KherubaLumen's FIRST 1-min test! [OK]

All languages: post your test recording here. Help check audio files, provide editing services, and advertise for proof-listeners.
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KherubaLumen
Posts: 17
Joined: November 27th, 2019, 3:34 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

Post by KherubaLumen » April 23rd, 2020, 12:47 pm

https://librivox.org/uploads/tests/test_kherubalumen.mp3

Audacity.
Windows OS on HP Envy laptop. (Sound settings at max for microphone input.)
USB microphone: 2nd-hand CAD U37 Cardioid Condenser

Even with the computer's sound input at max, AND me talking really loudly as if to a convention, the mp3 volume came out in the low 80's. I ran it through Audacity's Normalizer to amplify it and get it to 88db, but now it is edgy and rough sounding. Honestly, it sounded better on the very first recording, before I upped the computer's mic input and yelled. It sounded softer and rounder on the default settings.

Any help on amplification would be appreciated. I wouldn't be able to keep up my podium-voice all through a book. Note: computer is equipped with Realtek audio drivers.
Kheruba Lumen
Ezekiel 10:4

adrianstephens
Posts: 976
Joined: August 27th, 2019, 5:06 am
Location: Cambridge UK
Contact:

Post by adrianstephens » April 24th, 2020, 3:46 am

KherubaLumen wrote:
April 23rd, 2020, 12:47 pm
https://librivox.org/uploads/tests/test_kherubalumen.mp3

Audacity.
Windows OS on HP Envy laptop. (Sound settings at max for microphone input.)
USB microphone: 2nd-hand CAD U37 Cardioid Condenser

Even with the computer's sound input at max, AND me talking really loudly as if to a convention, the mp3 volume came out in the low 80's. I ran it through Audacity's Normalizer to amplify it and get it to 88db, but now it is edgy and rough sounding. Honestly, it sounded better on the very first recording, before I upped the computer's mic input and yelled. It sounded softer and rounder on the default settings.

Any help on amplification would be appreciated. I wouldn't be able to keep up my podium-voice all through a book. Note: computer is equipped with Realtek audio drivers.

Hello Judith,
Welcome to librivox. You have a nice clear voice, I had no trouble understanding you.

Congratulations - you meet librivox's technical standards. Proof Listen OK!

---------------------------
You can stop reading here and get on with your recording if you want to.


The built-in realtek microphones will probably sound horrible (see Part 7: Microphones listened to https://youtu.be/607ijxEw7mU), mine do.
I've also observed what you're seeing that some cheap USB condenser mics have a very low output. If you look at my videos, you'll see some examples of this.
You certainly need to be comfortable when reading so that you can forget the technology and get on with the fun!
I suspect you are going to need to get a different mic.

The file does not end with quiet period of 3-5 seconds. There are technical reasons why this needs to be there.

There is a slight background noise. You can highlight the noise in Audacity by changing the track's display mode to "Waveform (db)" using the little pulldown arrow just to the right of the track name. I recommend leaving it there, as I do all my editing in this mode.
Please try performing noise cleaning as shown here: https://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Noise_Cleaning. I recommend making this a part of your editing routine. You'll be surprised how much difference it makes, but be careful of over-doing it (more than about 18dB), which can affect the quality. You can also move closer to the mic, this will make a lot of difference - but watch out for those popping "p"s !


There is a slight room echo. You can reduce this by recording in a room that has a lot of soft furnishings. I hung cheap removal blankets on the walls and ceiling of my shed to create an acoustically dead space for recording. You can also reduce it by speaking closer to the microphone.


If you want to upload a new version and quote this message in your reply, I'll get a notification and will go in and re-check.


If you haven't already, you might spend some time browsing through the LibriVox Wiki. It contains a wealth of great information that you'll find useful and informative about who does what, and various technical aspects.

Then spend some time becoming familiar with the forum and looking for projects that you think you'd enjoy working on. Just jump right in wherever it feels comfortable. Most of all, always have fun. You'll find lots of interesting material to record. If you're like me, you'll also discover you're learning a lot in the process and being exposed to books I otherwise wouldn't have opened or known about. You'll be contributing to an interesting project and interacting with a lot of fun and varied fellow LibriVox volunteers in the process.

Thank you again for participating in Librivox
Adrian Stephens

PS - If you're interested in developing your technique, and have the time to spare, I have recorded a number of YouTube videos on this subject.

Part 0: Introduction. https://youtu.be/pMHYycgA5VU
Part 1: Installing Audacity https://youtu.be/w_QZ15c4_10
Part 2: Setting the Volume https://youtu.be/-RoWbeJoMKk
Part 3: The Checker Program https://youtu.be/-5szxU8JE7c
Part 4: ReplayGain plugin https://youtu.be/jwmSVJIDeVM
Part 5: Performance and Volume https://youtu.be/WaekYMX519I
Part 6: Microphones looked at https://youtu.be/gcVYx3ZSrfs
Part 7: Microphones listened to https://youtu.be/607ijxEw7mU
Part 8: Noise Reduction Using Audacity https://youtu.be/KsFkmvF-9d0
Part 9: Avoiding Pops https://youtu.be/zPpz1qv0XSk
Part 10: Recording and Marking Mistakes https://youtu.be/G_ceO3YmcM8
Part 11: Editing Marked Speech https://youtu.be/la87iCO7HeI
Part 12: Recording Dramatic Works https://youtu.be/ZuRKu9s9Krw
Part 13: Introduction to the Librivox forum https://youtu.be/ukGUc_Cyr0o
Part 14: Participating in Librivox https://youtu.be/_gCcMGey04E
Part 15: Case Study (Poem) https://youtu.be/41sr_VC1Qxo
Part 16: Case Study 2 (Dramatic Reading) https://youtu.be/GBIAd469vnM
My Librivox-related YouTube series starts here: Part 0: Introduction. https://youtu.be/pMHYycgA5VU
...
Part 15: Case Study (Poem) https://youtu.be/41sr_VC1Qxo
Part 16: Case Study 2 (Dramatic Reading) https://youtu.be/GBIAd469vnM

KherubaLumen
Posts: 17
Joined: November 27th, 2019, 3:34 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

Post by KherubaLumen » May 9th, 2020, 2:31 pm

adrianstephens wrote:
April 24th, 2020, 3:46 am

Hello Judith,
Welcome to librivox. You have a nice clear voice, I had no trouble understanding you.

Congratulations - you meet librivox's technical standards. Proof Listen OK!

---------------------------
You can stop reading here and get on with your recording if you want to.


The built-in realtek microphones will probably sound horrible (see Part 7: Microphones listened to https://youtu.be/607ijxEw7mU), mine do.
I've also observed what you're seeing that some cheap USB condenser mics have a very low output. If you look at my videos, you'll see some examples of this.
You certainly need to be comfortable when reading so that you can forget the technology and get on with the fun!
I suspect you are going to need to get a different mic.

The file does not end with quiet period of 3-5 seconds. There are technical reasons why this needs to be there.

There is a slight background noise. You can highlight the noise in Audacity by changing the track's display mode to "Waveform (db)" using the little pulldown arrow just to the right of the track name. I recommend leaving it there, as I do all my editing in this mode.
Please try performing noise cleaning as shown here: https://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Noise_Cleaning. I recommend making this a part of your editing routine. You'll be surprised how much difference it makes, but be careful of over-doing it (more than about 18dB), which can affect the quality. You can also move closer to the mic, this will make a lot of difference - but watch out for those popping "p"s !


There is a slight room echo. You can reduce this by recording in a room that has a lot of soft furnishings. I hung cheap removal blankets on the walls and ceiling of my shed to create an acoustically dead space for recording. You can also reduce it by speaking closer to the microphone.


If you want to upload a new version and quote this message in your reply, I'll get a notification and will go in and re-check.


If you haven't already, you might spend some time browsing through the LibriVox Wiki. It contains a wealth of great information that you'll find useful and informative about who does what, and various technical aspects.

Then spend some time becoming familiar with the forum and looking for projects that you think you'd enjoy working on. Just jump right in wherever it feels comfortable. Most of all, always have fun. You'll find lots of interesting material to record. If you're like me, you'll also discover you're learning a lot in the process and being exposed to books I otherwise wouldn't have opened or known about. You'll be contributing to an interesting project and interacting with a lot of fun and varied fellow LibriVox volunteers in the process.

Thank you again for participating in Librivox
Adrian Stephens

PS - If you're interested in developing your technique, and have the time to spare, I have recorded a number of YouTube videos on this subject.

Part 0: Introduction. https://youtu.be/pMHYycgA5VU
Part 1: Installing Audacity https://youtu.be/w_QZ15c4_10
Part 2: Setting the Volume https://youtu.be/-RoWbeJoMKk
Part 3: The Checker Program https://youtu.be/-5szxU8JE7c
Part 4: ReplayGain plugin https://youtu.be/jwmSVJIDeVM
Part 5: Performance and Volume https://youtu.be/WaekYMX519I
Part 6: Microphones looked at https://youtu.be/gcVYx3ZSrfs
Part 7: Microphones listened to https://youtu.be/607ijxEw7mU
Part 8: Noise Reduction Using Audacity https://youtu.be/KsFkmvF-9d0
Part 9: Avoiding Pops https://youtu.be/zPpz1qv0XSk
Part 10: Recording and Marking Mistakes https://youtu.be/G_ceO3YmcM8
Part 11: Editing Marked Speech https://youtu.be/la87iCO7HeI
Part 12: Recording Dramatic Works https://youtu.be/ZuRKu9s9Krw
Part 13: Introduction to the Librivox forum https://youtu.be/ukGUc_Cyr0o
Part 14: Participating in Librivox https://youtu.be/_gCcMGey04E
Part 15: Case Study (Poem) https://youtu.be/41sr_VC1Qxo
Part 16: Case Study 2 (Dramatic Reading) https://youtu.be/GBIAd469vnM
Hello Adrian!

I made a new test, following your feedback.
https://librivox.org/uploads/tests/test_kherubalumen.mp3

I put a blanket over myself and my laptop, and I made use of the "Noise Reduction" tool, and I put 3 seconds of silence at the end.

Ironically, still using the same tech (CAD u37 USB mic), this time I struggled with it being too loud instead of too quiet.

Does this sound better now? The consonants all sound harsh, but I was holding the mic to the side of my mouth. It sure is hard to record a pleasant-sounding voice that isn't annoying to one's ears! So many variables and moving parts. (Perhaps I am being too picky because I used to be a classical musician.)

Thanks!
Kheruba Lumen
Ezekiel 10:4

adrianstephens
Posts: 976
Joined: August 27th, 2019, 5:06 am
Location: Cambridge UK
Contact:

Post by adrianstephens » May 9th, 2020, 10:47 pm

KherubaLumen wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 2:31 pm

Hello Adrian!

I made a new test, following your feedback.
https://librivox.org/uploads/tests/test_kherubalumen.mp3

I put a blanket over myself and my laptop, and I made use of the "Noise Reduction" tool, and I put 3 seconds of silence at the end.

Ironically, still using the same tech (CAD u37 USB mic), this time I struggled with it being too loud instead of too quiet.

Does this sound better now? The consonants all sound harsh, but I was holding the mic to the side of my mouth. It sure is hard to record a pleasant-sounding voice that isn't annoying to one's ears! So many variables and moving parts. (Perhaps I am being too picky because I used to be a classical musician.)

Thanks!
Hello Judith,

This is a marked improvement. You could reduce the volume 3dB to fall better into the range 86-92dB, as you're just outside that range at 92.1 dB. Nobody is going to complain about 0.1 dB!

You fixed the noise and reverberation issues. This is now a very clean recording.

I agree that the consonants sound a bit harsh, but only if we're being hypercritical. You could try with Effects bass&treble and reduce the treble a bit. Or your could use Filter curves/Equalizer to attenuate frequencies above 8kHz, which is where the sibilants lie.

You probably want a more comfortable recording setup - a blanket draped over your head will not encourage you to perform. But it did do the trick.

Your musical background should help with performance - timing, pitch, prosody and breathing. I'm a singer and pianist, and I find the closest to music we get here is poetry. I'd encourage you to give it a go.


Now get out there and start recording!

Best Regards,
Adrian
My Librivox-related YouTube series starts here: Part 0: Introduction. https://youtu.be/pMHYycgA5VU
...
Part 15: Case Study (Poem) https://youtu.be/41sr_VC1Qxo
Part 16: Case Study 2 (Dramatic Reading) https://youtu.be/GBIAd469vnM

KherubaLumen
Posts: 17
Joined: November 27th, 2019, 3:34 pm
Location: Virginia, USA

Post by KherubaLumen » June 10th, 2020, 10:51 am

adrianstephens wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 10:47 pm

I agree that the consonants sound a bit harsh, but only if we're being hypercritical. You could try with Effects bass&treble and reduce the treble a bit. Or your could use Filter curves/Equalizer to attenuate frequencies above 8kHz, which is where the sibilants lie.
Adrian:


Where can I find a how-to (preferably something visual) on using "Filter Curve" tool?

Even with decreasing the treble with "Bass&Treble" tool by -5db, my recordings are still coming out unpleasantly harsh.

Thanks for all your help! BTW, I have watched/listened to your youtube instructional videos, and they have been very helpful!
Kheruba Lumen
Ezekiel 10:4

adrianstephens
Posts: 976
Joined: August 27th, 2019, 5:06 am
Location: Cambridge UK
Contact:

Post by adrianstephens » June 10th, 2020, 10:58 am

KherubaLumen wrote:
June 10th, 2020, 10:51 am
adrianstephens wrote:
May 9th, 2020, 10:47 pm

I agree that the consonants sound a bit harsh, but only if we're being hypercritical. You could try with Effects bass&treble and reduce the treble a bit. Or your could use Filter curves/Equalizer to attenuate frequencies above 8kHz, which is where the sibilants lie.
Adrian:


Where can I find a how-to (preferably something visual) on using "Filter Curve" tool?

Even with decreasing the treble with "Bass&Treble" tool by -5db, my recordings are still coming out unpleasantly harsh.

Thanks for all your help! BTW, I have watched/listened to your youtube instructional videos, and they have been very helpful!
Hello KherubaLumen,

I think you can search on YouTube for "audacity filter curve" and get some help. I don't think we have detailed Librivox tutorials on that kind of thing.

I'm wondering if it is your listening conditions that are emphasizing the treble. Have you tried with some different
headphones/speakers?

You might need to change your mic. Every mic I've tried that cost $30 or more (excluding laptop mic) provided
workable quality, including absence of too much treble. If you can afford it, a Blue Yeti is a great mic.

Best Regards,
Adrian Stephens
My Librivox-related YouTube series starts here: Part 0: Introduction. https://youtu.be/pMHYycgA5VU
...
Part 15: Case Study (Poem) https://youtu.be/41sr_VC1Qxo
Part 16: Case Study 2 (Dramatic Reading) https://youtu.be/GBIAd469vnM

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