Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

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Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kyleroussel » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:02 pm

Hi everyone,



I've been struggling with this for a long time and I'm hoping that someone can either help me out or burst my bubble. Here's the background: I'm running Windows 10, and when podcasting We run 1 (sometimes two) ATR-2100USB mic in to a Scarlett 2i2 USB interface. I record my voice in to Audacity. My 2 co-hosts are at their respective homes, and we talk via Skype. They both record their audio in to audacity, and send me their file at the end. The end result is good, but the extra steps of downloading their tracks, then uploading to my audacity, then aligning the vocals is a pain that adds a lot of time to the post-production process.

My question is: is it possible to have 2 local mics fed in to Audacity, as well as two additional channels from Skype (one per co-host)? Can this be done on it's own by playing around with different settings, or do I need a separate piece of equipment?

Thanks all. I hope that was clear enough!
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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:41 pm

I hope that was clear enough!

Perfectly clear. You're making The Standard Podcast. You forgot adding music at the appropriate points. Themes, stingers, etc.

They both record their audio in to audacity

And that is, almost without question—given you can pull it off, the best way to do it. The podcast show sound never goes through Skype.

Given you're already advanced beyond simple two-person interviews, my opinion is go straight for the two computer setup.

Image
That worked for me because I already had two machines (one much older) and a simple sound mixer. You let Skype have its way with the machine on the right and the machine on the left records the mixed show (in Audacity) and creates the music from an iTunes playlist. That's perfectly valid as with most computers, Record and Play are two completely separate jobs anyway.

If you have no music, the recorder doesn't have to be a computer. If you have a Personal Audio Recorder, you can use that instead of a computer. Also I cheated supersonically. Both of those Macs have perfect Stereo In and Stereo Out. They will directly interface with the mixer. Almost all new Windows laptops won't do that and Macs won't, either.

Please note the more comprehensive techniques do have shortcomings. You will be recording the Final Mixed Show. No Option. There is no making Sally in Schenectady louder in post. There is no post. Audacity can't take apart a mixed show.

And you will be recording Skype and whatever Skype decides to do with the sound. My Up Link at home sucks. So my Skype voice is terrible when it arrives at a destination. Since I originate the show, it doesn't matter (to me).

Koz
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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kyleroussel » Thu Mar 30, 2017 5:50 pm

Thanks, Koz.

So to clarify - your view is that the way I'm doing it now (mixing together everyone's separately recorded audio) is the best way to go if sound quality is a priority?
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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Thu Mar 30, 2017 6:46 pm

your view is that the way I'm doing it now is the best way to go if sound quality is a priority

That is my view. You get the opportunity to individually adjust each voice for maximum quality and theatrical integration and the contributed voices never go through Skype compression and distortion.

You can mess that up a little if each guest is shipping their show to you as MP3. That's not recommended. Use WAV for everything until the final posting or whatever you do to the show. And even then, keep the WAV as show archive. You can make a WAV into anything else. Once you make an MP3, you're stuck with the MP3 distortion.

If you must use MP3 for transmission and file size considerations, use mono (not stereo) and the highest MP3 compression that will fit in, say Email if that's how you're getting the voices back and forth. My mail will allow 25MB attachments. You can use a file posting service, too.

256 mono MP3 quality is good. You can mess with that in post a lot before it falls apart. Several of my production machines normally record my voice in stereo (two blue waves) even though I'm using one microphone and last I looked, I only have one voice. Use the Drop-Down menus on the left of the track > Split Stereo to Mono and delete one of the two identical mono copies.

Where is your podcast?

Koz
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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:10 pm

I'm assuming each contributer is on headphones? You can go a very long way in Skype quality by not forcing it to perform echo cancellation and environment suppression.

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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kyleroussel » Thu Mar 30, 2017 7:34 pm

Yes, each contributor wears headphones. I'll have to poke around skype settings and see if there's anything more that I can do to bump up skype quality.

Any tips for ensuring that each contributor begins recording at the same time so that aligning them is easier? We do a cavemanesque countdown but it's always off by a little bit.

My podcast is about Star Wars. Latest episode can be found here: http://www.tumblingsaber.com/episode-68-can-of-worms/
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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:31 am

We do a cavemanesque countdown but it's always off by a little bit.

When they start recording is irrelevant. You have to all start the show at the same time.

I would try this. The remote performers hold one muff of their headphones up to their microphone and you say loudly "TIME MARKER" and clap your hands once. Each remote Skype will go bat bananas trying to keep that from going back down the line as an echo, but each local Audacity should be able to hear it and include it as a part of the show. From that point forward, unless somebody misses something, everybody will be in time to your master track. Line up the claps.

This is a cousin to the little dance that film and separate sound go through. Somebody goes in front of the movie camera and microphone after they start rolling and yells "CAMERA MARK" and closes the clapboard.

Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 5.25.40 PM.png
Screen Shot 2017-03-30 at 5.25.40 PM.png (19.12 KiB) Viewed 487 times

In post, line up the closing clapboard video and "bang" sound.

You got lucky if all your recorders are running at the same speed. Its not unusual for the shows to start in sync and drift out over time. You can solve that easily with Effect > Change Speed. That effect will let you put in the two times to be matched and it will figure out everything else. You can get a really good read on the amount off the remote locations are by inserting a similar marker at the end. "END TIME MARK"... Clap. Measure the difference when they submit for editing.

I expect you to have to compensate for that every time, but I also expect you to have to measure it only once.

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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:53 am

This is a very heavily edited engineering test I did with the two-computer system in the picture. We're on opposite coasts. Denise is three time zones away. Because we were both on headphones we didn't let Skype do any hard work, so it sounds remarkably good. She had troubles hearing me because my Up data link is terrible, but she sounds fine coming down. My line is that she sounds like she's on the sofa behind me. She's talking into her Mac laptop built-in microphone.

DeniseNewNewFinalEdit.mp3
(1.04 MiB) Downloaded 18 times


Since you're on Win10, you might investigate Pamela for recording Skype.

http://www.pamela.biz/en/products/

Pamela (in some versions) will give you a WAV stereo track with FAR on Left and NEAR on Right. If you have plain, two people talking to each other, that may be enough, but not four different performers.
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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Fri Mar 31, 2017 1:18 am

Forget recording Skype. You're never going to get that kind of show voice quality recording the stream. Cory needs a pop and blast filter. 1:20. "Podcasted that Sunday..."

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Re: Local AND remote audio fed in to Audacity

Permanent link to this post Posted by kyleroussel » Fri Mar 31, 2017 12:48 pm

Thanks for all the advice, Koz!

Cory certainly does need a pop filter. It's a bit like herding a cat with him, but we like him.

I'm going to put some of this to use the next time we sit down to record! Thanks again!
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