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Re: [podcasters] How Can I Improve Sound Quality with Audacity?

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  • Benjamin Straw
    Editing software is for editing things out and fixing minor mistakes. To me it sounds like you need to start training your selfs about microphone placement and
    Message 1 of 5 , May 25, 2013
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      Editing software is for editing things out and fixing minor mistakes. To me it sounds like you need to start training your selfs about microphone placement and how to use one. First do a 30 sec sound check/recording adjust the volume accordingly. Than try and not move away from the mic. Than train them about laughter, one should move back to do so, kinda like a singer who hits a high note. Next get better equipment, dynamic microphones and a mixer.

      Benjamin Straw
      Cell: 219-712-8103

      On May 24, 2013, at 2:34 PM, Amanda Hanson <ahanson597@...> wrote:

      > Hello, All
      > My friends and I just started a podcast (northernblights.com). We use two
      > USB condensor mics and Audacity on a Mac. I was wondering if there was any
      > way to sound more professional. We sometimes sound too quiet, and when we
      > all laugh together we sound too loud. We also sound far away from the mics.
      > Is there anyway to get a richer sound with just mics and Audacity? Is it
      > just a matter of sitting closer to the mics and adjusting volume, or is
      > that too simple of a solution? I know, I am showing my ignorance, here. Any
      > suggestions will be helpful. Thank you!
      >
      > -Amanda in Alaska
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >
      >


      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Ricardus Vincente
      On May 24, 2013, at 2:34 PM, Amanda Hanson wrote: I don t think you need to make any major investments
      Message 2 of 5 , May 25, 2013
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        On May 24, 2013, at 2:34 PM, Amanda Hanson <ahanson597@...
        <mailto:ahanson597%40gmail.com>> wrote:

        I don't think you need to make any major investments in gear, you just
        have to realize that your gear, and your audio skill-set will only get
        your sound so far.

        With what you have, I would just do two things:

        1) Make sure you're not clipping the audio when you guys laugh, or
        speak together. That simple means the meters in Audacity never go into
        the red.

        2) After you have edited your show (if you edit it), run it through
        Levelator.

        http://www.conversationsnetwork.org/levelator

        Simply drag your audio file to that and it will level all of the audio.
        It will make the quieter parts louder to even everything out. If your
        show has any music content, you won't want to use levelator on the
        music. The algorithms it uses to even out voices don't work too well for
        music.

        See if that gives you the professional sound you're looking for. If
        not, you need to identify what you mean by "professional," and go from
        there.

        ----
        Bloodthirsty Vegetarians Podcast
        www.bloodyveg.com
        Progressive conversation shared over spirits,
        tempered with humor and independent music.


        > Hello, All
        > My friends and I just started a podcast (northernblights.com). We use two
        > USB condensor mics and Audacity on a Mac. I was wondering if there was any
        > way to sound more professional. We sometimes sound too quiet, and when we
        > all laugh together we sound too loud. We also sound far away from the
        > mics.
        > Is there anyway to get a richer sound with just mics and Audacity? Is it
        > just a matter of sitting closer to the mics and adjusting volume, or is
        > that too simple of a solution? I know, I am showing my ignorance,
        > here. Any
        > suggestions will be helpful. Thank you!
        >
        > -Amanda in Alaska
      • Shawn Thorpe
        Are you able to use both USB mics together? I ask because, in my experience, most audio-production programs will only accept one USB source at a time. Just
        Message 3 of 5 , May 25, 2013
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          Are you able to use both USB mics together? I ask because, in my experience, most audio-production programs will only accept one USB source at a time. Just because both mics are plugged in to USB ports on the Mac doesn't mean that Audacity is hearing both of them. It may only be picking up one mic.

          -Shawn
          http://nomarket.org/

          On May 24, 2013, at 12:34 PM, Amanda Hanson wrote:

          > Hello, All
          > My friends and I just started a podcast (northernblights.com). We use two
          > USB condensor mics and Audacity on a Mac. I was wondering if there was any
          > way to sound more professional. We sometimes sound too quiet, and when we
          > all laugh together we sound too loud. We also sound far away from the mics.
          > Is there anyway to get a richer sound with just mics and Audacity? Is it
          > just a matter of sitting closer to the mics and adjusting volume, or is
          > that too simple of a solution? I know, I am showing my ignorance, here. Any
          > suggestions will be helpful. Thank you!
          >
          > -Amanda in Alaska
          >
          > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          >
          >



          [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        • Kenn Crawford
          Hi Amanda, I listened to the first few minutes of your podcast and have a few suggestions to help you improve the sound
          Message 4 of 5 , May 25, 2013
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            <http://kenncrawford.blogspot.ca>Hi Amanda,
            I listened to the first few minutes of your podcast and have a few
            suggestions to help you improve the sound quality. First and foremost, you
            should seriously consider treating the room you are recording in. That one
            step will make a major improvement in your audio quality. As it is now, you
            both sound like you're in an empty auditorium. That is caused by the sound
            of your voices bouncing off the hard flat surfaces (walls, floor and
            ceiling) and back into your microphone.
            For how much "reverb" sound there is in your recording, I'm guessing the
            floor is not carpeted. It kinda sounds like you are recording in an empty
            spare bedroom. A large area rug and anything on the walls to help absorb
            sound is a must. If you have some way of hanging heavy blankets on the
            walls that will help absorb some of the sound so it doesn't bounce around
            as much. Empty rooms are not good because there is nothing to break up the
            sound waves. You need "stuff" in there to disrupt those sound waves. What I
            did when I was recording at my summer cottage is use boom mic stands and
            blankets... Make the boom in the shape of a T and raise it as high as it
            will go. Drape a heavy blanket over this and place it directly behind you
            (almost touching your back). I'm guessing your co-host is seated opposite
            you? Do the exact same thing with another mic boom stand and place it
            directly behind her. That will help A LOT. Also, spread a blanket or
            something on every table and desk so your voices don't bounce off them and
            back towards the mic (if you use a laptop don't place it on the blanket, it
            needs air or it will overheat - the laptop shouldn't be in the same room as
            the mics but that's another story :)

            Try to set up your mics so they are closer to your mouths. Having them "off
            to the side so they are not distracting" is not good because they will pick
            up more room sound - and having an echoey room is the last thing you want
            it to pick up. The general rule of thumb I use for condensers is to have it
            directly in front of you so you are looking straight into it and the mic's
            element is at eye level. This will allow the mic to pick up more of your
            voice without popping unless you tilt your head backwards. And because it
            doesn't pop like that you don't need a pop filter which will obstruct your
            view of your co-host. Being a very conversational-type podcast, having eye
            contact is important, but not to the point where you are sacrificing sound
            quality. With the mics in front of you as described above you should still
            be able to see each other. If eye contact is crucial for you and your
            co-host, then set the mics up below your mouth (approx chin level) and USE
            a pop filter because the minute your head tilts down, a blast of air is
            going to pop it. Either way, make sure the mic is in front of you and not
            off to the side.

            Make sure you record to two tracks - 1 mic per track. As
            previously suggested use The Levelator. It's a great tool to have ,
            especially when you have more than 1 voice. It will automatically lower the
            too-loud parts and raise the not-loud-enough parts. The Levelator only
            works on uncompressed AIFF or WAV files, not MP3s and it doesn't work on
            music. It will create a new audio file for you and that is the one that you
            add music etc etc and then export to mp3. But the levelator needs
            uncompressed, voice-only AIFF or WAV files.

            Best of luck.

            Kenn




            On Fri, May 24, 2013 at 4:34 PM, Amanda Hanson <ahanson597@...> wrote:

            > **
            >
            >
            > Hello, All
            > My friends and I just started a podcast (northernblights.com). We use two
            > USB condensor mics and Audacity on a Mac. I was wondering if there was any
            > way to sound more professional. We sometimes sound too quiet, and when we
            > all laugh together we sound too loud. We also sound far away from the mics.
            > Is there anyway to get a richer sound with just mics and Audacity? Is it
            > just a matter of sitting closer to the mics and adjusting volume, or is
            > that too simple of a solution? I know, I am showing my ignorance, here. Any
            > suggestions will be helpful. Thank you!
            >
            > -Amanda in Alaska
            >
            > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            >


            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
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