Help specifically with recording volume.

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Post by Nedge » June 11th, 2018, 1:39 pm

Hi helpful people,

I have an external mic and am using Audacity. I think I'm following all instructions for recording volume, but when I actually record something, and put it through the checker, it passes "but" the volume is not up to snuff. What am I doing wrong??

I did last week's poem as my very first ever recording -- Pied Beauty. When I listened to it, it was markedly lower in volume than some of the others.

Today I did this week's poem, and the checker said "Passed, but you suck at setting recording volume."

I have projects I truly want to start, but I need to get this problem nailed down first.

Thank you for your help,

Nan :help:
Nan Dodge

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Location: Lawrenceville, NJ

Post by Nedge » June 11th, 2018, 2:18 pm

Nevermind. Wrong place to post this. (I'll learn.)
Nan Dodge

"A hundred years from now? All new people." -- Anne LaMott

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Post by TriciaG » June 11th, 2018, 2:58 pm

This is an OK place to put this. :)

When you get a low volume warning, what have you been doing to adjust it? Is your mic close enough to your face? Is your mic slider in Audacity all the way up? If these are where they're supposed to be, then read on...


If you can simply amplify by the needed amount (ideal volume is 89, so if Checker is showing you 83.4 you'd need to amplify by 5.6 - or if it were me, I'd round it up to 6 dB) then do that.

If you can't do that because you've got spikes that prevent you amplifying as much as you need, you can run the Compressor effect first.

Youtube video:
It will squish your spikes so that you can amplify a bit more. :)
My default settings are as follows:
Threshold: -13 to -17 dB
Noise Floor: -40 dB
Ratio: 2.5:1 or 3:1
Attack: 0.2
Decay: 1.0
NO checks in the check boxes

Threshold will set when it'll start compression. The bigger the number (-17 is bigger than -13 in my mind), more of your wave forms will be compressed.
Ratio determines how much it will squish the wave forms. 3:1 will squish more than 2:1 will.

The other numbers I leave alone.

After compressing, check the volume again (via Checker, or if you've installed ReplayGain, use that). Then amplify the file by whatever number gets you back up to 89, which might be more than before you compressed.

Make sense? Try it and post any questions.

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Post by Monaxi » June 12th, 2018, 6:43 pm

Hello Nan! It took me quite a while to work out how to get the volume I wanted. In addition to trying out the different technical settings people will suggest, you might want to take some time simply to play around with microphone position. I didn't get my settings worked out for quite a while, but still had some good recordings. Little by little, I learned new things from this forum and Youtube and put together the settings I like.

So, hang in there, experiment, and have fun!
Peace be with you,

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Post by lurcherlover » June 13th, 2018, 12:13 am

Yes, a very good point. You need to be close miked for narration - about 6-12 inches from the mic, while avoiding popping noises on f's t's and p's for example. If you get popping, or sibilance, slant the mic at 25-45 degrees from your lips (either up, down or sideways), or use a pop shield. (Home made ones can work OK).

Professional results can be achieved fairly easily by also using duvets, blankets, sheets etc on reflective surfaces such as desks, walls etc., and particularly behind the mic and behind the narrater. But close miking gets immediate and excellent results for starters - and the other methods reduce outside noises as well as reverberation and room noise.
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