newbie seeks recommendations

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kozikowski
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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by kozikowski » Sat Jul 07, 2018 2:25 pm

This is what I've found so far.
Emphasize "so far."

Nothing wrong with any of that past a legacy discomfort of a maker insisting on using an actual vacuum tube. They break, have heat problems, turn on slowly and wear out. They make good advertising for people who don't remember using vacuum tubes.

How are you going to record the work? Everything in that list is analog. Very nice analog, but still analog. Using the "Mic-In" on the side of your computer to digitize the work is emphatically not recommended.

I gotta come back.

Koz

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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by kozikowski » Sat Jul 07, 2018 7:50 pm

raw, noise floor, Koz Equalization, compressor, limi./.......
I'm going to come back to a question from earlier. How are you listening? The highly processed last clip is pretty much trash. It passes the ACX Check technical standards, but theatrically, it's useless. Nobody would pay to listen to that.

You must not be listening to the work.

The Standard Hollywood Headphones are the Sony MDR 7506. If you ask to borrow headphones on any sound shoot, someone will hand you these. They're not entertainment headphones. Their job is to show you problems before anybody else hears them.

After the work passes technical standards, somebody at ACX is going to listen to it. You should listen to it before you send it.

I have saved some sound clips from people I really like. Even Sarah Vowell who has a quirky voice I like listening to.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/Pr ... ceClip.mp3

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/Pr ... Income.mp3

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/Pr ... onList.mp3

They may appear on the left only. I did something wrong somewhere. I'm a dot-com and I just shifted my web page to a new company. Anything could be wrong.

As we go.

Koz

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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by kozikowski » Sat Jul 07, 2018 10:31 pm

So there are two questions on the floor:

How were you going to get a good quality microphone system like that into your computer to record it?

How are you Quality Control listening to your own work?

There is a side issue with listening that's not obvious. There's a technique of voice presenting where you listen to your own voice while you perform. Once you get used to doing that, it helps you to maintain good volume and quality over a long time (whole chapter) without really thinking about it. If you just speak, you have the tendency to wander as you go. Nothing in the mastering I wrote will help if you change volume during a chapter.

Koz

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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by kozikowski » Sat Jul 07, 2018 11:04 pm

I bet you're wondering why nobody said the words: "Buy this microphone and all your troubles will be over." Past liability issues, I'm not sure anyone builds a microphone or microphone system that is unconditionally useful. That's one of the reasons I started doing sound tests with stand-alone personal sound recorders and cellphones.

Apparently, It's Common Knowledge that you need to buy a Blue Yeti microphone. There are a number of forum posts from people having troubles with Yetis and some of them are permanent. It even has its own intermittant sound problem, the "Yeti Curse." So no, it's just not that easy.

Koz

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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by Lorain » Sun Jul 08, 2018 3:55 am

Well then I'm kinda lost. "'Mic-in' on the side of your computer... is not recommended." ---There's another way?

I'm just listening on a pair of headphones I bought from Amazon for $40.

Would this work --would I be able to record my book and have ACX pass it-- if I just bought an iPhone and recorded it on that?

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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by kozikowski » Sun Jul 08, 2018 2:26 pm

I just bought an iPhone and recorded it on that?
That has not been a walk in the park, either. I'm scheduling a trip to the Apple store to find the magic of getting the recorded sound files between the iPhone and my Macs so I can process them in Audacity. The published methods don't work for me and I'm at sea to figure out why. Plus there's the minor issue of the iPhone not using conventional sound file formats.

I did find a second problem with the preamp in your list. I don't see a way to plug in your headphones. Plugging headphones into the computer doesn't work for live recording because of delay problems. You get an echo in your ears while you're trying to perform.

There is a conventional way to get the microphone in your list into the computer. Behringer makes the UM2, the UMC22 and Focusrite Scarlett makes the Solo. All adapt a single analog microphone to the USB connection on the computer. I have a UM2 and I like it. The Behringer stuff works well for the price.

I don't think we have had any complaints from any of those three that we couldn't trace back to operator error or something else gone wrong.

So that, your microphone, an XLR microphone cable..

Image

..and you should be good to go. I'm pretty sure all three preamps come with a USB cable.

This is a recording setup.

Image

That's the UM2 on the left. Those are furniture moving pads on the desk and the walls to help with echoes and other noises. The Mac doesn't make fan noise in normal use.


Fair warning, once you get that straightened out, you will be a new user for home recording and need to start worrying about a quiet, echo-free environment to record in. Can you hear your computer while it's working—can you tell if it's on without looking? Fan noise is the next popular complaint for home performers. Then there is unplugging the refrigerator and only recording at night after the traffic noise goes away.

If it's a one-off book, it may be desirable to hire an actual studio or hire someone else to record it. Nobody wrote you have to record your own work. Many writers do it because the advertisements make it appear simple.

It's not.

Koz

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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by kozikowski » Sun Jul 08, 2018 5:52 pm

I like your voice and I think you would make a good audiobook reader. So we got that part down.

There was a recent posting from a reader who had been using an IRL studio successfully and decided to try it at home. They are running into the same problems you are. Studios are there for a reason and it's not because they have better microphones than you do.

Behold Ian who decided to record audiobooks from his apartment in Hollywood. He has the longest post in forum history. 39 forum chapters and about a year. He did get it working and he's a successful audiobook reader and voice performer.

Koz

Lorain
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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by Lorain » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:43 am

Thank you for that info! Very helpful.

So, if I bought the equipment below, I would be okay, at least starting off?

I have an empty walk-in closet in a quiet back bedroom I thought I would deck out with blankets and stuff, and that would be my “studio.” If the cable is long enough, I would just string it out under the closet door and put the computer out there in the bedroom (I saw a photo of a home studio where the owner did that, putting the computer out a window and then shutting the window).

I have 14 books (and counting) so I’m kinda hoping (okay, maybe “fantasizing”) that maybe eventually I could record them all. I’m willing to put in the time and effort, I just (as is obvious) lack the technical knowledge. Your help has been invaluable.

So if I bought these two things, I could at least get started, right?

https://www.musiciansfriend.com/pro-aud ... ductDetail
https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss ... ringer+UM2

kozikowski
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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by kozikowski » Mon Jul 09, 2018 2:11 pm

I have 14 books (and counting)
You will be busy.

Fair warning many people get to the end of the first book and want to read it over. The two ends of the book don't match. At the beginning you were a rank amateur foolin'-around reader and at the end, weeks later, you're a polished pro. Usually that only happens on the first book. Also, you should know ACX puts a lot of importance in chapter to chapter matching, so that kills changing microphone or environment in the middle of the book. Get comfortable and then read for real.

That combination should work. There's nothing wrong with an NT1-A microphone and the preamplifier should be able to keep up, although I would pop for the next one up, the UMC22. I did discover an electrical error in my UM2 after some critical testing. Oddly, "better" and larger preamplifiers are not recommended. They will accept two or more microphones, but are harder to use. ACX "soft" recommends reading in mono, one Audacity blue wave. That recommendation matches those three preamplifiers.

Image

The natural cable length for a USB cable is about 6 feet. The natural length for an XLR microphone cable can be 75 to 100 feet. So put the UMC22 outside the studio next the computer and use the microphone cable length to advantage. That also puts your headphone connection and volume adjustment outside, so that will be a juggling act. You can buy headphone extensions. The headphones should be sealed units—gushy pads against your head so the ear sound doesn't leak out and get into the microphone.

Image

There is a Sennheiser recommendation I need to look up. The normal Sony recommendations don't work for me because I can't wear them for a long time. The Sennheisers I actually use are very comfortable for me, but have known sound errors I just put up with.

You will need to come up with a microphone stand. That's what's holding up the microphone in the picture—off screen to the left.

Image

That's an On Stage Stands folding tripod. I like mine. At this exact second, it's folded in my closet next to the winter coats.

Image

That's a 9701B, heavier than the normal stand.

It will not be able to hold up the microphone without a little balancing act.

Image

And you need to do something like that because the recommended lip-spacing is about a power fist in front of the blast screen.

Image

That's hard to do with the microphone sitting on the table. They do make stands that fit on a table or clamp to the table edge. Not everybody has floor available. And keep in mind you have to read while you're doing that. How, physically, were you going to read? I use a printed page because I can still remember ink on paper. That's the pink clip in that studio pix. You probably can't read the actual book. Juggling that would be a nightmare.

The spider thing at the rear of the microphone is the vibration and shock mount That keeps floor and desk noises away from the microphone. Keep the microphone cable loose and floppy so it doesn't carry noises. That's the lazy coil in the studio pix.

The black tennis racket is to suppress your P-Pops. Chase in this sound example doesn't use one and he's too close to the microphone.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/PPopping.mp3

"PProbably say that's a PPretty BBroad subject".

If you have a good sound system, those popping sounds will shake a wine glass.

There's some notes on the blankets and soundproofing later. I need to stop for a while and do Real Life.

Koz

Lorain
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Re: newbie seeks recommendations

Post by Lorain » Mon Jul 09, 2018 3:13 pm

Thank you again for your time. I’m off to buy the mike and

https://www.amazon.com/Behringer-BEHRIN ... nger+UMC22

Once I receive them, if I think this may work, I’ll also get

https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01EBDZHNQ/re ... 4f7c73ae10

I thought I’d read off my Kindle Fire. I’ll turn the sound off before I start.

I’m not worried about doing the work, heck, I wrote the novels. I’m not a big seller (I don’t promote) so I’ve only sold about a thousand books on Amazon, but doing audio will be a new challenge for me, and learning how to do it, especially the technical part, is something I’m really looking forward to. :)

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