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Help with Hiss Removal / Basic Audio Problems

Apr 28, 2012 7:51 AM

Hey guys.  I have a Panasonic HDC-TM700 with an attached Azden High-performance (SMX-10) Stereo Condenser Microphone.  I use it to record a person talking about 6 feet away in small room.  However the audio always sounds horrible on playback.  By horrible I mean there is always a loud hiss, and they sound so flat.  Since I have to do this on a weekly basis now I am hoping somebody here can give me some pointers on how to fix these issues.  I assume it a fairly issue fix in Adobe Audition CS 5.5 (which I have).  I start my production in Premiere Pro CS5.5 and then export the audio to Adobe Audition for editing.  My problem is ive never been a sound guy so I really don’t understand what all the filters and settings do (in Premiere or Audition).  I was able to “capture the noise” and have Auditon “remove it”.   That does an ok job of removing the hiss… but then the already flat voice left over, sounds very tinny.  

 

So is there any advice or direction you can give me on what settings to use or apply to get audition to make the audio sound better?  Or is there anywhere (for beginners) to learn how to use the settings?  I think my problem is that I don’t understand the basics of audio like what EQ or a compressor does, and how the settings effect things.  But everything I read is so technical and it just confuses me more. 

 

 

Or are there any other microphones (under $200.00) anybody could suggest that would be able to be added to this camera that could get me better audio for my situation?  

 

I would really appreciate any advice, or a point in the right direction.  Thanks guys.

 
Replies
  • Currently Being Moderated
    Apr 28, 2012 9:02 AM   in reply to EricCJunk

    I'm afraid my answer isn't going to make you happy.  A microphone mounted on a camera six feet away from a speaker isn't ever going to give you the results you're after.  Audition may be able to help a little but the real trick is to get the mic much closer to the speaker, especially in a small room which is going to sound hollow and boomy.  Effectively what you're asking is like "if I shoot on a wide angle lens, how can I zoom into a closeup in editing without losing resolution".  Sound is just as unforgiving.  When I was working as a sound guy for video, the trick was always to get the mic in as close as possible without getting into shot--even with a thousand dollar mic, I couldn't just stand by the camera and get good results--well, at least not without a long fish pole!

     

    How you do this is going to depend on the details of your shoot.   You might try a shotgun mic on a fishpole boom--the cheapest shotgun I know is the Rode NTG2 but this with a fishpole will blow your $200 budget.  (There's also the NTG1 but this needs phantom power and I'll assume you can't provide that.

     

    Or, in a static situation, there are various clip on lavalier mics you could try--Sennheiser do at least one within your budget (or used to--haven't checked lately) that can be powered with a little button battery.

     

    Either way, though, the trick is to get the mic much closer to the subject.

     

    For material you already have, the only suggestion I have is to do your hiss reduction in several small steps rather than trying to do it all at once.  This should result in the remaining voice sounding less "processed" but it's still not the same as getting the recording right to start with.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 10:52 AM   in reply to EricCJunk

    I doubt that you will get any better quality from that AT mic unless, as Bob says, you get it much closer to the speaker. You need to get more level from the interviewee into the mic and less of the room sound. So you will need an extension cable and a mic stand so that you can position it nearer than the camera but out of shot. Either overhead or if shooting just head and shoulders below  pointing upwards.

     

    Since the Azden mic was stereo you may be able to improve the quality somewhat by converting the audio to mono. This should get rid of some of the room sound that the stereo mic will have picked up but won't help much with the hiss (might reduce it a little by increasing the level of centre sounds).

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 3:53 PM   in reply to EricCJunk

    That's the type of thing they normally use on talking head/interview video shoots. Most of Audio Technica stuff is generally pretty good quality. Although don't try to hide under clothing too much as it can sound a bit muffled. The high cost pro tieclip mics quite often have a taylored high frequency boost built in to overcome this problem. The cheaper ones don't unfortunately.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 6:13 PM   in reply to ryclark

    ryclark wrote:

     

    Although don't try to hide under clothing too much as it can sound a bit muffled.

    It's not so much the muffling -- that can be fixed in post. The reason you shouldn't hide mics under clothing is because of the clothes rustling noises, as they're more or less unfixable.

     

    Stick a fingertip in your ear and wiggle it around while someone's speaking to you -- that's what it'll sound like. Always monitor the audio while recording, so you can catch and avoid problems like that.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 7:39 PM   in reply to Teetow1

    Teetow1 wrote:

     

     

     

     

    Stick a fingertip in your ear and wiggle it around while someone's speaking to you -- that's what it'll sound like.

    Sounds like you've actually done that.

     
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    Apr 28, 2012 11:44 PM   in reply to Teetow1

    It's definitely better to NOT hide mics under clothing but, if it's a drama or something there are tricks you can use to minimse the clothing rustle.  We used to tightly wrap them in rubber from a condom (pulled tightly around then secured to the cable with multi-wraps of a rubber band) then taped to the chest to avoid movement.  You still have to EQ a lot because of the muffled character but this pretty well controls the rustle.

     

    (In the old days, before super mini electret condenser lavs--when the mics were the size of a thumb and hang on a string around the neck--we used to go through 30-50 condoms a week.  A favourite job of the sound department was to go to the pharmacy and embarrass the cute cashier by saying "50 condoms please...that should last me the week")

     
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    Apr 29, 2012 2:50 AM   in reply to therealdobro

    therealdobro wrote:

     

    Sounds like you've actually done that.

     

    Heh, that's the best part, I didn't even try it before I typed it. I just assumed it would be roughly equivalent.

     
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    Apr 29, 2012 4:18 AM   in reply to Teetow1
     
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    Apr 30, 2012 1:54 PM   in reply to EricCJunk

    The loud hiss problem that you're describing makes me suspicious that your problem might be with the mic itself. Are you sure that the battery in the mic is fresh and that the contacts are clean. How do things sound from the camera's built in mic? I have an HDC-TM300 and the on-board 5.1 channel mic actually sounds pretty good. You can set up different modes for surround, zoom mic, or focus mic which give sort of a shotgun effect already. You can also adjust the gains within the setup menu.  Six feet away is not really very far in a small room and shouldn't cause that much of a hiss unless there is a hiss already in the room. Or, then again, maybe the gain is too high on the Azden mic and you're hearing background noise and severely clipped or compressed vocals making them sound flat. What do your waveforms look like in the editor? Are you having to increase the amplitude a lot or is it filling the waveform display vertically. I would do some more experimenting and analyzing before spending money on another mic first.

     
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