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Post Posted:: September 28th, 2017, 11:25 am 

Joined: September 3rd, 2017, 2:19 am
Posts: 24
Location: Detmold, Germany
Hello,

my microphone is troubling me with a weird effect.

When I start my recording, it seems to start at a very low volume and to increase it as the recording goes on. Full volume is not reached before 10/11/12 sec. this seems an autamtic effect, it is like the mike is taking time to warm up :?:

I already checked if it is my reading/voice that starts so low, but it is not, the effect keeps repeating in different records.

Here is the link to my test recording - as yet not approved:

https://librivox.org/uploads/tests/test_ridi_01.mp3

System: Windows 7, 64 bit
Software: Audacity 2.1.3
Microphone: Logitech USB headset H 570e

I would be grateful for your feedback and support.

Do not hesitate to tell me if I need a better mike - I promise I won't cry. :D

Thanx
Ricarda

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Post Posted:: September 28th, 2017, 2:45 pm 

Joined: February 24th, 2013, 7:14 am
Posts: 1680
Location: New Hampshire, USA
Hi Ricarda,

Listening to the "silence" on your track and hearing that at the very beginning there is no audible noise and at the very end there is definitely some noise present, suggests to me that the driver for your headset (or the circuitry in the headset itself, perhaps) does raise the "gain" [slowly, obviously] to match the level of your voice.

Look for "AGC" setting in your device properties. On Windows 7, you right-click on the speaker icon in the system tray and select "Recording devices" (or the German equivalent of that). Then select the headset in the list and click on "Properties" button (the right-most one in the row above the lowest). Look at all the tabs on that dialog. Is there anything that might indicate that "Gain Control" is "Auto" ("AGC")? If there is, and it's ON, turn it off, see what happens.

I would also recommend looking online (googling) for your headset by the name, and see if you can find something about "auto gain" or "autogain" or "auto level" or some such.

Good luck!

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tovarisch
    reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please


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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 3:22 am 

Joined: September 3rd, 2017, 2:19 am
Posts: 24
Location: Detmold, Germany
Hi Tovarisch,
thank you so much.

Found the ACG box and unchecked it. Now it is even worse: The volume is now equally low throughout the recording. :?

I searched the web, and did not find anything related to my mike, but a hint in a Windows 7 forum that recommends to uncheck the box
"Allow applications to take exclusive control of this device" in the advanced control panel for the recording device. Tried it: no change. (AGC unchecked)
I rebooted the PC - no change
I unplugged/replugged the mike - no change
I looked for a driver update - none available.

:hmm:

Best
Ricarda

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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 3:59 am 

Joined: February 24th, 2013, 7:14 am
Posts: 1680
Location: New Hampshire, USA
At what position is the microphone slider in Audacity? Is it all the way up? If not, move it further to the right and see what happens. If you reach the highest setting on the slider and the resulting audio is still lower than LV needs, you'll need to amplify every time.

It only takes a few seconds to run your track through ReplayGain and then through Amplify. On some of my mics I can't get it to record at full volume (by design, I suppose), and so I need to amplify by 8 or 9 dB every time. No big deal.

Keep trying, you're doing great!

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tovarisch
    reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please


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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 5:24 am 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: April 3rd, 2008, 3:55 am
Posts: 27767
Location: Melbourne,Australia
Skype sometimes controls mike setting ?

Anne

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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 7:03 am 

Joined: November 10th, 2016, 3:54 am
Posts: 360
Location: LONDON UK
Here is a link to your headset.

https://www.logitech.com/en-gb/product/h570e-headset

You might be able to email the company about the volume and the increase in volume when first using the mic.

Peter

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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 7:44 am 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: August 1st, 2009, 11:30 pm
Posts: 14235
Ricarda,

I think that a constant (low) volume is better than an ever changing one.

If you have tried to increase the input volume (annise is right, skype does interfere sometimes) as far as possible and you're still too quiet, then you can always amplify your recording afterwards.

Don't give up! :D

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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 11:18 am 

Joined: November 10th, 2016, 3:54 am
Posts: 360
Location: LONDON UK
Unfortunately a low mic volume will have increased noise levels when amplified in post production in Audacity. That's why it may be better to try and increase the gain at the recording stage.

It's possible that the output from this particular mic into the computer via USB is just not enough. USB mic's work on only 5 volts which is the USB spec. Most XLR mic's draw 48 volts - which is called phantom power, as it is supplied through the actual mic XLR lead from the pre-amp or the computer interface, and do not work through USB connections.

However, most USB mic's do work OK, and the sound-file did sound quite good once the sound had stabilised. Maybe you should check the ACG box again if it previously gave you good mic volume.

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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 11:49 am 

Joined: September 3rd, 2017, 2:19 am
Posts: 24
Location: Detmold, Germany
tovarisch wrote:
At what position is the microphone slider in Audacity? Is it all the way up? If not, move it further to the right and see what happens. If you reach the highest setting on the slider and the resulting audio is still lower than LV needs, you'll need to amplify every time.


that's exactly what happens, the volume is still too low.

lurcherlover wrote:
Unfortunately a low mic volume will have increased noise levels when amplified in post production in Audacity. That's why it may be better to try and increase the gain at the recording stage.

I thought so, too.
That's exactly what happened with my first test recording, which had to be amplified and then sent through noise reduction twice. Even I, with my beginner's natural deafness to the details, did not like the result.


annise wrote:
Skype sometimes controls mike setting ?

Who would have thought of that? :roll: Found the preferences for the audio setup, but still no change, but great idea.

lurcherlover wrote:
You might be able to email the company about the volume and the increase in volume when first using the mic.

done

Thank you all, I read somewhere that LV is not striving for perfection, but I think I have to get a new mic. Been a member for ten days and already starting a mic collection, nice, ist it? :P

What does XLR mean?

Thanks a lot, I really feel taken care of! :thumbs:
Ricarda

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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 12:04 pm 

Joined: November 10th, 2016, 3:54 am
Posts: 360
Location: LONDON UK
I KNEW you might ask me that!

Here is Wikki's answer.

"The XLR connector is a style of electrical connector, primarily found on professional audio, video, and stage lighting equipment. The connectors are circular in design and have between 3 and 7 pins. They are most commonly associated with balanced audio interconnection, including AES3 digital audio, but are also used for lighting control, low-voltage power supplies, and other applications. XLR connectors are available from a number of manufacturers and are covered by an international standard for dimensions, IEC 61076-2-103.[1] They are superficially similar to the older and smaller DIN connector range, but are not physically compatible with them.

A smaller version, the Mini XLR Connector, is used on smaller equipment."


Audio - mic's for example - mostly use the 3 pin version. They are shielded and balanced, which means they reject any interference and hopefully mains hum at 50 Hertz (UK) or 60 Hertz (US). They can be used in long runs, sometimes several hundred metres.

But most Librivoxers will be using them where they are only a few metres - probably less than four.

If you are thinking of a new mic, ask for advice, and if you want an XLR mic you will also need some sort of interface added to the computer - or maybe a stand alone recorder, where you can upload the files from its memory card to the computer. This can also get more expensive, I'm afraid.

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Post Posted:: September 29th, 2017, 12:20 pm 

Joined: February 24th, 2013, 7:14 am
Posts: 1680
Location: New Hampshire, USA
RiDi,

There are numerous recommendations on equipment, you can find them if you search this forum.

Don't get hung up on XLR or pro quality. You can put funds to better use if you sound-proof your room than if you get a pro mic that records all the noises and echoes/reverb. I think a simple USB mic with a headphone connector should suffice. I can only vouch for Samson Go Mic and Blue Yeti. However, the latter seems rather expensive (multi-pattern) and prone to failure (mine did, on warranty, yet it did cost me plenty to send it to the manufacturer for a replacement). If you already own a pair of earbuds, you should be able to use them.

Good luck!

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tovarisch
    reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please


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Post Posted:: September 30th, 2017, 12:25 am 

Joined: November 10th, 2016, 3:54 am
Posts: 360
Location: LONDON UK
I think the problem lies much deeper than tweaking things in "devices" and increasing the volume slider or un-ticking the AGC box. Obviously the mic may not be delivering enough gain itself, and this may be a faulty mic and/or a mic that is not compatible. The advantage that XLR mic's have is that they can deliver a much more stable and higher gain due to their much higher (nearly 10 times higher) working voltage, than USB mics.

There are in fact some pretty cheap XLR mic's but the problem here is that some kind of pre-amp or audio interface is required. This does mean more money has to be spent.

On the other hand USB mic's vary a lot and it's possible there are some which will work reasonably well. Maybe people with good USB mic's can make recommendations. I know some can be quite expensive and may even reach the approximate price of a interface and XLR mic.

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Post Posted:: October 1st, 2017, 8:04 am 

Joined: September 3rd, 2017, 2:19 am
Posts: 24
Location: Detmold, Germany
Hello all,
thank you so much, I'm just starting to understand the many angels from which to approach this issue.

As much as I am appealed by XLR technology and the advantages it might have, I think it is too early for me to follow that path, I am afraid. Let me reconsider when I am doing "War and peace" as my first solo reading :lol:

For the moment, I will try the best I can with my Logitech headphone and try to look out for a better technical solution.

Thanks for all your advice and support. It gave me really insight in the things that matter. :clap:

Ricarda

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