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Beginner help

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Beginner help

Postby zen17 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:12 pm

Hello SOS members,
I’ve read a lot of posts but have reached a bit of a dead end so would value a little advice. Please delete if in the wrong section or this is available elsewhere.

I’m having to rethink how I work for a number if reasons (aside from the small global CV situation...). TLDR: looking to create a small home beginner studio set up for vox/vo/composition/online coaching etc (having very lapsed skills/used external facilities).

I have a h2zoom, mic stand, MacBook Pro (few years old), circle 5 monitors (cracked cones and need replacing but should work). Likely a sm58 in an old box.

Bar a mic shield and decent headphones, would that be enough to get me started? Have a bit of experience of cubase (pc) early 2000s and a bit of logic late 2000s on Mac but assuming I will have forgotten it all so also wondering what entry level software would get best to clean up/ cut + splice audio and compose simple tracks (garage band, audacity, logic?). Basic acoustic knowledge but willing to learn. Also potentially due an iPhone upgrade and I know some use this for vo recording?
Any advice welcome as it’s pretty overwhelming and not a position I envisaged myself to be in. Thank you
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Re: Beginner help

Postby MOF » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:09 pm

If you are going to use the SM58 then you will most likely need a separate windshield to avoid plosives, unless you angle it down to your mouth and avoid the temptation to talk/sing back up to it. If budget allows then get a condenser microphone.
Garage Band should be fine for VO and Vox, composition might require Logic, it depends how complicated your tracks are. I use Garage Band on the iPhone for basic compositions when out and about and Logic to finesse them.
I see the H2 acts as an audio interface so you’re good to go. Just make sure your room isn’t overly reverberant. Good luck.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby blinddrew » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:17 pm

As MOF says, a pop shield of some kind will be useful. The SM58 is designed to be used close, but in this situation that's probably beneficial as it will minimise the effect of an untreated room. On that subject, hanging a thick duvet or two around the mic will do wonders for the sound so it might be worth buying an extra mic stand or two to use to that effect.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Oct 01, 2020 1:47 pm

If you are looking at a new learning curve WRT a DAW I would recommend Reaper, for three reasons :-

1, It's fully functional and very sophisticated but a personal/small business licence is a very reasonable $60.

2, If you are, effectively, starting from scratch you may as well just pick a DAW and learn it.

3, You mention 'clean up and cut and splice audio', I do quite a lot of stereo editing in Reaper and find it very fast and effective but easy to use for stereo editing (after a bit of learning, obviously).

I echo the suggestions about room treatment, improvised or 'proper'. Well worth the effort.

This is the first of a good series of articles about recording voiceovers using improvised acoustic treatment https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/recording-voiceover-on-road
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Re: Beginner help

Postby CS70 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 2:34 pm

zen17 wrote:Bar a mic shield and decent headphones, would that be enough to get me started?

Anything really can get you started, so long you start, but the missing information is what you think of achieving. To present a product that is professionally competitive you need to reach a certain audio quality. The good news is that It's not rocket science, nor it requires super-expensive equipment. It is mostly about skills.. so to begin with, you need to understand what's important. Have a look at my post here as a starting place and here for the "duvet" trick that's often repeated in this forum. As others said, a pop filter is probably a good idea, even with a 58. Beyond that, a reflection filter can be useful (check also the post on that :-)).. it colors the sound a little but deadens the area around the mic, so depending on your room it may be a tradeoff worth taking.

To record something on the mac, you're probably missing a "proper" audio interface but the Zoom can probably do fine to begin with.

Have a bit of experience of cubase (pc) early 2000s and a bit of logic late 2000s on Mac but assuming I will have forgotten it all so also wondering what entry level software would get best to clean up/ cut + splice audio and compose simple tracks (garage band, audacity, logic?). Basic acoustic knowledge but willing to learn. Also potentially due an iPhone upgrade and I know some use this for vo recording?
Any advice welcome as it’s pretty overwhelming and not a position I envisaged myself to be in. Thank you

Any half-decent DAW will do what you ask for - it's really basic functionality. The question is price and the learning curve, and how much you can keep using the tool once you get a little more advanced. The cheaper "proper" DAWs are Cakewalk (free, but PC only) and Reaper (£60 or so, think it works on Mac as well). There's a phone/pad version of Cubase called Cubasis which could potentially be intertesting if that's your platform of choice.

You can get ok results from a iphone in the proper environment, so definitely either the 58 or that are ok to start with, but (as you understand if you read the post) it's not the most important thing.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby zen17 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:06 pm

MOF wrote:If you are going to use the SM58 then you will most likely need a separate windshield to avoid plosives, unless you angle it down to your mouth and avoid the temptation to talk/sing back up to it. If budget allows then get a condenser microphone.
Garage Band should be fine for VO and Vox, composition might require Logic, it depends how complicated your tracks are. I use Garage Band on the iPhone for basic compositions when out and about and Logic to finesse them.
I see the H2 acts as an audio interface so you’re good to go. Just make sure your room isn’t overly reverberant. Good luck.

Thanks- nothing too complicated composition wise at present. Mostly things i would normally play in live coaching sessions but wouldnt be able to do in Virtual sessions due to lag, so they need to play audio at their end. Some bits to accompany VM for a few bits of work. Thanks for the advice.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby zen17 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:07 pm

blinddrew wrote:As MOF says, a pop shield of some kind will be useful. The SM58 is designed to be used close, but in this situation that's probably beneficial as it will minimise the effect of an untreated room. On that subject, hanging a thick duvet or two around the mic will do wonders for the sound so it might be worth buying an extra mic stand or two to use to that effect.
Thank you- good job I didn’t clear out the linen in lockdown!
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Re: Beginner help

Postby zen17 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:09 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:If you are looking at a new learning curve WRT a DAW I would recommend Reaper, for three reasons :-

1, It's fully functional and very sophisticated but a personal/small business licence is a very reasonable $60.

2, If you are, effectively, starting from scratch you may as well just pick a DAW and learn it.

3, You mention 'clean up and cut and splice audio', I do quite a lot of stereo editing in Reaper and find it very fast and effective but easy to use for stereo editing (after a bit of learning, obviously).

I echo the suggestions about room treatment, improvised or 'proper'. Well worth the effort.

This is the first of a good series of articles about recording voiceovers using improvised acoustic treatment https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/recording-voiceover-on-road

Thank you, will certainly look at that up. Simpler the better until I start the recall past skills (or don’t). Thanks for the post link.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby zen17 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:17 pm

CS70 wrote:
zen17 wrote:Bar a mic shield and decent headphones, would that be enough to get me started?

Anything really can get you started, so long you start, but the missing information is what you think of achieving. To present a product that is professionally competitive you need to reach a certain audio quality. The good news is that It's not rocket science, nor it requires super-expensive equipment. It is mostly about skills.. so to begin with, you need to understand what's important. Have a look at my post here as a starting place and here for the "duvet" trick that's often repeated in this forum. As others said, a pop filter is probably a good idea, even with a 58. Beyond that, a reflection filter can be useful (check also the post on that :-)).. it colors the sound a little but deadens the area around the mic, so depending on your room it may be a tradeoff worth taking.

To record something on the mac, you're probably missing a "proper" audio interface but the Zoom can probably do fine to begin with.

Have a bit of experience of cubase (pc) early 2000s and a bit of logic late 2000s on Mac but assuming I will have forgotten it all so also wondering what entry level software would get best to clean up/ cut + splice audio and compose simple tracks (garage band, audacity, logic?). Basic acoustic knowledge but willing to learn. Also potentially due an iPhone upgrade and I know some use this for vo recording?
Any advice welcome as it’s pretty overwhelming and not a position I envisaged myself to be in. Thank you

Any half-decent DAW will do what you ask for - it's really basic functionality. The question is price and the learning curve, and how much you can keep using the tool once you get a little more advanced. The cheaper "proper" DAWs are Cakewalk (free, but PC only) and Reaper (£60 or so, think it works on Mac as well). There's a phone/pad version of Cubase called Cubasis which could potentially be intertesting if that's your platform of choice.

You can get ok results from a iphone in the proper environment, so definitely either the 58 or that are ok to start with, but (as you understand if you read the post) it's not the most important thing.

Thank you. Not looking for top grade audio at present- I think if I set out for that then I’ll spend so long studying/perfecting that I’ll never start. It’s more just about knowing what basic kit I need to fill in any major gaps with what I have. It’ll be a mixture of instructional VO, some audio tracks- a large portion for ‘internal’ type situations rather than commercial work (at this stage). Hoping the H2 zoom will do for some voice over stuff directly? I’ve used it for live audio but not as a direct voice recorder straight to the Mac. As you say, getting started is the hardest. Was wondering if it might be an idea to get a rode mic for voice over but figured I have the H2 so use that to start with until I navigate how things are going to fall into place with the new landscape.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby zen17 » Thu Oct 01, 2020 3:25 pm

CS70 wrote:
zen17 wrote:Bar a mic shield and decent headphones, would that be enough to get me started?

Anything really can get you started, so long you start, but the missing information is what you think of achieving. To present a product that is professionally competitive you need to reach a certain audio quality. The good news is that It's not rocket science, nor it requires super-expensive equipment. It is mostly about skills.. so to begin with, you need to understand what's important. Have a look at my post here as a starting place and here for the "duvet" trick that's often repeated in this forum. As others said, a pop filter is probably a good idea, even with a 58. Beyond that, a reflection filter can be useful (check also the post on that :-)).. it colors the sound a little but deadens the area around the mic, so depending on your room it may be a tradeoff worth taking.

To record something on the mac, you're probably missing a "proper" audio interface but the Zoom can probably do fine to begin with.

Have a bit of experience of cubase (pc) early 2000s and a bit of logic late 2000s on Mac but assuming I will have forgotten it all so also wondering what entry level software would get best to clean up/ cut + splice audio and compose simple tracks (garage band, audacity, logic?). Basic acoustic knowledge but willing to learn. Also potentially due an iPhone upgrade and I know some use this for vo recording?
Any advice welcome as it’s pretty overwhelming and not a position I envisaged myself to be in. Thank you

Any half-decent DAW will do what you ask for - it's really basic functionality. The question is price and the learning curve, and how much you can keep using the tool once you get a little more advanced. The cheaper "proper" DAWs are Cakewalk (free, but PC only) and Reaper (£60 or so, think it works on Mac as well). There's a phone/pad version of Cubase called Cubasis which could potentially be intertesting if that's your platform of choice.

You can get ok results from a iphone in the proper environment, so definitely either the 58 or that are ok to start with, but (as you understand if you read the post) it's not the most important thing.

Meant to add room is small, carpeted/curtains. If things become viable then I’ll look to hire tech help, but initially jumping back after time off life events, during which CV hit so 90% of my work has gone or can’t be accommodated in person. Some of my training just got rusty as I used other parts and they snowballed so time to blow a few cobwebs off. Will look at the articles- I think one I read but I’ll take me a while to get my brain in gear.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby Mike Stranks » Thu Oct 01, 2020 7:14 pm

Late arrival to this party... been away from home all day...

Voice work is my speciality so a few thoughts...

The SM58 is designed to be worked close (lips touching/almost touching the grill) so I wouldn't be considering it for VO work as the sound gets very 'thin' when you back-off from the mic.

Having had experience of a Zoom H2 with an external mic I'd also be wary of using that for this type of work.

I'll come back to kit later... but for voice work you do need a good acoustic space. Duvets are good if you don't want to invest in acoustic treatment, But I'd forget about any sort of reflection filter. That requires you to work 'straight-on' to the mic which isn't ideal for a natural-sounding voice - of course if you want to have a Radio DJ sound then that's OK. I mount my mic on an anglepoise type stand with the mic off to the side of my mouth and with the capsule at forehead height angled down pointing to the side of my mouth. Mouth to mic distance is a minimum of 8 inches. I use no form of pop or wind shield - most will affect the sound and it's necessary if the mic is off to one side.

The type and specifics of a mic is quite dependent of your voice. I have a 'light' voice which is quite sibilant so I prefer a mic with a slightly smooth, dark character. I mostly use a dynamic (Beyer Dynamic 201 mostly) although was recently lent a very classy capacitor mic which suited my voice well.

I'm a comparative rarity in that I don't record direct to computer but use a stand-alone digital recorder and then transfer my recordings into the Windows PC for editing and processing. My reason is so that I'm working in a virtually silent acoustic space with no PC 'noises-off' to worry about. In your situation I'd be looking at something like the Zoom H4n or the Tascam DR40 - any decent portable recorder with phantom-power and XLR inputs really.

At the end of the day this is all about cost-benefit for you. What you've got can be made to work, but putting more money in will definitely improve the end-product.

PS. If you're looking for a new mic, for value for money the Neat Mics Worker-Bee at £79.99 is hard to beat at the moment. Another contender would be the Audio-Technica AT2020.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby zen17 » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:20 am

Mike Stranks wrote:Late arrival to this party... been away from home all day...

Voice work is my speciality so a few thoughts...

The SM58 is designed to be worked close (lips touching/almost touching the grill) so I wouldn't be considering it for VO work as the sound gets very 'thin' when you back-off from the mic.

Having had experience of a Zoom H2 with an external mic I'd also be wary of using that for this type of work.

I'll come back to kit later... but for voice work you do need a good acoustic space. Duvets are good if you don't want to invest in acoustic treatment, But I'd forget about any sort of reflection filter. That requires you to work 'straight-on' to the mic which isn't ideal for a natural-sounding voice - of course if you want to have a Radio DJ sound then that's OK. I mount my mic on an anglepoise type stand with the mic off to the side of my mouth and with the capsule at forehead height angled down pointing to the side of my mouth. Mouth to mic distance is a minimum of 8 inches. I use no form of pop or wind shield - most will affect the sound and it's necessary if the mic is off to one side.

The type and specifics of a mic is quite dependent of your voice. I have a 'light' voice which is quite sibilant so I prefer a mic with a slightly smooth, dark character. I mostly use a dynamic (Beyer Dynamic 201 mostly) although was recently lent a very classy capacitor mic which suited my voice well.

I'm a comparative rarity in that I don't record direct to computer but use a stand-alone digital recorder and then transfer my recordings into the Windows PC for editing and processing. My reason is so that I'm working in a virtually silent acoustic space with no PC 'noises-off' to worry about. In your situation I'd be looking at something like the Zoom H4n or the Tascam DR40 - any decent portable recorder with phantom-power and XLR inputs really.

At the end of the day this is all about cost-benefit for you. What you've got can be made to work, but putting more money in will definitely improve the end-product.

PS. If you're looking for a new mic, for value for money the Neat Mics Worker-Bee at £79.99 is hard to beat at the moment. Another contender would be the Audio-Technica AT2020.
Thank you so much, that’s a great help. Can the worker bee mic record music/vox as well as spoken? I’m not opposed to investing but my starting place is obviously simpler/easier the better then develop and learn. Already learning which is great. Safe to assume tech has developed so much that my previous knowledge is obsolete.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby Mike Stranks » Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:41 am

Regarding the WorkerBee... the styling and colour are a 'discussion point'! May be a downer for you...

I'm linking to a review below. I trust this guy... he knows what he's talking about. He's an extrovert, but... so what if he delivers on his reviews?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ScI1U3ey9ZY
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Re: Beginner help

Postby James Perrett » Fri Oct 02, 2020 2:04 pm

zen17 wrote:Safe to assume tech has developed so much that my previous knowledge is obsolete.

The basic tech has actually developed very little since you've been away. However, what was high end back in 2000 has now become affordable and people are finding different ways of using the tech. There's also an awful lot more rubbish being put up on Youtube which people seem to blindly follow which can lead to some very strange practices being common.

If you see something that goes against what you thought you knew, don't assume that your previous knowledge was wrong - unless the new technique comes from a trusted source.
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Re: Beginner help

Postby Arpangel » Fri Oct 02, 2020 10:09 pm

Mike Stranks wrote:Late arrival to this party... been away from home all day...

Voice work is my speciality so a few thoughts...

The SM58 is designed to be worked close (lips touching/almost touching the grill) so I wouldn't be considering it for VO work as the sound gets very 'thin' when you back-off from the mic.

Having had experience of a Zoom H2 with an external mic I'd also be wary of using that for this type of work.

I'll come back to kit later... but for voice work you do need a good acoustic space. Duvets are good if you don't want to invest in acoustic treatment, But I'd forget about any sort of reflection filter. That requires you to work 'straight-on' to the mic which isn't ideal for a natural-sounding voice - of course if you want to have a Radio DJ sound then that's OK. I mount my mic on an anglepoise type stand with the mic off to the side of my mouth and with the capsule at forehead height angled down pointing to the side of my mouth. Mouth to mic distance is a minimum of 8 inches. I use no form of pop or wind shield - most will affect the sound and it's necessary if the mic is off to one side.

The type and specifics of a mic is quite dependent of your voice. I have a 'light' voice which is quite sibilant so I prefer a mic with a slightly smooth, dark character. I mostly use a dynamic (Beyer Dynamic 201 mostly) although was recently lent a very classy capacitor mic which suited my voice well.

I'm a comparative rarity in that I don't record direct to computer but use a stand-alone digital recorder and then transfer my recordings into the Windows PC for editing and processing. My reason is so that I'm working in a virtually silent acoustic space with no PC 'noises-off' to worry about. In your situation I'd be looking at something like the Zoom H4n or the Tascam DR40 - any decent portable recorder with phantom-power and XLR inputs really.

At the end of the day this is all about cost-benefit for you. What you've got can be made to work, but putting more money in will definitely improve the end-product.

PS. If you're looking for a new mic, for value for money the Neat Mics Worker-Bee at £79.99 is hard to beat at the moment. Another contender would be the Audio-Technica AT2020.


^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Blimey, one of the most unbelievably truthful posts. Spot on.
Take this mans advice.
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