Sound Studio (the Mac software) questions

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Gesine
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Post by Gesine » January 20th, 2007, 5:53 pm

I'm testing Sound Studio - have downloaded the trial version.

A couple of questions:
  1. What settings should I use for a quick save in-between? .aiff still takes half a minute for a 15 minute recording, is that normal?
  2. Is there really no way to add/edit ID3 tags?
  3. I tried to do a noise-clean for a file which had an even background noise (some fan or other). I reckoned I should be able to do it with Noise Gate? But couldn't get good result. In Audacity you highlight a bit of the background noise and the software tries to filter that out, but I couldn't find anything like that in Sound Studio.
  4. Are there any other filters etc I should be using regularly?
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kayray
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Post by kayray » January 20th, 2007, 6:11 pm

Gesine wrote:I'm testing Sound Studio - have downloaded the trial version.

A couple of questions:
  1. What settings should I use for a quick save in-between? .aiff still takes half a minute for a 15 minute recording, is that normal?
  2. Is there really no way to add/edit ID3 tags?
  3. I tried to do a noise-clean for a file which had an even background noise (some fan or other). I reckoned I should be able to do it with Noise Gate? But couldn't get good result. In Audacity you highlight a bit of the background noise and the software tries to filter that out, but I couldn't find anything like that in Sound Studio.
  4. Are there any other filters etc I should be using regularly?
1. I save as .wav. I think in older versions, saving as .aiff left a few artifacts sometimes, but if you don't hear anything funny .aiff is probably fine now. Yes, it's slow.

2. Correct, no way to do ID3 tags. I just open my finished mp3 in iTunes and do it there.

3. There's no good noise cleaner as such -- however, I use the 10-band EQ with, I think, great success! You can drag the lowest two frequencies all the way to the bottom. This gets rid of any low-freq rumble you might pick up. Then tinker gently with the top three frequencies -- just a little at a time -- on a test file. Lower them just a little at a time, maybe in a curve. Be careful, as these frequencies give you crispy consonants and you don't want to get rid of them entirely :) Your settings will depend on your mic. I can get rid of almost all of my slight background whirr/hum. with the logitech mic, I need to drag the top three frequencies down quite a bit (highest goes furthest down) but with my condensor mic it's just a TOUCH. But it does make a difference.

4. Yes! Use the compressor just a little bit. I think I've got a screenshot of my settings somewhere... http://www.flickr.com/photos/kayray/200466043/in/set-72157594219410887/

You can change the post gain number if you need your finished file to be louder or softer after compression.

You don't want to overdo compression! These settings are sanctioned by my sound-engineer brother-in-law and I think they sound good. Your mileage may vary :)
Kara
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--------
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kayray
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Post by kayray » January 20th, 2007, 6:14 pm

Oh - when you get any of your settings presets just right, save them and then *save again with a different name as a backup preset*. If you ever tinker with the sliders again, you can't get your settings back the way you had them originally! So saving a separate copy is very very important. I hit the "reset sliders" button one day after doing a little fiddling, and it didn't reset to my original settings but ZEROED THEM OUT!!! I was furious.
Kara
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Gesine
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Post by Gesine » January 21st, 2007, 12:34 pm

Thanks, Kara, that's really helpful.
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sjmarky
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Post by sjmarky » January 24th, 2007, 6:17 pm

Gesine wrote:I'm testing Sound Studio - have downloaded the trial version.

A couple of questions:
  1. I tried to do a noise-clean for a file which had an even background noise (some fan or other). I reckoned I should be able to do it with Noise Gate? But couldn't get good result. In Audacity you highlight a bit of the background noise and the software tries to filter that out, but I couldn't find anything like that in Sound Studio.
  2. Are there any other filters etc I should be using regularly?
There's no noise filter as such in SS3. You can try the noise gate, but the trick is to apply it very lightly. Try starting with these settings applied to a section with just noise:

Peak, -50.0 db (.32%)
Attack: 0.100
Release: 0.500

Then tweak it up or down from there.

I use Soundsoap myself - it plugs in to SS3 and works like the Audacity filter. Costs another $99, though.
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Gesine
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Post by Gesine » January 25th, 2007, 4:39 am

Thank you! I've almost convinced myself to splash out on Sound Studio; it's so much easier than Audacity. I've had excellent results with the 10-band EQ, just putting the first two sliders all the way down.

Once I'm a little more experienced with the software, I'll put something about it in the LibriVox wiki.
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sjmarky
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Post by sjmarky » January 25th, 2007, 8:04 am

Gesine wrote:Thank you! I've almost convinced myself to splash out on Sound Studio; it's so much easier than Audacity. I've had excellent results with the 10-band EQ, just putting the first two sliders all the way down.

Once I'm a little more experienced with the software, I'll put something about it in the LibriVox wiki.
Definitely. Only apply noise gate last, if at all, only after using your other tools as a final touch.
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Post by kayray » January 25th, 2007, 8:35 am

Gesine, did you notice "update waveform during recording" in Preferences? :) Oh how I love this feature! I've also set a keyboard shortcut to "New Mono File." (Big fan of keyboard shortcuts)
Kara
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"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

Gesine
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Post by Gesine » January 26th, 2007, 3:43 pm

kayray wrote:Gesine, did you notice "update waveform during recording" in Preferences? :) Oh how I love this feature! I've also set a keyboard shortcut to "New Mono File." (Big fan of keyboard shortcuts)
Oh yes, will try the kbd shortcut. What does the update do? Puzzled.
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Post by kayray » January 26th, 2007, 3:48 pm

If that option is checked, you see live updating of your waveforms while you're recording (you can see, for instance, exactly how tall your peaks are). I believe it's a new feature in ss3. Very very handy.
Kara
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--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

Gesine
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Post by Gesine » January 27th, 2007, 8:52 am

OK, I'll try it. I don't always have the editing software visible when I'm recording.

Speaking of size of peaks, though - how tall are your peaks in a finished recording? Is there a way to quantify the volume in a recording ("this is only xdB at the moment, so I'd better amplify it a little")?

EDIT: Another thing. I've just attempted to noise-clean this file, which was sent to me as an mp3. I can't get anywhere with it. I've chopped a small piece off and saved it as .wav - would appreciate if some of you SS buffs could have a go and tell me how to do it?
http://librivox.gesine.org/gesine/test/noisetest.wav
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kayray
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Post by kayray » January 27th, 2007, 9:20 am

Have downloaded.

Those little gray horizontal lines marked 6 and 6 are your friends. I try to keep the loudest spikes just under that top 6 line while recording. I add generally boost my files by 4-6 decibels in the compression stage to get the loudest bits back up near the line.

I suggest you open up a few finished recordings of readers you like and look at their waves. That's what I did, with a Gord recording long ago.

It's funny, though -- the size of the waves doesn't always seem to match up with the actual volume of the recording, though it's a pretty good indicator.

Mark can probably tell you more :)
Kara
http://kayray.org/
--------
"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

sjmarky
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Post by sjmarky » January 27th, 2007, 9:52 am

Gesine wrote:OK, I'll try it. I don't always have the editing software visible when I'm recording.

Speaking of size of peaks, though - how tall are your peaks in a finished recording? Is there a way to quantify the volume in a recording ("this is only xdB at the moment, so I'd better amplify it a little")?

EDIT: Another thing. I've just attempted to noise-clean this file, which was sent to me as an mp3. I can't get anywhere with it. I've chopped a small piece off and saved it as .wav - would appreciate if some of you SS buffs could have a go and tell me how to do it?
http://librivox.gesine.org/gesine/test/noisetest.wav
I actually try to do my basic recording at the 6db marks, which leaves a little room for emoting, although I have to be careful because I do clip once in a while. However, I record through a hardware compressor/limiter going in, which gives me a little more breathing room to record at little higher volume.

I downloaded your file. The noise is clearly a fan, and the recording level is pretty low. I cleaned it with SS3 Noise Gate Expander filter. What I did was this:

1. Select an area of noise
2. Open the filter and apply it using these settings to start:

Peak
Threshold: -50.0db
Attack: 0.100
Release: 0.500

(btw, you can save the settings in the preset pull-down for easy retrieval later)

3. Nothing happened, so did an "undo" and increased the threshold db slider on the left until an apply just eliminated the noise. Then apply those settings to the whole file. The final setting was -42.3 db.

This is the cleaned file:

http://homepage.mac.com/marknelson2/Marks_Downloads/noisetest_NGE.wav

Sounds a little complicated, but really isn't. Only took 3 tries. Hope this helps.
Last edited by sjmarky on January 27th, 2007, 10:04 am, edited 3 times in total.
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kayray
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Post by kayray » January 27th, 2007, 9:56 am

That's impressive! I'm going to see if I can clean her submission to Robin Hood...
Kara
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"Mary wished to say something very sensible into her Zoom H2 Handy Recorder, but knew not how." -- Jane Austen (& Kara)

Cloud Mountain
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Post by Cloud Mountain » January 27th, 2007, 10:38 am

Gesine...

Have you previously been using Audacity? Have you used GarageBand at all for an extended period of time? I'm interested in hearing people's solidly experiential comparisons on the differences (pros & cons) between SoundStudio and GarageBand.

What Mac OS is the min for SoundStudio?
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