Workflow for getting the best sound (sample included)

I recently started recording podcasts with my co-workers on various topics within our company. Mainly for informative internal use, and thinking about publishing them for external partners and customers in the future. I’m looking for some tips on my workflow (order and steps).

Setup is normally 3 or 4 people sitting around a Blue Yeti (approx 1m/3ft distance from the mike), recording in omnidirectional mode. Recording in mono to Audacity/Windows 10. I included a small sample. Recording volumes I keep relativity low to allow for for laughter etc. Background is not as quiet as I would like, still experimenting with it. Gain on the mike is set low (8 o’clock max).

For processing I use three filters.

  1. Noise reduction (18 dB, 4 sensitivity, 6 bands) based on the first couple of quiet seconds.
  2. I then try so add some warmth to the voices with EQ (cut-off below 50Hz, add a couple of dB between 100-300, reduce some hollowness around 500Hz.)
  3. Compress & Dynamics plugin (ratio 0.8, hardness 0.65, floor -32, falloff 4x, max amp 0.99, model 1).

I notice that after step 3, the background hum/noise is sometimes reappearing.

I would like to learn from the community. Any tips on this processing is much appreciated, in particular on the order of the steps. (Or any other suggestions of course).

Thanks, Ralph

I only hear a single voice, so I assume this is just a test?

There are two issues in your recording:

  1. The background noise is very high
  2. There is quite a lot of echo/reverberation.

Both would be helped considerably by getting much closer to the microphone. 6-8" is typical. If you are recording 3 or 4 people you will probably need at least 2 microphones, which lets out using all-in-one USB solutions like the Yeti. The preferred set up would be one microphone per participant, all feeding a mixer which in turn is feeding a digitizer (some mixers have this built in).

You are also going need to find a quieter room. Not sure what the noise source in your recording is but my guess is that it is the air-conditioning. I think I also hear a trace of the “yeti curse” so that may become the next issue if you can solve the room noise.

The echo/reverberation can be helped with acoustic treatment on the walls and table. Moving blankets work well for this purpose.