I’ve been taping live shows since 1999 and had always used MD and DAT units until I purchased the Roland Edirol R-09HR about 3 years ago. I really love the unit and have taped some amazing stuff with it, but I have one show that is frustrating me in terms of remastering and burning to disc.
I taped Neil Young at a gig in 2009. I have heard three other versions of the show in question, and mine is 100 times better than any of them…but it’s not perfect. And because I think it can be made to sound better, I haven’t circulated it at all.
I used the R-09 and Core Sounds binaural stealth mics with the battery box. The levels were hitting perfectly. During playback, however, it is too quiet. I know how to boost the output. But this is complicated by the fact that, in addition to loud rockers, he also plays a number of very quiet songs, including at least one that’s just him and a piano. Even with the other songs boosted, these quiet tunes are still too quiet.
I’ve posted this question on other sites before, and some people have just suggested “using the volume knob.” Har har. Others have pointed out the difference between digital and analog “0.” I’ve used digital recorders for a long time and never really had a problem. Though I have taped for over a decade, I’m a relative novice when it comes to remastering with software (though I do own, and have had some experience with, Audacity, SoundForge, and Wavelab). Can anyone offer any concrete suggestions or perhaps even walk me through a course of remastering that can assist? I’d really appreciate it. Thanks a lot!
You will understand that we cannot encourage or assist with illegal activity. http://www.copynot.com/
I presume that you own the rights to the recording?
We can offer assistance for users with how to use Audacity. The Audacity manual includes information about how to “shape” the levels in a recording http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/Envelope_Tool
There are many tutorials about “mastering” available through Google.
I’m not asking for assistance with illegal activity. I’m asking for assistance making an audio recording sound better with Audacity. Obviously I already explored Google extensively before posting. Thanks.
The Envelope tool is great at reducing volume, not so great at boosting volume. So you could use the Envelope tool to reduce all songs to the level of the quietest song. Then do a Mix and Render (which makes the envelope adjustments permanent), then do Effect > Normalize which will bring the volume of everything back up to “loud”. Given that the crowed noise will almost certainly be louder than any inherent noise in the recording this should not adversely affect the signal to noise ratio.
Another approach would be to first do Effect > Normalize on the entire concert - this will bring the loudest songs up to “maximum loud”. Then select a quieter song and do Edit > Split New - this will “split” the quiet song out of the track and put it on its own new track. You can now Normalize that song separately. Listening to the playback, the sudden jump in crowd noise will likely be jarring, so now use the Envelope tool to fade in the start of the quiet song (you’ll want to include a few seconds of crowd noise to accomplish this), and fade it out again at the end so the transition to the louder songs is as seamless as possible.
Following on from that, you could, once you have the separate clips (for the before-quiet-song, quiet-song-on-its-own-track, and after-quiet-song), shift them around and do cross-fades to cover the volume changes.
So there’s lots of possibilities. You seem to really love this recording, so take the time to experiment and learn Audacity. As you learn the program new ideas will occur to you on how to accomplish your task.
A few warnings:
a) always work on a copy of your recording
b) use Audacity 1.3.12 (or better yet, 1.3.13 when it is released)
c) in 1.3.x, go to Preferences > Import/Export and select “Make a copy of uncompressed audio files before editing (safer)”
Thanks so much for your help! You really went above and beyond to explain things to me, and I appreciate it!
My one remaining question is: when I alter it just track to track, won’t there be jarring shifts from one track to the next? Even if the whole file is brought up to the same volume after editing, won’t the crowd noise, etc. shift from track to track?
Yes, the crowd noise will vary. There’s nothing you can do about it. That why I suggested “Listening to the playback, the sudden jump in crowd noise will likely be jarring, so now use the Envelope tool to fade in the start of the quiet song (you’ll want to include a few seconds of crowd noise to accomplish this), and fade it out again at the end so the transition to the louder songs is as seamless as possible.”