Purchased the hardware and the software installed – and still sound of the audio recording feels awkward?
You are not alone, because almost all budding audio engineers, screencasters and podcasters fight against noise, pop-splitting, reverb or distortion and lose their nerve until the quality is finally right.
Howdy SEA Fans, welcome to another tiptuesday blog post and today we are sharing some tips absolutely for beginners on Successful Audio Recording.
The well-known package recommendations range from singing in the shower to the sound recording under the covers. If you find it uncomfortable, we’ll reveal those recording tips that can really make a difference …
Basic rules: Optimize the input signal
First of all the tips presented here are about improving the input signal. Because with the help of a subsequent processing by the audio software, one can not strictly optimize the signal, but only manipulate it.
However, the quality of the audio signal depends on many factors, such as the microphone used, the room acoustics, the distance to the microphone, pop-protection and the level control.
There will be a drastic difference in the audio quality of recorded sound, in a non-optimized recording environment and in an optimized recording environment.
Tip 1: The Room Selection
The room acoustics are crucial for the sound quality and at a disadvantage are usually those who live most beautiful: old buildings palaces with high ceilings, wooden floorboards, reduced furnishings, and large windows provide a lot of reverb and give each audio recording the unmistakable tin can character.
The first measure to be taken is to test the acoustics of all rooms and try to improve the same with small intercommunication, while additionally being able to follow a few criteria:
- Size of the room (usually small rooms are better),
- Location (street or courtyard) and possible sources of noise,
- Carpet (good), wooden floor (medium) or stone floor (bad),
- Strong or less furnished,
- Number of windows and possibility of suspension (preferably with heavy curtains)
Tip 2: Cut Down the Interference.
If a suitable room is found, you should find all artificial sources of interference and if possible minimize:
- Close all doors and windows.
- Turn off any unnecessary electronic equipment or place it at a sufficient distance. These include mobile devices, televisions, telephones, aquariums, splashing wells, birdcages, neon tubes and other exotics …
- Turn off laptop or PC speakers (including external ones).
- The distance between microphone and laptop / PC to make e.g. to minimize the vibrations and noise of the fan. If you do not have a separate table for the laptop, you can put it on insulation material if necessary.
- Choose the right time to record (no rush hour, noise from neighbors etc.).
After these basic measures, we need some tools to further optimize the reception conditions like a pop guard and microphone spiders. Apart from the above-mentioned things, these are the things to consider before setting up a home studio.
Tip 3: Pop Protection for the Microphone
Pop Sounds are caused by plosives (explosive sounds) such as p, b, k, t, g and can be easily avoided using pop protection. A Pop Filter is nothing more than a fabric that is stretched in front of the microphone and absorbs the air pressure of the plosive. You can build a pop protection with a few nylons plus embroidery hoop yourself.
DIY Pop Filter
Tip 4: Microphone Spider
Microphone spiders or “shockmounts” are suspensions for the microphone that absorb vibrations and the resulting noise. Good examples of such vibrations are the laptop fan, typing on the laptop keyboard, steps on the wooden floor, etc. The problem with shockmounts: They are not cheap in the individual case and vary in the design of micro to micro and depends on the manufacturer.
Whether the investment in a new microphone spider is worthwhile. However, many of the annoying vibrations should have already been minimized by the other tips.
Tip 5: Distance to the Microphone
The distance to the microphone has a decisive influence on the tonal characteristics, so you should test different distances before each shot and then decide on all recordings of a cast for a constant distance. For example, it makes sense to use 5, 10 and 20 cm tests:
If you measure the distance with your hands (splayed fingers, hand widths, etc.), you can even in situations without centimeter measure for a consistent tone character.
Tip 6: The right modulation
As a rule of thumb for the modulation: The input signal should be recorded as loud as possible and as quietly as necessary. As quiet as necessary means that there must not be an overload even with loud spots and therefore a tolerance range should be left free. Optimal is the recording at 0 db, in practice, one should “adjust” the volume variations between -6 and 0 db. Everything over 0 db is overdriven and tends to sound distorted.
For some USB microphones like the G-Track, you can adjust the signal strength on the microphone itself. Also, in this case, you should send the signal as strong as possible to the PC, without it being overdriven. Most of the time, however, the modulation runs via the audio software. In some cases, the screencast software already provides automatic modulation (e.g., Camtasia). Otherwise, the db indicator will help with scale and colored marking to make the signal meaningful:
When using Windows 7, noise can also be caused by the onboard micro. If problems occur, you should control the recording devices by right-clicking on the speaker symbol in the taskbar and mute the unused devices via the properties if necessary.
However, it is not possible to completely avoid a certain amount of noise in microphones in the “hobby price category”. Again, if you still want to get the last 10 percent of quality, must invest 90%. Whether that pays off depends entirely on the goal of the podcast or screencast.
Hope this article has helped in improving your knowledge in audio recording and do share your perspective on the topic which is discussed above as comments below.
Happy Sound Engineering