Removing distortion

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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:51 am

The clip has significant trash below 100Hz. Tones that low are not needed for speech and it's not unusual for people to use the 100Hz filter on sound mixers. I can still hear wind noises in the background even with that.

Koz
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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by Elrich » Tue Jan 30, 2018 1:29 pm

OK, that works! This at least won't split people's eardrums. Will have to set some rules with the team about aborting interviews for bad sound quality. He said he noticed the bad sound quality after he started recording... It can be frustrating to have to try to reschedule, but pointless to record the interview if it's going to be too tough to listen to.

Thanks!
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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Tue Jan 30, 2018 6:34 pm

He said he noticed the bad sound quality after he started recording...

So depending on what broke, you would be setting yourself up for a duplicate failure.

I still don't think I have all the pieces of this. If the performer is on Skype, why was it being recorded multiple continents away? Time Zone issues?

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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by Elrich » Tue Jan 30, 2018 9:15 pm

I'm not sure who you're referring to as the "performer"...

For this podcast, there are several people who record interviews or book discussions, and they happen to live in different countries. I'm an American in Japan, but there are a couple people in Australia who are involved, and a couple in North America. In this case, it was a guy in Australia interviewing someone in the US.
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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Tue Jan 30, 2018 10:59 pm

The performer is the person whose voice is on the clip. To resolve sound issues it's best to know where it's been.

So the performer is simply talking into his cellphone? Someone has a license (required last I checked) to cross-connect his cellphone call to Skype. Skype delivers the connection to the recordist who connects to Skype and uses special purpose software to record it.

Did I get it?

It is a little rough to believe the cellphone was at fault because they have mature voice processing, echo handling and environment processing. The performance appears to be a normal person having a normal conversation in a normal voice—in a windy location.

Skype likewise has been doing this for a while, but they got their reputation for reliability by brutally taking over the computer running it. We know that it's not difficult to record the local microphone; that's a service of the computer, but it can be very tricky to record the far side. That's a service of Skype and they don't always like to share.

It's the far side that failed.

I think I mentioned even the highly regarded Pamela paid software got snookered a while back when Skype made an unannounced change and put several podcasts into the dirt. So this may seem to be a unique distortion one-off, but it's perfectly compatible with past practices.

You should check your systems to make sure they're still working like you think they're supposed to. Nothing like connecting to a desirable interview and have it fail. I would call the Skype connection and make sure the recordist can capture it.

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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by Elrich » Tue Jan 30, 2018 11:21 pm

Not sure if you noticed, but there are two people in the recording -- the interviewee, whose voice was messed up by whatever the problem was, and the interviewer, who sounds fine.

I know another podcaster who requires his team to get the interviewees to make a recording of themselves on their end and send the interviewer the MP3 of themselves. I've done this sometimes with other members of my team, but it seems a little, I don't know, presumptuous, to ask that of interviewees. Many of whom may not understand how to do it.

Would be interested in knowing what others do.
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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:03 am

interviewee, whose voice was messed up by whatever the problem was, and the interviewer, who sounds fine.

Perfectly correct. The local microphone is recorded directly. The far side comes from Skype.
I know another podcaster who requires his team to get the interviewees to make a recording of themselves on their end and send the interviewer the MP3 of themselves.

Also correct, although as you noted it's uncomfortable to ask an Important Person to do that, beyond they're not knowing how. I think in your case with third party interviews, you're stuck with capturing it.

One recent forum poster with a top quality, separately recorded, multi-participant podcast had a rescue job when one of his regular performers messed up their local recording. It is like marching cats.


The two computer technique doesn't have to be two computers. It can be a Skype computer and a separate sound recorder. You listen to the transmission on headphones and split it off to a recorder. No special software or drivers and Skype thinks it's running the show. We know it's not and we're not telling.

I happened to have a second, much older laptop available to record a test. Denise and I are on opposite US coasts. We're both on headphones. She's talking into her laptop—full stop. I'm the one with the extra mixer, etc. It should be remembered the goal was to produce/test a finished podcast in real time including music. Your task would be much simpler.

I took out most of the "Can you hear me OK" and housekeeping. But it is a test. It has fluffs and errors.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/De ... lyCut3.mp3

She sounds like she's sitting on the sofa behind me, doesn't she? She's not. She's 3000 miles that way [points east]

It could be said we produced the perfect podcast. We spent the whole thing discussing when to have the next podcast.

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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:13 am

I don't want to talk you into anything you don't want to do, but the goal is to remove the sound from the Skype computer as fast and cleanly as you can.

Make sure you check your recording software as close to the performance time that you can.

The desperation method is pick up the phone and record that. I did it with a special microphone. It goes in my ear and the phone goes on top. Record it in Audacity. It uses bone conduction tricks etc.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/TP7SoundTest1.mp3

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/TP7SoundTest2.mp3

My laptop doesn't have a microphone connection, so that's what that white thing is.

Image

Now that you're all excited, I didn't try it yet with my cellphone. This is all happening on a landline that nobody has any more.

The cellphone test is on my to-do list.

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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Wed Jan 31, 2018 12:29 am

Here's a more modern one from when a water main exploded in front of my house.

These are completely unedited except for cutting down to size. There is a natural 6dB change in volume between the two sides that's easy to fix in Audacity. You should not be talking over the guest anyway.

And we are talking about an emergency recording when your better quality transmission fails.

Koz
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Re: Removing distortion

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Wed Jan 31, 2018 1:14 am

I didn't try it yet with my cellphone.

It works with the cellphone, too. I was afraid of the cell radio energy getting into the show, but no. I tried it on a little stand-alone recorder and plugged into the laptop. Both work fine.

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