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quick and dirty studio recording

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Aaron Kovalchik
quick and dirty studio recording
on Jun 13, 2005 at 5:44:11 pm

Hi, I'm a video editor with limited sound knowledge, so be nice. I'm recording some scratch voiceovers for a documentary. I'm using a Sennheiser K6 shotgun mic with the longest attachment (usually used for recording on location). I'm feeding it directly into a M-Audio MobilePre USB and recording to hard drive via Final Cut Pro's "Voiceover" panel. I don't have a windscreen so I'm using a thin T-shirt. The mic is about 1-2 feet from the subject pointed straight at her mouth (not angled).

Although they're just for scratch, and will be rerecorded professionally elsewhere, I still want them to sound OK. Right now they're not. They're sounding sort of muddy and I can't get them to be as "loud" as the rest of the audio in the doc. I'm using a Compression filter to even out the sound, but when I raise the volume all the way it starts to clip before it sounds legible.

What's going wrong? Is it that I'm using a shotgun instead of a studio mic (condenser:? sorry limited knowledge of these things). Is it that the MobilePre has a crappy pre-amp? Should I be using Digital Performer or Soundtrack Pro to record?

This same mic sounds fine in the field at further distances, so what's going wrong? I could feed it into a DV camera via a Studio 1 XLR-BP adapter like I do in the field but I tried that and I think it sounded worse. Should I get further away? Maybe since it's the longest attachment, it's so directional that if she moves her head even a little, the sound goes to hell?

Thanks very much for your advice. Again, I'm a novice when it comes to sound, but slowly learning by the day!

thanks,
Aaron


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JRF
Re: quick and dirty studio recording
by
on Jun 14, 2005 at 12:22:57 am

My guess is the T-shirt is the culprit. It's just muffling the sound. Try listening without it. I'd keep your mic 1 to 2 feet away and slightly above the talent's mouth (pointing down at the mouth) so any plosives don't go right into the mic.

If you hear pops and need a pop filter, try stretching woman's stocking across a metal coat hanger and mount that 3 - 4 inches infront of the mic. You want a material that's transparent to sound.

Hope this helps.

John

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Dan Mills
Re: quick and dirty studio recording
on Jun 14, 2005 at 1:36:38 pm

I think the mobile Pre is a decent enough sound card for what you're doing. Are you using a mixer? A simple Yamaha $79 mixer can help a lot. Gives you some EQ and expands the volume of the recording, too. I'd agree not to use the t-shirt. If you want a cheap popper stopper, you can try panty hose streched over a circular bent shaped coat hanger.


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Seth Bloombaum
Re: quick and dirty studio recording
on Jun 14, 2005 at 4:11:52 pm

a shorter "attachment" might be a better choice. If you're dealing with noise in the edit suite perhaps you could put the narrator in an adjacent room.

An external mixer and compressor may help, but you should be able to achieve good results just with the mobilepre to a computer. Record in a program that gives you meters on the input, try to peak between -10 and -6db. Normalize the recording, then add a little compression at a ratio of 3:1. Attack at zero, release at .5 seconds or 500 milliseconds, adjust threshold downward so that largest peaks in program cause between 3 and 5 db of compression.

If that's not going to work for you, you might bring in an audio engineer to get you set up. Buy them a nice lunch in exchange for 10 min. work?

No t-shirts! Nylon/coathanger OK if needed, but as someone mentioned, you should be able to get good results just by changing mic placement.


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Aaron Kovalchik
Re: quick and dirty studio recording
on Jun 17, 2005 at 4:58:07 am

Thanks everyone for the advice.


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