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  • hlloyge
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Voice recording through little mixette [how to keep same loudness]
Can anyone show me the way on how to setup voice recording?
I am using Behringer MX602A, Realtek line in input, I have Audacity and Wavosaur installed, both support VST's, Wavosaur in real-time.
Microphone is crap cheap Panasonic, 'tis all I have for now, I will try to borrow Shure or AKG from work. For now, lot of hiss because very high gain is needed.

My question is, how to keep the almost same voice loudness throughout the recording? I know I have to try to talk almost the same volume all the time, but are there plugins which will do voice normalization? Free, preferably.

I am amateur in this, and I am trying to do fairytale reading, also will try recording guitar and vocal, so I would need reading on these subjects, too. Googling revealed nothing usable on these subjects. I was thinking first recording guitar, then voice, and mixing them in audacity. It doesn't need to sound professional, but I would like to learn about the process.

  • DVDdoug
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Voice recording through little mixette [how to keep same loudness]
Reply #1
Try The Levelator[/u][/url].  (It's not a plug-in, it's a FREE stand-alone program.)

Or, you can look for an "Automatic Volume Control" plug-in, or you can use regular 'ol (dynamic) compression.  In Audacity, you can use the Envelope tool to "manually" boost/cut the volume where needed.  I don't use Wavosaur, but I assume it has something similar (most audio editors/DAWs call this "manual" ramping up & down "Automation".) 

The problem with compression and other automatic adjustment is...  During quiet parts (or pauses), the volume gets turned-up, turning-up the hiss & other background noise.  And with automatic volume control, when the signal comes-back with the volume cranked full-up, you get a burst of distortion while the volume re-adjusts down for the higher-signal.  (Distortion is not an issue with compression, which reacts faster than AVC).

For music (the guitar) you can use regular compression if it helps, or if it just sounds better with it.    Automatic volume control (a special kind of compression) usually works too slowy and it fouls-up music.

Quote
Microphone is crap cheap Panasonic, 'tis all I have for now... For now, lot of hiss because very high gain is needed.
Is that a balanced low-impedance mic (XLR connector)?  Make sure you are speaking with a strong voice, close to the mic...    The stronger signal you get, the better your signal-to-noise ratio...

Also the more sound/signal you make, the less you'll hear the noise.    i.e. Adding the guitar should help to mask the noise.    (  Some screaming electric guitar should cover-up everything  )

Oh, make sure to turn-down any unused inputs on the mixer.   

Audacity (and most audio editors) has a noise reduction tool that you use by feeding-in a "noise fingerprint".    These are almost always worth trying.  They can sometimes work very well on low-level noise.  But if the noise is bad,  you can get artifacts (side-effects) and "the cure can be worse than the disease".

There is also an "effect" called a Noisegate.  It works by totally killing the sound when the signal falls below a preset threshold.    But again, it generally works best with very-low level noise.    Otherwise, it can get annoying/distracting,  or it can cut-in and cut-out at the wrong times. 

For home-recording, room noise and room acoustics are often also issues that you have to "fight", espcially with music.
  • Last Edit: 18 June, 2012, 07:33:54 PM by DVDdoug

Voice recording through little mixette [how to keep same loudness]
Reply #2
I agree with DVDdoug.  Try Levelator first.

There are so many types of tools: compressors, limiters, AGC'c, noise gates....  It's difficult to make specific recommendations.

The best general advice I can offer is start with a good microphone.  You gotta trust me on this one.


Woody

  • hlloyge
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Voice recording through little mixette [how to keep same loudness]
Reply #3
Thank you both.

No, microphone is your standard "shopping-centre-made-for-karaoke" with banana plug; it really is bad. I've been speaking loud very close to the mic, and yet I had to raise gain almost 3/4 of the knob to get to -20 dB. I have some experience with mixing boards, but only as DJ - get audio in, don't overload, crossfade. I know I need microphone of higher quality, Stagg, Shure, AKG, with XLR connector - I just need to collect some money to buy it.
When I get it, I will try Levelator to see (hear!) what it does; Wavosaur has this neat thing to be able to link VSTs and to have live preview of effect(s), something I couldn't do (or know how to do it) in Audacity.

Voice recording through little mixette [how to keep same loudness]
Reply #4
Can anyone show me the way on how to setup voice recording?
I am using Behringer MX602A, Realtek line in input, I have Audacity and Wavosaur installed, both support VST's, Wavosaur in real-time.
Microphone is crap cheap Panasonic, 'tis all I have for now, I will try to borrow Shure or AKG from work. For now, lot of hiss because very high gain is needed.

My question is, how to keep the almost same voice loudness throughout the recording?


You give the first best answer right here:

Quote
I know I have to try to talk almost the same volume all the time, but are there plugins which will do voice normalization? Free, preferably.


Practice, practice, practice. I do a little of my own VO. and getting levels right is the easy part. Getting the proper emotion into the recording is far more important, not to mention far more difficult. No software product I know of will do that for you.

The second best answer is learn how to fix it in the mix - manually.

Resorting to software is the worst way out. If you want robotic results, use robots e.g. software.

If you want human results, use humans. If you want good results from humans, practice, practice, practice.    Record/mix/listen repeat.