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Newbie Recorder - learning to record vocal for Audio Book


I have looked through several topics in this forum and found many helpful tips, suggestions and guidelines. So far I have followed some basic steps but I am afraid I need a little guidance from experienced or knowledgeable users.

I am new to recording and don't want to go to serious audio production with music, instruments and singing vocalists. I am considering an audio book production and I am looking for help on how to go about this in the best way I can. I am not expecting to develop a professional production with the limited resources I have and the knowledge I am learning but rather I am looking at producing something as best I can with the hardware I have and the skills I am picking up.

I am currently using a newly purchased Yamaha MW10 USB Mixer with Cubase LE that came bundled with the unit. I bought a Behringer Large Diaphragm Studio Condenser Mic (model C-3) using a long length of XLR cable. I have been able to record a few samples to my recording software - hardware seems to be working fine but I am a bit of a loss as to how make a decent sounding sound file. Everything sounds fine but I am wondering where to go from here as I do not know enough about digital recording to know what my final output will sound like.

I am set up in my basement (which is not designed in any way as a sound studio - I only did this due to it being the only quiet place in my house) - I have a 1.79 GHz computer with 768 RAM and so far I have not had any trouble with the USB Mixer hardware or the Cubase software. I am recording fine into the software and listening to playback through the mixer on a set of headphones. I have some music experience and I also have friends who are musicians who are helping me but none of us are technical minded people when it comes to digital recording. We are at a bit of a loss when it comes to input / output connections, hardware set up, hardware settings and software settings. I am an experienced computer user but I am having difficulty when it comes to sound / audio production.

Digital Audio Recording is an entirely new world to me and one I am discovering that it is an ocean of possibilities. I feel like I am rowing out into this sea in a little canoe and I am quickly getting lost.

I would appreciate any help you are able to provide. Thanks. Sab


RemyRAD Tue, 11/28/2006 - 23:37

Your equipment is quite adequate for doing the spoken word recording.

Might I suggest that you utilize the bass cut filter on the microphone or within your software since speaking closely to a directional cardioid microphone causes the bass to rise in a substantial way, known as proximity effect. It sounds cool in your headphones but can become overly muddy on loudspeakers. You should be approximately 6 inches away from your microphone.

You might want to consider utilizing some light dynamic range compression, by utilizing one of your plug-ins in your software. This will help to smooth out your delivery and provide the listener with a more pleasant consistent dynamic range. Additional high and mid frequency equalization will likely not be necessary and will only serve to make your voice sound harsh to the listener.

If you don't have a "embroidery loop" nylon stocking pop filter for your microphone, I would recommend one. You can also utilize a foam pop filter. Some people feel that it takes away from the high frequency response and it does, by about one half DB at 15kHz, which is actually a good thing for spoken word recording.

Always running at the mouth
Ms. Remy Ann David

anonymous Wed, 11/29/2006 - 10:41

nylon filter for microphone

Thanks for the reply to my post. It is helpful considering I am just starting to learn the fine art of digital recording.

I have a little bit of experience in using PA systems for playing with other musicians. We have used mics before but never to the fine degree of wanting to listen to another speaking voice - so I have some experience and knowledge but not a great deal when it comes to digital recording.

One of my music friends suggested just making a home made filter using a nylon stocking stretched over a wire hoop. Would this be sufficient?

Are there any other tips you could offer someone who is new to Voice Over recording. One of the problems I am trying to get over is the sound of lip smacking in the recording. I am the one being recorded and I try to keep control of my lip smacking with some success but it is still a bit of a problem. I have tried several different directions and placements for the mic and some places are better than others but is there any way of getting rid of this sound? Is is a hardware problem? Or a biological one (I would appreciate honest direction on how to handle my own voice in this matter).

Thanks again,

RemyRAD Wed, 11/29/2006 - 11:50

Yes, you to take your girlfriends pair of old pantyhose (smell them good and take the best smelling portion, which may influence you to provide a better take), stretching a single or dual layer over a embroidery loop or shape something from an old metal coat hangar (if you can find any of those anymore?) You could even use a piece of 2 pound coffee can, with the top cut off and chop it off, 1/2" into the body. You of course would want to put something on the edge (electrical tape, duct tape, etc.), since it would cut right through the pantyhose.

Of course, a foam pop filter, would be easy, cheap, fast and more than adequate to use and available at your local Radio Shaft store. This is not a question of sonic integrity, purity or Fidelity but one of intelligibility that is most important and that's why I recommend the foam pop filter.

I hate wearing pantyhose!
Ms. Remy Ann David