Making your reading sound Great

Post your questions & get help from friendly LibriVoxers
lurcherlover
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Location: LONDON UK

Post by lurcherlover » December 14th, 2016, 2:12 pm

I'm finding that using a ribbon mic (Figure of 8) and the addition of duvets to stop room reflections is working well - giving a clearer sound and suiting my rather gravelly voice a lot more.

lcastleb1
Posts: 59
Joined: December 22nd, 2016, 5:38 am

Post by lcastleb1 » January 17th, 2017, 1:51 pm

Greetings. Ok so I got my first short read under my belt and am now currently on a dramatic read. Even though I didn't think my voice sounded horrible I was a little surprise when a voice over bit I submitted came back with the critique of horrible voice quality. I went out and picked up a Blue Yeti Mic. Wow....Big difference. Now I'm trying to make a home "portable" audio booth. I've heard some say to use memory foam like you find for mattress tops. Other say to get actual acoustic foam. Curious if anyone on the board has played with this and can give any recommendations.


Basically I'm getting a 42mm x 42 mm box and simply adding some type of "sound" foam (looking for advice on the what to use) and placing the microphone inside. Being a long time listen of Audacity it's apparent that there are a lot of pro's in the group. I guess I just never realized the difference that a mic and sound booth could make on your recording.

Thanks in advance.

lcastleb1
Posts: 59
Joined: December 22nd, 2016, 5:38 am

Post by lcastleb1 » January 17th, 2017, 1:59 pm

lcastleb1 wrote:Greetings. Ok so I got my first short read under my belt and am now currently on a dramatic read. Even though I didn't think my voice sounded horrible I was a little surprise when a voice over bit I submitted came back with the critique of horrible voice quality. I went out and picked up a Blue Yeti Mic. Wow....Big difference. Now I'm trying to make a home "portable" audio booth. I've heard some say to use memory foam like you find for mattress tops. Other say to get actual acoustic foam. Curious if anyone on the board has played with this and can give any recommendations.


Basically I'm getting a 42mm x 42 mm box and simply adding some type of "sound" foam (looking for advice on the what to use) and placing the microphone inside. Being a long time listen of Audacity it's apparent that there are a lot of pro's in the group. I guess I just never realized the difference that a mic and sound booth could make on your recording.

Thanks in advance.
Ok.....So some of us in the US are horrible with conversion. I meant to say 42cm!! (no fair laughing)!!

tovarisch
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Post by tovarisch » January 17th, 2017, 2:09 pm

Hello,

Memory foam? No, just regular (flat or convoluted) polyurethane foam. I think it's called "open cell foam" sometimes.

I used to have a small booth for my Samson Go-Mic. It consisted of a sheet (about 10"x8"x1.5") as the platform and another sheet (about 15" x 8" x 3/4") held by a string in the shape of the letter 'C' around the mic. The string holding it closer to the top made it narrower in the upper half. Both sheets were flat, and I don't remember where they came from, frankly. Probably from some package.

I now record without a booth simply because a Blue Yeti is so much larger and I don't have room on my desk... But yes, it would definitely make the recording drier (no echo or reverb). But my BCs at this point don't seem to mind slight room reverb.
tovarisch
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » January 18th, 2017, 12:21 am

I've been experimenting and I now use a large blanket behind the mic to stop reflections coming back into the mic, with an added duvet behind me and also some large towels over my desk and hanging from the bookshelves. This makes the room much drier with a possible reverb of less than 0.4 second. (Have no meter to measure it accurately).

I'm using an expensive mic (a passive ribbon mic) which feeds into a quality pre-amp and then in to a portable recorder. I also have the mic placed at forehead height and have fixed a 10 inch length of cardboard to keep me 10 inches from the mic. Consistent distance is also important.

I also now try and keep my dynamic range when reading not too extreme, especially on the over emphasis area.

I now also use mild compression to keep the voice from the extremes of too loud or too soft.

lcastleb1
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Joined: December 22nd, 2016, 5:38 am

Post by lcastleb1 » January 18th, 2017, 9:01 am

Thank you for the reply. Funny but I built my little box yesterday.............And realized after the fact that even though it does sound better when I speak into the mic the ONLY way it's effective is if I have a photographic memory. There is no room to hold my reading material and when I turn my head to read off the computer screen (or manual) the mic is either to far forward (which defeats the purpose of the booth) or to far away (and even with the YETI it sounds far away). I'll try the blanket!!

Curious what is BC?

Also, does anyone know where you can go on the web (or if there is a forum here) for quality sound check (i.e. to much echo, etc...).

Thanks everyone.

tovarisch
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Post by tovarisch » January 18th, 2017, 9:40 am

lcastleb1 wrote:Curious what is BC?
BC = Book Coordinator, usually the volunteer who manages a group project.

For more, see this wiki. :)
lcastleb1 wrote:Also, does anyone know where you can go on the web (or if there is a forum here) for quality sound check (i.e. to much echo, etc...).
What exactly do you mean by "quality sound check"? Checker program verifies specs and volume, other aspects are either subjective or cannot be automated, and that's why we have PLers. (ETA: I should say, "cannot be easily automated", I suppose)
tovarisch
  • reality prompts me to scale down my reading, sorry to say
    to PLers: do correct my pronunciation please

lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » January 18th, 2017, 4:16 pm

lcastleb1 wrote: Also, does anyone know where you can go on the web (or if there is a forum here) for quality sound check (i.e. to much echo, etc...).

Thanks everyone.
Some forums such as Gearslutz may have people (members) who will make comments if you ask them specifically and send an audio file. There is also the Sound on Sound forum. Probably others as well.

As for Librivox, well there may be admin or others who might comment if you send audio examples. It is a bit subjective, but there ARE certain standards that are considered general for audiobooks. These include breath sounds, too much room reverb and colouration, the need for some moderate compression or limiting, as well as the control of noise and general room treatment, which can be quite simple, or quite complex.

There is also the Internet, and there are videos on YouTube.

But people on here are quite helpful and would probably be very sensitive in their comments, as after all, we are all aiming for the same thing in making good readings. Hope that helps.

carolb
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Post by carolb » January 18th, 2017, 4:49 pm

Hi lcastleb1

I've just checked the feedback you were given by Tony123 on 24th December.
Has something changed? If so, perhaps you would post another one minute test and explain your concerns.

Carol

lcastleb1
Posts: 59
Joined: December 22nd, 2016, 5:38 am

Post by lcastleb1 » January 18th, 2017, 6:49 pm

tovarisch wrote:
lcastleb1 wrote:Curious what is BC?
BC = Book Coordinator, usually the volunteer who manages a group project.

For more, see this wiki. :)
lcastleb1 wrote:Also, does anyone know where you can go on the web (or if there is a forum here) for quality sound check (i.e. to much echo, etc...).
What exactly do you mean by "quality sound check"? Checker program verifies specs and volume, other aspects are either subjective or cannot be automated, and that's why we have PLers. (ETA: I should say, "cannot be easily automated", I suppose)

Well, I did an audio recently and the person who requested the audio noted my voice sounded far away (like I was talking in a "can") as he noted. So, I went out and bought the Blue Yeti. It is a NOTABLE Difference (Improvement). That said, while reading some info on the internet I have heard that ideally you want a "dead" sound. Hence why I tried the home-made audio booth. Thanks for the feed-back.

lcastleb1
Posts: 59
Joined: December 22nd, 2016, 5:38 am

Post by lcastleb1 » January 18th, 2017, 6:53 pm

carolb wrote:Hi lcastleb1

I've just checked the feedback you were given by Tony123 on 24th December.
Has something changed? If so, perhaps you would post another one minute test and explain your concerns.

Carol
Greetings and thanks for the feed-back. Nothing changed. After doing the 1 minute test I did some audio for someone looking for an e-learning module. That person noted the sound quality was as if I were speaking in a tin can. To my ears I sounded Ok. That said, I did go out and purchase the Yeti and I must say, there was a notable difference in sound quality. However, while investigating the Yeti I came across some info on audio work and the importance of trying to create a "dead" sound/environment. I thought I was working in a pretty quiet place and my first reading here at Librivox was given the "green" light. But I'm trying to improve/get better and hence my inquiry into the portable booth. I will do another 1 minute test though just to get feed-back from the group. I would love to pick the brain of the group as I try to improve.

Thanks again for the quick follow up!!

TriciaG
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Post by TriciaG » January 18th, 2017, 6:59 pm

Keep in mind that the LibriVox standards and the standards for others will be different. We don't require dead silence; we're OK with some background noise, if it's unavoidable. Recently I OK'd someone's test who had horn beeps and truck rumbles in the background. Being in a city in India, it's hard to get away from the noise. :) So yeah - if it's for us, you rarely need (I dare to say never need) a portable sound booth. We're about getting books recorded and less about perfection.
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lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » January 19th, 2017, 2:15 am

In fact portable booths can bring their own problems such as a boxy sound. It is much better to do some small changes to your room with blankets and duvets etc when you record. Aim for the best compromise. Also, speaking close to the mic makes a big difference. It's that old inverse square law. Double the distance you speak from the mic and the sound reaching the mic is four times softer.

I think its best to get about 12 inches (30 cm) or less from the mic as this eradicates a lot of the background room noise, since your voice will be about 50dB louder (or more) than the room refections. It's best to get as dry a recording as possible, for clarity. And use the mic by getting slightly further away or turning your head for louder words. The more readings you record the better you will become at mic technique and speaking.

As TriciaG says, you don't need to get to fussy about how you record (unless you want to!) and the purchase of a better mic will certainly have helped a lot.

Hope this is useful.

annise
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Post by annise » January 19th, 2017, 5:18 am

For any new people reading this , I suggest you go and read the start of the thread . Our aim is to have a great reading , any many of the great readings we have are not technically perfect. Early on in my presence here someone told be to sound as if I were visiting a friend and reading them a story and many of our readers do that with basic microphones curled up on the sofa.
Yes I would sooner not have thumps from plosives and people hitting their microphones but if someone was involved in the reading I would still enjoy it , whilst if you gave me a perfect sound quality that sounded like the reader wasn't enjoying themselves.
So by all means do as much as you want to with sound booths and expensive microphones if you like doing it - we are all different in what amuses us, but it's not necessary for our purposes.
There are some great ideas about reading aloud at the top here.

Anne

lurcherlover
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Post by lurcherlover » January 19th, 2017, 5:49 am

Of course no one so far has mentioned the unmentionable ...

STOMACH RUMBLES ...

How the hell do you get around those??!!

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