio pros so it has max impact. By keeping it lower at the start of your presentation, viewers will adjust their 'ear' or playback level to suit, then your non pro voices start, about 3 or 4db louder giving more clarity, presence and authority with their delivery.

You can only do this with a 'corporate' that won't be broadcast having the audio crushed to bits by the transmitters compressor.

Have you already delivered it to your client, and are they making those comments?

I like your pres. BTW don't crash the music up at the end...a smoooooth fade up does it.
Hope this helps.^^


Last edited by Allan Black; July 22nd, 2007 at 08:49 PM.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 09:57 PM   #4
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DP again sorry.
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Old July 21st, 2007, 11:33 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Matt Daviss View Post
The main presenter sounds distorted, the rest of them are fine.
Hi Matt,

Unlike the others, I do hear the distortion you mention. It is indeed worse in the main presenter, but I hear it in a few of the others as well, especially the first woman who speaks. It's harder to hear in her voice, though. A couple of the other voices exhibit it, but just a bit here and there.

It's weird, cause I'm having the same problem with interviews using a Sony ecm-77b. I can't figure it out, because like with your stuff, the levels are fine, mic placement is normal. I don't get it. Not much help, I know.

On another note, I find your lower thirds way too big. Everyone looks like they are trying to look over a fence. You may want to figure out a way to make them smaller...

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Old July 21st, 2007, 11:41 PM   #6
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Distortion sounds like data compression artifact. Were the voices processed with sampling noise reduction software?

Last edited by Glenn Davidson; July 22nd, 2007 at 02:06 AM.
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