Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by CBJorgen » Mon Oct 30, 2017 1:58 am

Hey Koz,
First of all, thank you for sticking with me and your advice. Can I assume that your a voiceover actor? Maybe audio book narration?
My decision to pursue voiceover acting wasn’t done lightly. I gave it a lot of thought. Since then I have googled and YouTubed all about it, and I have learned a lot, with a lot more to learn.
The whole thing about room acoustics I am very well aware of. Since I have to be low budget for now, I am going to construct a kind of recording booth that will be lined with acoustic foam. Basically a wood constructed box that’s open on one side, maybe 3 feet by 3 feet, that I can put on my table, and use a shipping blanket to drape over me and the open end of the box. It’s still a work in progress lol.
If you are a voiceover professional, I would love to continue to pick your brain, since I am not able to afford a coach or recording studio. Thanks again!

Regards,
Christian
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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Mon Oct 30, 2017 4:39 am

I do voice-under.

My non-theatrical monotone voice puts people to sleep. To be really effective I'll tell you how the inside of your microphone works.

"..using the Farkward Effect, air pressure variation changes the electrical charge..........zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz.

But I do OK recording other people.

Before you pop for acoustic foam, please know that I've done very well with furniture moving blankets. I have a five foot square recording booth that knocks down into a pile of blankets and sticks. This is one wall. It's double layer and I have enough sticks and blankets for four walls, although I've found that three will usually do it.

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The illustration is one of the two blankets per wall. The ropes on the corners tie the walls together.

This is an actual voice shoot for an animated movie. Note the folded blanket on the floor and in the upper left, you can just see the walls are really double blankets.

Image


One other poster created a "studio" with Home Store plastic pipes.

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No glue. It collapses into a pile of quilts and pipes.

She's a published reader now.

Acoustic foam is too easy to scam. There are only one or two reputable makers and everybody else is faking it with packing material which has the exact opposite requirement. The Good Stuff is stunningly expensive and people start taking shortcuts like leaving out every other panel.

That's where the blankets come in.

Koz
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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by CBJorgen » Mon Oct 30, 2017 6:13 am

I'm embarrassed to say that I did purchase what I thought was acoustic foam from Ebay. But now that you mentioned it, it's just packing foam (death, where is thy sting), but won't that at least work for the short term? It would at least stop the reflective sound of hard surfaces. I like your ideas of the clamps and furniture blankets , combined with the ladies PVC piping! That's an easy throw together kind of recording booth. You may be a voice under, but you do offer some great advice and help.

Christian
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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Tue Oct 31, 2017 4:58 am

won't that at least work for the short term?

Give it a shot. If you sound like you're recording in a kitchen, it's not working.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/EchoSample.mp3

Were they Auralex?

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/SF2in22CHA

https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/PPK1SSBLK

Are they heavy? The goal of packing material is to be light, fluffy and take up room. The goal of acoustic foam is to be dense and heavy with pyramids or "V" shapes on the surface.

I've done a "studio" with cardboard chicken crates. That's not dreadful but it is a lot of work. Only the cardboard ones. It's the peaks and valleys that are doing most of the work.

https://www.amazon.com/Egg-Flats-Biodeg ... lats&psc=1

Do put a heavy towel or something on the desk.

Forget all the wires and microphones, etc. Note the heavy, folded-over furniture blanket on the desk.

Image

That helps avoid "comb effects." Like speaking into a wine glass or slap (tight echoes).

Koz
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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by CBJorgen » Tue Oct 31, 2017 5:56 pm

Thanks again for all your help. I have a tendency to over think things, but I’m going to get something together this week. I will put together a recording and post it here. I would welcome your opinion on the quality of the sound and my voice. I had ordered shipping blankets from Ebay, but for some reason they never arrived. I did get my refund though.

You had mentioned in an earlier post something about a suite of tools for audio... books? I don’t have the post in front of me, so I’m guessing at that. What did you mean?
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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Tue Oct 31, 2017 8:11 pm

Everybody wants to read for audiobooks, publish, make a fortune and retire to a tasteful cottage in Saint Tropez. I used to have a picture of that cottage and now I can't find it.

But before you do all that, you have to record your voice and make it past the ACX Robot.

The ACX Robot checks for basic technical competence. RMS (loudness), peak volume (overload) and background noise. There's a reason this is an automated step. Most people on home systems fail one or more of those measurements—usually noise.

I have a morbid joke that if you can tell your computer is on just by listening, you're dead.

Anyway, over time we developed a suite of tools to process your voice to ACX compliance, a measurement tool to see how you did and a paper that tries to help with the inevitable bad noise results.

viewtopic.php?f=64&t=96103

This is not a bad process if you want to read for anything because everybody's going to want level volume, good vocal quality and little or no audible background noise. It's just ACX publishes specifications ahead of time and we wrote a tool to measure them and processing to actually get there.


We never established what you're using for a microphone. How are you getting your voice into Audacity?

This is my home photo version of ACX's illustration of a good vocal studio. Most Macs make little or no noise, so that setup is perfectly valid. If you have a good, noise-free room, it almost doesn't make any difference what the microphone is. etc.

I can step through what everything is and why it's there when you get that far.

Image


Koz
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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by CBJorgen » Tue Oct 31, 2017 9:28 pm

I'm not sure what my niche is going to be. I'm not sure reading audio books will be for me. I'm not a book reader, that is I'm not a person who likes to curl up if front of a fire and read a good book. I don't have the attention span for that. But maybe if I look at it as a job that could pay well, my attitude could be quite different. A voiceover actor that I listen to on youtube says that the industry will determine where I will fit in. Don't know how true that will be, but it sounds logical to me.

My equipment (so far) is as follows:
Rodes NT1-A, came with pop screen and shock mount, and high quality cable. Plus they, the seller, threw in a nice microphone stand
As stated at the beginning of this, a Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD
And I just picked up a brand new iMac 21.5, 4K display, 3.0GHz processor. This puppy doesn't make a sound!
A pair of Sony MDR-V6 Dynamic Stereo Headphones
I do need a pair of studio monitor speakers

In your picture I see a small red box next to your laptop. Not sure what that is, but I don't have it.

As I have said before, I have researched, and continue to research the whole voiceover business. And I am very aware of the need to have no noise in the background. I have been contemplating building a room in my basement that would be very soundproof. But I didn't want to get to much into it until I know that the voiceover gig is going to go well. The big thing that I need to get good at is learning the DAW. I have Audacity and two others. One is Garageband that came with the Mac, but I understand it's to basic to do voiceover. The other one I won't mention here since it is Audacity's forum

Not sure what the ACX robot is.
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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:36 am

ACX AudioBooks (Audible.com, etc) is a clearinghouse for audiobook readers/performers. They publish specifications you are expected to meet in order be published under the ACX name.

About a third of the population of the world is trying to read for audiobooks. The first layer of acceptance is an Automated Quality Control which I affectionately call The Robot. Flynwill developed the ACX-Check program by collecting and managing existing measurement tools, and presenting the measurements in a roughly similar way that ACX does it. This saves you constantly submitting to ACX only to find that your background noise is still too loud.

Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 7.04.54 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 7.04.54 PM.png (52.13 KiB) Viewed 271 times


The important lines are the first three measurements and the sentence 2/3 down.

This is what it's measuring. Chances are really good you are going to have to meet these three no matter who you perform for.

viewtopic.php?p=297423#p297423

The next level after the robot strips off the worst offenders* is Human Quality Control and that's where they evaluate actual theatrical quality of your work. The obvious tasks are making sure you can read out loud and follow instructions for submission, but they also check a lesser obvious sound quality. One way to pass a noisy performance off is to beat it up with special effects and severe noise reduction. No, ACX is not going to accept your performance if you sound like a bad cellphone, even if it's technically perfect.

*Please note that if the robot fails you, it's possible you are going to get a note from a human explaining why you failed and possible methods to fix it. They don't just drop you as a hot rock.

Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD

Nothing wrong with any of that. That roughly follows ACX recommendations. The only "problem" is the stereo nature of the 204HD. I would record in stereo with your voice on the left and split off the dead track later. Neither the microphone, interface or Audacity will act funny or be able to tell there's anything wrong.

Correct me, but the headphone connection in the Behringer is a mono-mix?? it will feed your voice to headphone Right and Left in spite of delivering Left only to Audacity. You may find as I did that this is very useful. Headphones during reading are very highly recommended because they help you automatically keep your voice volume constant almost without you thinking very much about it. You should find if you haven't already that you can't listen to the computer during a live performance, but you do need to keep an eye on the meters and blue waves. You are the recording engineer.

Roughly this is normal. I expand the meters so they're a bit easier to see. Grab one edge and pull.

Image

If you tend to theatrics and expressive performances, you may need to record lower volume / smaller blue waves.

I wrote a brief instruction how to submit a sound test to the forum for testing.

http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/Test ... _Clip.html

Koz
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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Wed Nov 01, 2017 2:38 am

Oh, the orange thing. That's your backup drive for Time Machine and safety WAV backups of your performances. You were planning on having one of those, right?

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Re: Behringer U-Phoria UMC204HD help please.

Permanent link to this post Posted by CBJorgen » Fri Nov 03, 2017 4:04 am

Hey Mr Koz,

As always, thanks for all the great info. I'm going to have to bone up on all the terminology, because It's all a little confusing. I do have other questions, and some answers to your questions, but for now I have a problem. When I try to record my voice into Audacity, the level is so low. I have the Gain on the Behringer turned up to just before it starts clipping. The input in Audacity for the microphone is turned all the way up as well. I can find no way to increase the volume in the effects, or anywhere else in Audacity. I would have to yell into the microphone to get any increase in volume. Any help would be very much appreciated.

Thank you
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