• AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
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Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #15 on: July 07, 2019, 18:36:50
« Last Edit: July 07, 2019, 19:45:39 by oorlab »
@Kellyanneg  - tracking softly - also known as recording without clipping - get your maximum signal at -10 dB to prevent hot spiky distorted / tinny sounds. It is also a function of the distance between a microphone and the source of sound.
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Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #16 on: July 07, 2019, 18:42:07
@Bill from November Sound what an excellent idea!! I will definitely give that a try! Thanks for the encouragement too. I go back and forth, and the guidance from you guys helps me focus. Yes, I am in Ohio. My Christmas list is in the works (ha ha), and I will refer back to the suggestions from you guys when the time comes! Many thanks.   :dance:
Do what makes your heart sing :)

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #17 on: July 07, 2019, 18:48:35
@oorlab gotchya...I will continue to work with the mic/singing techniques.The -10db....I apologize, but I'll need to read up on that. I am as much of a beginner as possible with this, no computer knowledge etc., and thank you. All of these things I am keeping in my hat for the next attempt.  :bonk:

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #18 on: July 07, 2019, 20:38:23
I’m gonna try explaining what digital audio clipping is, it’s not as difficult to understand as the one might think, but it requires some visual aid.

Take a look at this picture:


This is a picture representing digital sound. The middle line is where the sound is “dead quiet” and the edges are where the maximum sound pressure possible to record resides, which in the digital world is known as 0 decibel (or zero dB). It has two sides in the picture but if you you imagine it just being the upper half, it’s more like a temperature scale where zero is the freezing point and any degree above zero  will result in lost information. Negative dB means that it’s a relative minus that point where information gets too loud.

What it basically illustrates is that after the sound has been converted from analog to digital, if the recorded sound pressure is to high, the captured noise after converting it into digital, will miss some information and the “waves” will be “flattened”. Sound waves in the real world, the kind our ears are compatible with, where longer waves equals bass, shorter waves equals higher pitch sounds, cannot be captured digitally if the volume is too loud. This causes something called digital distortion which doesn’t sound nice at all, unlike analog distortion which is often used as an effect.

I know this is kind of an enigma and counterintuitive but if you imagine it as temperatures it means that the if the signal is too hot, the recording temperature (volume) needs to go down somehow. Either the microphone needs to be located further away from the source (singer) or the amplification of it before it goes into digital needs to be dialed down. If you had an external soundcard, it would have indicated this with red and green lights or perhaps red, yellow and green lights.

Hopefully this sheds some other light in this subject. (Please correct me fellow  Kitcheners if I’m over complicating things).

Layerson (a.k.a. Mikael Lagersson)

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #19 on: July 07, 2019, 22:07:04
@Layerson so I want to keep the sound no higher than zero? And an external sound card...the interface you guys talk about does that? Is my mic ok? I think you said it's more for performing vs recording, but it doesn't sound like that's a problem. And thank you, again. I am definitely a visual learner, and the more I understand, rather than follow or memorize, the more forward I can go.  :)

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #20 on: July 07, 2019, 23:31:31
Well, it’s important that you lower your input signal levels so they’re well below zero, so somewhere in the range of six to eighteen “steps” below is much better than being near zero. With an external soundcard you would have a knob for the amount of amplification of your input signal and it would turn green when it’s at a good level, red if it’s above the zero dB (clipping) threshold and not be lit at all if the signal was too low.

Since you probably don’t have any such indicators lights, you need to turn down the input level from within your mixer if it’s connected to your soundcard and that’s possible, or by simply moving the microphone further away from you or as a last resort, by singing more quietly (...but that will be audible so maybe that’s a bad idea).

Looking in Audacity, if the volume is too high, the waves upper and lower parts will be bigger and perhaps even “broken” which’s probably visible of you zoom in.

The most important thing is that you somehow capture your voice separately and then look at the results, taking action if necessary. If the wave form looks intact try finding a way to decrease the volume level inside Audacity, if needed. If they’re too high (sounding distorted) you will need to do something outside the computer (decrease volume levels). The last step is trying to match the music and vocals volumes so they’re balanced throughout the song. This might be done by lowering or increasing the volume levels of smaller portions of each separate audio capture, i.e track regions. There are a plethora of ways to get the volume levels in check but basically this is how it’s done in its most primitive way. Cut the parts that need alterations and just edit those.

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #21 on: July 08, 2019, 00:09:57
Many thanks for your time and knowledge. You all have given great pieces of advice which are like a new set of tools to work with.

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #22 on: July 08, 2019, 01:03:35
Oh one more quick question (sorry!) When you say "lowering input volume within the mixer," do you just mean external volume knobs or is this some internal adjustment? Thank you sooo much.

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #23 on: July 08, 2019, 02:43:51
@Kellyanneg  ... he means turn down the volume. You'll have gain or trim where the mic plugs in, volume knob or slider below that and main volume turn those down and look at the "picture" of the waves on audacity after you record. Look for those flattened waveforms. This could be part of the problem to address ... but it probably isn't all of it.   
Songwriter, Keyboards, Arranger, Producer & Engineer for November Sound

November Sound is based on the Mother, Father & Son musical trio of Melissa, Bill & Will. I'm the father so anything I post will have my wife singing and/or my son playing percussion.

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #24 on: July 08, 2019, 02:49:22
@Bill from November Sound ok gotchya...I might be over-thinking this a bit because I'm overwhelmed. Breaking it down like you guys are doing is a huge help.  :shinyteeth:

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #25 on: July 08, 2019, 13:32:26
You’re right Bill, exactly what I was going for.

It’s a bit harder than I thought to explain but what it comes down to is knowing some fundamentals about audio, recording plus knowing a little about your gear. It took me a while to grasp the easy concepts when starting out because I had nobody to ask and no references, this was in the early internet days. Did start with an internal soundcard and Cubase and probably did everything backwards. The getting up to speed and knowing just enough is a bit of an uphill, think it might be easier to be shown some of them in real life because people have different ways of learning and getting the “info-aha” experiences. I’m tenacious though ;)

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #26 on: July 08, 2019, 14:14:21
Thanks guys. Don't mean to be a bother. I really appreciate this. :)

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #27 on: July 09, 2019, 04:38:10
« Last Edit: July 09, 2019, 17:11:23 by Kellyanneg »

Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #28 on: July 10, 2019, 16:17:09
« Last Edit: July 11, 2019, 12:34:55 by Kellyanneg »

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Re: AUDACITY - Tips and Tricks
Reply #29 on: January 13, 2020, 20:28:23
« Last Edit: January 13, 2020, 20:36:41 by Monti Karus »
Reverb in Audacity is overly complicated in my eyes, in comparison to other DAWs I've used which have better presets and easier controls.

I like buttery reverb but often when I go for buttery in Audacity, I get boxy. And boxy is just well, boxy!

One way I've gone around this is to use a mono track and also a duplicated stereo track. The stereo track with 'Cathedral' preset but with the 'reverb' setting turned down a bit and then the mono track with 'Vocal II' preset but also the 'reverb' setting turned down a bit. Pan both, the mono one a little to the left and the stereo track further to the right and there is a decent amount of butter!

This is of course assuming you recorded in mono to start. But if you recorded in stereo just duplicate your stereo track.  It's great to experiment with multiple reverbs on different tracks and experiment with the panning to get some nice butter.

Another thing I've learned is that it's best to record as close to the action as possible, in other words, record as close to the mouth without pops or wind. Otherwise no matter the amount of mucking around you're always battling the boxy reverb of a small room - and for me that's normally someone's kitchen! (Seems to be the best place to record nowadays, haha)... Boxy reverb recorded from recording too far away from the microphone in a small room can be remedied with some EQ fiddling but not entirely fixed. It's better just to get as close as you can, so you have complete control over the sound once it's in the DAW.

If anyone has any tips, or better ways of doing this, please pipe up!
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