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Fresh Horror

I’ve been reluctant to work on my latest audiobook, because the sound quality is so much worse. I had to replace my mic, and I was really happy with it, because it seemed to reduce my mouth noise, but it did record with less gain, and once amplified for industry standards all manner of shite floated to the top of the bowl. This is an example of a peculiar and particularly upsetting distortion. Somehow, a fart inserted itself into my word. You’ll hear it in context, then separated, twice, then hear it in context again. It goes by fast, but this is the sort of shite that when piled on top of other flavors of shite appearing in my sound files, makes me regret spending so much time to record this, spending money to get it mastered, then spending hour upon hour cleaning up this crap. I think I need to go pull some weeds out in the garden…

The fix, I’ve found is to find the fart noise, which is shown selected in the pic and hit mute. Yes, mute, right there in the middle of a word. Seems counter intuitive, but it works a charm. I’m a little worried now though, that I may be going crazy with the mute.

I’m using it  a lot because the new mic recorded so noisy, my engineer was forced to use a noise gate, which leaves distortion in the places where the sound is softer than the noise, but, seems to me, if I just get rid of that soft sound, it’s not missed. I could be wrong though.

It could be none of it matters because the whole thing sounds like shite anyhow…

Gain Staging Woes

Don’t have my new mic all dialed in yet. I’m wondering if I’ve been baffled by bullshit. I was referred to these two articles to explain the importance of setting your recording levels correctly. It just doesn’t make sense to me. The idea is, if you set your recording levels low, you won’t record too much of your environment, translating to noise floor. Noise floor is super important when recording audiobooks, because the majority of listeners are using headphones where what’s in the silences is much more apparent than say, recording a vocal track that will be going into a mix.

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/sep13/articles/level-headed.htm

But I’m not sure these issue apply so much when doing spoken word. Of course, we don’t want to clip, but I would have to work pretty hard to clip something. When I set up the mic and made some first recordings, I was dismayed by what I heard in the noise floor. I mentioned it to Justin when he called to see how everything was working for me. He suggested I try recording without the pre, so I did. It was really soft, so I cranked the gain to the roof, and was able to record something that peaked at about -12db. I couldn’t hear that noisy silence, but I knew I still had to boost the sound levels.

So I took the file and normalized it to -3db, then limited it to -6db. I imagine some sound engineer will get his panties in a twist over that particular move, only because I lack confidence. I think my logic is sound, though. Normalizing makes your loudest sounds only so loud (or you can work it the other way and make the loudest sounds softer) As it does this, it adjusts all the surrounding sounds an equal amount. Seems to me it’s just a way to control your amplification, but again, what do I know? Limiting takes any sound that is above your set level, in my case -6, and smashes that bit down to fit.

One thing you need to understand about sound is we are dealing with negative numbers, so -3 is louder than -6. So when I limit to six, it takes all my sound from -5.9 to the -3 peaks I normalized to, and adjusts their levels to fall into that -6 range. I like the results of doing things this way, since when I get expressive, I get louder and so my levels end up pretty uneven. I don’t know what the pros do, but I think Jared gets better results than I do, so I send my things for him to master. At least my big things. But for auditions and tests, it’s all me, and this is how I do it.

So I got into another discussion with Justin who cautioned me against having that gain cranked all the way up. He thought I should use the cloudlifter and not record so hot. He’s the one who referred me to the video and article, and I applaud him for taking the effort to educate me, but I believe my ears more than anything. So I recorded the way he suggested, and mastered it the same way as described above, and guess what? I don’t hear a difference! I’m not getting anywhere near clipping, either way I do it, and when I amplify the sounds to get the levels where they need to be, it seems like there is the same kind of amplification to the silences as there is to the sound.

It was suggested to me that recording with less gain, I wouldn’t pick up the low frequencies in the first place, so they wouldn’t be there when I amplified, but I don’t hear that happening. So I’m wondering, do I really need that cloudlifter? I could save myself $200 sending it and the extra xlr back, and I’m tempted. I know Justin will never tell me to do that because that is money out of his pocket, but I am just not following the reasoning here.

What do you think? Have a listen to my samples below. Put your headphones on and wait for the second sample. There is more mouth noise on the sample with the cloudlifter, but I think that’s because there way more mouth noise at that moment. I wasn’t planning on making these recordings public, so the read sucks, but I am really scratching my head on this one. I’d really like your input.

Your Best Narration is Just a Breath Away

I started out this way, obsessively editing breaths, but after 16 chapters, I eased up a bit. This is nice validation for that!

J. Christopher Dunn's Voiceover Blog

monkeysDo you find yourself meticulously removing every breath in recorded audio like a chimpanzee nit-picking fellow chimps? You may be afflicted.

It starts with difficult breathing brought on by nervousness and stress. It’s recorded as gasping for air or a huge sucking sound.

Common studio remedies include removal or the significant reduction of breath noises. This process can build to neurosis, where beginner to professional voice talent compulsively delete every obnoxious, normal and subtle breath recorded.

If this describes you, you may be suffering from Spiritus Aveho.

Spiritus – The Latin word for “Breath” and defined as: breath, breathing / life / spirit.

Aveho – The Latin word for “Remove” and defined as: to carry away / remove.

This OCD variant troubles many professional voice-talent and producers from beginner to expert.

Well, take a deep breath and relax.  Help is available. With treatment and self-help strategies, you can break free…

View original post 252 more words

Vote! To FX or not to FX, that is my question

<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/120223606″>Comparison Vimeo</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/user37157998″>Elaine Cramer</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

Word among professional audiobook narrators is to skip the effects. They belong in radio plays and full cast productions. But I have heard subtle effects put to good use in audiobooks, as in a slightly tinny sound when a character is listening to a voice on the phone. In the story I am reading, the characters are listening to a voice over the phone that has been altered to disguise it. In this video, you will hear the audio with the effects first, immediately followed by the audio with no effects. Vote for your favorite, please.

searching for our sound chain Part 1: the voice

searching for our sound chain Part 1: the voice.

Good information and keeper links!

Sky

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The sky was a dangerous distraction, it was so amazing today. Maybe it’s just me. Or, maybe you agree…Image

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Dandy

Dandy

Setting myself up for failure, launching a war on the dandelion. Why didn’t you tell me! But, they are kinda cute!

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