Opinion, please?

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fredericamg
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Operating System: Windows 10

Opinion, please?

Post by fredericamg » Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:21 pm

I'm creating a new desktop setup, and trying to get the quality as high as I can. But after I listen to audioclips for a little while, I get confused and can't remember well, can't hear it "fresh" any more.

I am using Windows 10 on a Dell desktop PC that's 6 months old. I am using Audacity 3.0.2. I have a Zoom H2 mic, connected to the PC tower through a Plextone GS3. I have a soft voice and struggle to get volume high without too much ambient noise.

The Mic Gain on the H2 is High. The Mic Gain on Audacity is 75%. The Audio Host is Windows Direct Sound.

I have been using Audacity for 10 or 15 years, and have 8 home-recorded books for sale on Audible. But when I listen to some of the old book files I made, they now sound awful to me.

I'm attaching a 24 sec mp3 clip titled "Adam". When I listen to this on earbuds it sounds terribly echo-y. When I listen through my soundbar, it sounds pretty good.

I haven't processed this clip at all. Would you have any advice about how to improve it (apart from the clicking)?
Attachments
Adam mp3.mp3
Can I improve this audio quality?
(311.32 KiB) Downloaded 8 times

Trebor
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Re: Opinion, please?

Post by Trebor » Thu Jun 10, 2021 9:34 pm

fredericamg wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:21 pm
... can't hear it "fresh" any more ...
Frequency analysis graphs are the answer: they are not affected by playback hardware (or wetware) ...

green is good, yours is red 8¬(.gif
green is good, yours is red 8¬(.gif (49.7 KiB) Viewed 102 times
fredericamg wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:21 pm
I haven't processed this clip at all. Would you have any advice about how to improve it...?
Closer to the green equalization, & the desibilator ...
''clean-up the shop'' before-after.flac
(481.77 KiB) Downloaded 8 times
fredericamg wrote:
Thu Jun 10, 2021 7:21 pm
I'm attaching a 24 sec mp3 clip titled "Adam". When I listen to this on earbuds it sounds terribly echo-y....
I don't hear echo on your Adam recording, (just muffled equalization).

Windows can add echo-y effects (a/k/a "enhancements") to playback,
here's a YouTube showing how to switch them off ...https://youtu.be/sxnUjiGgBaI

[ You should disable any audio "enhancements" in the playback & recording tabs of Windows sound control panel ]

kozikowski
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Re: Opinion, please?

Post by kozikowski » Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:51 am

H2 or H2n? H2s are legendary for terrific sound and you can still buy a used one for new prices.

I hear recording in a closet with little or no soundproofing. Did I hit it? I can't listen to that cedar-closet mid-tone boost. You're right. That's pretty annoying.

Describe your studio. As an experiment, move the H2 into the kitchen, lay it on the table face up, throw a blanket over your head and the H2 and read a test. Doesn't mater what else is going on.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sq2yoVwpRs8

I bet that honky tonal distortion goes away.

Koz

fredericamg
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Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Opinion, please?

Post by fredericamg » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:25 am

Thank you! I disabled the Enhancements.
And I've never used Frequency Analysis Graphs; I didn't know about them. I am an old newbie!

Thank you for the before-and-after. There's a huge difference; the after is so much clearer.
How did you do that?

I guess the Frequency analysis graph tells what's wrong, but it's not the tool that actually makes it better?
I expect there are some steps I need to go through, to change it to green.

Also, do you think my setup is adequate, as long as I clean it up afterward? Or is there anything I should change to make it better?

I'm also trying to get a good setup for live audio like Zoom meetings etc. Not recording in that case, but just talking in meetings.

Thank you!

kozikowski
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Re: Opinion, please?

Post by kozikowski » Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:10 am

I'm also trying to get a good setup for live audio like Zoom meetings
That means you can't fix your voice later. There is no later.

Describe your recording environment. It's a closet, right? That's what it sounds like. Those can work OK as long as you leave all the clothing in there.


No question the best simple thing you can do to sound good to other Zoom users is wear headphones. Over half of the odd-sounding Zoom sound processing distortion goes away when you do that.

If you work hands-free, no headphones, Zoom has to work to keep the far side voice out of your voice. If you have a bare room, that can be pretty serious processing and distortion to your voice. Even earbuds or earphones would work. Anything to keep the far-side voice out of your room.

Even better if your Zoom Room doesn't have echoes, bare walls or plain, wooden floor. If you do both of those fixes, quiet room and earphones, you can sound like you're in their room with them.

And your voiceover voice will be much better. Audacity can't apply filters, effects or corrections in real time. You have to fix the room.

Koz

Trebor
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Re: Opinion, please?

Post by Trebor » Fri Jun 11, 2021 9:12 am

fredericamg wrote:
Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:25 am
Thank you for the before-and-after. There's a huge difference; the after is so much clearer.
How did you do that?
Mainly* via an AutoEQ plugin, that flattens the peaks & troughs in the spectrum automatically.

The cheapest AutoEQ plugin I know of is hornet-thirtyone. (The price varies: $15-$30)
You can try the demo version before you buy: the demo version inserts spoiler silence every ~30 seconds.

I have the Mk1 version of hornet-thirtyone working in Audacity on Windows.
(Audcaity on Windows can only use 32-bit versions of plugins, even if you computer is 64-bit).

But as Koz was saying, the results are better if you apply acoustic treatment to your recording space, (e.g. heavy blankets, cushions), than trying to filter-out the peaks & troughs in the frequency-analysis afterwards.

[Other Auto Eq plugins are available, not all compatible with Audacity though].


[ * I also used a free manual real-time 7-band equalizer plugin to (overly ?) boost the high frequencies ].

fredericamg
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Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Opinion, please?

Post by fredericamg » Fri Jun 11, 2021 1:52 pm

Thank you, Trebor! I can see that's going to be a steep learning curve for me.

And thank you, Koz. Yes, I've got to make the audio setup as good as possible for live events, because "there is no "later."
What needs improvement, in my current set up?

I am in a spare bedroom with a wall of books behind me (my home office).
The mic (H2) is in front of me on my wooden desk. I have the mic set to "Front."

I'm hoping that because it's set to "Front," what's behind it doesn't matter. About 15" behind the mic is the computer monitor with a Logi webcam on top. Beyond that, more books, a sofa, and filing cabinet. There's a rug on the wooden floor but it's not high-pile.

I haven't been doing this, but I can certainly wear an earbud, so the voice is not coming out of the sound bar during interviews. I guess that is not a problem when recording.

Now, what sounds wrong to you, in my audio clip? What recommendations do you have?

kozikowski
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Re: Opinion, please?

Post by kozikowski » Fri Jun 11, 2021 2:26 pm

We could be a lot more help if we knew which H2 you had. There's the original H2 and the newer H2n.

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Opinion, please?

Post by kozikowski » Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:55 pm

The H2n is labeled on the bottom.

Screen Shot 2021-06-11 at 11.45.48 AM.png
Screen Shot 2021-06-11 at 11.45.48 AM.png (445.92 KiB) Viewed 38 times

The sound bar shouldn't be doing anything during recording or Zooming.

There's something serious wrong with your voice. As I posted, it sounds like you're recording in a small closet. Totally off from your desctiption of the room. I'd make detailed suggestions, but we're still not sure which H2 you have.

Koz

fredericamg
Posts: 27
Joined: Mon Nov 25, 2019 8:18 pm
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Opinion, please?

Post by fredericamg » Fri Jun 11, 2021 10:36 pm

So grateful for your help, Koz.

Ta da! It is the original H2. I remember you told me awhile back that this one is the best.

Yes, nothing is happening with the sound bar when I'm recording. But till now, when I was doing Zoom interviews, I was just using the sound bar for audio. I'll use an ear bud from now on.

But for live audio, I'm sorry it sounds so muffled. Would it help if I sent you a photo of my desk?
Attachments
H2 crop.jpg
H2 crop.jpg (931.29 KiB) Viewed 28 times

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