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Is It Possible to Make Recording, Sound better via software

Hello,

FYI: Before I ask, let me share (so that you can guide me better), I've a home studio setup and create educational video course.

May I ask you :)
Is It Possible to make regular recording sound better via Audacity? I'm passionate to make my recording quality better:

I use MXL 770 (with double layer pop filter), Scarlett solo 2nd gen etc...

I did a demo recording at 3am as it was quite time and still I did remove the noise via Audacity (I do have Adobe Audition CC 2019 but a pro user told me Audacity is better so I'm using it)

Recording after removing noise via Audacity:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/gxyns8nkswp1ai6/demo_rec_75%25_gain.mp3?dl=0

I Fixed the Audio:
I used a random software to make recording better but it just increased the volume, here is it:
https://www.dropbox.com/s/v6fp8e1ktzgb0f7/modified.m4a?dl=0

Raw audio (in case if you are curious what I recorded here is raw audio, initial 10 seconds I was quite so that I capture ambient noise):
https://www.dropbox.com/s/jh3wkv02wddn9c4/RAW_demo_rec_75%25_gain.mp3?dl=0


Any help will be much appreciated, thank you...

Comments

Kurt Foster Wed, 07/31/2019 - 14:54
the shortest path to playback is always the best quality. you will find real world examples of this approach in direct to disk classical recording as far back as the 1950's or perhaps even earlier.

any process whether it's recording (capture) or processing (mixing) is a degradation. all processing can do is make something sound different but never better. in some cases, different may be perceived as better for the situation but the fact is nothing any of us do can make a signal improved because all processing degrades the audio. your best chance is to go microphone, preamp, recorder, playback. if you add eq, or any processing you are technically degrading the signal. there is no free lunch, no magic button or process or plug in that will improve upon the best capture possible alone.

Kurt Foster Wed, 07/31/2019 - 15:20
bouldersound, post: 461705, member: 38959 wrote: If it weren't possible to make recordings better (subjectively) there would be no point using software to alter them.

software or any other process, (EQ / compression / limiting or any other enhancement) only modifies a signal to be more suitable to an application. it never improves the quality. the goal is to modify a signal with the least amount of degradation.

kmetal Wed, 07/31/2019 - 17:34
CatMalone, post: 461703, member: 51605 wrote: I do have Adobe Audition CC 2019 but a pro user told me Audacity is better so I'm using it)

I would encourage you explore audition. It has a great tool set, excellent pluggins, and is a broadcast standard. There is nothing wrong with audacity, but there is no need to neglect audition, it is very very good.

It is very important to take the time to learn your tools.

bouldersound Wed, 07/31/2019 - 17:51
Kurt Foster, post: 461706, member: 7836 wrote: software or any other process, (EQ / compression / limiting or any other enhancement) only modifies a signal to be more suitable to an application. it never improves the quality. the goal is to modify a signal with the least amount of degradation.

Good and bad in audio production is defined by subjective standards, not objective ones.

Kurt Foster Wed, 07/31/2019 - 18:50
bouldersound, post: 461711, member: 38959 wrote: Good and bad in audio production is defined by subjective standards, not objective ones.

your statement is an oxymoron. how can subjective be a standard?

regardless how it's phrased, you will never improve an audio signal with processing. you will always add distortions, noise and when capturing reduce real world dynamic range. it's physics and you can't change that subjective or not. no mic is 100% accurate and no processor is completely noise and distortion free, digital or analog.

pcrecord Thu, 08/01/2019 - 08:14
I think Kurt got stuck on the scientific meaning of the words recording quality and he very well explained his point.
I agree, the best place to work on for getting better quality is to have better room acoustics, mic, preamp, converter and mic placement technics.
With all that said, if there is a problem in the recording process, for exemple too much low frequencies and we use an EQ plugin to make it sound more pleasing.
One can say that it sounds better but it's not a question of quality rather than if it's pleasing or not.

When I do Voice over for my youtube videos, I use a lavalier, because I'm lasy and don't want to take the time to move one of my best mics from my tracking room to my control room.
So the results is, it's noisy and the natural EQ curve is a mess.. I use Waves NS1 and an EQ in post to make it sound ok.. If I would want a better quality, I'd use my best mic with a ISA preamp..
but instead I compromise with a Tascam DR-10L which has it's own recorder and I make it sound acceptable in post... For VO on youtube, I figured it was acceptable for my expectations and no viewer has complained about it (yet).

In conclusion,
For better Quality, change that mic for a mini 47 or higher end mic, treat your room according to your needs
Audacity vs Audition = any can do. Specially if you know how to use it. Yes there will be differences but they are very minimal.
(personnally I do everything either in Samplitude or directly into Davincy resolve)

Putting our energy and money on worth it things is a sign of wisdom and efficiency !! ;)

Kurt Foster Thu, 08/01/2019 - 08:27
it's important to understand the whole process and that includes the "science". i am not advocating 1 or 2 mics straight to the recording device as the only way and that anything else is a fools folly. i myself have never recorded straight to disk. i am a multitrack guy. i eq, compress, add reverb, gate.

but the idea that there is or will be at some point a "good-u-lator" just rubs me the wrong way. too many novice recordists are coming to the table thinking a DAW can improve audio. they need to understand what i previously stated.

"software or any other process, (EQ / compression / limiting or any other enhancement) only modifies a signal to be more suitable to an application. it never improves the quality. the goal is to modify a signal with the least amount of degradation."

pcrecord Thu, 08/01/2019 - 08:51
Kurt Foster, post: 461720, member: 7836 wrote: it's important to understand the whole process and that includes the science. i am not advocating 1 or 2 mics straight to the recording device as the only way and that anything else is a fools folly. i myself have never recorded straight to disk. i am a multitrack guy. i eq, compress, add reverb, gate.

but the idea that there is or will be at some point a "good-u-lator" just rubs me the wrong way. too many novice recordists are coming to the table thinking a DAW can improve audio. they need to understand what i previously stated.

"software or any other process, (EQ / compression / limiting or any other enhancement) only modifies a signal to be more suitable to an application. it never improves the quality. the goal is to modify a signal with the least amount of degradation."
I agree, fix it later isn't the solution.. Mic choice and placement does 70% of the job !!

CatMalone Thu, 08/01/2019 - 15:12
kmetal, post: 461710, member: 37533 wrote: I would encourage you explore audition. It has a great tool set, excellent pluggins, and is a broadcast standard. There is nothing wrong with audacity, but there is no need to neglect audition, it is very very good.

It is very important to take the time to learn your tools.

Thanks I taken your suggestion seriously and would learn it.


pcrecord, post: 461719, member: 46460 wrote:
In conclusion,
For better Quality, change that mic for a mini 47 or higher end mic, treat your room according to your needs

Do you mean to say: I should replace my MXL 770 with mini 47 (Roswell Mini K47). I think it's also condenser mic likewise my MXL 770 so it'll also pickup background noise the way my mic is picking up right now.



Kurt Foster, post: 461720, member: 7836 wrote: it's important to understand the whole process and that includes the "science". i am not advocating 1 or 2 mics straight to the recording device as the only way and that anything else is a fools folly. i myself have never recorded straight to disk. i am a multitrack guy. i eq, compress, add reverb, gate.

but the idea that there is or will be at some point a "good-u-lator" just rubs me the wrong way. too many novice recordists are coming to the table thinking a DAW can improve audio. they need to understand what i previously stated.

I'm not recordist :) I'm just a teacher who creates video course and now trying to deliver pro audio quality (without background noise) so that I can add value to others life. Surely I'm not a youtuber (those who don't need to care much about if something is off track) but also I'm not professional yet who knows ins and out of professional audio recording but I'm trying to learn bit by bit to become professional as I myself discovered all the equipment's for my home studio setup as I didn't have anyone to guide me. Your reply and other fellow members are very helpful to me :) so far and I'm grateful to all of you for this incredible help and feedback. Thank you Kurt :)

kmetal Thu, 08/01/2019 - 16:14
I think switching to a dynamic mic will have a dramatic effect. When i first got my 414, a high quality condenser, i was very disappointed. It turned out to be picking up how bad my room sounded, and i then proceeded to treat my room and became happy with my new condenser mic.

pcrecord, post: 461719, member: 46460 wrote: Audacity vs Audition = any can do. Specially if you know how to use it. Yes there will be differences but they are very minimal.

I think audition has a generally higher quality stock pluggin set, and it has the spectrum view like samplitude. Im not sure if you can edit in spectrum veiw or not. I assume it still gas spectrum veiw since it did when i used version 2.5 back in like 04' or so. The spectrum editing could be the ticket for Cat.

pcrecord, post: 461719, member: 46460 wrote: but instead I compromise with a Tascam DR-10L which has it's own recorder and I make it sound acceptable in post... For VO on youtube, I figured it was acceptable for my expectations and no viewer has complained about it (yet).

All this time i was thinking i was hearing the RME! Its crazy how good those little portable recorders are. Ya fooled me sir.

Kurt Foster, post: 461720, member: 7836 wrote: but the idea that there is or will be at some point a "good-u-lator" just rubs me the wrong way.

Man is this the truth! I think its why i still am obsessed with recording after this long.

paulears Thu, 08/01/2019 - 18:05
If you will forgive me, I think you have an unusual and atypical perception of quality. I'll try to explain. Signal to noise ratio is important, but not the be all and end all in the quality stakes. I would personally consider the quality of the recording to centre on the audio captured and not on the noise from the preamp and recording chain. In your recording the audio quality is fine. I have no issue with it whatsoever and once the speaking starts I hear quality not the noise. The noise is of course there between words, but the noise reduction artefacts for me detract from the repair. I find I can tune out hiss and LF rumble after a few minutes and in my mind, your recording is not poor quality. The noise is not the same as thin weak sound, or hums, or crackles and pops. It also isn't strange or peaky EQ. Some recordings from the 50s sound like this and they're high quality. There are plenty of hiss free awful recordings of course.

I also take the view others have mentioned that repairs to sound never improve it, they just mask the problems, but always leave their fingerprint - and I find these artefacts more annoying, and this to me is a drop in quality.

You say the noise is background noise? I assume it's noise from the mic preamp and NOT noise in the room. If you wish to increase overall quality, you must improve the preamp, or improve the signal to noise ration by increasing it by moving you closer to the mic, which takes the noise floor down. You could buy a better preamp, but the one you have is pretty fine normally. I assume you have checked the pad isn't engaged, just checking. If you have a passion to increase quality, that's fine - but if you want to create an educational course, you need to master this all before you pass your skills on. It's often said the 'quality' in inverted commas is subjective, and the technical aspects of 'quality' can be measured. I think I agree with this. However, as I said above it fails when the noise is constant, because we have brains. I'm totally happy with high quality, but noisy audio.

How you explain that sound is not just a technical measurable collection of data is difficult.

For me - before I stop using your mic, which is perfectly capable, I would be spending time and perhaps money on improving the chain and improving technique. I bet I could use your gear and get a quieter recording, and THAT is a quality improvement. Swapping the mic for another that produces exactly the same noise is pointless, and even though the mic could be better, the result would have the same weak link. Your job is to find the weak link and fix it.

paulears Fri, 08/02/2019 - 00:26
Yep, I know, but it's still noise, and the only solution is to deal with it not repair it. Sorry if I didn't make it clear. It's an unwanted component, preamp hiss, wind outside, aircon, fridge noise ( it's hot here and aircon is rare in the UK) and if I leave my studio door open the fridge in the next room is clear. The only solution is to change the mic position, or the mic or remove the noise. Using processing to remove it is just wrong technique, and if the OP is a quality conscious recordist then he needs to remove the noise at source capture time. Software is good nowadays, but when we first went digital, some folk complained that any bit of information lost was a negative feature. Now we are happy to let the software differ the bits to distort it from the original, and that's good?

bouldersound Fri, 08/02/2019 - 01:47
It's almost as if I said that one should fix it later with software, as if I said that would be preferable. Of course the best solution is to address deficiencies as early in the chain as possible, even before the sound hits the mic.

I do a fair bit of live recording and it's often a matter of managing adverse acoustic conditions and minimizing the compromises I'll have to make in post production. But it's seldom possible to record something that doesn't need some sort of fairly assertive remedial processing. Knowing ahead of time what can and can't be done in post is critical.

pcrecord Fri, 08/02/2019 - 05:20
CatMalone, post: 461729, member: 51605 wrote: Do you mean to say: I should replace my MXL 770 with mini 47 (Roswell Mini K47). I think it's also condenser mic likewise my MXL 770 so it'll also pickup background noise the way my mic is picking up right now.
There is 2 things
- Electric noise coming from the equipment, the k47 will have less than the 770. Also the k47 has less hi-frequency hype. The 770 is crisp in comparaison but not in a good way.
- And there is ambiant noise in the room. you could change the mic for a dynamic mic, it will have a better rejection pattern, like a sm57. Or you can treat your room.. moving blankets on the walls or build diy bass traps.. (ton of youtube video on that)

One alternative if you can treat your room would be to change the capsule on the 770 for the same capsule in the mini k47. The RK47
https://microphone-parts.com/pages/mxl-770-mods

kmetal, post: 461734, member: 37533 wrote: All this time i was thinking i was hearing the RME! Its crazy how good those little portable recorders are. Ya fooled me sir.
It's just a bit more work on post.. Actually comparing the lav mic with a condenser and the processing needed to make them sound good could be a great idea for a youtube video !

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