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Hi Pros…

Help me optimize recording levels for vocals / speaches

My background:
I know just enough to do volunteer work at a religious institute. And I have been doing it for long time.

Work I do:
I record spiritual discourses. It’s always one speaker – male with a deep bass voice.

Our setup:
We have a recording studio like room that is acoustically treated and semi-sound proof. I record using Sony D50 digital portable recorder directly. (Earlier used Digi 002 but Sony D50 is doing just good enough for my only speaker).

Question (need help / advise):
1. What audio levels should I maintain for recording?
2. Is there a way, or an instrument that tells me what recording levels I should keep. I do monitor and set them, but if there’s a technical way
3. Finally, if I had a recording that has low levels, what’s the best way to increase the sound levels? And how will it effect the quality of sound (vs. if I had recorded with a higher gain)


audioangel Tue, 07/06/2010 - 05:28

The key to getting a good recording is getting a good signal to noise ratio.

You want to set your recording levels as high as possible, whilst leaving a little bit of headroom for post processing and space incase the speaker is suddenly loud - you don't want it to distort. I haven't used the D50, but you should be able to adjust the settings int he menu i'd imagine.

If you have recorded at a low level, you can increase the gain using a programme like adobe audition, logic, cubase, protools - a lot of the digital recorders come bundled with software you can use.If you've recorded at a low level it's likely to be quite noisy depending on the quality of the recorder, but ti depends how low!

Hope that helps...