Passing the ACX test, BUT does it sound any good?

I would try and shy you away from the Rode NT1a, it’s just far too bright and harsh sounding.

The NT1-a is incredibly bright. I own a pair and actually kinda like them for drum overheads, but they’re next to useless on vocals IMO.

So that’s two easy-to-find votes plus cyrano.

That’s scary isn’t it? I wonder if this was a political microphone and not an engineering one. The marketing people designed it.

I’m not sure where to go from here. Did you save the receipts?


Removing the headphones hasn’t made any difference : the frequency-bias is the same,
( if the headphones were responsible the frequency-response would have changed ).

I think moving-back has helped : the energy in the sibilance is now just low-enough to be de-ess-able , see …

Maybe move back even further : you could find the optimum distance from the mic in one take …
"I am 25 centimetres from the mic , ‘she slumped upon the chaise long’ .
I am 50 centimetres from the mic , ‘she slumped upon the chaise long’ .
I am 75 centimetres from the mic , ‘she slumped upon the chaise long’
" etc, repeat till you can’t go back any further.

When you review that test-recording the optimum-distance from the mic should become apparent.

I did a custom equilization and that helped a little.


It’s insanely difficult to split the hyper crispness from the normal, clear speech.

… de-click and EQed.flac

That came out well.

That’s only three extra filters and effects on each chapter. This in addition to the ACX tools. The robot is still out there lurking.

I think I need to sit down for a minute.

On my chaise lounge.


Courtesy of Paul-L’s De-Ess and De-Click plugins
Paul-L De-esser settings used.png
My usual strategy with de-essing is to err on the side of too-much , then use the equalizer to boost the entire track in the frequency-range of the de-esser, so the whole track becomes brighter/crisper, without the sibilant-bits being excessive.

OK. So to bring this home. What are all the production steps and in what order?

Which reading came out the best and how far away was it from the microphone? I think you go first and then I’ll apply the rumble filter, mild Compression, and Normalize level set. Don’t forget the download steps and addresses. This stuff isn’t built into Audacity (yet).


Here is a short recording, female vocal, Rode NT1-A, no effects.
Unfortunately this came to me as an AAC file and there is some compression damage, but there is no huge high frequency peak.

So are we calling it a broken microphone? Preamplifier? Bad match between the microphone and the preamp? How do you tell across multiple time zones? If I had that happen, I would try the microphone in many different mixers and preamplifiers and note what happened.

We can’t do that here.

there is no huge high frequency peak.

You are the odd man out. This result is significantly different from many other postings. I didn’t need many Google hits at all to get listings of different people who had the same troubles. Correct me, that makes it a bug—or product defect in this case.

I guess following the expected pathway, we should take it up with the maker.


oops : ignore what was here . [ I used reafir in EQ mode when I should have used it in compressor mode to de-ess ] :blush:

Here’s a [Windows only] plug-in designed specifically to reduce sibilance …
( only I found it yesterday, but results are very good IMO : unlike Paul-L’s de-esser it has an adjustable knee ).
TB_Sibilance-V3 in Audacity 2-1-1.gif
The free demo version is of this plugin is a bit “crippled” but still usable.
[ $20 dollars for an activation-code to unlock all the features , which is comparatively cheap ].

Maybe fixing a possibly busted microphone isn’t such a bad idea.

What happens when you call the supplier or the maker and complain about this? “Harsh, overly crisp sound from my new microphone.”


Do we have a sound sample without the Kaotica eyeball?
If not, could we have one with just the Rode pop filter and a mouth-to-mic distance of about 15 cm.

Hey y’all…sorry for the absence. I had to have a sanity break. And I had to do some work :wink:

Firstly, yes I am speaking to the yellow dot!

Hmm, I can upload a without-eyeball sample, but it ain’t pretty. I shall do that tmrw. The eyeball, to me, is a miracle-worker in terms of treating small bathroom-like spaces.

Guess I could as Koz suggests go back to Rode, it’s a legitimate complaint! I had a great time (and results) working with an NT1A previously, but this is a new one. You guys have expert ears, and I’m not sure how much of a problem my problems are to non-expert ears (controversial!)? But I am concerned about the crisp, essy-ness. I feel like there’s no middle in the sound…
Wonder if I can get a replacement from Rode…anyone any experience in dealing with them?

Guys, gals - thank you

Please do. I don’t mind if it’s not pretty :wink:


Also if you really are in a “bathroom like space” that might well explain the excessively harsh sibilance. The eyeball is succeeding at masking most of the resonance of the space.


I can’t think of a room or environment that can give a nice neat haystack sibilance like that. If you run the microphone close to a flat surface (but not on it), you get comb filtering, wine glass effects as each tone falls into and out of cancellation. As you get further and further away, it just turns into larger and larger bathrooms.

I’m with cyrano that you can get this kind of thing with resonances and mismatches between the microphone and preamp…with transformers. Correct me, nobody has made a transformer-based preamp in 15 years.

I can imagine an outlandish scenario like the microphone has been designed to correct for transformer resonances and now that they’re gone, it acts funny. That’s taking the problem upside down.

Still, the Google search is littered with people having exactly the same problem. I wonder what Rode says.


It makes me completely insane when somebody with a good voice and terrific presentation (the hard parts) encounters one stupid problem and the whole thing falls apart.


Koz I think I love you!

Yeah…well I’m glad to hear questions about the room…I had assumed it was the room. I have covered it in not very deep pyramid type foam, and laid a thick carpet, and it not being a total ‘box’ (there are sloping ceilings), I thought it was reasonable, but still with a little bathroom echo - hence the use of the eyeball.

So here is this morning’s bit of raw audio heaven…at 15cm from the mic, with the standard rode pop filter, nowt else.

The whistley “T” sounds are not due to the the room . IMO it’s your teef . No dentistry required though; it’s fixable with Paul-L’s “DeEsser”, ( it’s not being used to de-ess on these settings : it’s de-whistling the "T"s ) …

This processed version has only been de-whistled, (then DeClicked) , it has not been de-essed : it still has the original sibilance above 6.5KHz