Super Expander

I make a recording at band practice. Unfortunately, sometimes the most important part of the recording is the conductors instructions and comments in between the band playing. But these are about 50 times quieter than the instruments when they are playing at double forte. I need some way to bring these up to closer to forte or double forte or to super expand the recording. Currently I am making three (3) passes with compressor (-20,-80,8:1,.1,1.0,makeup) and one (1) pass with level speech 2(75,.02,.1,.666). Can anyone suggest a simpler(quicker, better) way to do something similar?

Hi Jademan

Am I correct in assuming the recording your rehearsals is done on a portable digital recorder.

Would it not be easier to highlight the conductors comments and use Audacity’s AMPLIFY function.

It tells you how much you need to amplify to bring the level up to 00.00db

If you want bring the level up to -3db then type this into the NEW PEAK AMPLITUDE.

I edit my nieces choir rehearsals this way and re-post the back to her for refence.

Hi jademan

Forgot to add, if the conductor is verbally instructing during playing then a lavaliere mic would help.

I haven’t tried this but there is an optional plug-in called [u]Hyperexp[/u].

BTW - This is “upward compression”. Compression reduces the dynamic range by making loud parts quieter and/or the quiet parts louder. A noise gate is downward expansion and a peak unlimiter is upward expansion.

Try the “Level Speech” plug-in:

Yes. H2n Zoom, actually. I suppose I could use automatic gain, but I would prefer to do that within Audacity. :wink:

Definitely not. There may be 50 or more transitions during the course of a single rehearsal.

She has a handheld. But “of course” she doesn’t need one. :wink: She says her voice projects well enough that she doesn’t need a microphone. (Don’t they all say that). Many things I can’t hear until after I get home and process(by which I mean amplify) the audio. (Fortunately usually the band stays quiet enough for me to do this). :smiley: (I am old - perhaps I am just going deaf.) :wink:

Is there a difference between level speech and level speech 2 ? level speech 2 wasn’t amplifying the conductor’s voice enough, so I felt I needed to run the compressor 3 times first.

Thanks. That’s probably what I need. However, it is greatly reducing the band for some reason.

I’ll take all of these thoughts into consideration in the near future as I adjust my procedure. Many thanks to all of you. :smiley:

If you need Over The Top compression …
( OTT does upward & downward compression, & is multi(3)band, produces better results than single band)

Hi Jademan

Zoom H2n - If my memory serves me correctly you can configure mics like this - 1 mono in the middle and stereo left and right. Thereby the mono mic towards the conductor and the stereo pair towards the band.

Place the zoom on a tripod and move closer to the conductor. Set the recording level manually to about 5.

No other in-line effects.

Trial and error, until you get the perfect balance.

I somewhat regret giving my H2n away now.

Tip - watch out for the tripod thread, it doesn’t take a lot of wear and tear. Had to araldite an old camera screw on mine.

Curiously, I like this one. It seems to have fewer artifacts than the other techniques (although it does go haywire at the very end). If I clip the end, then I can amplify by 5dB and get the third one here:
So that gives me 2 passes instead of 4, which is better than what I had. I may give this a shot next week.

In theory, yes. In practice the difference between the microphones is miniscule. Plus extra storage and each pass are time consuming.

I use the KISS method. I put it on a baby tripod on the floor by my feet. :wink: That way I don’t have to worry about forgetting about it and hoping it is still there when I come back the following week! (Which I have done - shame on me!)

I used to have an H2, but it broke. The H2n power requirements seem to be about 1/10th what the H2 needed. I think I have covered the cost of the H2n in the savings on batteries alone!