Outdoor recording woes can I save this splashy dead disaster

Dear all,

1st post here so hope someone can help a new Audacity user

I recently traveled around Norway and stopped off at a free gig. It was in a local park and the resulting recording on my video is dire. It’s not a direct feed, just trough the video’s mic (so I am probably on to a looser already) The base and drums are flat, which is odd as there is some mid range reverb. The high hat splashes all over the place and the vocals are lost in the general mire. Added to that the fact that I have talking over some of the track and it’s pretty hopeless. I’ve tried eq-ing this without any real success. If I boost the mid range, which does lift the vocals it sound like they are signing down an old telephone. No idea if gating will lift stuff, at present I can’t find a sutable linux filter. Has anyone got any suggestions as to where to start? I’d really like to try and rescue this as best as I can as the band was good.



You’re probably listening to the automatic gain control inside the camcorder trying to follow the volume variations of the band. Most built-in microphones don’t follow bass notes too well because what most people want is Uncle Ted talking on his birthday and he has no bass notes in his voice. If you had a killer sound system, you would notice that the last two octaves of the performance are missing. The notes that make your shirt move.

People occasionally show up on the video forums with the same problem. “I recorded a lecture from the back of the hall…” There is no solution. You can change the damage but you can’t make the show better. The phrase that pays here is “I used the microphone on top of the camera.”

Unless that microphone happens to be a top-end, expensive Sennheiser shotgun…


… that’s pretty deadly.

There is a really bad joke about somebody writing the Professional Audio filter. Whatever you put in comes out sounding like a pro did it. Not written so far.



Hi Koz,

Never knew that, and you can’t put back what is not there. That said is there any way of improving what I have? The main problem is that the top end is splashing and there is a fairly random reverb, presumably caused by people moving around masking and revealing the surrounding structures in the park. I read that you can reduce (but not eliminate) this with a gate and have a filter in Audacity called ‘gate’ but have no idea what settings to use. The big problem is that I cannot adjust them and listen to the result live (as I can with my Behringer effect unit) so am having random stabs at it. Any suggestions as to some start values? There is a discussion here Stream Your Favorite Music Anytime, Anywhere | Music Streaming but much of it is beyond me.

Eqing the recording helps a bit as I can kill the worst of the top, is there anything else I might try?



<<<There really is no way to effectively remove reverb or echo once it’s on a recording. >>>

Let me talk about this for a second. Echoes are the speaker’s own voice coming back to the microphone later than the original performance. Anything that affects echoes also affects the performance. They’re the same person. The only thing different about echoes is that they are always lower level. That brings us to the volume keyer which can recognize sounds slightly lower than others and mark them or manage them. Because humans tend to have expression in their voice, this process works OK for one or two words. Then you have to reset it and test it for the next word.

The other thing you can do is edit the trailing edge of each word or phrase by managing the blue waveform. It can’t take any more than four or five years to patch a short performance.

So this is an engineering conundrum. Yes, technically, that could be done, but not by either of us in this lifetime. If you have enough gray hair, you remember people rescuing vinyl records by recording them onto plastic audio tape and cutting each pop out with a razer blade. Yes, you can do that.



I don’t know why not. That’s how I do it. Not exactly live, you have to equalize and then play the show to see what you did, but it’s not exactly flying blind. There is also a Preview function that will play a segment quickly to see what happened.

Once you get the show into the computer, you’re pretty much in “unreal time” no matter who’s editor you use. They make it as pleasant as possible given what it has to do in software.