Need to fix reverb in recorded interview

I’m new at this. I recorded a 3-person Skype interview using a Yeti mic and the sound from my headphones was too loud so the mic picked up the other 2 voices and now I have a recording where 2 of the 3 voices have a strong echo. It’s not reasonable to ask the interview guest to redo the interview, so I have to try to fix/improve it.

I tried the SPL Deverb plugin and I could not achieve any significant difference. I’m now in a pretty bad position. Under some pressure and a podcast partner who is not too happy since there was another problem earlier with the same interview (which I resolved, the problem audio is from part 2 of the interview).

I can supply a sample of the audio if anyone is willing to help me figure this out.

I can supply a sample of the audio

Yes, but you shouldn’t depend on us performing miracles. Putting echoes and reverb in a show by accident is usually the kiss of death.

Forum postings are usually limited to 20 seconds mono (one blue wave) or 10 seconds stereo (two blue waves). WAV (not MP3) is recommended, particularly if we have to try surgery.

If you think more work is useful, post a larger chunk on an internet service and point us to it.

https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/how-to-post-an-audio-sample/29851/1

Koz

Thank you very much for your help.

I realize there are no miracles for this problem. Was mainly wondering if I could improve it.

I’ve attached a 10 sec WAV sample file.

I also put the full (part 2) of the interview in a public folder on Google drive here: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0BwndyrojqSmCd2VzandYczFieDA

While we wrestle with this, do you know what you did wrong so it never happens again?

Recording a Skype interview is not for the easily frightened. I did it with two computers and a small mixer.

This is an engineering test. Denise is four time zones away.

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

A number of podcasts do it that way.

The broadcast people have production sound mixers with communications built-in along with telephone connections, but that’s not particularly cheap.

We have been finding that all-in-one software solutions tend to change at the whim of Skype. Something that worked last week may not work today. The Pamela people recently got burned with that.

Am I being cheerful enough? As we go.

Koz

I don’t think that’s what you think it is. I think you were recording Skype echo processing instead of the show. That’s fairly common. Usually you get mars voices with crunchy tails on everything. You got lucky in that you can still understand the performers.

As we go.

Koz

It’s a mono show. You may have two blue waves, but they’re the same and the bouncing sound meters bounce exactly the same. You could have split the show in two (left-hand drop-down menu > Split Stereo to Mono), deleted one of them and sent 20 seconds of mono.

As we go.

Koz

I may have gotten the slightest improvement through brute-force cancellation.

I’m working with the forum posted sample.

Drop-down menu on the left > Split Stereo to Mono.
That gives you two independent mono sound tracks. You can play both or one or the other with the SOLO and MUTE buttons. They naturally try to play at the same time.

Select the bottom track by clicking just above MUTE. Effect > Invert.

That could give you total silence. The top and bottom tracks are now completely opposed to each other and cancel. Now select The Time Shift Tool (two sideways black arrows.)

Click the bottom track blue waves and move to the right very slightly. Play it. Chances are the echo got much worse. Now carefully tune the time shift left and right and you may find a place where the echo isn’t quite as bad.

You may need the Zoom tools. I only use three zoom tools out of the pile available.

Zoom (Windows)
– Drag-select something on the timeline and zoom into it. Control-E
– Zoom out a little bit. Control-3
– Zoom out full. Control-F

– Shift-ScrollWheel or Shift-TouchPadScrub will shift the timeline view left and right (sooner and later).

Change the timeline so it doesn’t shift by itself:
– Edit > Preferences > Tracks > [_] Update display while playing. (de-select)
Note: Update Display is good during recording.



Best of luck. If you change your recording technique for the better, post back how you’re doing it.

Koz

If you get tantalizingly close, but no cigar, Select the bottom track and Effect > Amplify. Change the top number, Amplify to -1 > OK.

You can Edit > UNDO and change that number higher (-2) or higher until it stops improving.

Koz

I’m going over this in my head. I have done recordings like this in conference mode. You put the Yeti on the table and talk to each person on speakers. The Yeti is connected to a separate recording computer. It picks up you direct and clean, and it picks up everybody else in Skype mix from the speakers. That totally does work. I’ve done international production meetings like that. What you can’t do is record on the Skype computer. Skype does Not Play Well With Others. It takes over the sound channels and there isn’t much you have to say about it.

You can also use a Personal Sound Recorder on the table instead of the Yeti and computer.

Of course it’s a given none of these computes can make noise. No fans.

Koz

I think you were recording Skype echo processing instead of the show.

That’s interesting. I recorded the first half of the interview with Pamela and it crashed on me. So we did part 2 a few days later and I used DVDSoft Skype call recorder. I think it works okay if I have my mic set properly but I will do some more testing. If I am recording the “Skype echo processing” I guess you are saying that the recording software did that, because Skype changed something.

I have been considering getting a small mixing board (which small mixing board did you use?). But I wanted to make sure we were serious about this podcast before I took the next step equipment-wise. In the past my partner has used Google hangouts to record the show and I stripped mp3 from the mp4 and edited that. But Google hangouts has problems with lags and audio glitches, and in this case our interview guest couldn’t use it, so we switched to Skype on the fly.

I’m looking at your suggestions/instructions and appreciate it. I saw a youtube video with a similar solution (I think) but I didn’t understand the mono/stereo split and such. Your instructions are clear.

Totally. Pamela used to be my go-to software until one forum poster had troubles…and Pamela threw in the towel.

Oooo. That was just not welcome news.

I cheated supersonically with that dual computer system, and the Pando Podcast did, too. Those MacBook Pro machines all have stereo line in and stereo line out connections. They will connect perfectly directly to a sound mixer with just a few cables.

Them days is gone forever. Nobody makes machines like that any more.

Had I been together about that photo shoot, I would have hidden the cables to make it look less like an explosion in a wire factory. That’s what I did in this photo. Everybody knows there are power cords, you don’t have to see them to make the point.

I wondered if someone else was making Skype recorder software.

Anybody check with Skype? Even if they have a paid package, it might be worth it. Pamela is paid.

because Skype changed something.

I can’t stress enough Skype became the top conference software on earth by viciously and brutally managing your computer sound services. It doesn’t matter how badly you mismanaged your computer, Skype always works.

The echo is too good and stable. I expect headphone leakage to sound more like squeezing a mouse and it might change depending on your head position. That echo is typical of the difference between the Recording and Playback sides of a conventional PC. Without going into even more detail, that echo is the reason you can’t always record multi-instrument overdubs on a PC (play all the band instruments yourself).

Your experience is normal.

There is one other experience. Some people launch Skype and Audacity, make a perfect recording and go home. They’re looking at the rest of us like we’re nuts. Those people are celebrity unicorns. We hope to goodness they don’t make a YouTube training video explaining how easy it is .

Reel Life Podcast

so we switched to Skype on the fly.

And that’s the exact time you place the personal recorder on the table between you and the Skype speakers. Use Skype’s terrific echo cancellation to do the heavy lifting.

Then later, when you have more time to mess with it, start dredging through the software solutions and other techniques.

More…

Koz

Whatever mixer you get must be able to perform Mix-Minus. It must actually be two mixers.

There’s no easy way to explain this. The Skype computer gets everything on the mixer except the guest’s own voice. Mix – Minus their voice.

Since your microphone is part of the regular mix, the guest can hear it just fine. They don’t hear their own voice which would be in terrific echo.

That’s why Denise sounds like she’s sitting on the sofa behind me. Skype is loafing.

I swear I have a graphic to illustrate how I did this…

Koz

But, no.

I think I remember what happened. I couldn’t figure a way not to turn it into a class on sound recording. This doesn’t boil down to two graphics and a comment.

I have a Peavey PV6, to answer you. I’ve been shooting paid gigs with it forever, so it was a natural. It might not be the best one for this job. It was available.

Do you remember the address of the other Skype user who did it through hardware?

Koz

Any luck with the echo cancellation?

Koz

There is one other insane way to do this. You have a second computer join the conference…but it doesn’t have a microphone. Its sole job is to record Skype. From its point of view, the Skype sound is the whole show.

We did that for a while, but people kept forgetting to start it…and then stop it.

“Did you remember to stop the recorder?”
“Oh, &$)(/!.”

Koz