4 Replies Latest reply on Feb 5, 2010 8:17 AM by the_wine_snob

    narration sound too low or else have background hiss/hum

    Margthecar2 Level 1

      I am using PreE8 on Windows7 64-bit.  My sound card is....hmmmm, my spec sheet says "Integrated 7.1 Audio."  I don't know what that means.  Perhaps that is the "house" sound on my computer, a Dell Studio XPS 435MT (lack of a decent sound card may be part of the problem now that I think about it).

       

      Continuing on, I am trying to overdub a video clip by muting it, and recording dialog to the narration track.  I have a cheapo desktop Labtec microphone.  I have two settings in the Control panel to adjust microphone volume.  one is labelled "Microphone" and the other "Microphone Boost".  I have the gain in the PreE8 narration window at max.   For both the front and back microphone jacks, with the control panel "microphone" setting to 100 but the boost at zero, the volume of my narration is too low to hear.  If I slide the Microphone Boost to +30db (the max) in the Control Panel, the volume of the narration is barely okay, but I get a loud background hiss/hum that is unacceptable.

       

      My goal is to record my voice overdubs with as little extra work as possible, so I am looking for a setup that will allow us to speak into a microphone at normal volumes and to end up with a clean narration clip that I can simply use straight in my project with no denoising, no cleaning up in audacity, etc.

       

      I read in another thread that a condenser microphone might help.  Will it?  If so, I don't want to break the bank.  Can someone recommend a condenser microphone that will record voice well, but not cost a fortune?

       

      Might my lackluster sound card be part of the problem?  If so, what recommendations are there for sound cards to record voice well?  I am only looking to record dialog--no music, no explosions--which is why I didn't get a high end soundcard in the first place.

       

      Lastly, is there anything else I am missing here with respect to recording audio in PreE8?  Because we are trying to sync dialog to existing video, it is imperative we be able to watch the clip while recording dialog, so I don't know that recording outside of PrE8 is an option.  or is it?  Is there a way to do this easily using, say, audacity.  ( I have a great old USB microphone that used to work with Audacity years ago, maybe this might work?).

       

      MargtheCar

        • 1. Re: narration sound too low or else have background hiss/hum
          the_wine_snob Level 9

          The microphone used can make all of the difference, as can a noise-free environment.

           

          HERE is a good one. I use similar. I would go with a mono, but then you will want your narrator within the pickup pattern. (See below). If this is out of the budget, then I'd stop by a guitar shop and discuss mics with the salespeople. They should know about mic'ing single instruments, and singers, and have many such mics available at differing prices. Discuss the cables, as you will likely be using direct connection via 1/8" connector, and not have a phantom power source - hence the need for a powered mic.

           

          Now, it sounds like you have more than one narrator. The capture pattern of the particular mic will make a difference. I use a tight cardioid mono mic, because I am the narrator. If you have more than one narrator, you'll want a much broader pattern. Having a powered condenser mic will likely get a usable signal, without having to boost the signal - adding that noise that you are getting.

           

          Seating your narrators very close to one another will be helpful, as will adding some sound baffling to keep the fans in the computer, etc. from being picked up. Sonofoam is great for this, but one can do similar by just placing some cardboard panels with upholstery  foam glued to it, or maybe even blankets. Do NOT wrap the computer's case, but place these between it, and the narrators. Depending on your room, you might even want to hang blankets behind the narrators to cut down on reflected (echos) sounds from a live room.

           

          Now, if you do need to record in Audacity, or similar, and watch the movie, you can just Export/Share the Timeline as a Video-only file. Play that in WMP, or similar, and use Audacity to record. I use Adobe Audition, and it incorporates Video in its GUI, so I just Export/Share and Import that into Audition to be played, while I record.

           

          Your sound chip is probably fine, so long as the level of the signal from the mic is adequate for it. I like to have my narration peaking at about -6dB, so that there is no clipping. I can still boost that slightly in my editing program, if needed.

           

          I have several panels of foamcore with sonofoam on them. One is between me and the computer's case. Two more form a large "V", with me in the center of that "V." This effectively kills all room reflections. I just use a couple of lightstands besides my chair, and use some spring clamps to attach those panels. Blankets would work fine too. Your setup might look a bit odd, should someone drop by, but what you want to do is eliminate any liveliness in the room, block things like those fans, and be sure to turn off the heater/AC and kill any audio sources from the rest of the house.

           

          Good luck,

           

          Hunt

          • 2. Re: narration sound too low or else have background hiss/hum
            the_wine_snob Level 9

            HERE is a less-expensive, but well-reviewed condenser mic. However, it requires a 48V phantom power feed, so one would need a phantom power pre-amp, or mixer panel.

             

            Good luck,

             

            Hunt

            • 3. Re: narration sound too low or else have background hiss/hum
              Margthecar2 Level 1

              Thanks Hunt for all the info on sound insulation.  I never thought to use blankets around the recording area!  I am going to try that. 

               

              It was definitely the microphone because when I hooked up my old good USB microphone and recorded in Audacity, the result was loud and clear with no background hiss. The imported test files into PrE8 were just fine, so I think that is route I am going to go.  It turns out that watching the clip was not as necessary as I thought because my 7-yr-old son, who has to do most of the overdubs, did better by trying to sync with the SOUND of the original clip listening on headphones rather than WATCHING a muted clip.  Now I just have to get the dynamics matched with the other clips (a separate post) and I am good to go. 

               

              I did check out the links to the professional microphones you sent me, but those are beyond my scope right now.  I have professional musician friend who is going to bring over a couple of his mikes next time he visits and we are going to fool around with them for fun, but right now I am going to stick with my immediate (and free) solution of using the USB mike with Audacity. 

               

              One more question--I know that PrE8 does not generally work with USB mikes (it doesn't with mine), why is that?  It seems like such an oversight that I imagine there is more to it than simply "Adobe forgot to put it in."  Do you have any idea why?

               

              MargtheCar

              • 4. Re: narration sound too low or else have background hiss/hum
                the_wine_snob Level 9

                Now, just one word of caution. PrE has trouble with some USB mics. Glad that your older one worked in Audacity. Just wanted to mention that there might be an issue using it in PrE. I'd just keep to Audacity, as you have done.

                 

                BTW - that was me replying to your other thread, but I did not realize that the forum had logged me out, until after I posted. When that happens, WAHunt3 shows up with an auto-log-in. Do not know where he came from, or why he gets better treatment from the Adobe fora, than I do, but Adobe seems to like my alter-ego better than they like me.

                 

                I did not put things together in that thread, but now I see what you're trying to do. I think that you'll get pretty close with my recs. Remember, be patient and listen carefully to all adjustments. Also, knowing that you have and use Audacity, I'd look to doing work with any freeware VST plug-ins there. Then, you do not have to worry about PrE not working with one. There are some VST's on the Audacity site (SourceForge). If you do add VST's, see THIS PAGE first.

                 

                I'm still looking for some of the VST's that I found a few years ago. One, Grunge, IIRC, should help you out. So far, I'm not finding anything but a very expensive set of VST's, and this one was free, or cheap.

                 

                Good luck,

                 

                Hunt