I would like to know if anyone is willing to share thier settings or at least offer some advice for PT. I understand that raw is best for auditions but I am fighting some very frustrting room noise, mostly a humming PC fan. I have treated the room as much as I can. I would like to limit this noise in post as much as possible without making my voice sound over processed. I would also really like to figure out some basic settings to EQ my voice and set the volume level appropriately every time. I guess I am asking two different things. One how do I best minimize the room noise in post and what are the best basic eq & volume settings for a male voice in PT. I would love to set some templates so as not tinker too much each time.
Here is a sample and if you listen closely through a good sets of phones you can hear fuzz and hum in the backround. I also beleive the volume is off. Be gentle, I am a newbie after all and I know it shows in this peice...Any suggesytons would be appreciated.
Hi Jeff, is there anyway possible that you could put the computer in the room next to you and then run the cables through the wall? My booth is a large walk-in closet that I have converted into a small project studio. My PowerMac is in the room next to me...in that closet...works great! I cut a hole large enough for my cables and now I have a very nice and quite recording area. I have two flat panel monitors, my audio monitors and my Digi 003R interface.
PRESETS: Yes, this is the way to go...it's easy to do...on the plug-in of your choice (lets use the 1-Band EQ for example), simply click on the two little up/down triangles where you see the word DEFAULT and then you can click "SET AS DEFAULT" or you can select "SETTINGS PREFERENCES" > SET PLUGIN DEFAULT TO > USER SETTING.
For auditions, I put a bit of compression on my voice. Once I book the job, I ask the client if they want the audio sweetened and ready to drop in or if they have someone who will be doing post production on the audio. Lots of folks prefer it ready to drop in...especially when dealing with companies who are preparing items for in-house training etc.
Volume: If you record your audio at a healthy level, then just make sure you normalize it (Normalize is an AudioSuite plugin, free with ProTools) to -4 to -3dB.
Since I don't know what compressors you have, other than the BF76, which comes with PT, I can't really give much advice on that. Actually, the BF76 (though it can color a voice a tad) could be something you can play with. Open it up in AudioSuite and the default settings will be in place. Take the "OUTPUT" knob and turn it down to the "dot" between the 18 & 12...take a listen and see what you think. This is very light and and you would never have an issue with a post house complaining if you used it...they can still process well beyond if needed. If you added just this and Normalized your audio to -3dB...you would probably be fine...practice and see what you think. The key is to use as LITTLE processing as possible, especially if you are just starting out.
EQ: Probably best to stay away from this if possible...if you have a quality mic and are "working the mic" correctly, you should be fine...
Hope this helps...TRUST YOUR EARS...once you do a recording without processing, then duplicate the audio file and then do your processing on that. Bounce a 16/44.1 file of both and burn a CD, then go play that in your car, on a boombox etc....see if you like the way it sounds on the various systems...as you work with that, you may find you need to tweak here or there.
Thanks Brian. I am using a Studio Projects C-1 with the mbox. I hope my homework on it was accurate and that it will do. So that is it? Just a pinch of compression and normalize? Wow, it is really hard to resist the temptaition to put the whammy on my voice. I have a friend who uses Acid for recording music and he tells me I should be able to cut out the backround fuzz by tweaking the frequencies somehow. Every time I try I get that over processed sound. I do have a closet in the room that I was hoping I wouldnt have to clear out but it looks like I better get some boxes...
You are welcome, Jeff. Yeah, you need to be able to record in quiet. Because when you start venturing into "cutting frequencies" to reduce noise, you are removing information from the audio file. If you are going to do voiceover, you MUST have quite room to record in. Could you imagine the stress you would feel if you did a recording for client and they came back saying there was noise. It makes you look bad and you might lose a client as well. Be professional and enjoy the peace of mind that comes from doing things right...don't cut corners on "mission critical" gear and soundproofing.
Now, the reason I say "just a tad of compression and then normalize" is because you have to be so careful...you don't want to mess up a file whereby the end user producing the spot/recording can't do an overall sweetening to the audio because of all the compression etc. you might have placed on the original file.
I tell you, Jeff. Try this and see how you like it:
1 - Work up a bit closer to your mic...depending on the mic, get about 2-3 inches from it (make sure you are not recording at t a real low level or too hot.
2 - Now, with the audio file recorded, put the BF76 on it using the settings I gave you (again, it's very light)
3 - Now Normalize it to -3dB
Hopefully you can stay away from EQ...unless of course you have a room that is calibrated and you have quality reference monitors and know how to use EQ...otherwise, leave that to production folks. I think if you try what I outlined above you will be satisfied...at least enough to move forward.
Hi Jeff, you have a fine voice but the recording is overshadowed by a muffled boxiness, as if you are recording in a padded cardboard box. Frankly, you really need to begin with your acoustics, not with processing. Your mic needs room to breathe.
There are a number of solutions to quiet computer noise. If you must have the computer next to you as you record, Middle Atlantic and a few others have insulated computer cabinets available, tho they're rather pricey. A cheaper solution is to buy USB extension cables for your keyboard and mouse and a monitor extension cable, and move your CPU to a closet or even in the hallway.
Then get the acoustics of your room into such shape that you can mic from a good 8" and not be aware of the room on playback. Then you'll need a good set of monitors -- not headphones -- to listen to playback, experiment with processing, and settle into what best fits your voice...for those clients who need pre-processed VO.
Thanks Jeff, I think the box effect is from the processing and hopefully not from the box I am actually recoding in. Seriously, I built one of those make-shift Harlan Hogan style portable boxes in an effort to cut out that noise. I padded it with professional acoustic foam. My C-1 hangs from the top, and dont laugh but I have it on a 6ft ladder to get it just above my neck. I have it pulled as far from my CPU as my Mbox and mic cord will allow which is about 7ft. Perhaps this box isnt helping? Needless to say my small office/recording area looks pretty funky with this setup.
They say you should never post when you're buzzed, but here goes. I don't think the HH box is doing much good quieting things for you, and I can hear its resonance on my monitors. Just get some foam on as much of the walls as you can.
And I hate to say, having just listened in headphones as well, you have some serious noise in your equipment. I can hear an electronic hiss/hash being gated when you pause. It's audible as you speak, and muted about 6 - 9 dB when you pause, but still loud enough to be there. But I don't recommend deeper or faster expansion, as it's already noticeably pumping. The noise sounds like the type of hash you might pick up if your mic output is too low and your mic cables are too near some source of electronic noise, such as running near or crossing over power cables, too near your computer, or too near a CRT monitor. It may even originate inside the computer case, and be curable by simply moving the Mbox card to a different slot...especially one not next to a modem.
The C1 should have plenty of level into the Mbox interface, so I don't think it's preamp noise. I'm thinking by the sound of it that it's inside the computer case and your card needs to be moved. You might be mistaking that noise for fan noise. I can't hear a fan at all at this point. Only the electronic hash behind your voice, and a little slap from the room as you speak.
Common aggravations and their most usual source:
Fan noise - sounds just like a fan only thru a mic
Hiss - preamp noise
Hash - RF inside your computer
Buzz - mic cable crossing an AC line
Hum - grounding issues or mic cable parallel to an AC line or near a transformer
Distortion that comes and goes - dirty fader, dirty connector, or dirty preamp gain pot.
I'm getting ready to move soon to a new studio, so I've been pricing acoustic treatments. These guys have the heavy duty convoluted foam in charcoal and colors as cheap as I've ever seen: http://www.thefoamfactory.com. I kinda like the purple.
If you can get rid of the hash and the room slap, you can freely EQ and compress to your heart's content. A starting place for settings along those lines would be a simple +4 dB @ 4 kHz with 1.0 octave Q, and 6-9 dB of compression 4:1 with 10ms attack and 250ms release. EQ should come before compression. That will make you sound tight and bright for those clients who need processed tracks.
JJ - Maybe you shouldn’t post when buzzed but I am glad you did. There is a lot of bleepin info in your post. I think it is going to take a while for me to digest it all.
I am actually using an external mbox mini. I think I am still going to start by gutting the only closet in my office and getting all plugged in there. I can't afford to foam my whole office yet but hopefully I can do a closet. This will at least help with the room slap and give me a chance to rule out most external noise. My PC fan is humming quite loudly right now as I type so reducing this can only help. Then I will seek out the electronic interference you mentioned and hope that it is something simple and easy to isolate. I never thought getting that clean crisp sound was going to be so tricky.
Now for the foam. You are right about the foamfactory prices. I checked out their site and pricing and I was very surprised. Just the little bit of foam that I used for the HH box was crazy expensive from Sam Ash online. Now to go all trailer trash on you: I have a whole roll of brand new carpet padding that was given to me. Since it is going to be in a closet after all, is there a down side to using this in the meantime?
The prices I've seen on foam from most of the catalog retailers are indeed ridiculous, especially the "packages." It ain't rocket science, nor wall art. Unless you want it to be, I guess. I've never tried carpet pad foam, but it's got to be better than nothing and the price is right if it was free! You might try curling it into a S-shape pattern to get more density out of it. The loops might also form sort of crude bass trap tubes and help out that way. A staple gun might be a better bet than glue. (My convoluted foam is hung from carpet "tackless" strips nailed near the ceiling, barbs up. No glue, and the panels are easy to adjust or replace.)
It's harder to get clean sound out of many sound cards than you'd expect, just because the interior of a computer case is so filled with various radio frequencies just begging to get into your audio. That's why the high-end workstations try to keep all the analog audio outside the CPU in rack mount AD/DA boxes. That can also be an advantage of USB interfaces.
My old MicroTechnologies Unlimited rack mount I/O is dead quiet, but the on-motherboard audio that came with my computer outputs a low level zipper noise whenever the mouse is moved. In a previous computer, I had to move a Layla card because the adjacent dialup modem made it buzz. Then the drivers wouldn't install with it in the slot farthest from the modem, so I had to move the card to just one blank slot away from the modem. And altho it was a big improvement, I eventually pulled out the modem card completely after I changed internet providers to a really reliable cable internet service -- after putting up with some rather iffy DSL, and using dialup as a backup connection.
I'm not familiar with the Mbox Mini. Is that a firewire or USB-type interface, or is it an external I/O box connecting to a PCI card on the back of your computer? If it's firewire or USB, then you might be able to use a longer USB or 1394 cable to get it further away from your computer. Computers can throw RF a long way. Our living room "game" computer causes video and audio interference on channel 4 from a good 12 feet away.