Sound Quality Feedback

(If this is in the wrong forum, I apologize!)

I’m starting a podcast soon. I live a small, boxy studio apartment with hardwood floors and I know this is not ideal by any stretch of the imagination.

Here is my studio:

Pic 1
Pic 2
Pic 3

(obviously, someone would sit across from me in their own chair but I forgot to set it out for the pics!)

Here is a 1 min clip using a Blue Yeti Pro mic in bi-directional mode with me reading a short horoscope on each side of the mic. The room has not been treated in any way. The clip has had noise reduction applied in Audacity and been run through Levelator. I also posted this to Reddit for feedback, hence why I refer to it :slight_smile:


Yikes, right?

This is my studio after I’ve thrown up moving blankets across the archways and window, put a PVC frame with sound blankets on one side and flipped the mattress against the wall on the other side. I also threw a moving blanket across the desks and draped them down to the floor.

Pic 4
Pic 5

Here is a new clip after setting up my studio. The clip has had noise reduction applied in Audacity and been run through Levelator.


What are your honest thoughts on the sound quality. Any suggestions to improve it? Also, why is the backside of the bidirectional so much better than the frontside? (I may have inadvertently not matched mic distance when I switched places, so it could be easily just that, but I’m pretty sure I was the same distance.)

The sound clips should be pre-correction. Posting what happens after you mis-correct a sound performance doesn’t tell us anything, other than you may have used the tools wrong.

I know people who will refuse to record quality sound in a modern apartment for just the problems you’re having. We can’t correct echoes or room reverb.

In this instance, I suspect I would try close-talking microphones instead of a general purpose microphone set to “Figure of Eight” (which is correct, by the way).

There is a cousin posting to yours and the poster soundproofed a linen closet and he records in there. No guest, though, so his solution isn’t directly applicable, but that’s the kind of solution that can work in extreme circumstances.


Post a straight recording with no moving blankets or corrections. Clear room. Start there.

Somebody paid me to record voices perfectly and this is how I did it.

Each wall is double coated with blankets and I used a directional microphone.

What’s your budget?

Can you record somewhere else?


It’s possible that the Figure or Eight pattern isn’t even. If the microphone has an Omnidirectional setting, chances are good that one isn’t even, either.


here is a sound clip 1 without levelator. Unfortunately, I don’t have a non noise-reduced copy.

Let me set up real quick and get another recording with no corrections.

This microphone switches capsules in and out to get the various patterns. Are you sure you got the Figure of Eight and not the Stereo pattern? Are you sure you’re positioning yourself at the two sensitive points?

Here’s a trick. Figure of Eight has two null points, one on each side. If you talk into those, your voice should be just the room echoes and no direct voice. The recording should sound seriously strange.

There is one physical way to help with this. The two performers need to be about 9 inches from each surface and turn down the volume to compensate for the volume boost.

The RCA 44BX was a Figure of Eight microphone and this is how old-time radio (formerly known as “Radio”) was shot. The attached is a theater shot for the camera, but that’s approximately where the performers were standing for the actual show. And yes, they were standing.

Each one held their script to one side so their cheek was actually facing the microphone. This helped with pop and blast problems. If one performer was shorter than the other, the microphone would tilt.

Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 9.26.57 PM.png
Screen Shot 2014-08-09 at 9.22.11 PM.png

Unfortunately, I don’t have a non noise-reduced copy.

Never destroy or damage original capture sound files and never reuse filenames.

You should have said: "Here let me post the original performance for you [boop]. Done.


What’s very, very serious about this problem is that I can’t wave my wand and make the problems go away. There is no good, cheap way to shoot group sound in your apartment other than getting closer and louder to the microphone than the echoes are.

Your sound clips (so far) are examples of misusing Noise Removal.


Here let me post the original performance for you [boop].

I do appreciate you taking time to help me. I’m most definitely reading what you are posting.

We are going to have dueling posts and eventually, your moderation will fall away and you’ll be able to post directly. Koz

As for your other questions:

I could record solo in my walk-in closet. However, as this is a guest-based podcast, the closet is not an option :frowning:

I can return the Blue Yeti Pro mic and instead go with 2 dynamic XLR mics instead if that would be a better option for my situation. I had hoped to one day to get up to me and 2 guests (3 people) on the podcast.

This is where I would jump in with the equipment list, except there is no equipment list. The grownups on the radio side would be using a shotgun microphone normally used for long-distance or film/video shoots on a pole.

But hand-held instead, jammed into each person’s face. This is for interviews, not free-flow, stream of consciousness radio shows and it stops working with three people. If you whip it back and forth for each person, you miss the first word each time.

The television grownups would whip out their lavalier microphones and field sound mixer.

That’s a two-channel mixer, but you get the idea. It’s just under $1000 and the microphones aren’t made any more. Lavaliers are designed for radio microphone systems each going to multiple thousand dollars, each.

The XLR microphones such as the SM-58 are not going to work because if you figure out where the coverage patterns are, they cover the whole room. And that’s still hundreds of dollars.

See how you get on with being very close to your existing microphone, knowing that it’s going to stop working with three people.

Koz is a web site that tells you how to capture sound and do radio production. People write checks to these people, so their stuff tends to work, repeatedly.

You picked a hideously difficult job. People complain all the time that they don’t want pro work, they just want to crank out a clear podcast with no echoes, noise or distortion.

That’s a pro job.


Hmmm. So, even if I switched to a pair of dynamic xlr mics, kept the gain low and the speakers kept close to the mics, my environment still bones me?

Your apartment is cool. Your environment sucks.

You might get away with that. Can you rent equipment to set up and see? That process is very difficult to control. One prominent podcast tried that and the lead performer loved to “hog” his microphone with loud and distorted voice. You know those people, right? They can’t pass a microphone? One of the guests was content to sit back and mumble into his chest. I don’t know that they ever fixed it because the Producer didn’t see anything wrong with it.

Let’s look at three performers for a second. Each microphone is adjusted to pick up one speaker, but all three microphones are going to pick up the room. Oh, right. So what you gain in the directionality of the microphone, you lose in the number of microphones.

How are you planning on getting an analog mixer into your laptop [introducing the next problem].

You can’t plug a mixer into the Mic-In of most Windows laptop computers. You can make this work with a USB mixer, or a USB adapter and an analog mixer — that I happen to have.

Remember you can’t have speakers running in the same room with microphones and each person on headphones is going to want to adjust their own volume.

I’m not bashful about printing equipment lists if I thought I knew a good way to shoot this. But I don’t.


I’m just playing this back. How were you going to handle three people with your Figure of Eight microphone?

I should have stated this back at the top. Sorry for any confusion!

My current equipment set up:

Blue Yeti Pro (XLR)
Xenyx 1202
4 Channel Headphone Amp
2 Headphone

The plan was to start with 2 people (me and a guest) and expand with additional mics and headphones as needed. However, if my environment is that bad, I understand I’d have to scrap that idea and could live with 2 people on 2 mics.

Yes. pretty much. Snuggle up to the Yeti and find out if there is a distance/spacing that gives reasonable voice quality and helps to ignore echoes.

The place for furniture moving pads is the floor or desk and behind each performer.

Note there’s a pad on the floor here:

And there’s a pad on the table here:

The last one seems to be a generic sound shoot until you know that the Main Conference Room is soundproofed.


So, last question, since the blue yeti mic I have is unbalanced when doing bidirectional, am I better off: living with it, returning it for another one or should I use the return as an opportunity to swap into a pair of dynamic mics me and my guest each snug up to?

Thank you so much for the feedback

a pair of dynamic mics

Such as?

ATR 2100 or SM58.