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Soundproofing Effect

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Gary Gerber
Soundproofing Effect
on Nov 27, 2008 at 11:16:16 am

Hi there
I am a professional voice over artist usually operating from a studio at a local university. Lately I have been receiving calls for work that necessitate me recording at home. I have a decent audio setup at home as far as equipment go’s but I do not have a totally sound proof room. I normally record in the sitting room where my equipment is housed. While the sound is not bad, it could be better. I use Adobe Audition 3 for VO recordings and was wondering if anyone has any tips on what effects could be used to clean up my recordings and give the impression that they were recorded in a professional soundproofed studio? Any advice would be appreciated.
Kind Regards
gary
http://www.thegapmedia.com


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Ty Ford
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Nov 27, 2008 at 3:26:49 pm

Happy Thanksgiving Gary and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

You have three challenges:

1a. Keeping outside noise out.
1b. Eliminating inside noise
2. Treating your space.

1a. Spend some time choosing the right space. Basements are usually better because they are below ground and shield you from external noise.

1b. Your computer makes noise. Find a place to put it that's away from your mic. Get extender cables for the keyboard, mouse and screen.

2. Parallel surfaces are the enemy. Absorption and diffusion are your tools. The balance of both is critical. You need to stop sound from bouncing off walls , floors, ceilings by breaking it up or absorbing it. Too much foam can make a room overly dead and suck the life out of your voice.

Regards,

Ty Ford


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Nov 28, 2008 at 12:08:42 am

You can make yourself a makeshift "isolation" box. All you need to find is a medium-sized box (14"x20" or similar) and line it with some pieces of Auralex (then somewhat pricey part). You can then cut a small hole in one of the bottom corners of the box and run a mic cable inside. Put a desktop mic stand in there (maybe before you put in the acoustic foam), attach the cable, and V/O away.

That should at least make deaden some of the [high/mid frequency] reflections caused by your speaking into the mic. The box should be big enough so you can stick the mic in a good amount and still have room for your ears to be at the edge of the box.

It shouldn't cost much and, hey, if it improves your V/Os, I'm sure it will be a worthwhile little project.

Wolf
<><


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Ty Ford
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Nov 28, 2008 at 3:19:43 am

Hi Jordan,

My experiences with this have not been that good. You still hear external noises, internal noises and the mic changes voice. Have you done this yourself?

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Jordan Wolf
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Nov 28, 2008 at 3:44:29 am

You would still hear external and internal noises regardless of the type of foam used, as there is little or no isolation from the environment happening. That is the problem with the box idea. Also, the short, parallel surfaces of the box might account for the "change of voice" you mention (phasing issues).

Wolf
<><


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Jordan Wolf
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Nov 28, 2008 at 3:48:36 am

In regards to my initial post, I'm going to go with Ty on this one (he knows of what he speaks).

There is one solution which might be of interest to you: SM Pro Audio's "Mic Thing"

If you are making money off of your V/Os, then I think this might be a worthwhile investment - plus, you could even take it when you travel and use it on the road. It might be a little pricey for you, but if it performs as expected, I think it might be just what you have in mind.

You'll still need to find a quiet room, away from external sources of noise (AC Hum, HVAC, noisy children, etc.).

Wolf
<><


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Frank Farmlett
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Nov 28, 2008 at 10:33:03 am

Hello Gary,

The best book I've seen on the subject is "Sound Studio Construction on a Budget" by F. Alton Everest. I think it's available on Amazon. There are eight designs included, one of which is the "Small announce booth" specifically aimed at voiceovers. Also Ethan Winer's website has lots of great info. http://www.ethanwiner.com/acoustics.html

How much background noise do you have to deal with? Is it audible on your recordings? As Ty mentioned, you have to address the background noise, as well as the sound treatment of your space. My experience is the easiest and cheapest way is to find a really, really, quiet place to record. Sometimes choosing the right time of day (or night) helps. My best working hours are usually from midnight to dawn. You may have to do things like unplug the refrigerator, turn off the furnace, and as mentioned before, place your mic well away from noise makers like computers. Baffles like the one mentioned by SM Audio can be helpful, and you can make your own out of rigid fiberglass insulation. The websites of the companies that manufacture fiberglass have lots of helpful info on this. http://www.owenscorning.com/around/sound/commercial_acoustics/
http://www.owenscorning.com/comminsul/products.asp?product=1 http://www.jm.com/insulation/performance_materials/2685.htm http://www.armstrong.com/commceilingsna/browse_perf_acoustics.jsp You will see on their websites that 4 inches thick with an air space behind works best. I have also hung thick blankets from clothes lines, but as mentioned earlier, it is possible to make your voice sound too "dead" by absorbing too much high frequency and early lateral reflections. If you make your own baffles you could improve the sound treatment by facing them with masonite,so as to reflect more highs and mids. (Again, as mentioned earlier, avoiding parallel surfaces.) Sweetwater has some nice information in their buying guide: http://www.sweetwater.com/shop/studio/acoustic-treatment/buying-guide.php

All this does little to eliminate low frequency noise. Ethan Winer details how to build bass traps, but this is more aimed at treating the modal resonance of your space. The Sweetwater article also talks about bass traps. It seems to me that the ready-made commercial products aimed at sound treatment are often very expensive. Building your own is a reasonable alternative but you have to read up on it to know what you are doing. Low frequency background noise is simply best avoided in the first place.

If the background noise in your recordings is constant, you could try cleaning it up with noise removal programs or plugins such as Bias Sound Soap. http://xserve1.bias-inc.com:16080/products/soundsoap2/ I've never used Audition, but I wouldn't be surprised if it includes some noise removal features. For this you will probably have to record a few seconds of background noise with nothing else happening, and use that section to "train" your noise removal software.

Good luck,

Frank Farmlett





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Adil Aliev
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Jan 7, 2009 at 7:20:32 am

Hi Gary:

I guess one of the things to look for in your case is portability.
So i will take this chance to introduce our Producer's choice moving blankets for soundproofing.

About Sound Blankets:
Information below was gathered from Sound recording forums. I hope it might be helpful:
Some questions people ask:
- “Can I get reasonable (not necessarily best possible) results just using inexpensive quilted furniture moving pads?”
- “If suspending the blankets gives better sound, what's the best way to do it? “
- “shouldn't you find out what frequencies the 'blankets' attenuate before ordering. shouldn't you have a rough idea what frequencies your blankets will absorb rather than diffuse?”

And some answers I read:
1. … Yes, moving blankets work well as sound blankets. But, you want the good, thick ones, not the thin ones. And, if you have an option, get them in both light and dark colors. Your lighting team will thank you.
2. … What really makes the difference, is the surface area the blanket covers, and the distance from the speaker. As sound leaves a speakers mouth, the closer the blanket is to them, the less surfaces the noise can be reflected off before it gets absorbed by the blanket.
3. …The blankets are not for sound proofing but diffusion. A lot of things work to do this, including the human body, but blankets are the most convenient tool that can be taken from set to set easily.
4. ... From a post perspective you probably cant make it [set] too dead. If you sound post is all going to be in FCP or another NLE then I would try to avoid REALLY dead but you don't have much chance of ever getting a set dead, there is just too much other stuff around.

We listened to these concerns and created a Producer’s Choice Moving Blanket for Soundproofing ( http://moverssupplies.com/MOVING-BLANKET/BW-Cotton-Blanket-Producers-Choice... )
I am running the http://www.MoversSupplies.com and wanted to give you some background to creating Producer’s Choice Moving Blankets.
We simply followed recommendations of the film producers who were NOT satisfied with performance of regular moving blankets that were available elsewhere, and thought that blankets marketed as "sound blankets" were too expensive. It started with an e-mail from a member of one of the forums (namely, DVX-User), who asked if we can design a special blanket for soundproofing. So we asked what did they want to see in the ideal sound blanket.
After some soul searching they came to the conclusion that blankets just over 8 lbs would have sufficient mass for soundproofing, but heavier blankets would be too difficult to handle. They also requested that the blankets be Black and White for special light reflection/absorption. So they can be used to either block light with the black side or reflect light with the white side. For outer fabric material we selected 100% cotton, which is not shiny and does not interfere with the lighting on the set.
We made some further improvements, such as white fabric is now more dense than what it used to be, and the binding in now 100% woven polyester for added durability, especially if you have to wash the blankets.
After a year of testing, when i asked members of the forum if there was anything we needed to do to improve the quality - they told me that "the Producer's choice blankets were perfect" and suggested that i "DO NOT DO ANYTHING!".
We offer adding grommets to blankets at your request.

As a bragging point I can say that 20-th Century Fox Studio was using our Producer's choice blankets for soundproofing, when filming movie "Marley and Me", which is in “the theater near you” . Paul Green School of Rock Music ordered our blankets for several of their franchises and told us that police visits became much less frequent after they started to use our blankets.
If you browse the net – you will be glad to notice that our sound Blankets Producer’s choice priced half of what other comparable blankets cost and if you buy by the dozen savings are even better!
We did not make any specific sound dampening measurements, so I can only refer you to testimonials: http://MoversSupplies.com/testimonials.php

I hope this was useful.

Jeff.



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Ty Ford
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Jan 7, 2009 at 10:24:53 am

Thanks Frank, Jeff or Adil (Why do you have two names?) and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

This thread has wandered significantly from the concerns of the original poster. That was, how to record voiceover at home, not how to reduce reflection in a large space. Jeff/Adil, as a new member of the Cow, please remember to look at the original question.

Regards,

Ty Ford

Want better production audio?: Ty Ford's Audio Bootcamp Field Guide






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Peter boyd
Re: Soundproofing Effect
on Feb 22, 2009 at 12:34:32 pm

I got some sound absorbers frome soundproofing forum http://soundproofingforum.co.uk/

They seemed to work really well, but you need to experiment a little with positioning.

Alternativly if you hang blankets on all the walls that should damp out alot of reflected noise.

Or drape a blanket over your head and mic while making the recordings.

Get a pop sheild.

And get a decent compressor.



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