Learning production in Audacity

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mac_audio
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Re: Learning production in Audacity

Post by mac_audio » Sun Aug 26, 2018 7:55 pm

kozikowski wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:18 pm
I don't think we hit this one yet. There is an indication of generally recommended recording volume. Your voice should produce a bouncing sound meter that occasionally starts to turn yellow (About -6dB or -10dB or so). The blue wave tips on the timeline should occasionally reach up to about half-way (50%) or maybe a little less. You're not a freak if your up and down blue waves don't match. Mine don't and I can pick out some professional presenters because of their mismatch.
You imply that I have screwed the pooch on the last 10 years of me using Audacity to record streaming radio and then producing mp3 files.

For the first several years, I always had the blue (waveforms??) maxing out, although not necessarily clipping.

In the last year or two, I have chilled out and when I "amp things up" during editing, I usually go for maybe 3/4 - 7/8 but leave a little breathing room.

That combined with "less-than-factory" hearing could mean I screwed up tens of thousands of hours of recordings... :|

Why should the (waveforms???) only be half-way??

And where can I read up on dB and all?

(I thought I had a working knowledge of decibels, but I am quickly finding as I talk and read about it related to sound engineering I have no clue!! For example, I struggle to understand how you can have a negative dB?!)

kozikowski wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:18 pm
If you insist on being expressively theatrical, you can reduce the volume a bit. The blue waves should never go all the way up or down.
Interesting!

kozikowski wrote:
Sun Aug 26, 2018 6:18 pm
It's very new user to produce a timeline where the blue waves are almost flatline. That's too quiet and an invitation to struggle with noise later.

It's harder to hit recommended volume than you think and slightly low is better than slightly high.
Is this like some voice acting thing where the average newbie voiceover person doesn't have the projection skills needed to get good recordings?

kozikowski
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Re: Learning production in Audacity

Post by kozikowski » Sun Aug 26, 2018 10:41 pm

I always had the blue (waveforms??) maxing out, although not necessarily clipping.
Spoken like someone who has never tried to produce their own shows from their voice. In live performances, there is no "stopping just before clipping." You have to leave headroom so accidental expression (or leaning forward slightly) doesn't clip. You have a lot less control than you think and very few people glue their eyes to the sound meters during a performance.

There is no rescue if a performance clips on a word or two. You usually just read it again. Effect > Clip Fix is only for one or two tiny clipping events, not whole words (I don't remember if that is included in the standard Audacity).

Since you're not producing Audiobooks, you can put your sound levels wherever you like—wherever your audience is expecting them. Clipping appears harsh, gritty and crackly and it's generally permanent.

You can get the timeline to show you the damage.

View > Show Clipping.

Image


Even if you reduce the volume later, the flat-topping damage is permanent.


Image

Far Better to record conservatively low and do gentle volume management in post production before creating the final.


0dB is maximum volume and it gets quieter from there. It's not linear. -60dB is a thousand times quieter than 0dB. -6dB is half of 0dB. That's why the numbers go up but the volume goes down. The Audacity blue waves are in percent and the bouncing sound meter is in dB.

Koz

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Re: Learning production in Audacity

Post by kozikowski » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:22 am

Yes I do know if you're keeping meticulous notes. It's Log [V1/V2] times 20. Let's assume you want to double the sound. V1/V2 is 2 (10 volts over 5 volts, right?) Log of that is 0.3. Times 20 is 6.

6dB.

It's Log10. I don't know how to display that on this keyboard.

Koz

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Re: Learning production in Audacity

Post by kozikowski » Mon Aug 27, 2018 3:48 am

You should probably know that audio inside Audacity doesn't overload. Audacity converts incoming audio to a special format (32-bit floating) that doesn't stop at 0dB. Audacity does that so multiple effects and filters one after the other don't destroy the show.

For example, in the Audiobook Mastering suite, we set the overall loudness first followed by gentle management of clipping. If you saw the show between the two effects, you might see red overload lines. But Audacity preserves the clipped sound rather than discarding it. The next step, Effect > Limiter gently reduces the peak sound and the clipping damage vanishes.

If you overload your microphone, mixer or interface before Audacity, you're dead.

Koz

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