Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

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MichloIW
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Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by MichloIW » Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:34 pm

Greetings, all.

I'm half-way through a voice course but I've had to pause it temporarily so please don't pay much attention the voice itself but I'm hoping there might be someone kind enough to assist me with my settings.

Edit - (Sorry, moderator, I left out some rather important details I see now).

Audacity 2.0.5.
Windows 8.1 (with update)
Snowball Blue microphone with shock ring and filter.
Home-made mini-booth which surrounds the microphone (I still have to wait until late at night for less traffic noise, etc. though until I can turn my closet into a studio).


I've been browsing for a while and I've picked up quite a few tips from here plus the requirements for the Audible.com site.

I think I have the list of steps I need now. I added to the start of it tonight after reading the wonderful advice here: http://forum.audacityteam.org/viewtopic ... 28&t=73267.

This added to my list amplify, settings for noise removal and the wonderful Noise Gate tool.

I then proceeded with what I already had but ended up doing another noise removal at the end.

I quite like the result. It involved a lot less work in removing extra noise. I think the background hiss is perhaps a TAD loud but I agree that dead silence is likely not appreciated by most listeners. One think I would like to fix, however is a strange wavering/wobbling every now in the dialogue. I promise I'm not wavering and wobbling myself. :)

If there is anybody experienced who would take a look at my list and a listen and let me know what I should or shouldn't be doing I would very much appreciate it.


The list:
  • Audacity tips
  • Always record silence at the start for the noise removal.
  • Amplify on default (0 db).
  • Remove noise.
    10
    6
    1000
    0
  • Select conspicious unwanted noise between phrases and silence them (CTRL+L).
  • Noise gate.
    Gate.
    Link stereo.
    No.
    0.0
    -22
    -50.0
    250.0
  • Normalize at -2dB.
  • Compress at 18dB, -
    50dB noise floor.
  • Equalization base
  • boost and treble
  • boost.
  • Normalize again at -
    2dB.
  • Hard limit at -3dB.
  • Normalize for final time at -2dB.
  • De-ess if needed for any sibilant sounds.
    7k
    Stereo
  • Convert to female:
    F#/Gb up A#Bb
    Semitones: 4.00
    Percent change 13.290
And the file as it stands now:

https://onedrive.live.com/redir?resid=F ... der%2c.wav

Cheers.
Last edited by MichloIW on Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Added [*] tags to list

kozikowski
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by kozikowski » Tue Apr 15, 2014 1:37 pm

Too much work. That's what happens when you do too many facelifts and botox shots on the sound. Not only wobbling, but the voice sounds like "talking down a tube."

It's a danger sign when someone posts about the second time they applied noise removal. Generally, the first one causes enough troubles.

What was wrong with the original monolog? Post some of that, say the first minute or so. No filters, no effects, and no corrections. You did save the original live monolog as a WAV file, right, or maybe a Project, although that can be dangerous.

~~

Conversion of your voice to a different kind of voice (male/female, adult/child, etc) has never been something to call the papers about. Some of the best "conversions" involve acting, not software. Bart Simpson is a woman.

Not all mouth sounds change when you change people. Sibilants and mouth clicks tend to stay the same between people even when the pitch of the voice moves. Effect > Change Pitch changes everything, so it has the effect of dragging your finger on a record. Not natural at all. Two or three semi-tones may be the best you can do without the voice starting to sound funny.

We usually recommend making nice with a woman and let her do the female parts.

Koz

MichloIW
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by MichloIW » Tue Apr 15, 2014 9:22 pm

Thank you for the reply, Koz. :)

That was at the bottom of my list and was just an "in case" sort of thing that I had picked up on the forums. I've not actually used it but then I've not reached the parts of the book where I have a lot of female dialogue. You don't want to hear me as I follow the training videos on sounding like a female. hehe.

The good thing is that after I played with character voices and actual American accents for the dialogue, the author told me that it might be a tad too jarring for the listener because my voice was so different to my narration voice (which is what he really likes), so I'm now able to tone it down for all the differences.

As for the settings, well I was afraid of that. I already had a lengthy list just picked up from here and the ACX submission requirements: http://www.acx.com/help/acx-audio-submi ... /200485520.

I've not done a second noise removal before but this time (presumably because of far too much face-lift work) I found it necessary.

Also, I'm such a fool (although it was 04:00 in the morning) and didn't save a raw version. I shall do one for you, though and put it in the same place later tonight.

Thank you.

kozikowski
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by kozikowski » Wed Apr 16, 2014 1:53 am

You don't want to hear me as I follow the training videos on sounding like a female. hehe.
I did a passable woman in a theatrical piece once. The producers were resigned to having to overdub a woman in post, but I leaned into the microphone and did a good enough Lauren Bacall that they left it in. Lauren Bacall's voice was lower than Humphrey Bogart.

"You know how to whistle, don't you Steve?"
just picked up from here and the ACX submission requirements:
There is a spirited discussion about the ACX requirements and I have one of the ACX senior elves on email. I want them to give me a narration of how they do quality acceptance. You "spoke" to an actual human, right? We want to know how much of this is algorithmic testing and how much is it is a comfortable old aunt sitting in a corner with good headphones. She wouldn't have to be in an office, would she? She could be a Miss Marple in the garden being served strong tea by Cherry.
..but this time ...
We're finding USB microphones kill people trying to do this. "You need to get your noisy computer further away from your microphone — as long as you don't exceed the 3 foot (1M) USB cable restriction.
[email protected]#$%^&
didn't save a raw version.
AAAAAAAAAAA! [breaking dishes sound]

What are you going to do when the computer goes for a noise removal process and just doesn't ever come back? Three hours of work down the loo. Recovering a damaged Project is not for the easily frightened.

~~

We are messing with the idea of a standard suite of tools so people don't have to do what you did, guess at it from the ACX guidelines. What did you think when you got to the specs that called out dBs and RMS? Did your Eyes Glaze Over? Oddly RMS (roughly loudness), although perfectly defined, isn't easy. Audacity doesn't have native tools to measure that. So even if you do everything right, you're flying blind on some of these tests.

And we get some of the presenters whose submissions fail. Although many times we're not as in the dark as they are, we're all stumbling around in serious twilight.

That makes us angry. You wouldn't like us when we're angry.

Koz

MichloIW
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by MichloIW » Wed Apr 16, 2014 4:29 am

Koz,

what a way with words you have. By your use of the word "loo", however, I discern you must either be British (as I am) or have been heavily influenced. Either way should grant you an advantage when it comes to verbosity. ;)

Lauren Bacall, eh? Well he did say he wanted the first female voice (who comes across on a radio) to sound like the lady in the original "Fog" film, that husky, sexy sound. I can't do that for all of them, though. heh. Plus I have to do some sentient zombie voices (though I'm rather looking forward to those). Oh and yes, you really ought to read Joseph Duncan's work. Start with either "The Oldest Living Vampire" as I did, for the vampire oriented, or "Mort" for the zombie oriented. Just don't read Cattle if you'd like to hear my finished audio version (assuming I ever get there).

Right, so, apologies, I arrived home later than expected so I was only just able to throw together a raw version. No voice warm-up, no green apple, nothing! So don't listen to him rabbiting on, I just wanted you to hear the ambient noise. I do usually wait until even later as I'm not too far from a main road here in Los Angeles so you can imagine how much traffic there is. And grrr, that police helicopter which circled for almost two hours a few nights ago did not leave me best pleased.

Hmm, I should post pictures of my setup. I have a home office so I put up some sound-proofing on the wall behind me and bought a big plastic carton thing with a lid and latches. I glued foam mattress topping to the inside and cut a hole in one side for my microphone stand to come through. It actually is only about two feet from the laptop but this is a very quiet machine (my other desktop beast has to be shut down). Anyway, it could give some good inspiration for others like me starting out on a low budget. Eventually I'm going to move it all into a rather large closet I have in the hall (which just doesn't have any power sockets or ventilation *gulp*).

As for ACX, I only went with what was on the web-site and haven't spoken to any Elves. And yes, some of them I had to learn as best as I could from here and elsewhere.

I'm surprised and disheartened to hear that some of your presenters get rejected. That isn't instilling much confidence over here, matey. But no, I'd rather not see you when you're angry. ;)

So without further ado (and rambling), the new, raw version is in the same folder awaiting your keen senses.

Cheers.

kozikowski
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by kozikowski » Wed Apr 16, 2014 5:52 am

I'm surprised and disheartened to hear that some of your presenters get rejected.
You should probably be reheartened. The people who make it here many times have trash and are First Time Outs depending on Noise Removal to Solve All Their Problems. Nope. Sorry. Can't take out the dog barking. Wish we could. Nice dog, though.

You can't violate any of these rules:

The Four Horsemen of Audio Recording (reliable, time-tested ways to kill your show)
-- 1. Echoes and room reverberation (Don't record the show in your mum's kitchen.)
-- 2. Overload and Clipping (Sound that's recorded too loud is permanently trashed.)
-- 3. Compression Damage (Never do production in MP3.)
-- 4. Background Sound (Don't leave the TV on in the next room.)

Then, after you make it that far, you have to conform to ACX requirements. Oh so many dB this way and oh so many RMS that.

Then, we assume you have to sound human and interesting. My objection to the posted reading is the voice starting to sound metallic and honky.
just able to throw together a raw version.
There's no great rush. Nobody is holding a watch.
I discern you must either be British (as I am) or have been heavily influenced.
I'm bilingual. I know to ensure my mains are earthed under the bonnet of Lori (my lorry) in the car park before making off to the Tesco.
not too far from a main road here in Los Angeles
http://www.kozco.com/pictures/boothFini ... op-mic.jpg
http://kozco.com/pix/oneWallKit.jpg
http://kozco.com/pix/partiallyConstructedWall.jpg

I live where Pico and Olympic meet.

Koz

MichloIW
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by MichloIW » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:05 am

*boggle*

I just out loud said YOU ARE KIDDING ME!

I live on South Orange, near where La Brea & Olympic meet! We're practically neighbours! You should come by. :)

Wow. Small world, eh? hehe

Excellent four horses tips there. I hope I've not shown you that I'm breaking any so far and I think I have a somewhat decent voice (according to Edge Studio's initial assessment and the author I'm working with anyway). ;)

I shall take a look at your pictures now. I just had to reply right away as my gast was well and truly flabbered when I read your response. :)

Here are some pictures of mine at my new business page: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set ... 695&type=3

Forgive the shoddiness of the logo and header. It is merely a placeholder and I'm working on a far nice and more original one. I got two clients (a social media management client and the author) before I even knew I was starting a business. heh.

Were you able to download the raw version?

If you'd care for faster communication my e-mail is [email protected] and FB is http://www.facebook.com/ian.m.walker

Cheers.
Last edited by MichloIW on Fri Apr 24, 2015 4:33 pm, edited 2 times in total.
Reason: Email address removed by moderator

kozikowski
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by kozikowski » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:11 am

Oh, that's revealing, isn't it? I need to sit and listen to it critically. Did we establish what kind of microphone you had? I think the "honky" sound is your studio. I couldn't tell before with all the rouge, powder and lipstick on top. Oh, and you have an extraordinary volume problem.

As we go.

Koz

steve
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by steve » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:19 am

9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

MichloIW
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Re: Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel.

Post by MichloIW » Wed Apr 16, 2014 6:33 am

kozikowski wrote:Oh, that's revealing, isn't it? I need to sit and listen to it critically. Did we establish what kind of microphone you had? I think the "honky" sound is your studio. I couldn't tell before with all the rouge, powder and lipstick on top. Oh, and you have an extraordinary volume problem.

As we go.

Koz
Yes, Blue Snowball.

Haha, there is no rouge, powder or lipstick in this house, mister. Volume problem? I record at only half volume and then followed the advice to amplify, etc. :(

And it was you I just accepted a friend request from I hope. I usually vet someone I don't know but assumed it must be you.

Cheers.

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