Utilizing Audacity to improve audio quality
  • Hey ponies!

    I am poor, so I'm using Audacity, a free audio editing software for my recording and editing.
    I am starting this thread to demonstrate the few methods I know of cleaning audio, as well as ask for advice on further refinements.

    Currently I use a basic noise reduction filter (on recorded 'silence'), and then follow with dynamic range compression to smooth the volume levels.
    This yields decent results. It'd be better if I wasn't using a poor headset mounted mic, but that's another story.

    Do the gurus around here have further ideas or advice relating to my current methods?

    (Edit: I just read the Mic thread and have realized that I am thoroughly out-classed when it comes to equipment and software.)
  • Well, I'm not the savviest when it comes to audio editing, certainly Equestria Narrator will have a few tips for you when he comes around, but removing noise and applying compression are the essential steps. Post production can do a lot but it's not magic, decent equipment and a proper recording enviroment are really important too. It'd be nice hearing a sample of your recordings to be more spot on, but with the file servers stuttering they're not available at the moment. Unless you have a mirror link...?

    At any rate, don't get too fussed about sound quality. Of course you need a decent setup, but what really matters is how good you are at the mic. People will get over a bit of hiss if you provide an enjoyable experience, and that's only a matter of practice and passion.
  • You've got the right idea.  My processes, using Audition, is much the same as it has the same tools really.  First thing I do is pass it through noise reduction with the ambient noise print, then through the compressor to boost the levels.  I also use a noise gate and dynamics processor - ART Voice Channel - Good buy that doesn't break the bank at 400 bucks and has USB out.  If you're strapped for cash but want equipment you might try Zzounds.com as they have a payment plan if you qualify..

    But outside of that using the noise reduction and compression then through an EQ is probably the best bet.  The trick is the cleaner the sound coming in the better off you are.  You can get a good sounding mic for not very much.  Check out something like the Blue Snowball or Yeti.  The Snowball is only about 65 bucks and the Yeti is usually around 100-120.

  • Thanks guys!

    It looks like I'm hitting the main points with the post processing at least.
    I'll keep a look out for a good mic, though it's not currently in the budget.

    Aanok, you mention a proper recording environment- what does that look like?

    Equestria Narrator, do you use your equipment for other projects/work? 
  • I do, I'm starting to branch out into other things and with getting caught up on the FOE Heroes project I plan and expanding a bit more.  The only thing I've done, publicly, so far is this:  

    Going to 'proper recording environment'  - You don't want to be in a large room with blank walls..you don't want a noisy environment etc.   Outside of ambient noises you want to cut back on any reflections.  Blank walls will product reverb..a airy hollow sound.  It's better to have a dry flat sound.  You can always AD to a recording..effects etc..but taking sounds OUT is much more problematic if not impossible.  
  • It's a place with good acoustics, which basically means as little reverb as possible so, ideally, a soundproofed recording booth or a theatre, if you were feeling particularly magniloquent :p .
    Realistically speaking, you're looking for a small room with a lot of furniture in it to break sound wave reflections.
    There's also people who drape blankets across the room (which is silly), others who record in a cupboard (literally) and others who use something like this.
    Ambient reverb becomes more evident the louder you get. From what I hear you're well enough as you are, but if you had to shout for some reason you'd have to be careful about it.