Shure PG42 and Recording Tips, Advice, Etc.

Hi everyone, I’ve been getting really into recording video games with commentary and was looking for some feedback or advice on recording settings. I use a Shure PG42 USB microphone and it sounds really great but I think it could sound better with a bit of tweaking with levels, gains, positioning, etc.

The microphone’s gain is set to max at the moment, -15 db, and I have the Low Frequency Rolloff is being used as well. I have a shock mount for the microphone, a pop filter, wind screen, and small towels under the shock mount just to absorb some more vibrations. The microphone level in Windows 7 is 10/100. I don’t have that much space in my recording room so my computer is pretty close to my microphone which does give off a lot of background/white noise. When I record, my mouth is about 10-11 inches away from the microphone (it depends on the game that I am playing). The setup I have is great, but I feel like with some tweaking it could help make it better.

Any help, advice, and tips on levels, gains, placement, or anything I could be doing wrong or messing up would help immensely! I will link a video I recorded yesterday to help clarify the audio quality and if you think it could be improved.

Thank you to anyone who can give advice or feedback, audio is so difficult to get perfect and I just want my audio quality to be the best it can be :smiley:

Whose gate are you using? _ou have to be _areful with a _ate because it likes to _ut off the beginnings of _ords. The other thing it does is switches in and out of natural background noise. It’s normal to think during a show when the background drops to the Silence Of Space, there is either something broken, or the show is over.

Using a Gate will get you rejected from ACX AudioBooks for “overprocessing.”

If you’re trying to push away the computer noise, what’s the possibility of putting the computer in a different room and remote the Keyboard, Monitor and Mouse. I know you were wanting an equalizer setting to turn you into a Hollywood Celebrity (overrated, trust me), but Simple/Plain Sound Recording kills more people than anything else.

If you have a shock mount for the microphone, chances are good you don’t need the towel. If you poke the microphone, does it wiggle a little bit? That takes care of vibrations and noise making their way up the microphone mount and into the show. Be sure the microphone cable isn’t tight. You can send mechanical noise up that way, too. Make sure you can tap the cable and it moves a little. A little sloppy? A little droop?


If you need a place for the towel, spread it on the desk. Reflections from a hard desk can have a sound; a tight echo or comb effect (talking into a wine glass).

Other than a struggle with the noises, I think everything else is working. I didn’t have any trouble following you once the game got going. I think basic voice quality is good to go.

I personally would have cut off that flopping around, dithering and long silences at the beginning. Nothing less entertaining than watching somebody having a conversation with a person you can’t see or hear. Editing is a big deal.


So you’re saying that the equalizer is disrupting the sound quality?

The issue is that there’s not really a possibility at the current setup of putting the computer in a different room. I use the noise reduction to get the white noise out as best I can and then downloaded the noise gate plugin so that there’s less of the unnecessary small noises heard.

I had the towel kind of just under the microphone itself, I will fix that and spread it on the desk. My desk is a wooden surface desk but below that is all metal like steel made in the 1990’s. I also checked the microphone if it was too tight and it wasn’t too tight or anything but I did find one of the cables didn’t connect through all the way. The microphone seems steadier after I fixed that issue.

Should I just not equalize the audio after I do the noise reduction and noise gate and just normalize the voice audio with the game audio so it doesn’t disrupt the sound quality?

Thank you for helping me out kozikowski!

While this is some of the best advice I’ve seen so far, I myself am having some hard times with my mic. I have the Shure PG42-LC model (Which doe NOT have a Gain turn dial, headphone port, or any of those fancy-schamncy things, just a little flip switch for switching between two different settings of some sort… I need to reread the manual) and I have been trying to record vocals to use in songs but I can never get the audio to sound studio quality, while everyone else (Including big names like Markiplier and Jacksepticeye) seem to do this with ease.

I remember before my Yeti died I had to mess around with things like the Project Rate and such, and I was just wondering if I had to do the same with my new mic. If so, what are those specs and what are some things I can do to try to clean up the audio and achieve that studio quality I’m looking for?

Also, I’m using the shock-mount that came with the mic attached to a MS7701B Tripod Boom Microphone Stand. I don’t have a pop filter unfortunately (the one I used for my Yeti went missing and I have no idea where it might be - I need to dig through my storage) and I record in my room, so there’s probably some room-reverb going on, even though I never really here it in the recording and my room is kind of small. I think my mic’s model automatically tries to reduce reverb, but I’m not sure. My chords are loose… maybe too loose, I probably need to tie them down a bit but they don’t move around when I’m recording. Also, I’m using Audacity 64-bit and I’m running on Windows 10… though the laptop I’m using is three years old and starting to glitch out a bit. I need to get a new one.

You can be in a $200,000 studio and if you have the improper input settings, you will receive sub-par recordings that sound very UN professional. The two switches you have are common on quality condenser mics. One will reduce the sensitivity called “padding” and the other is probably a “low cut filter” that will automatically cut the frequencies around 80 to 100Hrz from being picked up through the mic. This is also refereed to as a “High Pass” switch. It allows the high frequencies to pass through the mic while trapping the low frequencies.

As far as your input level, that should be between a -6 and -18dbs. That is the best “signal to noise” ratio that can be achieved for digital recordings. If you are going straight into your computer without the use of a pre amp and you have to max out your gain in order to get between the -6 and -18dbs, that will effect your quality as well.

that will automatically cut the frequencies around 80 to 100Hrz from being picked up

Frequencies below 80 Hz to 100 Hz.

Game recording is a juggling act between your voice, game sound and keyboard/computer noise. I don’t know we ever solved the keyboard noise problem other than make your voice as loud as possible without overload—which is good advice in most recording.

Shure PG42-LC

That microphone takes a microphone preamplifier (and phantom power). How are you getting the sound into the computer? USB MicPre? Adapting a microphone like that to a built-in computer soundcard is not recommended.

there’s probably some room-reverb going on

I’ve been surprised how much room reverb you can have in a music recording and still have it “pass.” Echo that would just kill you in spoken word recordings seems to fit right in with a song. There’s a song producer doing reasonable recordings with a full band smashed into his tiny Brooklyn apartment. No soundproofing I could tell.


You also need to make sure you record @ 44,100Kbps and if you render in MP3, set the output at 320Kbps and choose Constant Bit Rate. CDs are produced @ 320 Kbps. Here is the link to your mics spec sheet.

I use a AKG P 120. I like yours better. :wink:

:slight_smile: I enjoyed the video. OK, so it’s not technically perfect, but it’s not at all bad and your enjoyment came over very well. Too often game commentary videos either sound so “professional” that they completely lose the sense of “fun”, or the sound quality is dreadful. The “in-game” commentary is also hilarious: “You are dead… Hello… is anyone out there to remove this body?”

The one thing that I found distracting was, as Koz commented, the abrupt switching from your voice to deathly silence. Excessive background noise can be a distraction, but a bit of background noise is less distracting than suddenly chopping to “blackness of space” silence. Do as much as you can to reduce acoustic echoes and background noise in the recording environment (difficult with computer fans running, but do what you can), and go easy on the noise reduction and noise gating. If you really need to use the gate at all (I would try to manage without if possible), then set it to reduce the level less severely, and set it to switch in and out more slowly (longer attack / release).

Reading manuals is highly recommended for anything technical :wink:
According to the on-line user guide:
There is a -15dB attenuation switch. That will need to be at the “0” position.
And there is a “low-frequency response” switch. If you use a pop filter and have that switch in the “cutoff” position, then you probably won’t need to us a low-cut filter in Audacity.

If you can’t find it, you could make one from a wire coat hanger and a (clean) pair of ladies tights/stockings/pantyhose. Search Google for “DIY Pop Filter”. Alternatively you could probably get one off ebay for about $5. Don’t bother with the “foam muffler” type thing - the thin fabric screen type are much more effective.

There isn’t a 64-bit version of Audacity for Windows or Mac. All genuine Windows / Mac releases of Audacity are 32-bit (still works fine on 64-bit machines).
The current version is 2.1.3 and it is available here:

You’ve not told us how your mic is connected to the computer. That is very relevant information, especially with regard to sample rate and recording level (you should be aiming for a maximum peak recording level of around -6 dB. It doesn’t matter if you go a bit under or over, but it is essential that the recording level remains below 0 dB at all times. In the Audacity recording meters, you should see the level occasionally going into the yellow region, but the “clip indicators” should never trigger (see:

You’ve not told us how you are putting the audio and video together.
If the software that you are using to do that supports WAV format, then export from Audacity as 16-bit WAV. Never use MP3 format during the production stages.

Off topic, but to correct the misinformation:
Redbook standard audio CD is 1411 Kbps (two-channel 16-bit PCM encoding at a 44.1 kHz sampling rate per channel).

Don’t believe everything you read on this forum, regardless of how many post they may have made or what status they may hold. I clearly stated MP3.

You clearly stated:

If you wish to argue, please do so in a new topic.

There is no argument. I stand by my post. I also see who has the authority to go “off topic”. In America we have a saying. “Practice what you preach”. Funny, you boys only responded the This OP, after I did. Circle your wagons and give it your best shot! Get over losing the tea party in Boston.

I love that game, The Stanley Parable. I played it once, but that session went on and on till I found as many endings as I could.

Here’s the situation as I see it. Your quality is already comparable and surpasses that of most streamers. If that’s all you were going for, then you’ve achieved it. But if you want to really push the limit and set new standards for that industry, you can.

The roll-off on the mic is a great feature to be using as it’ll remove any of the surprise vibrations that make it past your shockmount and the towel you’ve placed under the mic stand. That’s taking care of any sub-bass rumbles, but you’ll still benefit from some post-processing (which I don’t think you’ll want to do since you’ll have to decouple your voice from the stream and then re-render everything, not gonna work for Twitch). So you’ll want to do some processing live in the moment. One thing you’ve not mentioned is Audacity’s equalizer:

I bring up the EQ because, like most everyone is forced to do, you’re recording in a small room, likely close to a wall or corner, and likely with either zero acoustic treatment or not enough. You don’t have a fluttery sound or a lot of reverb, but you do suffer from some typical bass region problems due to lack of corner mounted acoustic treatment. You’ll be able to see drastic improvements with the equalizer. And if you don’t ever move yourself from that spot, you can create a single, set-and-forget EQ curve to use each time.

I wouldn’t be afraid to turn off the roll-off on the microphone and do it all in the EQ, and I’d test pushing the roll off as high as 150 Hz up to 200 Hz, so there’s a slight roll off up there but by the time it hits 60-80 Hz and below, you’re chopping out all of that from your voice. It won’t sound thin, but what it will do is create a separation between your voice and the low-end of the gaming sounds, which is going to be vastly important. But for the lack of acoustic treatment I’d do a wide dip and test cutting up to 5 dB out from the range of 250 Hz to 500 Hz. That’s usually where you hear the bad effects of ‘not enough acoustic treatment.’ That will bring a lot of clarity to your mid-range and upper frequencies. Finally, I’d test a small boost of 2-3 dB around 2 kHz up to 5 kHz to get more presence and intelligibility out of your voice. This will let you keep your voice at a comfortable volume level while still being heard clearly over the gaming sounds. People who suffer from this issue compensate by turning up their vocals, but that’s not what you want. You want balance.

You’ve got to realize that you’re not just working with your vocals, you’re basically mixing your vocals into a pre-built set of music and sound effects. If you can do some EQ work on the video game sounds too before combining the streams, then you can start notching out slots there for your voice to pop through, like cutting at the same spot you’re boosting in the 2-5 kHz range. This is a good basic discussion of all of the tactics you’ll want to be using: You actually don’t have any sibilance or plosive issues, which will save you a lot of EQ / compression grief. That mentions an advanced compression technique for ducking that you may or may not want to use. I probably wouldn’t but you could drop the volume of the gaming side by even 2 dB whenever you start talking, which could help, but if you do it I’d make it very unnoticeable. Probably no more than 1-2 dB.

I wanted to mention basic compression though, in case you aren’t using it. You don’t have a lot of crazy variances in your volume, which is what compression solves, but it never hurts to make sure you’re applying even 3-5 dB of compression regardless, which will bring up the volume of the quiet portions. Once you’ve solved your noise floor issues with the computer sounds, etc., this will be a huge boon to your listeners. I’d make sure to use a compressor AFTER the equalizer and set a fast attack and fast release with a compression ratio of around 5:1, then drop the threshold till you’re seeing 3-5 dB of gain reduction. You can then add that “lost” volume back with the output gain. But if you do this after you set up that perfect EQ template sucking out the bass issues and adding intelligibility and presence, you’re going to have a crystal clear sound. You may even consider a slight high-shelf starting around 8 kHz to add some sparkle and air to your voice. This will help you cut through the mix too.

Good luck, I hope this was helpful.