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Recording quality problem
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mcm
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 2600
Location: w. MA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 6:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm trying to approach this somewhat scientifically and have moved the microphone as far from the cpu as the cable will allow and wrapped the mic in foam and cloth to prevent it from picking up ambient noise. The sound tracing is just as noisy as it was before. Maybe my acoustic materials are not adequate for the test. I'll keep at it and report my final findings when I have them.
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mcm
Smart Kitteh


Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 2600
Location: w. MA, USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've completed a preliminary round of tests and was surprised by what I found. I have been worrying since my tests this morning that the mic was generating noise on its own. Further testing showed that wrapping the mic in foam and cloth and putting it inside a large glass jar made a significantly noisier sound tracing than just recording in my unsoundproofed room, some kind of resonance or "bee in a bottle" effect. Covering up the cpu made no difference in the appearance of the recording. Moving the unwrapped mic as far from the cpu as possible made no difference. And waving one's hand at the mic showed up as a significant oscillation; waving one's hand in front of the pop-stopper made a much smaller oscillation, so the pop-stopper definitely helps. Putting the mic in a narrow space (hallway) and surrounding it on three sides with eggcrate foam looked no noisier or quieter than the mic in the open room.



I found this at the Rode website:



“Actually the microphone has 5 dB [sic should read "dBA"] of inherent noise – which to my understanding is the lowest noise floor of any microphone available in Australia for under $1000. It is now low enough for even the most paranoid noise-Nazi to cope with and is about five times quieter than my Neumann U47” Røde NT1A by Andy Stewart – Audio Technology Magazine November 2003



What I want to know is, what does "silence" look like from a mic in a soundproof booth? Would anybody with a soundproof room or booth be willing to record a few seconds of silence for me and send it to me? Maybe my (Røde NT1A) mic really isn't that noisy. That few mm thick line I'm seeing certainly does not seem to contain a lot of noise--that is, it's not taking up a lot of space on the dB scale. I saved the file to show what the sound of silence looks like from my mic in my unsoundproofed room.



And, if it really isn't that noisy-- that is, if it doesn't look that noisy, why is it so easy for you guys to hear fan noise when the recording looks the same whether the mic is 4 feet from the cpu or 15 feet, and whether the cpu is covered up or not???
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kgenus
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Joined: 01 Dec 2004
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Location: Greater NYC Area

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2005 10:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote





The first image is a standard level, gain set at 12:00 and output at unity. The second was gain and output set at max levels. The mic / pre was a Sennheiser 416, Millennia STT-I Origin (using the solid state pre with the transformer engaged, eq and comp off). I should have saved the files and placed them online so you could hear.



Kevin
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mcm
Smart Kitteh


Joined: 10 Dec 2004
Posts: 2600
Location: w. MA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 6:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank-you Kevin. I really am a total idiot and you heard it here first. Your pictures and description sent me back to my mixer where I fiddled with the dials, set them all to their original upright & locked positions, and I got lovely straight lines like yours (that is, until the furnace came on, which it does frequently up here in MA).



So when you all were trying to diagnose this earlier, you were all correct-- it was the cpu, the ambient room noise, and the mixer settings. But in my stupidity I learned a lot and hope others learn something too without having to show the process in public! :oops:



Now my problem is, where am I going to get my power & volume? Maybe it's time to take some speech classes.
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Andy
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well, dammit, Mary. I just spent the last 30 minutes sending you an audio test showing how mixer settings and preamp issues may be your culprit. :lol:
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kgenus
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Joined: 01 Dec 2004
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Location: Greater NYC Area

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not an issue when recording digially. When you record digitally, -6db is generaly where you want to be. You can normalize the audio and compress it slightly remove the transient spikes. For me, it's usually 2:1 or 3:1 with the threshold set just below crazy little peaks and setting the compressors output makeup to 2db. This will give you the power and volume you were talking about.



Also, Bill Elder mentioned his preamp (Symetrix 528) removed a lot of the room noise. In another thread we discussed plugins that would address these issues, which is what he was referring to (I believe). I'll process your file with the Waves Ren. Vox processor, which should clean up a lot of it, but these tools are really no substitute for a good room.



Kevin
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mcm
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Joined: 10 Dec 2004
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Location: w. MA, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 1:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kevin, I know I need to read a good book about recording audio (any recommendations?) but I don't know what you mean when you say, recording digitally. I know that somewhere in the chain, whether it's the way I'm recording or the way you're recording, there has to be a conversion from analog to digital. For me it's happening in my sound card I guess, and for you in Pro Tools maybe -- is that what you mean?
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Dan-O
The Gates of Troy


Joined: 17 Jan 2005
Posts: 1517

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 7:20 pm    Post subject: Home studio guide for newbies: Reply with quote

Mary,This is an extremely useful Web Site I found for putting together a studio. It even addresses your current problem. There is also a link to a bulletin board for audio folks like this one. http://www.tweakheadz.com/guide.htm
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