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Recording Project

Discussion in 'Recording' started by tparmable, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. tparmable

    tparmable Guest

    I'm very new to the world of audio recording. I've done some basic voice recordings using some decent usb mics and Adobe Soundbooth 4 as well as Acid Studio 8. However I have a new project idea to capture a voice recording in an open space (hall, church, etc). I want to try to capture both the voice and the echo in two separate "layers" is that possible? or is it best to capture the voice recording then apply filters and such? I did like the idea of trying to capture an authentic echo un processed by a computer.

    I'm also looking for the type of equipment that I would need to get this all done. I'm on a budget (who isn't) but want to get a good quality recording. Is it best to use computers and usb mics? portable dat recorders? any words of advice would be welcome.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Mysterious Squirrel

    Mysterious Squirrel Active Member

    Sep 25, 2011
    United Kingdom
    Recording Outside Blues

    Hi and firstly, I was shocked to note that your querie has gone unanswered for so long. This could be because your question is too difficult to answer, one to which no one knows the answer or, is simply not interesting enough.
    I will put my head above the parapet and put the latter as the least probable and from my previous experiences on this forum, most likely to be the two former.
    The fact is, you could turn up with a convoy of trucks loaded with expensive recording equipment, to your local church in order to record say, the choir and still not ‘capture’ the ambience you had hoped for. You will get instead an excellent and faithful reproduction of traffic rumble from up to five miles away, feet scuffling on stone floors and the still resonating echoe of a sermon given last Thursday week. In short, it is almost impossible to record ‘natural ambience’ and apart from the few well known examples around the world, it is much easier, certainly more practical and infinitely cheaper, not to bother. Barking dogs, car alarms and the hubbub of human activity soon become tiresome, unwanted and can trigger phycotic rages in even the most patient of sound engineers.
    And don’t fall into the trap of believing that a hall, a church, a theatre or even a field has a unique sound, most often they do not. Whole orchestras cram themselves into recording studios for this very reason. I’m not saying it cannot be done but you have to be very, very lucky indeed to have both the ideal location and conditions to record natural abience.
    So why not try an analog mic thru an effects modeller, of which there are hundreds available, from £20 up to £Thousands. You need to experiment with the echo and reverb to get the sound you want obviously. Go and sit in a church, or a hall and listen to the background noise. Remember, with most sermons in churches and the choir too, they are often actually mic’d up and you are listening to crummy cheap speakers placed around the building. You could try recording various venues onto a portable recorder or just onto your mobile phone. I’m sure you could import that recording to your software and listen to it in more detail. Even replicate it using your software, but would it sound like it sounded when you were actually hearing it? I doubt it!
    I promise you, as someone who has been recording for thirtytoomany years, for an investment of thirty or forty quid on a vocal effects modeller you can record anywhere you choose without even leaving your home. If the software you are using doesn’t achieve this then that’s the downside of (some, not all) digital sound effect processors I’m afraid.
    I know initially, you felt you were asking a perfectly simple question to which you would get a perfectly simple answer but sound is never simple and rarely does as it is told. That doesn’t mean you didn’t deserve an answer, quite the opposite in fact.
    Good luck with your project.
  3. matthewfreedaudio

    matthewfreedaudio Active Member

    May 28, 2012
    Los Angeles
    It's not hard to record a voice plus the ambiance of a great sounding room...if you know what you're doing. And as the previous poster noted you may also pickup a whole lot of unwanted noise.

    Go to the space you want to record in and sit where the voice would be. Close your eyes and just listen for a few minutes. Do the same at the opposite side of the room or in the middle. What do you hear? Air conditioning? Ventilation rattles? Traffic? The church secratary walking in the hallway? Dogs barking?

    If you hear it while sitting there for 10 minutes with your eyes closed your microphones will hear it too.

    Are USB mics good for this? No. But I'm sure you will record the best sound you can given the equipment, budget, and time you have.

    The "right" way to do this would be using high quality microphones in to high quality mic pres in to high quality A/D converters. You could use a cardiod up close and a stereo pair for the ambiance. Or perhaps an omni up close and a couple omnis spaced out for your stereo image. Many options...do the best you can with what you have.

    Production Sound Mixing for TV, Film, and Commercials.

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