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

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  • 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 1 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]
      >


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