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Studio Acoustics

 
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Farqfish



Joined: 23 Sep 2019
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 5:08 pm    Post subject: Studio Acoustics Reply with quote

Hey guys,

I always get a little paranoid when I am marketing to clients/agents and I get a reply that my studio is unsuitable for their needs because of bad acoustics etc.

The sample in question that an agent said had bad acoustics (described as sounding like it was recorded in a bathroom) is linked here:

https://soundcloud.com/rafaelmmiguel/vbspanappaud

This was recorded a few years ago, and since then George Whittam has helped me use a customized rack for my DAW and I've slightly improved my studio acoustics. Here is a sample from a few days ago:

https://soundcloud.com/rafaelmmiguel/manager-sample/s-JsrVn

To my ears, neither of them sound echo-y, although the newer one sounds like the treatment is about maybe %15 better? Do you guys think either of these sound unacceptable in terms of being audition/demo clip sound quality worthy? Will go back to the drawing board if so...

Cheers,
Rafael
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Bruce
Boardmeister


Joined: 06 Jun 2005
Posts: 6951
Location: Portland, OR

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Listening on my iPad I didnít hear any bathroom noise, as in hard tile walls, in either sample. The earlier take sounded thin, as in no bass, and the more recent one sounds reasonably normal.


B
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I'm not a Zoo, but over the years I've played one on radio/TV. .
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Frank F
Fat, Old, and Sassy


Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 4153
Location: Park City, Utah

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 5:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

OK, let's start with the basics.

The actual quality is not bad, just thin and harsh or shrill. Neither recording had a good bottom end (no bass). there was little or no body or fullness. As Bruce mentioned (2nd version) a little more normal. However, what I hear are several issues. So,...

What mic are you using, which interface, which DAW? Do you have any treatment in the room? What kind of levels are you recording (are they in the red)?

First "basic": Good quiet room with little or no reflections. Add treatment (acoustic foam, blankets, clothing, etc.) to reduce reflections and keep the shrillness low.

2nd "basic": Find a microphone which embodies the fullness of you voice. A podcast microphone is NOT a voiceover microphone.

3rd "basic": Have a good quality interface to the computer. USB mics are great in a pinch, but a solid USB interface will run circles around a USB microphone for quality and control.

4th "basic": Use a good/great DAW. With the right software you can shape and form certain qualities of your recording. 4A "basic": Learn to use the DAW properly.

As mentioned earlier, the quality of the sound was not bad, it just lacked character. It was fairly clean, little artifacts; and was listenable. In many foreign countries (especially the Asia's) this - shriller sound would be regarded as standard. In the America's we like a bit more bass and body.


F2
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Farqfish



Joined: 23 Sep 2019
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 9:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hm,

Thanks to both of you for your informative replies.

As to the 'thin' quality you guys are mentioning, the way I interpret that is more just how my natural voice has changed over the past few years to be a little more relaxed and not as shrill sounding.

As far as making sense of the reply I received from John Silke at Big Fish Media, he initially said my studio was 'too live' for them to want to work with me. And when I asked for clarification even though they acknowledged the noise floor was low, they said 'the acoustics are bad, it sounds like you are recording in the bathroom.'

I obviously don't want to be sending out applications if I will hit a roadblock like this repeatedly but it was not only confusing to me to hear the feedback and it sounds like neither of you experienced voice artists fully hear what he was talking about. So not sure what to adjust on that end.

Frank as to your questions: I am using an SE 2200 A II C microphone with a Steinberg UR 22 interface. My treatment is just a normally carpeted bedroom with a mic enclosed in a reflection filter. I affixed some foam to the bottom to cut off the echo from below, and draped a moving blanket over the top which I sneak under with my head to record, hence the mild muffled sound.

The DAW I use is Audition, and I by no means claim to know the ins and outs of it, but since I had George Whittam customize an effects rack for my studio samples, I feel that I have optimized my current setup without changing the actual studio itself.

Let me know if you have more feedback or advice on what to change,
Cheers,
Rafael
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BruceG
Contributore Level V


Joined: 01 Jun 2012
Posts: 172
Location: just south of Boston, MA

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 10:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Rafael - I just listened to both tracks several times, using Sony MDR V200 headphones (I don't think they don't make 'em anymore) through a Focusrite Scarlett Solo. Here's what I heard:

Track 1 (Spanish): No problems here; the EQ was fairly balanced and no sign of any echo/reverb or background noise.

Track 2 (English): the EQ was definitely fuller (more rich bass tones) and maybe just a hint of echo, but I did definitely hear a good deal of background noise in the recording.

I use Audition CS6 and, if you use CS6 or Audition 3, you can use the Noise Reduction (Process) tool to shave off a good portion of room tone. Be careful, or you'll end up sounding like you're under water with all kinds of goofy artifacts.

Another useful tool is the Waves NS1 plugin, which does the same thing. But again, using a very light setting is the best way to go.

Above all else, you'll want to find out where the noise is coming from (i.e. - computer fan, AC unit, etc.) and then deal with THAT first before going to a noise reduction tool.

I hope this helps!
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Frank F
Fat, Old, and Sassy


Joined: 10 Nov 2004
Posts: 4153
Location: Park City, Utah

PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 5:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a couple of quick thoughts:

Are you using the low pass filter on the SE 2200? Don't!
This mic is cardiod only (good and bad) but need some room to keep the right feel. The condenser is good but with the SE electronics is normally a bit thin as most Chinese condensers are...

Get out from under the moving blanket. Build yourself a PVC stand to hang the blanket on in back of you and around your recording position... "room air" with this mic works well.

Which pad do you have on? This may affect the lower frequencies, which is something missing in the recordings. Proximity effect on this mic is decent, but working the mic at about six inches allows for some formation of the sounds before reaching the diaphragm.

Clear the extraneous noise (outside noise) and reflections.

Learn Adobe Audition better, and you might need to consider adding some EQ.

Frank F
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Farqfish



Joined: 23 Sep 2019
Posts: 5

PostPosted: Sun Feb 16, 2020 8:42 pm    Post subject: Reworked my studio Reply with quote

Hi guys,

I created more space around my mic and bought better blankets to treat the surrounding area. Here is an updated sample of my studio:

https://soundcloud.com/rafaelmmiguel/model-casting1/s-RWWuo

Can you take a listen and say if it is an improvement or no?

@Bruce, really appreciate your zoomed in quality listenings and feedback.

@Frank, regarding the low pass filter, I played with it, and for better or for worse, leaving it off seems to let in too much background noise in my space right now. Are the downsides of using it losing the integrity details of the voice? I have the -10dB on because when it is off for some reason a little more background noise creeps in to my recording as well...

Rafael
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Philip Banks
Je Ne Sais Quoi


Joined: 20 Jun 2005
Posts: 10252

PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 8:06 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Good enough for now so stop for a while, work on the performance skills and then tweak again. It's an evolution not a revolution!
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