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Lend Me Your Ears?

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Jonathan Hennessey
Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 4, 2011 at 9:39:54 pm

Warm greetings to the group! New member here.

I could really use the opinion of a few audiophiles out there — anyone who has a moment to listen to and critique a sample from a project I'm working on.

To wit: I'm working with an actor friend and producing/directing an audiobook project, adapted from a book whose copyright has long expired. My plan is to eventually make this available for free under a Creative Commons license, and distribute it to fellow history buffs etc. via my personal website.

So there's no real "client" whose technical specs I must fulfill. However, I want to make sure I'm producing audio files that are of a reasonably professional level and that are eminently listenable over the course of many hours.

A 28.1 MB .aif sample (02 min 46 sec) is available at this link:

http://web.me.com/voxunpopuli/Site_2/Audiobook_Sample.html

I'm recording directly into Garageband with a MacBook, during sessions taking place at a home studio at this point. Microphone is an RE20 Electro Voice. I'm using a middle-level channel strip with a bit of tube preamp and a small amount of compression.

Casting aside points of the actor's performance at this point (this was just test footage with unprepared copy), how would you rate the audio quality? Hearing any noise or unappealing acoustical effects? Is the voice warmed up enough? Any tips for equalization and compression?

I appreciate any help, and thank any interested parties in advance.

Cheers,

Jonathan


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Eric Toline
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 5:08:07 am

Technically speaking it's a very good track. As far as any processing beyond what you've done, it depends on who is reading the script.

Nothing personal...but...If it's you that's going to be reading then you need to practice not being quite so nasal sounding. You can lower the timbre of your voice by standing when you're reading. Sitting constricts your diaphragm and makes you sound nasal. Get a music stand, put a piece of carpeting on the stand and put the copy on it. Wearing headphones so you can hear what you sound like can help a lot.


Eric


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Peter Groom
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 4:13:59 pm

A little thin to my ear. Id like a little more warmth in it. Top end was crisp and clean, but the lightness in the bottom made it sound a little thin.
Just my opinion.
Peter

Post Production Dubbing Mixer


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Craig Alan
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 7:26:34 pm

Seems to be picking up a lot of subtle but unwanted vocal sounds of the actor. Have him angle the mike more, back off a little. Add a pop screen. Sounds a little thin. B.G. seems quiet. I don’t hear hum or hiss. Between phrases, it goes quiet. While he is talking, there is a vibration, as if his breath is vibrating the snare of a snare drum. A couple of times it sounded like some handling noise, like the mike or mount was being moved or bumped. I would have the actor standing for better breath control and delivery, the copy placed on a music stand covered with carpet. The mike postioned well and rock steady. Experiment while monitoring with good quality pro headphones until you hear what you like. You might consider adding a sound track of appropriate music and/or sound effects.

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Jonathan Hennessey
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 8:19:42 pm

Gentlemen, thanks so much for your input! You've given me some solid direction and I couldn't ask for anything more.


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Ty Ford
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 9:33:53 pm

Hi Jonathan,

You took out all of the breaths? I never hear you inhale. Sometimes the edits are a little close.

No EQ at all?

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Jonathan Hennessey
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 9:41:53 pm

I agree some of the edits are a little close. I'll be more careful when we actually get into production. Thank you.

As for the actor's breaths, I didn't edit them out per se but I did attenuate the sound — possibly too much. Do you think it would be more naturalistic if the breaths were kept at their recorded volume?

No, I didn't use much EQ in this test. I wanted to see in what areas this actor's voice might need some fine tuning.

If the consensus is that it sounds a little thin, I could drive the tube preamp up from 30% (this recorded level) to 40-50%, and EQ-wise, boost somewhere between 4-6 kHz.


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Ty Ford
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 6, 2011 at 1:07:27 am

[Jonathan Hennessey] "I agree some of the edits are a little close. I'll be more careful when we actually get into production. Thank you.

As for the actor's breaths, I didn't edit them out per se but I did attenuate the sound — possibly too much. Do you think it would be more naturalistic if the breaths were kept at their recorded volume?

>> when you suppress the volume of the breath, the space between the words becomes too bug because there isn't a breath sound to naturally fill the hole. You can make it work by taking the center out of the breath. Zoom in and you can see what looks like a cigar, fat in the middle with tapered ends. Take the fatest part of the middle out. You still hear a breath but not as loud or as long.


No, I didn't use much EQ in this test. I wanted to see in what areas this actor's voice might need some fine tuning.

If the consensus is that it sounds a little thin, I could drive the tube preamp up from 30% (this recorded level) to 40-50%, and EQ-wise, boost somewhere between 4-6 kHz."

>>>>I don't know what mic or preamp you're using, but yes, it was a little bright, at 4-6 kHz. COuld be you were trying too hard. Could be your monitors aren't reproducing the top end as much as they should. Drive the preamp? Does that increase distortion? Increase "tube sound?"

>>>My take on that stuff is good tubes sound better than bad solid state. Good solid state sounds better than bad tubes. The Audio Technica AT4060 is a tube mic that doesn't sound all warm and fuzzy. The Neumann TLM 67 is a solid state mic that sounds nicely thick.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Craig Alan
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 9:46:39 pm

So that's why it's silent between phrases?

OSX 10.5.8; MacBookPro4,1 Intel Core 2 Duo 2.5 GHz
; Camcorders: Sony Z7U, Canon HV30/40, Sony vx2000/PD170; FCP certified; write professionally for a variety of media; teach video production in L.A.


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Jonathan Hennessey
Re: Lend Me Your Ears?
on Mar 5, 2011 at 11:39:34 pm

No, not exactly. Not every moment of silence in the track is intentional.

I have been hearing that quality of the recording as well — the almost total silences between phrases. I can't explain it, and I don't find it appealing.

I **suspect** this is the reason why:

I'm going from the RE20 into the channel strip, and then from the channel strip into the MacBook (by way of the channel strip's XLR out to the MacBook's mini jack in).

In other words, I've been letting the onboard sound card handle the digital to audio conversion. Maybe I would get better results with a more high-quality digital–audio converter like the Apogee One.

Can anyone speak to that? Or perhaps it was a problem with compression?


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