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Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

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Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Puter » Mon Sep 23, 2019 1:43 pm

Hi all,

I'm taking a weekly conference feed (so just hall speech) via IP that is already auto mixed on site and I'm trying to get a more constant level @ -14db (for re. webstreaming) without having to ride the fader so much. I get the feeling the auto mix (of fixed position desk mics) incoming is doing a good job of only sending the correct mic, but a bad job of bringing it to a constant level.
I add captions and it goes through a sound desk at my end.
I find men tend to be okay at around the -14db mark
Women and those off-mic tend to be around -20/18db

To achieve a better (but not perfect) consistent output of -14db I used compressor
Threshold = -18db
ratio - 15:1
Make up gain - 6db
Attack 10ms
Release 1sec
Knee 6db

Basically hoping to gain it up (but not so much it may over-mod) and compress it down.

Looking for any feedback on that really, anyone have any advice on adjustments. There's a brick wall limiter at the end of the chain but hoping that it won't ever hit that, set at -8db.

And also any advice on EQ that may help when they wonder off-mic (face away from it), bearing in mind I can only apply this to the whole mix.

Thanks all,
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Tim Gillett » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:24 pm

Thanks for posting. The quoted settings are only meaningful as applied to particular audio. We need to hear what you're hearing - before the processing you're applying. A link perhaps?
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Wonks » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:37 pm

Is this hardware or software compression you are using? If software, then you could try two compressors, One with a higher threshold set to limit the highest transient peaks, followed by a more gentle overall compression with a lower threshold to get the overall levels a lot closer. It's easier to do it in two stages than use a one-size-fits-all setting.

It's also going to bring up any background noise, so you might want to try setting up a downward expander before any compression to make gaps between voices quieter.

But as Tim says, the settings all depend on the audio to be treated.
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Mike Stranks » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:46 pm

Another recommendation from me to use the Broadcast free plug-in...

http://www.vst4free.com/free_vst.php?plugin=Broadcast&id=548

(if you're a Windows person.)

I use it for just the sort of thing you describe. Works a treat and you could even auto-set your -14dB output level if you're minded to.
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Hugh Robjohns » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:57 pm

Puter wrote:To achieve a better (but not perfect) consistent output of -14db I used compressor...

With a ratio of 15:1 that's not a compressor, it's a peak limiter, and that's really not what you need in this situation.

I'd suggest trying a gentler ratio -- something like 3:1 -- and a lower threshold such that the gain reduction meter is showing 4-8dB of gain reduction most of the time when the speaker is on-mic, falling to almost nothing when they are off mic. You'll then need to adjust the makeup gain to bring the average output level back up to where you want it to be. You'll probably also need a faster release time -- 330ms or something like that tends to work well on speech. With a 1 second release time there's a danger that loud noises (coughs, lectern thumps, applause etc) will 'punch holes' in the speech.

And also any advice on EQ that may help when they wonder off-mic (face away from it), bearing in mind I can only apply this to the whole mix.

No. The sound will lose some of the high-end when the speaker goes off mic, and probably lose some low-end too if the distance from the mic changes. But those tonal variations are not constant -- they change as the speaker moves -- so a fixed EQ won't help. You'd have to ride the EQ, along with the gain, which is not easy! it can be done using automation in a post-production context, but it would be very time consuming.

A better placement or choice of mic at the venue would be a better solution (headset mics are often used for this very reason!).

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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Puter » Mon Sep 23, 2019 5:27 pm

Thanks all for the quick replies.

This is all live and the compressor is in the sound desk, not sure if that makes it hardware or software?
There are 2 compressors per channel so I'll try that thanks.
Will play with ratio too.

I'll not post samples at this stage as it's not my media, but I can ask permission if I don't crack it myself (with your kind help)

Cheers
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Dan LB » Tue Sep 24, 2019 11:44 am

Puter wrote:There are 2 compressors per channel....

Out of curiosity..... what desk is it?
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Puter » Wed Sep 25, 2019 7:43 am

It's a Calrec Brio
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Sep 25, 2019 12:10 pm

Just throwing something else in...

If it's hardware, I'd be checking out sonic maximisation to see if it would meet your needs.

There's the range from BBE and also Behringer have the SPL3220. I know a few people who use this as a low cost broadcast processor. Caveat: I've not used any of these m'self.

But if you can get the 'Broadcast' plugin into a live feed I'd recommend that every time.
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Dan LB » Wed Sep 25, 2019 1:09 pm

Puter wrote:It's a Calrec Brio

Nice little desk - I use the Brio 36 regularly.

Is there someone controlling the audio at the remote location or has it just been set up by someone and left like that? Softer speakers will need more gain regardless of automixing.

Yes, you can try to level this out at your end but it would be better to have somebody at the venue set gains appropriately for each speaker's mic. If that's not possible then I would suggest trying out what Hugh has outlined.

Bear in mind also, that if people on personal lavalier mics are sitting very close to each other, such that the person speaking* is audible on someone else's** mic, then the automixer will start pulling down the mic you actually want!

* let's say somebody with a decent voice
** perhaps a low talker who's mic has been gained up a bit

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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby Mike Stranks » Wed Sep 25, 2019 3:56 pm

I forbore to say it, but as Dan now has.., yes, far easier all round to sort this at source if at all possible.
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Re: Live speech compressor and EQ settings advice.

Postby mammy » Thu Sep 26, 2019 8:36 pm

Use fast attack time and long release for compressor.And eliminate proximity effect.cut 500 hz a bit wide. (cut 3-5 db) dont use auto gain. compressor rate should be 3:1 or 5:1 .But these things may change man .
You can try different things before the live record and find the best settings.There is no actual law.
Everybody thinks that problematic areas are in the high frequenscies. Believe or not I guarentee to you the problematic sounds are usually in the bass frequencies without sss sound. You will see .If you have an aquicstic problem or eq problem firstly look at the low frequencies.(between 150hz-900 hz)
Everybody says that cut 1 or 2 db.No. There is no actual law.I cut low frequncies about 3 or 5 db.
And If your area has an aquistic problem you can add delay to the sound .(about 5 ms ) And you will see that sound will sit in the place.
Finally try these eq setting : cut 158 hz ,500 hz ,300 hz and dont touch high frequencies .Your sound will be shine and perfect.

Notice : I use three mixing desk. SSL ,Studer and Calrec.I love calrec brio 36
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