Audio file suddenly sounds like I got a squeaky toy...

I actually don’t tend to use headphones when I record. I did later this afternoon when I was trying to hear the sound as I recorded, but not during the initial recordings.

I just went and purchased a second mic, for the sake of experiment (and desperation). I grabbed another laptop, and went to town. Both have squeaks. Out of frustration, I even tried different software, and still had plenty of clarinet noises throughout.

I’m left thinking…is it somehow me? No, but really, I’m going crazy over here.

I grabbed another laptop, and went to town. Both have squeaks.

That would have been my guess. I don’t think it’s acoustic. Acoustic errors have a signature since they’re related to the sounds in the show. These don’t appear to.

So that leaves environment. Where’s your cellphone during all this? Do you have any BlueTooth equipment or connections? Do you have those Philips LED lightbulbs that change color with the time of day or other stimulus?

How are you reading your script? I saw somebody performing while constantly squinting at his cellphone and I wondered where his script was.

[Booming Kettle Drum Sound]

Oh. Right. I wonder if he remembered to turn off the bell.

Other than “headset,” we don’t know a lot about your setup. How are you recording, exactly?

I read through that several times. It gets worse while you’re editing? We should be careful about this, because if you use compressors or other strong-arm tactics in post production, you could be making your own voice louder, but also making the noise more prominent—and it’s always been there.


I’m just now casting my mind back and I have a live sound clip I made with a similar problem. “What’s that little beep in the dialog?”

Can you make it worse?

Make a 10 minute recording of nothing. Room Tone. You go make tea. Anything there?
Now make a recording where you present major sound groups. A couple of seconds of sssssss. several of shshshshshsh. MMMMMMM, ooooooooooo. etc. My problem seemed to get excited during sibilants in my delivery. I never went back to track it down.

Koz

The artifact seems to correlate with strong sibilance …
artifact seems to correlate with white-hot sibilance.gif
if that’s the case it rules-out interference from other electrical devices as the cause.

Any real-time processing hardware used before Audacity records the sound ?, e.g. compressor / expander / de-esser .
[ A de-esser would be triggered by strong sibilance ].

Yeah, but a de-esser’s reason for being is to suppress sounds, not make new ones. I need to recreate my shoot and see if I can reproduce the noise. We are walking around in the dark. This is not a common problem and I, at least, can’t think of a way to intentionally create the error. It doesn’t count if it violates Occam, either.

If the error can’t be controlled in any way, that’s not good news.

Koz

What about a mismatch in sampling-frequency between Audacity & the sound-card, so it’s unintentionally functioning as a frequency-divider , ( like those bat-detectors which make ultrasonic audible ).

It looks like the “clarinet” artifact frequency is ~1/10th the frequency of the sibilance corresponding with it …

If that was the case, the problem is occurring continuously, but only becomes conspicuous when loud high-frequency sound occurs. ( 1/10th of 200Hz is 20Hz which is inaudible , 1/10th of 7000Hz is 700Hz which is audible ).

If that is the problem the solution would be to make sure the sound-card & Audacity are operating at the same sample-rate.

So that leaves environment. Where’s your cellphone during all this? Do you have any BlueTooth equipment or connections? Do you have those Philips LED lightbulbs that change color with the time of day or other stimulus?

Cellphone stays in another room (partly for noise/interference potential, partly because I get all OOH, A NOTIFICATION). I literally unplugged everything in the house but the fridge when I first had my frenzy about this; I keep a small 40 watt bulb in a desk lamp, but even that is off right now.

I record with just a mic (yeti usually for warmth, sometimes an AT, tried both) and a laptop (tried a mac, tried two different dells), in a baffleboxed tent of sorts (see here: I passed ACX's QC...but the end result sounds horrible. - #15 by MarieM), although I’ve moved it to a different wall since those pictures to avoid being on an outside wall. I own pre-amps and a few more technical doodads from years ago when I did more radio work, but for audiobooks, this has been really all I needed. I know the bane of audio recording issues is someone with a USB mic and a laptop, but for the most part, I haven’t had many problems besides a hum that turned out to be my radon (which is thoughtfully easy to turn off).

I never had this issue during previous recordings.

It gets worse while you’re editing?

I thought it did, but I’m pretty sure I was wrong. I think I just didn’t notice it until edits, when I was listening to things really closely. While I do normalize and occasionally a few other gizmos, I noticed it before processing - I was just doing basic edits - removing duplicate sentences, cleaning up occasional mouth smacks, etc. I did throw a notch filter at that particular file to remove a hum at 50.

When I record room tone, I get a whole lotta nothing. I talk, it happens, and I seem to notice it more with vowels. I’m now 95% sure it’s me. If I wear headphones and listen to it live as I record, I hear it happen sometimes. I apparently morphed into a $&^#ing squeaky toy overnight. I’ve tried a lot in the last two days - uber hydration, 8 hours of straight voice rest before recording, drinking frequently WHILE recording (water, not liquor, unfortunately, although that may change), and just listening to myself and repeating sentences in different ways until I don’t squeak, which is making each chapter take 3 times long to record and edit.

Which means I put you wonderful people through a lot of hoops!

I do have a question though - on your spectrogram, I can see them so clearly (beyond the fact you helpfully highlighted them) - when I look at the spectrogram myself, I can hardly ever find the buggers. Is there anything you’re doing that I could use to help me out? I’m going to TRY to move forward and aggravatingly repeat sentences until I don’t sound like a clarinet (until I can perhaps see a physician who will likely treat me like I’m nuts), but for the worst honks (and for the honks that occur during emotional scenes) I’m trying to figure out how best to diminish them without 5000 re-recordings.

Thank you guys so much for your help!

Edited to clarify: I can’t hear myself doing this without the headphones recording back live to me. I can’t feel a change in my voice or anything or that nature, so that’s why I’m not 100% sure its me. That, and sometimes it sounds oddly digital in nature. I’ve had my SO sit here and listen to me record while it happens and he swears up and down there is no underlying clarinet happening from me. I did a short recording in a different (but much noisier area) and didn’t have any squeaks, but I have also been able to get it to not happen by changing how I say a sentence. To end, I’m confused as balls, but I’m the only constant in each situation.

only becomes conspicuous when loud high-frequency sound occurs.

Yeah. That was mine. I got it immediately trailing a word ending with very aggressive SSS sound.

I gotta go back to my notes…

I just didn’t notice it until edits

The clip would have sailed right by me until it was flagged and noted.

I’m the only constant in each situation.

That’s not true. We’re confused, too.

But now I have something to chew on since I can semi-create a similar problem under speech conditions.

Koz

Which means I put you wonderful people through a lot of hoops!

It’s good to be able to say we know how to cure it when additional people arrive with this problem.

Koz

If all your tests were done in the same room (which has the tent) it could be something in the room/tent other than you.
Something capable of resonating like a bell, the shade on the desk lamp ? , or a tin/vase/jar ?
shade on desk lamp , tin with pens . glass jar.png

Like that?

Now I need to remember how I did that…

Koz

Correct me, but hasn’t this been problem at the leading and trailing edges of the sound? Those are traditionally magic with modulation effects. Maybe the system can’t handle the extra tones generated normally when a sibilant turns on and off.

Are you using 44100Hz for a sampling frequency? Does it change if you use video standard 48000Hz? Does your system support the Recording Studio sample rate of 96000?

Koz

I second that different sample rates be tried, [actually I proposed it …

Something capable of resonating like a bell, the shade on the desk lamp ? , or a tin/vase/jar ?

Ever since I moved the desk off the back wall last week, none of the tchotchkes are on it. I took the lamp off two -ish days ago when I was desperate to find the source of the issue and unplugged the whole house :smiley:

My actual setup is like this:

Except theres a missing baffle box behind the desk at the moment. I’ve tried with and without the laptop stand; I tried standing versus sitting in case it was the chair; and I do have an “announcing tunnel” thing (box with foam in it for the mic) but I hate recording in it because it well, sounds like I’m recording in a box. I tried recording with it last night, but the squeaks were the same.

Correct me, but hasn’t this been problem at the leading and trailing edges of the sound?

I feel like it happens more (when I’m hearing live) over vowel sounds. If I’m doing my “manly” voice, it doesn’t happen. I don’t have a high pitched voice anyway, but it seems to happen most when I’m talking at naturally. I initially thought that when I spoke very fast, it wasn’t occurring, but on listening back to some things, I find I’m wrong.

When I brought my mic out to my “main” desk, where I recorded my very first book that had a pervasive computer hum through the whole thing (slap my hands, I know), I felt it didn’t occur. But I only recorded like, 15 seconds worth of audio, so I’m going to try again tonight to read a few minutes worth and see if its something in the damn room.

Are you using 44100Hz for a sampling frequency? Does it change if you use video standard 48000Hz? Does your system support the Recording Studio sample rate of 96000?

Here’s my sample rate:

http://i.imgur.com/YNiCQtj.png

I know I can set audacity to say, 48000 or 96000, but I’m unsure by how I know if my system supports it, or how I ensure my sound card and Audacity are at the same rate? It didn’t happen in the last book, and it’s the same laptop and system, but god knows weirder things have happened. I haven’t tried yet to record at those samplings because unfortunately, I have to go to that damn “real job” thing in a moment, but I’ll attempt recordings tonight.

That’s Audacity’s default setting of 44.1kHz.

It looks like the Yeti mics either run at 48kHz or 192kHz for the Pro version, (the latter only comes in black) …

Does it still do it exactly the same way using 48000 sampling?

It’s insanely valuable to be able to break it at will. I know the goal is a clean presentation, but we need tools to get there.

Koz

t looks like the Yeti mics either run at 48kHz or 192kHz for the Pro version, (

If it were a sampling issue, is it more likely then I would’ve run into this before now?

Regardless, I made quick samples tonight at both 96 and 48. At 48, I still squeak, at 96, it starts clipping and cutting…although, I don’t hear squeaks through it. I have no idea if thats a win or not.

I had to resample the 96 file to 48 as an mp3 when I exported, or the file would be too large in WAV format (<20 seconds of audio).

Also, we have a lot of thunderstorms running the area tonight, so my background isn’t clean as it could be.

Does it still do it exactly the same way using 48000 sampling?

I feel like the squeaks at 48 are higher pitched maybe? I honestly couldn’t pinpoint through the storm, and my headset is in sore need of replacing come this payday.

I can’t hear any artifacts on the one labelled “48 sample”, but the one labelled “96 sample” has LOTs of drop outs ,
( the computer can’t keep up with that high-rate and it’s missing little bits ).

I can’t hear any artifacts on the one labelled "48 sample

I can, particularly at 14 seconds, when I say “only”. There’s one between 8 and 9 seconds as well, just not as noticeable. I need to find the phrase I read for the first sample, see if that brings out as many.

I can I would’ve run into this before now?
I can’t hear any artifacts…
…I can

And there you have the insidious nature of the problem. I was on the fourth pass listening to my recording before I heard it.

Koz

And there you have the insidious nature of the problem

For real. The first time I noticed, I had literally gotten through about 14 minutes worth of audio, then suddenly was like…“what’s that squeak?”. Go back to the beginning and I can hear it every 10-15 seconds, and in bad areas, every 3-5. If it didn’t occur too often, I might just cross my fingers and try to shove it through ACXs qc on the hopes they won’t notice, but it’s one of those things that once you begin to notice it, you can’t _un_notice it.