I’m creating a new desktop setup, and trying to get the quality as high as I can. But after I listen to audioclips for a little while, I get confused and can’t remember well, can’t hear it “fresh” any more.
I am using Windows 10 on a Dell desktop PC that’s 6 months old. I am using Audacity 3.0.2. I have a Zoom H2 mic, connected to the PC tower through a Plextone GS3. I have a soft voice and struggle to get volume high without too much ambient noise.
The Mic Gain on the H2 is High. The Mic Gain on Audacity is 75%. The Audio Host is Windows Direct Sound.
I have been using Audacity for 10 or 15 years, and have 8 home-recorded books for sale on Audible. But when I listen to some of the old book files I made, they now sound awful to me.
I’m attaching a 24 sec mp3 clip titled “Adam”. When I listen to this on earbuds it sounds terribly echo-y. When I listen through my soundbar, it sounds pretty good.
I haven’t processed this clip at all. Would you have any advice about how to improve it (apart from the clicking)?
I’m also trying to get a good setup for live audio like Zoom meetings
That means you can’t fix your voice later. There is no later.
Describe your recording environment. It’s a closet, right? That’s what it sounds like. Those can work OK as long as you leave all the clothing in there.
No question the best simple thing you can do to sound good to other Zoom users is wear headphones. Over half of the odd-sounding Zoom sound processing distortion goes away when you do that.
If you work hands-free, no headphones, Zoom has to work to keep the far side voice out of your voice. If you have a bare room, that can be pretty serious processing and distortion to your voice. Even earbuds or earphones would work. Anything to keep the far-side voice out of your room.
Even better if your Zoom Room doesn’t have echoes, bare walls or plain, wooden floor. If you do both of those fixes, quiet room and earphones, you can sound like you’re in their room with them.
And your voiceover voice will be much better. Audacity can’t apply filters, effects or corrections in real time. You have to fix the room.
Mainly***** via an AutoEQ plugin, that flattens the peaks & troughs in the spectrum automatically.
The cheapest AutoEQ plugin I know of is hornet-thirtyone. (The price varies: $15-$30)
You can try the demo version before you buy: the demo version inserts spoiler silence every ~30 seconds.
I have the Mk1 version of hornet-thirtyone working in Audacity on Windows.
(Audcaity on Windows can only use 32-bit versions of plugins, even if you computer is 64-bit).
But as Koz was saying, the results are better if you apply acoustic treatment to your recording space, (e.g. heavy blankets, cushions), than trying to filter-out the peaks & troughs in the frequency-analysis afterwards.
Thank you, Trebor! I can see that’s going to be a steep learning curve for me.
And thank you, Koz. Yes, I’ve got to make the audio setup as good as possible for live events, because "there is no “later.”
What needs improvement, in my current set up?
I am in a spare bedroom with a wall of books behind me (my home office).
The mic (H2) is in front of me on my wooden desk. I have the mic set to “Front.”
I’m hoping that because it’s set to “Front,” what’s behind it doesn’t matter. About 15" behind the mic is the computer monitor with a Logi webcam on top. Beyond that, more books, a sofa, and filing cabinet. There’s a rug on the wooden floor but it’s not high-pile.
I haven’t been doing this, but I can certainly wear an earbud, so the voice is not coming out of the sound bar during interviews. I guess that is not a problem when recording.
Now, what sounds wrong to you, in my audio clip? What recommendations do you have?
The sound bar shouldn’t be doing anything during recording or Zooming.
There’s something serious wrong with your voice. As I posted, it sounds like you’re recording in a small closet. Totally off from your desctiption of the room. I’d make detailed suggestions, but we’re still not sure which H2 you have.
You could try gently tapping the different sides of the mic, (&* the computer/monitor),
whilst doing a test-recording to check you are recording from the correct side of the external microphone.
When reviewing the recording the loudest tapping noise will reveal what you are recording from
[ * it’s possible to accidentally record from the mic built-in to the computer/monitor ]
It is the original H2. I remember you told me awhile back that this one is the best.
If it’s in good shape, yes. We should also remember it could be as much as 14 years old. I see the memory chip cover is missing. Historical searches tell me the brief, original issue of this recorder had microphone problems.
I’m not just making that up. If the time values are all 00 00 00 and you can’t set the internal clock, that may be the end of the H2. The internal systems may be too old to hold adjustments and settings. So wherever you set the microphones may not be where they’re actually running, which could explain the odd sound.
Basic troubleshooting. Reduce the problem to simple steps and see if you can find the steps that aren’t working right. So far we have computer capture that may be applying filters and effects, a cable and interface system that may be causing problems, and an H2 that may be too old for the job.
Identify and get the instruction manual. Disconnect all the cables and interfaces. Put fresh AA Batteries in. See if you can set the Date and Time and that it sticks.