Reducing "hollow" sound in recording

We are using Audacity to record audio plays to upload to our Podcast site - www.SpringlineAmdram.Podbean.com and have Zoom H1n, H4n and H6 recorders to create our sound files.
As we are sticking to social distancing rules under the current lock down rules, each of our cast members are recording their parts separately - at home. Hence some of the recording are not done in an ideal recording studio condition. So some or all of the sound files come over as being in a “hollow” - I think the technical term is “dry”.

Does anyone have any ideas as to how we might improve the quality of the end sound files or can point us to online tutorials that might help?

Thanks - David, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom

The problem sounds like reverb in the room.
The only real way to prevent that is acoustic treatment of the room, (heavy blankets, thick foam, carpet),

There are de-reverb plug-in$ to reduce reverb in post-production,
but they generate computery artefacts … https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/slight-boxy-sound-on-voice-recording/55407/6

I designed a kitchen table sound studio, but it turns out buying furniture moving pads in the UK is much harder than in the US. But that’s the idea.

https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/too-compressed-rejection/52825/22

That’s an H4 on a roll of paper towels. The towels also help isolate the recorder from table and floor noises.

Heavy blankets of any kind will help. Don’t forget to put one on the table.

There is one other technique. Anybody with a car can try recording in the back seat. The car can make a remarkably quiet “studio” in a pinch. One of the production people routinely turned in very good voice tracks and I asked how he did it. He said, “My Toyota.”

How are you doing the coordination between the voices? It’s not like you can make a backing music track and everybody can play to it. If you’re editing these sentence by sentence, somebody is going to the retirement home editing these things.

Koz

but it turns out buying furniture moving pads in the UK is much harder than in the US.

Indeed it seems rather odd. I just did the experiment of searching for “moving blankets” the US amazon.com site and immediately turned up the familiar quilted blanks at ~$75 US for a dozen. Searching the UK amazon.co.uk site I see them offered in singles for about 24 pounds sterling each, Yikes!

However they do have blankets of quite difference appearance for a reasonable price. They appear to rag-mix that is close quilted into a mat. I suspect that for reverb suppression they would work just fine.

The editing process is not as bad as it sounds. Merging the sound files and using the pauses in between the speeches help. And we have a system with our cast that they clearly indicate where reading errors are made so that we can cut out the “mistakes”.
Finalising a Sherlock Holmes short story which should be posted onto PodBean.com within the week.
The next one is “The War of the Worlds” which should be interest because of all of the SFX opportunities.
The idea of recording in the back seat of the car shoulda like an option. Thanks.

Wouldn’t regular blankets do the same thing?

Oh indeed they would, as would quilted bedspreads,tapestries or carpet scraps. Basically anything to damp the reflections off the hard surfaces.

We only suggest moving blankets because (at least here in the USA) they are readily available and relatively inexpensive.

Please note that light, fluffy duvets need not apply. Heavy blankets, carpets, etc. are called for.

As it says in the description, each of my moving blankets is heavy.

The pads are 72" by 80". They’re heavy. Each of mine weighs 17 lbs. Lighter is not good. We’re not after comfort or low shipping weight. We’re after dead weight. The sound has to move those pads to get in.

But on the other side of that, anything you do is better than free air and having your voice bang around the room.

Koz

Found it. My design is based on an actual product.

https://voiceoveressentials.com/product/porta-booth-plus

You can just buy one.

I note many home booth designs are missing a step. They don’t put a blanket or padding on the bottom. There should only be one unpadded surface and that’s the opening for you.

This designer seems to have it together. He must be in the US. He went straight for the furniture pads.

https://blog.landr.com/diy-vocal-booth/

Koz

In these lockdown times I “go” to a weekly on-line folk gig from the couple’s home.

Last week (just for a change of scenery on their part) they hung up patterned quilts behind them. You wouldn’t believe the improvement in the sound quality :sunglasses:

Peter.

You wouldn’t believe the improvement in the sound quality

I would.

In order of appearance:

Pad one wall.

Pad either adjoining wall.

Pad the floor (or ceiling if you can).

Fill in the remaining bare surfaces one at a time until you get to all four walls, floor and ceiling.

There is a caution. The room is going to change sound each time you add a wall, so don’t start a show and finish it with a different number of walls.

This is a 5/6 studio.

I’m taking the picture between two of the pads. Note there’s a folder-over pad on the floor.

Koz