HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
Forum rules
ImageIf you require help using Audacity, please post on the forum board relevant to your operating system:
Windows
Mac OS X
GNU/Linux and Unix-like
ss630
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:37 am
Operating System: OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later (macOS)

HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by ss630 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:58 am

Hi! Please help, I cannot figure this out for the life of me. I'm a first time narrator for ACX, but I have voiceover and (film) editing experience.

I painstakingly recorded my first day of audio for a book, set all of the specs, etc. So far, I think it sounds pretty good!

Then, I did the same thing the next day...and the sound is practically unusable!!! I'm including examples. Again, SAME set up, SAME specs. And, to test it further, garageband did the same thing as well! Perfectly fine audio one day, and then today it's tinny and sounds like I'm recording from my cell phone.

I thought, could I possibly have been recording from my computer? But I don't see how that would work as A) garageband ALWAYS asks me if I want to use my samson meteor mic instead of the built in one, and B) I can hear my voice in my headphones as I speak through the mic, and know the sound is coming through the mic instead of the laptop.

The ONLY difference between today and yesterday is this: I was fiddling around and looking at forums to try and figure out why I couldn't hear myself through my headphones while I was recording (in audacity only). Yesterday all I could find was having it play in my headphones with a delay, which is obviously very distracting when narrating. I feel very strongly about being able to hear myself when recording, but couldn't figure it out. I don't know how, but one of the times I opened audacity today, it just worked! I could hear my voice in real time, whereas yesterday I had to record without hearing anything through my headphones. Now my audio is horrible. But if this is the key, how would that explain that garageband also has the same result??

I am now in deep trouble as I have a deadline tomorrow for a completed children's audiobook (very last minute turnaround needed). Had things not gone well yesterday, I wouldn't have waited. Now, I don't know what to do. PLEASE help.

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41532
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:38 pm

I feel very strongly about being able to hear myself when recording
Strong enough to miss your deadline?

As a general rule, Zero Latency Monitoring is only available from the microphone or interface, not the computer.

Image

There are specialist ways of doing low latency monitoring, but they're not done by messing with settings. They generally involve intentionally installing software.

You can inspect Apple > System Preferences > Sound and make sure actual physical things are selected for input and output audio. Built-In Output or Headphone Output, for example, and not SoundFlower, which is a "fake" device for special application.

Then make sure Audacity is set for similar devices. That would be the little Microphone and Speaker icons in the device toolbar.


Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 6.33.07.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 6.33.07.png (6.97 KiB) Viewed 205 times

I expect that to give you clean, clear audio recording (depending on your environment), but I don't expect you to be able to hear yourself without an echo.

The meteor has a headphone connection.


Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 6.36.52.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 6.36.52.png (15.8 KiB) Viewed 205 times

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41532
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 06, 2018 1:44 pm

Audacity has Audiobook tools and techniques, but it may already be too late if you're close to deadline. If you get rejected by ACX, post back.

Koz

ss630
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:37 am
Operating System: OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later (macOS)

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by ss630 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 2:01 pm

Hi Koz, thank you for such a quick response. I don't think I explained my situation correctly, I'll try again! ..I don't know all the necessary terminology.

(I have been using garageband for commercial voiceover auditions, and there is zero latency there with the mic. I also triple checked online and found manny different sources confirming the headphone jack in the meteor allows for zero latency monitoring, so I'm not sure what I'm doing wrong.)

However, this is an issue for after this audiobook has been finished. What I cannot figure out for the life of me is why these two recordings sound so different, under the same exact conditions and specs. The only difference between these recordings is that they were on two separate days, and that somehow for recording with poor audio quality, I DID get zero latency monitoring to work in audacity.

I'm having trouble attaching so here are links via dropbox:

Day One: https://www.dropbox.com/s/fcrqbjp4dniku ... e.wav?dl=0

Day Two (bad audio): https://www.dropbox.com/s/qxvqt247aetuf ... o.wav?dl=0


I am going to re-record of course, but need to fix this problem! Thanks for the help, much appreciated.

steve
Site Admin
Posts: 49006
Joined: Sat Dec 01, 2007 11:43 am
Operating System: Linux *buntu

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by steve » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:25 pm

What are your settings in the device toolbar?
What are your settings in "System Preferences > Sound > Input"?
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

flynwill
Posts: 408
Joined: Fri Jan 17, 2014 2:58 pm
Operating System: GNU/Linux other

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by flynwill » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:27 pm

I would say with ~90% certainty that your "bad" recording was not using the Samson Mic, but instead is using the built in microphone in your laptop. The change in timbre and "shower stall sound" both point to that being the cause.

But also your "good" recording has a fairly nasty case of the "frying mosquitoes" aka "Yeti curse" a high-pitched whine that results from the USB data communication signals finding their way into sensitive microphone pre-amp. The "frying mosquitoes" are notably missing from the "bad" recording.

You are monitoring the recording via the headphone jack on the Samson itself, correct? As Koz points out that is generally the only way you are going to get zero latency monitoring. And I'm sure you were hearing what the Samson was producing, but the laptop wasn't listening.

If you have any doubt about which microphone is recording, do the "scratch test", scratch the microphone wind-screen with your fingernail while watching the recording meters. Scratching the wrong microphone probably won't register, where as scratching the right one will probably run the meters into the red.


http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/ScratchTest2.wav


You will have to deal with the USB noise in your "good" microphone before you will have an acceptable submission.There are a number of things you can try which may or may not help: shorter, higher quality USB cable, adding a powered USB hub between the microphone and the computer or adding a USB isolator between the computer and the microphone. There is also a comb filter plugin that Koz can post the link to, which will help but it will also have some effect on the sound of your voice.

ss630
Posts: 25
Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:37 am
Operating System: OS X 10.11 El Capitan or later (macOS)

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by ss630 » Sat Oct 06, 2018 3:39 pm

Thanks so for the help, flynwill. I'll do the scratch test and hopefully it was an oversight on my part with everything else I was trying to do. I agree completely with the Yeti Curse. I ran a plug in I found that had good feedback called MosquitoKiller4, but listening back after getting some distance from it, you're right, it isn't good enough.

Which do you suggest I try first of the solutions you offered? I'd like to make a long term fix if possible, but if something can be done short term for this short deadline, it would be a lifesaver. Koz, could you please send that plugin flynwill referenced?

This is definitely on me for agreeing to such a short turnaround time, but I thought I'd worked out most of the kinks and the audiobook is only about 14 minutes total. Well, learning from my mistakes here.

Also, it seems I should probably invest in a higher quality microphone? This was actually the higher quality microphone recommended to me for my commercial VO work, but I'm learning probably isn't good enough for a proper home studio. If at all possible to make this mic work for a few months until I can properly invest, that would also be very helpful.

Thank you so much guys for taking the time, Sarah

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41532
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:45 pm

but instead is using the built in microphone in your laptop.
What he said. Do you have and use Skype or Chat? Those two can reassign sound pathways and processes and not tell you.
I ran a plug in I found that had good feedback called MosquitoKiller4
Too late. That's the plugin designed (I don't remember by whom) to suppress commonly experienced whine. As near as I remember, it's the only way to convert what you have into something presentable. However, it works by surgically removing some musical tones from your voice. It creates damage that happens, on the whole, to be desirable. Far better, of course, to not have whine in the first place.

There are stressful ways to get rid of the whine forever: Keep changing computers until it goes away. Change to a much more expensive USB microphone. Stop using USB microphones.

The Yeti microphone (hence, "The Yeti Curse") has no filtering, processing or effort to suppress this effect. Lots of people on the forum complaining about that whine. I don't think we've ever had complaints about a Yeti Pro®. Pay attention. I've seen plain Yetis advertised as "Professional Yeti." Yeti Pro® is a registered product that has the XLR connection on the bottom. As a side issue of the extra tricks it can do, it's much less susceptible to the whine problem. It's also twice the price of a Yeti.

In My Opinion, you should be using what you have until you can do it with no side issues or obvious sound damage. "I think I can do better" doesn't count. Also In My Opinion, you can do a world of good by improving the environment. Are you using the Meteor on a plain table or desk? You can improve the sound by padding the table (slap and comb filtering effects) and using the book and towel technique (table and floor rumble and noises).

Image

I'm a fan of furniture moving blankets. Great things, those blankets.

How you sound to you is almost secondary to what you sound like to customers and clients. If you're presentable to a majority of people, that's what matters.

I mastered a portion of your work for ACX.


Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 9.39.05.png
Screen Shot 2018-10-06 at 9.39.05.png (38.81 KiB) Viewed 193 times

OilsMastered.wav
(1.91 MiB) Downloaded 7 times

That's not straight mastering. I had to add Mosquito Killer 4, Noise Reduction and De-Essing.

Still, it took me about 30 seconds and you should be good to submit.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41532
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:52 pm

Other clients may differ, but ACX would rather you submit in one track mono, not two track stereo. My posting is configured for mono (one blue wave).

Use the drop-down menu on the left of your stereo track > Split to Mono. [X] delete one of the two tracks.

I can listen to a story in that voice. You are warned that ACX does not like changes in the middle of the book. Once you start, you should stay with one microphone and environment.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41532
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: HELP! Same set up over two days, but different audio quality!

Post by kozikowski » Sat Oct 06, 2018 4:53 pm

Let us know if you want to continue this way.

Koz

Post Reply