Mixing Audio

Discussion in 'Mixing & Song Critique' started by Lelouch, Mar 30, 2017.

  1. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    Hi guys, brand new thread, it feels clean ! Here's a recording I did literally just now. I have a gate at -48dB, preopen-5ms atk-10ms hold-10ms release-100ms. I did those settings because the Gate would chomp away at my words ! For the EQ, I didn't mess around with trying to enhance my voice ! Instead, I just cleaned up the audio by getting rid of over 20KHz ( Beyond human hearing anyway ! ) , and more importantly, got rid of 40Hz and under. That was because I heard that it's just noise to our ears and most playback devices don't produce them accurately, or at all ! I also have a -20 dB threshold for my compressor. 3ms - atk 100ms - release , 3:1 ratio , very minimal. At the very end, I normalized. I use Reaper to do all these things, however, I don't edit on Reaper. Using Camtasia Studio, I compressed again, JUST the peaks of the audio that were left with a 2:1 ratio , -12 threshold. I added 2dB and then I raised the overall volume of the entire from 100% ( The initial volume ) to 195%. Yes, almost doubled the volume of my recording. I'm not sure if there's a difference, but it feels different when I add a volume percentage rather then adding dB.

    Anyway, I'm just trying out new things. I recorded between -18 and -6 ( My couple of peaks that I got rid of ). I want to see where I can improve my audio in these qualities ( Compression, EQ, etc.. ) . I really barely even know the bare bones of these things. So any advice on compression, EQ, and other mixing techniques would be appreciated. Thanks guys !

     

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  2. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Hi Letouch.
    Let's just talk signal chain to begin with
    Here's what you did. Gate, EQ, Comp, normalize, comp.
    First, normalize isn't necessary. The only thing it does is calculate the highest peak and level the track up to a set threshold. You are processing your track for nothing because you used a compressor after which changed the level again...

    Try this : Gate (a bit slower release than you have), EQ (Same but a bit more bottom), compressor and limiter to avoid digital peaks.
     
  3. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    Compressor vs Limiter ;

    Actually a compressor and limiter does the same job and most compressor can do both. The only difference is that the limiter will act harder on the signal to avoid going over a certain threshold.
    Most mastering jobs will use a limiter at the end of the signal chain as a safety precausion and to do the last level lift.
    Both compressor and limiter can kill a performance by removing the dynamics, but used well they can help to get a better focus
     
  4. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    Not really sure what a limiter is , is that what the way I did " second compression " is called ?

    I just edited my gate release to 125ms and my EQ up to 50hz instead of 40. '

    Also, after I normalized, I barely touched the audio with the Camtasia studio compression. I can literally see the audio change as I use the editing tools. The only parts of the audio even TOUCHED by the compressor there were the abnormal peaks, which I didn't completely get rid of either. Then I added 2dB ( it felt right at the time ). After that, I brought up my audio by an actual percentage rather then dB. When bringing up audio with dB, it goes through the compressor in Camtasia, but when it's a percentage, it's not touched by it. Lastly, I see many views on normalization. It changes the audio so that you don't need to turn up the volume when I speak softly or turn it down when I'm loud, it kinda brings it all together. So if I'm recording to put something in my demo, I should have my audio normalized right ? If I was recording for a client and he wanted the audio ready to be taken straight into whatever it's going to be used for, they would want it normalized correct ?
     
  5. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    Before I had a video on a famous voice actors demo made in a studio using the MKH 416. I wanted to see it, so I downloaded the video and looked at it in Camtasia Studio, and I edited it to get out only the demo itself at the end.

    Edit : I was talking about the audio ^ , but I realized I was looking at the wrong thing.

    Anyway, since it was done in a studio, I'm assuming that this is good audio and mixing ? How do people get audio like this ?! What's separating my audio from that audio ?

    Also, for about 2 seconds, 1:37-1:38, there's the least amount of music and you can see/hear the wave forms of mainly just his voice if that's important.

     

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  6. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    This is one done with the recommended settings. It's also been normalized. I made another one not normalized to post, but I ended up having processed it wrong and didn't save the RAW file.

     

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  7. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    Nice work, I haven't been following your threads.

    So, based on me coming in on this thread now, I would tame the tightness on some of your words like "discover... " HD... sounds a bit exaggerated and edgy to me but other than me being picky, you really have a good sound.
    I loaded this last track into my DAW, used a HPF until the low mids started sounding smoother.I would probably do that but a Mastering Engineer would be a good move once you are done.

    Nice work
     
  8. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    There are several factors involved with VO quality, (or quality of any type of recordings) - the mics, the preamps, the acoustics of the environment, top level processing and conversion, the knowledge of the engineer - and, not the least of which is the natural timbre and resonance of the VO performer.
    Some people just inherently have great-sounding voices for VO work - James Earl Jones, Martin Sheen, Blythe Danner, David McCullough, ... and of course, the great Don LaFontaine ( R.I.P.).

    But you can bet that these performers were also recording in studios where the gear was stellar - great microphones -(and of which there was also a nice selection of )- along with great sounding preamps such as Neve, SSL, API, etc., and in spaces that were very well-tuned for this type of work. And, they had a skilled engineer at the helm.

    All of that matters - a lot.
     
  9. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    I see, at what Hz did you set the HPF till it sounded smooth ? I also really don't want to go through the trouble of hiring a Mastering Engineer !

    I agree, but I mean mixing wise more then anything. I use an HP Pavilion x360 outside the " studio ". It has a Beats Audio mixer that I CAN'T turn off. When I hear my audio, it sounds COMPLETELY different ( for the worse ) then what I hear over the headphones through the interface. But when I hear something someone else made like the file up there called " Someone Elses Demo ! ", sure it sounds different .. But the audio still sounds great ! Is this due to EQ ?

    BTW ^ That recording I mentioned was also done with the MKH 416. Different interface though obviously.
     
  10. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    In general, the way I use hpf... go up until you hear it removing unwanted low end, then come back down a touch and its just right. That's of course, easier said than sometimes done. I know what I "don't want to hear".

    I rolled your track off to about 100 hz. I hear a boominess that is in your vocal which is partially ( guessing) is a bit to do with gear. Easily fixed using that hpf.
    Mastering engineers are not expensive. They are also a second set of ears which is a critical component to finishing sound. I'm thinking $25 for something that simple.

    These are only suggestions though. I think you are well on your way to perfecting your craft.
     
  11. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    Thanks ! Once I'm back with my equipment on Monday, I'll try the HPF in Reaper at about 100Hz to see what that sounds like . And I guess I may hire one for when I finish recording my demos, but I wouldn't want to rely on one every time I record something for a client, you know ?
     
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Chris Staff

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    If you are the recording engineer, then having someone good master your work will be positive step you. Add the small fee into your costs. If you are just doing this as a hobby, then I agree. If you are wanting to build a solid reputation in this industry, always have a second person master it. Read up on mastering and why its so important to have some master your work.
    Its not that you can't, its that you shouldn't.
     
  13. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    Well, this is something I'm taking up now to hopefully be able to do as a living ( far fetched and probably wont happen ). But I'v personally seen the successful VO actors at home do the processing themselves. Usually a client wont have the ears to hear the difference between a pro mastered and simple basic processing I suppose ? Anyway, unless I get a big client who specifically asks for great mastering, I suppose it's not always needed ?
     
  14. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I though I just explained it... it's named Limiter because it limits the signal from passing a thresold level. (a compressor with very high ratio if you want)
     
  15. pcrecord

    pcrecord Quality recording seeker ! Well-Known Member

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    I know your goal is to get noticed and be hired.
    I think the sound in the best hd mp3 is good enough to accomplish your goal.

    The performance could be better tho. Be more engaging, have more energy and a faster pace (if you simulate a publicity)
    On the technical side of things, I think you are forcing your voice in an unnatural way. Pushing the sound to get a lower voice is ok, but I think you are forcing it too deep in the throat. (specially in the first part of the file.) On the long run you could damage your vocal cords and it doesn't sound natural.
    I know most wanted voice over artists have deep voice, but for most of them it's natural.. they talk like that without forcing it.
    I'd like to hear you do something with your natural voice, like if we were to talk together on the street.
     
  16. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

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    +1
    And, not every VO you do will require ( or be wanted by the client) that you have that "deep" voice; that at times sounds very forced on your part.
    If you want to get work, You have to be able to do more than always sound like the same VO artist, or the ones whom you look to for reference.
    There are times you'll be required to be "conversational", times where you'll want to smile while you are reading the ad copy ( yes, you can "hear" a smile), other times they may want a more serious or intimate tone.
    You're gonna get a lot more work if you're not a one-trick pony. Stretch out, try reading an owner's manual, or tell a joke, or act like you're just talking to someone. Write your own mock-up ad copy for The Red Cross, or a Funeral Home, or Cancer Awareness, or, try reading a page from a book, or read poetry. Try getting away from the "movie trailer" voice that you seem to be shooting for right now, or the voice you would use to sell cars.
    All
    of these things help you to expand your style into other styles, which will make you much more attractive to clients, and improve your skills.
    Remember... as a VO artist, you also have to be an actor. Your voice needs to fit the content and mood of the copy you are reading.

    (Ask me how I know).
     
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  17. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    Sorry , I forgot .
    Yea, these are things I record literally just to post onto here. I sing in a choir, and I was required to sing a song a little out of my range, so I stretched out my voice to reach higher pitches. Doing that made me lose some of the low end ( Something that naturally happens ). If you recall the " French Down " recording I did back with the MXL770, it was very deep and natural. It'll eventually come back, but I'll lay off it for now to avoid hurting my voice as you said.

    I've posted recordings with my normal voice before, but I'll post another tomorrow when I get back home to my mic.
     
  18. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    Thanks for the advice ! I have plenty of self written material, but whenever I go for a sad tone, my accent makes it feel unnatural. Otherwise, I'v recorded myself reading part of a book series called " Dante's Divine Comedy " and other things . I'll make sure to get more into other things then the typical booming announcer/selling voice !
     
  19. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    These two are pretty much what I always sound like normally. Lelouch ! I did just now, and the other one is one I sent before.



     

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  20. Lelouch

    Lelouch Active Member

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    I was just recording, and I tried to use an EQ preset. I'm uploading a file with the usual EQ ( Which is just cutting off low and high frequencies that aren't needed ), called " Blue Aprin No EQ ". And the other has EQ done to try and enhance the sound called " Blue Aprin EQ " Any opinions are appreciated. Most of the other presets completely sucked for dry voice, but this one made the audio sound different, in a way I didn't think was good or bad ! But I don't know, so thanks for any advice !



     

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