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Home Audio Recording... tips?

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Adam Sorbin
Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Mar 28, 2011 at 8:47:31 pm

Hi all,

I've got a Cakewalk (By Roland) USB Audio Capture interface, along with an AKG C 2000B condenser mic.

I have a relatively insulated, silent room, with a high quality Pop filter.

And I am recording voice-over and some vocals on Sony Vegas 9.

1. Should I record on 0 db or -10db attentuation? I know the -10 db setting takes care of all background noise, but does that also affect audio fidelity?


2. What preset on the Software can I use to get a Deep, Punchy voice-over type effect? i.e. Generally, what preset do you guys use with the software that you use? (I already do have a deep voice). And for vocals? I'd like to get a very minimal echo effect (without the ringing)..


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Ty Ford
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Mar 29, 2011 at 1:13:15 am

Hello Adam and welcome to the Cow Audio Forum.

The -10dB pad on a mic doesn't reduce background noise, it's just a big resistor in front of the mic to knock down a signal that's too loud; background and foreground.

What echo effect are you talking about?

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Bob Kessler
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Mar 29, 2011 at 12:33:06 pm

It's a combination of performance and equipment.

Having a deep voice is not enough; you need solid mic technique and great performance technique. Those come with time and experience.

I know that you are probably on a very tight budget, but let's face it, you're using low budget prosumer gear. At a professional studio everything would cost ten times as much, so your sound won't be as smooth and silky as in a pro shop. Your listening and recording environment - everything from speakers to how well the room is isolated and treated - make a difference as well.

Once the VO is done the sound is further refined/processed using a combination of EQ and compression. (Some record with compression, but I'm not a fan of doing that; I'd rather have the control on the back end.)

Comparing your VO work side-by-side with "the real thing" can help you get as close as your equipment and circumstances will allow; the more time and effort you put in learning to compensate for your situation the closer you will get.

For your "echo" sound (I assume for singing vox?) a delay or reverb might be what you're looking for. That's usually done with a send and a separate effects buss.

Peace,

Bob
____________________________________________________________________
Filmmaking is the art of the invisible;
If anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.


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Theodore Miesner
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Mar 30, 2011 at 1:54:33 am

Hey Adam,

The minus 10 dB actually doesn't do anything for background noise, if anything it will encourage self noise from your audio interface having to boost the levels back up those 10 dB. I would recommend setting your gain so that you are peaking at about -6 on your audio meters in Vegas. If you can't get around that level for some reason then be sure to record in the highest bit depth possible (probably 24) that way you retain more of the information way down in the depths of your audio information, and can be boosted more transparently in post.

As for getting a "Deep, Punchy voice-over type effect" there are 2 easy things to do. The first is extremely simple, stand closer to the microphone. Since your microphone is cardioid it exhibits "the proximity effect" which basically means that when the sound source is close to the microphone element, then the lower frequencies are boosted which gives you that bassy smooth radio/voice over sound (this is only shown in directional microphones, the more directional the more the effect, and visa versa). A second more complicated thing that you can do is to add a compressor to your track in Vegas this will smooth out your voice and if done properly really beef it up. I cant tell you exactly what settings to use, but something along the lines of:

Threshold - just about at the lowest level that you are talking at
Ratio - some where around 4:1
Attack - between 20 and 50 ms
Release - around 100 to 150 ms

I know that thats quite a bit to read, but I hope it helps.

Theo


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Andy Balla
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Apr 4, 2011 at 1:41:38 am

I like what everyone else said here, but would like to add that good editing of VO tracks is a key as well. I can't tell you how many local radio ads I hear with very obvious and bad edits. Sure, most radio listeners won't be able to tell you why these commercials sound local (read: low budget), but the fact is that they know that it doesn't sound as good as something from a national brand or the like. Part is the room, part is the mic, and part is the edit.


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Ty Ford
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Apr 4, 2011 at 2:13:06 am

Hey Andy,

Maybe you could explain in more detail........?

Thanks for dropping in.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Andy Balla
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Apr 4, 2011 at 2:57:11 am

Sure, Ty. I'll try. I listen to local radio spots, and I can clearly hear where the person editing the VO track has made cuts. Maybe they were comping several takes, maybe they were just cutting out breath noise on a single take. What I'm saying is the rhythm and flow of a normal human speech pattern has been destroyed by careless editing. At least that's what I hear on a lot of local radio advertising.


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Ty Ford
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Apr 4, 2011 at 11:36:48 am

Andy,

Oh THAT! As a former Production Director at major market radio stations (Washington and Baltimore), here's what I have for you.

"Short cut" editing crept in many years ago when the sales department would not listen to the production department regarding word count in copy. Too many words! This was before time compression. At that point, the only "cure" was VSO (variable speed oscillator) on the reel to reel capstan motor (which also raised the pitch) followed by an Eventide pitch box or taking breaths out and "short cut" editing. It sort of evolved as a style. In fact, when DAWs began to roam the earth, some production people actually overlapped phrases of the same voice. Again, this was seen as a stylization.

You don't normally hear this on agency-produced spots.

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Andy Balla
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Apr 4, 2011 at 9:35:36 pm

I think the spots I hear this on most are local ads produced by the radio station itself. The station I have in mind is a Clear Channel AM talk station, in a small market (Asheville, NC). The other thing that annoys me about the local ads on this particular station is that the majority of them use the same voice talent. So you hear three ads, back to back, with the same voice talent. Gets old fast!


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Ty Ford
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Apr 4, 2011 at 10:34:08 pm

Andy,

You = preacher
Me= choir

Why don't you apply for a job as a production person?

Regards,

Ty Ford

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





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Andy Balla
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Apr 4, 2011 at 11:20:21 pm

I'd love to, Ty, if only there was an opening like that in my area. The first time I see an opening, I'm in there!


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Adam Sorbin
Re: Home Audio Recording... tips?
on Apr 7, 2011 at 3:14:00 am

Thank you, Gentlemen, for those VERY helpful tips. I was able to attain quite a decent sound with the voiceover, but not good enough for the documentary I was to include it in. So I left it to the professionals and hired some excellent VO talent to do the job.

But those tips really helped guys (Ty, Bob and Theodore). Thank you.

@Andy Balla, I totally agree. I see that cut and paste editing in interviews of MAJOR networks here in Canada... (usually it's when they cut out the "umms" and "uhhs" in the interview during cutaways, thinking no one will notice... but it's very audible and annoying indeed.


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