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Home Studio

Postby audio_jungle » Sat Aug 25, 2018 6:22 pm

How difficult is it to get a home studio where you can successfully use a condenser microphone to record podcasts and vocieovers?

Currently I am away from home for work, and where I am staying seems decent as far as being a good place to record, but then I just don't know.

I have two pro microphones that I bought for the intent of recording my podcasts and voiceovers... A Shure SM7B and a Rode NT2-A.

I literally tested my SM7B in a storage unit and it has a *tight* pickup pattern and seems like it would be great in a noisy environment.

I briefly tried the NT2-A in my PortaBooth Pro in the same storage unit, and it provided a richer sund, but I'm not sure how easy it would be to get good enough quality with it.

Yesterday I picked up a boom arm for my NT2-A, and I'm pumped that I now have an easier set up to record than spending 30 minutes assembling a mic stand and the Porta Booth.

Obviously the best way to find out if I can use a condenser mic is by testing it out, but not having any training in sound engineering, I am just trying to do as much "prep" work as possible before I test things out.

So can any experts here share thoughts on this topic and what I should use to record?

(I have watched 100 videos on YouTube where people swear by their $30 USB microphone, but I don't buy any of that.)

My end goal is to capture something that is good enough to be syndicated like a national radio show.

Thanks,


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Re: Home Studio

Postby ConcertinaChap » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:14 pm

audio_jungle wrote:but not having any training in sound engineering, I am just trying to do as much "prep" work as possible before I test things out.

The People Who Know will be along in a mo but I just wanted to say test things all the time, before, during and after your preparation. Otherwise how will you know if you've actually improved things? :)

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Re: Home Studio

Postby Ariosto » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:18 pm

audio_jungle wrote:How difficult is it to get a home studio where you can successfully use a condenser microphone to record podcasts and vocieovers?

If you set up in a room then you need to reduce any reverb by quite a lot. So you need duvets, blanket, towels and whatever else behind you and around the mic, as well as on tables and also covering any glass such as mirrors and windows. This all kills the reverb - and you need to make the recordings as dry as possible - which is usually different to music recording, depending on what sort of music of course.

If you can get the reverb down to 0.25 sec then that's good. Clarity is a high requirement for voice over and narration. So low background noise - in other words - a noise floor of -60dB or less is a usual requirement, and as dry as possible.

Hugh and others will add more, no doubt, as they have wide experience of such techniques.
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Re: Home Studio

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:24 pm

Acoustic treatment of the room in which you record is THE key factor to a successful outcome.

There are many threads here about that and your approach will depend on how serious you are and what your budget is. The best approach, especially if you have a dedicated room, is to commission an acoustician to design a treatment plan for the space.

Interesting your comment on the SM7B. I believe it’s an excellent microphone for podcast, but unlike the NT2, needs to be worked close, like a stage microphone. This is another reason why it would be an advantage in a room with poor acoustics.

Well worth reading some of the tech notes articles on this page http://www.performing-musician.com and of course the many useful articles on this site.

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Re: Home Studio

Postby blinddrew » Sat Aug 25, 2018 9:30 pm

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Re: Home Studio

Postby audio_jungle » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:03 pm

Ariosto wrote:If you set up in a room then you need to reduce any reverb by quite a lot. So you need duvets, blanket, towels and whatever else behind you and around the mic, as well as on tables and also covering any glass such as mirrors and windows. This all kills the reverb - and you need to make the recordings as dry as possible - which is usually different to music recording, depending on what sort of music of course.

Okay, so a bit of a confession here...

I am an IT consultant by day, who is working away from home long term. As such, my "home" studio is in a hotel room - which is really more like a small one-room apartment since I don't have to worry about cleaning ladies and all that.

I am sitting right now at a tiny table (2' X 3') in my kitchenette and facing the edge of my bed and when closed curtains.

Since I have been here for over a year - contract was renewed - I have lots of "stuff" in my room, including some more boxes from the audio gear I picked up on Friday.

The point is, that as undesireable as a hotel room might sound, I am thinking, ironically, that I am quite fortunate.

Before I came here and was working down in Texas, my living arrangements were noisy as hell. And when I bought all of my audio gear, I thought I'd be stuck recording out of a study room at the local library which had the acoustics of a metal trash can!! (Nice and simple, but square walls, wooden desk, and glass front made it an ECHO CHAMBER!!)

In my current living situation, I think my biggest enemy will be heater/AC, refrigerator, and noisy neighbors which cycles on and off depending on who moves in and out.

For the next few months, I should be in between A/C and heater time, so that helps. For the refrigerator, I am planning on going to the hardware store and rigging up an extension cord with a switch in the middle that I can run behind the refrigerator and turn it on and off as needed - saves me from having to move it out!

And after lots of complaining to the GM, things have been fairly quiet as far as a**hole guests next door. (And since I often get to work from "home", worst case, I can record during the day when the place is usually guest free.

I bought this gigantic like 3' x 3' X 2' box of acoustical foam thinking I might have to try and "sound treat" have of the library study rooms, but since getting my new contract across the country, it has sit idle. I brough like 4 squares with me, and if necessary, I could jerry-rig an acoustical box around my mic.

Lastly, I actually dropped a fair amount of money on a PortaBooth Pro! And while this seems to work well...

- It is a pain-in-the-arse to set up
- I never liked the mic stand set up I had to use with it - too flimsy
- And it doesn't support recording when you need to be in front of a computer or on the phone (e.g. when interviewing someone or doing a live podcast/broadcast)


I have my Rode NT2-A on my Blue boom arm looking at me right now.

(Truth be told, I was hoping that I would hear back from Desmond on my "Loopback + Zoiper" thread first, as I need to finish figuring out how to record phone calls before I get into recording using a mic!)

Anyways, I will try to recording my Rode condenser mic tonight and see how that goes.


Ariosto wrote:If you can get the reverb down to 0.25 sec then that's good.

What in the world does that mean?! :?:


Ariosto wrote:Clarity is a high requirement for voice over and narration. So low background noise - in other words - a noise floor of -60dB or less is a usual requirement, and as dry as possible.

Again, Greek to me!!


Ariosto wrote:Hugh and others will add more, no doubt, as they have wide experience of such techniques.

I am excited to learn more, and thank you for responding!! :D
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Re: Home Studio

Postby audio_jungle » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:13 pm

Bob Bickerton wrote:Acoustic treatment of the room in which you record is THE key factor to a successful outcome.

I realize this, totally! I just hope it is attainable for me...

You see, since I am in a hotel room, I cannot easily do the *real* room treatment that you'd normally do.

However, I think my best friend is CLUTTER!! :D

As I look out from my table, 4 feet in from of me is the second half of my bed. And 10 feet from me is a fairly thick plastic/vinyl curtain on the window. Because I am an IT guy and a pack rat of information, I have 4 copy paper cases fileld with IT stuff - actually CONTENT for my podcasts!! There is a large vinyl easy chair off to the far right. And so on.

Point being, unlike that sterile study room in the library, with curtains closed, I have no glass to deal with and increasing less "geometry" to deal with as I have more clutter - although my place is still clean, mind you!!

Irregularities are your friend, from what I know of sound treatment.

Now behind me like 2 feet is a kitchen counter and cabinets, but since they are at my back, I don't suspect my reverb from them.


Bob Bickerton wrote:There are many threads here about that and your approach will depend on how serious you are and what your budget is. The best approach, especially if you have a dedicated room, is to commission an acoustician to design a treatment plan for the space.

I will just have to get creative and try to modify my hotel room enough so I get good acoustics, but can still remain "mobile" should I need to move.


Bob Bickerton wrote:Interesting your comment on the SM7B. I believe it’s an excellent microphone for podcast, but unlike the NT2, needs to be worked close, like a stage microphone. This is another reason why it would be an advantage in a room with poor acoustics.

Yeah, when I tested out the SM7B from a storage unit I have half way across the U.S., I was suprised how quickly the sound dropped off the farther you got from the mic. And you could really JUMP ON that mic and it still sounded good.

I guess that is why radio disk jockeys - back when they existed in the U.S. - love that mic, and it is why I bought it!!


Bob Bickerton wrote:Well worth reading some of the tech notes articles on this page http://www.performing-musician.com and of course the many useful articles on this site.

Bob

Will check that out after supper!

Thanks,


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Re: Home Studio

Postby audio_jungle » Sat Aug 25, 2018 10:15 pm

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Re: Home Studio

Postby Bob Bickerton » Sat Aug 25, 2018 11:35 pm

Well clutter is no substitute for an acoustic design, but it probably helps!

Here's a left field suggestion, because this issue pops up a lot.

What about something like the Coles 4115? (http://www.coleselectroacoustics.com/microphones/4115-broadcasters-microphone)

Never tried one myself.

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Re: Home Studio

Postby Funkyflash5 » Sun Aug 26, 2018 1:23 am

One of the things to consider is that a main part of the room reverberation that gets picked up is what is coming from behind you, so making sure that the stuff behind your back is soft can really help. Try standing your mattress up behind your chair! or come up with a way to mount the foam on something that can be propped there.
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Re: Home Studio

Postby CS70 » Mon Aug 27, 2018 12:38 pm

audio_jungle wrote: As such, my "home" studio is in a hotel room - which is really more like a small one-room apartment since I don't have to worry about cleaning ladies and all that.

Not to worry: a voice doesn't have a real deep bass component and so you don't really need super- heavy duty treatment, which would be hard in a hotel room. Your voice sits mostly in mids-to-medium highs region, which are relatively easily diffused by the stuff laying about

You simply have gotta find a way to hang the bed duvet so that it's behind you when you speak. That will give you a large improvement. The easiest is using a boom mic stand, configuring it as a "T" and hanging the duvet there. Folds away after use and is very portable.

You can also use a reflection filter to further remove reflections from back and sides, even if for a podcast it's a bit impractical. One or two Auralex panels that you simply place on the desk behind the mic can also come handy.

Finally, you play with the distance of the mic from the wall at its back to find the place where any trailing phase effect sounds best - but with a big of luck you'll find that they are insignificant anyways.

The plus is that the maid will put the duvet back in place for you every day,
The minus is that she's gonna wonder which kind of bed activities do you indulge in. :D
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Re: Home Studio

Postby Argiletonne » Tue Aug 28, 2018 2:06 am

What type of podcast?

What kind of person are you, are you loud, annoying, boisterous or are you a calm kind of podcaster reading through your notes. . .

Are you trying to emulate a late night radio show local type of vibe or are you going for a wannabe big world production? . . .

These things for me should be considered in value along with the technical jargon too.


If you're Joe Rogan, you're quiet, close to the mic, never varying in your vocal dynamics but if you are you you must be ,,,,.... who?
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Re: Home Studio

Postby audio_jungle » Tue Aug 28, 2018 3:06 am

Argiletonne wrote:What type of podcast?

Privacy and security.


Argiletonne wrote:What kind of person are you, are you loud, annoying, boisterous or are you a calm kind of podcaster reading through your notes. . .

People here should be able to tell you by this point... Probably "annoying"!! :D

Not a "talking head" or a "loud mouth" for my podcast. Probably more like NPR/BBC, but with "passion" added now and then.


Argiletonne wrote:Are you trying to emulate a late night radio show local type of vibe or are you going for a wannabe big world production? . . .

These things for me should be considered in value along with the technical jargon too.

Am hoping that being "me" is going to be good enough... :smirk:
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