We’re making a podcast using Audacity, and today we were due to release our Christmas Special. Unfortunately, when I got around to editing it last night, I found that of the 35 minutes we recorded, everything after the 3rd minute is muffled! At the exact time it muffled, a Java Auto-Updater popped up on my screen and made a noise, and I’m guessing it interfered with the recording as we’ve been using the laptop’s internal microphone (this has been a lesson enough to buy an external one).
I’ve messed around with the file as much as I can, but just can’t do anything to clear it up, but I’m sure there MUST be a way to salvage the audio and make it clearer! There must be! I’ve uploaded a small clip (muffled) both as an .mp3 and as a .aup to see if anyone fancies attempting to clear it up?
It would be the best Christmas present I could ever receive! Fingers crossed that something can be done.
Try the Equalization effect. I always recommend the Graphic EQ mode over the Draw Curves mode for “random experimentation”
Boosting the higher frequencies (say above 5kHz) will bring-out the “T” and “S” sounds. I think I’m hearing a resonance, maybe somewhere between 500Hz and 1kHz, so you might try dropping some of the lower-mid frequencies to see if that helps.
a Java Auto-Updater popped up on my screen and made a noise, and I’m guessing it interfered with the recording as we’ve been using the laptop’s internal microphone (this has been a lesson enough to buy an external one).
There are some Windows “Audio Enhancements” that may have somehow been switched-on. Check your Windows Control Panel to make sure all that stuff is turned-off.
A good “Podcast Mic” should help, although Windows can still foul things up. With a good podcast mic, good mic positioning and a good quiet sound-absorbing room, you can get nearly professional studio results… Assuming you have something professional-sounding to record.
For best results, each speaker should have their own mic recorded to it’s own track for separate control/mixing. But, using more than one USB mic is tricky (it may not work at all with Audacity) and not is generally recommended. The best solution would be two “studio style” condenser mics and an audio interface with proper low-impedance balanced XLR connections and phantom power for the condenser mics. But, that’s going to start at around $300 - $500 USD.
FYI - AUP files don’t contain the actual audio so we can’t listen to it.
.AUP is an Audacity Project information file, not sound.
If you have used the built-in microphone before and got reasonable results (it’s never going to win a Grammy), then it should be possible to do it again, reliably. Never let the computer do auto-updates. Update Services assume they’re the master of the computer, not you. You have to correct that assumption. If it makes you nervous, then turn off WiFi (isolate the computer from the internet) while you’re making a recording.
Also, as above, Windows has Auto Noise suppression tools that you can turn on and off; Windows Enhanced Services. If your show is completely voice, it may pay to have the most gentle of those running. They will not pass music or singing, however. Enhanced Services attacks any sustained notes assuming usually rightly that they are air conditioner noises or other environment sounds.
You need to sit in the corner and experiment with these different settings. Just before you sit down in front of a 35-member choir is not a good time to wonder what some of these tools do.
You may find that solving many problems with the small microphone will pay well if you decide to get a larger one. For one example, if you try to record in an echoey room with the small microphone, that problem is likely to get much worse with a better mic.
Also, fair warning, the step from one microphone to two is 300 feet, not a tiny hop. Computers will naturally handle one microphone, but two or more usually requires adding mixers, digitizers, cables and other complicated, expensive equipment.