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Workflow for "Balancing" Poor Quality Webinar Audio

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Steve Crow
Workflow for "Balancing" Poor Quality Webinar Audio
on Feb 24, 2014 at 6:13:48 pm

I have a project where the client is asking me to "balance" the audio portion of recorded Webinar where the presenters appear to be on the phone or perhaps using cheap headset mics at best. As you can imagine the audio isn't great...it's thin, sometimes tinny and basically sounds like "phone audio."

Occasionally there is digital distortion probably due to fluctuating bandwidth.

So I am trying to figure out a workflow that will allow me to "fix" over a hundred of these recordings. The tools I have to work with are basic as well. Basically we're talking Final Cut Pro 6 and Audacity. So no ProTools or even Adobe Audition here to work with.

So here's my question: how would you approach this? What type of filters, compressors, limiters etc. would you use? I'm not much of an audio editor...to me balancing means the right and level channel are fairly close in their db level. What can be done to improve poor audio like this?

Or should I simply tell them that beyond volume levels there isn't much I can do for them?

Steve Crow


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Ty Ford
Re: Workflow for "Balancing" Poor Quality Webinar Audio
on Feb 24, 2014 at 6:50:34 pm

Hello Steve and welcome to the Cow Audio forum.

Will this be live or are you doing post for it so it can be streamed?

I have been using iZotope RX3 to "take the stink off" phone audio for about six months now for a pre-produced program. It can reduce clipping artifacts and the de-reverb feature pulls out early reflections you didn't even think about until you hear what it does.

It won't make bad things sound wonderful, but it will make them less worse. :) I also use EQ and a compressor when needed to sculpt the sound into shape.

If it's real time live, then you're looking at getting really good at fast EQing and maybe a single ended noise reduction box with some knobs.

When balancing studio audio with bad audio for a webinar, I have learned that you can't always go by the meters. Also, unfortunately, the worse sounding the audio is, the higher I have to run it so that miracle device known as "the brain" can make sense of it.

Regards,

Ty Ford
Cow Audio Forum Leader

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


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Steve Crow
Re: Workflow for "Balancing" Poor Quality Webinar Audio
on Feb 24, 2014 at 7:13:27 pm

Thanks for the welcome!

No this isn't live, I'd be getting the pre-recorded audio files in some sort of digital format.

I took a quick look at the iZotope RX3 software and it looks great but I can't afford the $300 price tag, basically I'm stuck with whatever tools I have on hand which isn't much: Audacity and Final Cut Pro 6's built in audio tools

Steve Crow


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Paddy Uglow
Re: Workflow for "Balancing" Poor Quality Webinar Audio
on Feb 25, 2014 at 2:45:27 pm

Have you got Soundtrack Pro with your FCP6? Or is that only in the "studio" package?
Re the sound, I suppose you could apply EQ to make the good bits sound as bad as the rest.
Or just "display the fault": post up an apology for the poor sound quality wherever it's published, then listeners will be expecting it to sound poor at times.
If the *amplitude* is a bit up and down, there's the (free) Levelator software app, though I find it's a bit heavy handed.

Paddy, CreativeMedia.org.uk


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