Audio Quality Tests: Yes, It’s a Testing Tizzy

My first recording seemed like it went well–for a first recording.  And really that’s the problem.  If SB Press (and later on, perhaps, just little ol’ me on my own blog) publish audio, it needs to be better than a “good first attempt.”

So I went ahead and purchased a snowball mic.  Jim Kelly, podcaster extraordinaire, agreed to listen to my first attempts with the old mic and give me an assessment. (Yes, he is a terrific guy.)  He noticed two big things 1) too much background noise and 2) my s’s were far too prominent.   He suggested I adjust my distance from the new mic to see if it helped.

So here are the three sample tracks  1) old first attempt (old mic) 2) new mic at a distance of 1 and 1/2 feet and 3) new mic at a distance of 3 feet.

1. Original track (snippet).

Death’s Shed by J. M. McDermott.

2. Snowball mic at 1 and1/2 ft (snippet).
Death’s Shed by J. M. McDermott.

3. Snowball mic at 3 ft (snippet).
Death’s Shed by J. M. McDermott

My Two Questions:

How is the background noise?

Have I tamed those s’s enough?
I think not. I’m trying to figure out how to work an Audacity plug-in called Spitfish that de-esses tracks, but so far no luck….

I really had no idea I had this “s issue” until yesterday.  Now I hear it every time I speak!

More Technical Details of My Recordings Than You Really Want to Know:
So here’s the current issue, Spitfish isn’t picking up any sound to de-ess. I think it’s because my recording levels are too low. When I record with the input setting to maximum in Audacity, the recording level hangs around -24 decibels (not the -6 decibels suggested in the user manual). The audio peaks seem to sit somewhere between 0.15 and 0.2 (not the 0.5 “ideal”).

I’ve got my mic on setting #1 (for single voice recording). Because of the sibilance issue, I’m experimenting with recording between 1 and 1/2 ft to 3 ft from the mic with a gain setting of +10 (tracks samples above).


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