Wiki page creation request - Making It Louder!

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Cori
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Post by Cori » November 7th, 2010, 9:44 am

Would anyone have the time, wiki-fu and inclination to put together a page on how to make one's recordings louder at the recording stage..? I simply don't have the energy to do it myself at the moment. :(

We have a really good explanation of Amplification / Normalising, but a new page which talked about distance from microphone (vs. mouth noise, plosives), not shouting, using volume / gain settings on microphones, checking volume settings in Audacity, accessing & changing mic volume settings in Windows and Mac -- would be completely worth its weight in virtual gold. It's something a lot of new readers have a problem with, so would get an awful lot of traffic (and appreciation!)

Please?!
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by philchenevert » November 7th, 2010, 8:57 pm

:D This is definitely a topic that needs to be developed and I volunteer to start working on it.
I have the time, but no wiki-fu, meaning I've never generated a wiki page. A minor deficiency that will be quickly remedied.

So, I will begin gathering information on microphone amplification from this site and others and generate an outline which I will post here for comments. If that is not appropriate please let me know and I will just put the outline on the wiki page. You can expect at least the wiki page and an outline by the end of Nov 2010. If not, harass me.

I will also find out how to generate a wiki page. Knowledge is sooooo much fun!

If anyone more knowledgeable of audio technology or wiki is working on this project, please let me know and I will pass my info on to you and help in any way I can. :D
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neckertb
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Post by neckertb » November 8th, 2010, 1:13 am

That sounds great! Looking forward to your draft :D
Nadine

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Post by gypsygirl » November 8th, 2010, 4:43 am

philchenevert wrote:I will also find out how to generate a wiki page. Knowledge is sooooo much fun!
One thing you'll want to do is PM Jc so she can set you up with a wiki account.
Karen S.

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Post by RuthieG » November 8th, 2010, 7:34 am

This is something I should have done a long time ago, when I think of the many times I have replied to such queries. ;)

This picture may be useful with regard to a visual check of volume in Audacity.

Image

Also a link to MP3Gain, which is so useful in checking actual volumes.
Windows: http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/
Mac: http://homepage.mac.com/beryrinaldo/AudioTron/MacMP3Gain/

Ruth
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Post by Sonneteer » November 8th, 2010, 7:32 pm

It looks like some of this information is already covered in the wiki
http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Setting_Recording_Input_Level
http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Improve_Your_Recording

So maybe these pages just need more refinement rather than starting a new page from scratch?

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Post by philchenevert » November 8th, 2010, 8:16 pm

Yes, it looks like there are already page(s) dealing with microphone volume and a new one is not needed. I will review the information already there and see if greater detail would be nice for some areas or more examples for others.

By the way: those examples of dB waves are fabulous. A perfect example of visual teaching.
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Post by Cori » November 9th, 2010, 2:46 pm

I think an additional, simpler version of Setting_Recording_Input_Level would be good -- that page is very comprehensive, and I think for newer readers, something very straightforward, thoroughly illustrated, and step-by-step would be useful. Ideally explained in both Windows and Mac, to make almost everyone happy. And then linked from the Newbie Guide to Recording because it is THE most common problem I've heard in test recordings.
There's honestly no such thing as a stupid question -- but I'm afraid I can't rule out giving a stupid answer : : To Posterity and Beyond!

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Post by neckertb » November 11th, 2010, 1:29 pm

Just FYI, I have tested the MacMP3gain software. It seems to be useful for amplifying, but I was hoping it would be able to analyse the volume of a track like the PC MP3gain, and it cannot :(
Nadine

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Post by RuthieG » November 11th, 2010, 5:26 pm

Oh, that's a pity. :( I had a look around but I can't see anything else that would do the job. People say that iTunes has something called Sound Check, but that it's rather rubbish.

Ruth
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Post by Samanem » November 12th, 2010, 7:10 am

I think the most confusion I had was determining the output level of a recording, regardless of which program I used, or of the input recording levels. And it had to be the final step before uploading recordings, because playing around with compression and normalization, etc., could change the overall volume level. So if I had to throw my two cents in it would be to focus on figuring out what the overall volume is once the recording is finished and edited, and then showing how to adjust it, recheck it, etc., until it's at the right volume.

Talking about the dB is very confusing, since the desired levels seem to be different in one place versus another. I asked a sound engineer at my workplace what was a good volume for a podcast and he said -11 dB! It can get very confusing for us novices. If you're adjusting the volume in Audacity, the goal you set for it doesn't correspond to the "89.5" goal that we're looking for - i.e. I can't find numbers that correspong to that when trying to set a goal for volume in Audacity. I have to go to mp3gain and check it, and then back to Audacity to adjust it again. And negative means louder? Ack!

Ruth sold me on mp3gain, and gave me a goal (89.5) which helped a lot. I think simplifying it to that level of utter simplicity would be great, if it's possible.
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Post by RuthieG » November 12th, 2010, 8:41 am

I know absolutely nothing about sound engineering. I have tried and tried to understand it, but I don't think I have the right kind of brain. A kind audio engineer who was here some time ago tried once more to explain it, and his very clear explanation is HERE in the Wiki.

As far as I can see, there seem to be two ways of looking at decibels. There's the sound pressure level (SPL) which is how normal people describe sound :lol: e.g. a jet engine at 120 dB, and there's the Digital Full Scale (dbFS)which is what audio engineers understand. The best way I have seen the latter described is this:

0 dBFS represents the highest possible digital sound level.
All other measurements will always be less than 0 dB (negative numbers).
0 dBFS indicates the digital number with all digits ="1", the highest possible sample.
The lowest possible sample is (for instance for 16 bit audio):
0000 0000 0000 0001, which equals -96 dBFS.

Does that help? I am still utterly in the dark with the science, but on a practical level, I think I can get by. ;)

Ruth
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Post by ExEmGe » November 12th, 2010, 11:00 am

I like the visual comparison you posted above Ruth, but it would also be helpful if the audio versions of those three were available. Then we would be able to both listen and do a visual check.
I have always been worried about my volume being too low and although I aim for what looks like your 'Good' example, I'm using a different package & so am not sure it means the same thing. Using Levelator is sometimes recommended but that yields what sounds too high to my ear and is so according to MP3gain at 93.5 dB
Regards
Andy Minter

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Post by philchenevert » November 25th, 2010, 8:44 pm

Greetings to all of us fledgling audio engineers out there!

I had volunteered several weeks ago to help develop a simplified explanation for new LVers that suffer from low volume. And I still intend to help out with this, it's just quite complicated :shock: . I agree that the simpler the better. So here are some thoughts and questions for your consideration:

First, how many new volunteer recorders use Audacity? or for that matter, how many recorders in all use Audacity? I know we may have no idea but just thought to ask. It is the only software I've worked with so my prejudice is strongly towards it.

Second, how many use Windows, Mac and Linux, respectively? Developing explanations for each of these OS would not be too hard especially since the branch could be early on: "Do you use Linux? click here" etc

Thirdly, In Audacity, the microphone output volume slider bar is obviously the first thing to point out, but what about the plus or minus gain built into Audacity? that slider thingie on the left right below mute and solo. In my experience low volume recordings respond very well to a +10dB gain. When exported the volume goes up nicely with no distortion that I can hear. Is there some reason why this shouldn't be the second thing suggested or used at all? Is there some terrible history of dB abuse I don't know of?

I am working on a test CamStudio avi that will visually demonstrate the things you think might help new recorders most. (watch this spot for sample!)(well, ok, maybe some other spot)

USB Microphones seem to me critical to low hum and good volume input for recordings. Or digital recorders of course where there is no humm at all.

Just some thoughts to stir the pot!
RuthieG ! Even if you are not a certified sound engineer, I am amazed by your vast knowledge and experience. As a newbiee myself, I thank you for your countless hours of patient explanation to all of us. :clap:
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Post by philchenevert » November 26th, 2010, 1:38 pm

I've made a few little videos to show the approach that appeals to me for simple introductions to amplification and other things. I am lazy and find it onerous to carefully follow a written page of explanation, but like to be shown stuff.

this is a sample, obviously done without a script !
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dd6Tvx8jKYg

I think that a whole series of such short videos, each linked from within the Wiki or other areas might make the info more accessible for new members.
Examples :

"Macintosh - how to turn up the volume"
"Increasing the volume if you have Realtek"
"Ubuntu - turning up the volume"
"Why USB microphones rule"
"Benefits of using a recorder instead of a computer"
"The two types of microphones and how to connect them to your computer"
"Noise reduction in Audacity"
"Over processing can really mess up your recording - samples"

etc, etc. or a series of instructional videos "Uploading 1, 2, 3"
Last edited by philchenevert on November 27th, 2010, 10:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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