I want to record QUALITY NARRATION! Would a MIXER help?

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    • #41577

      I want to be able to record narration, singing, guitar etc. I would like to record right to soundtrack pro or soundbooth. When I go straight into the Computers(imac) mic input, the level of volume is too low and quality is unexceptable.

      I’ve increased internal input volume in system preferences and soundtrack pro. I’ve also tried a variety of microphones. still no good!


      1. Will a firewire mixer be compatible with my programs, allowing me to record multiple trackssimultaneously?

      2. Will a firewire mixernoticeably increase quality?

      3. What type of microphone would work best with this setup?

      I have a project coming up that requires some voice over that needs to be fairly decent quality. THANKS.

    • #176111

      A good acoustic environment will work wonders but it is expensive – I have seen small soundbooths which are good for spoken or solo vocals but you couldn’t get a guitar in there.

      A good condenser mic and mixer (with phantom power) will also help but you will need a very quiet space as these tend to pick up those pins when they drop.

      You could also go with a decent dynamic mic (like a SM57 or SM58) and mixer – These are great for a non-pristine acoustic environment as they are cardioid so they don’t pick up lots of extraneous sound.

    • #176112

      If you are recording directly to computer then the answer is no, a stand alone mixer will not help much. You already have a mixer in soundtrack pro. You can add a midi controller if you like to make it feel more like a mixer, but it will have nothing to do with how it sounds.

      A few things affect sound quality, one metion above is acoustic. and the pro gear to fix this is expensive, but there are some cheap fixes. If you have a room that you can dedicate to recording you can treat this room by installing a thick pad under your carpet, and then carpet your walls. you do not have to cover the entire wall but just the areas that are reflecting your audio.

      The next area that affects your Quality is the AD converter. you say your using the mic input from the mac, while this is ok for Ichat, it doesn’t even come close to being good enough for recording a project. you will have to buy a good A/D converter. this is the primary key to getting a good recording. spend your money here on getting a good mic preamp and a good A/D converter. If you want to save money you can combined them such as the MOTU 8 Pre, this will give you 8 channels of input.

      the next area is Mics, hence that is the start of the chain it should be your strongest link. you can have the best of everything if your mic can not produce a quality as good as the rest of the system then you have wasted money.

      hope this helps, a good mic that you can use for both audio and gutiar is the EV RE20 http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/76681-REG/Electro_Voice_16207816_RE20_Cardoid_Voiceover.html

    • #176113
      Damian Lloyd

      I sometimes have to record narration, but I’m an amateur videographer and not an amateur sound recordist. What I do: the narrator speaks into my Shure SM58 microphone, which goes through my Mackie 1402-VLZ3 mixer (I can boost the audio or avoid clipping — very handy with soft-spoken or loud individuals), then into my Canon XL2. Then I capture the tape as usual, discard the (blank) video track, and voila! I have found that using this method yields better audio than recording through my computer’s sound card, and I already have all the equipment, so there’s no extra expenditure. And it’s portable.

      As for an accoustically-good room: I may have been known to sneak up to my local university’s Music Department. They have small rehearsal rooms for the students studying Voice, and these are just big enough and often vacant in the evenings. Better if you know a student or otherwise have permission, of course.

      Hardly a professional solution, but it works.

    • #176114

      I often have to add narration/voice-over to my own videos or videos I am hired to produce for others. I’m still with mini-DV and don’t have XLR set ups. ( Actually I have an AKG Perception 100 XLR microphone with a USB adaptor. I tried recording narration directly into the computer–apparently the phantom power through the USB port was not enough as the volume is not enough and it distorts or is too tiny when boosting it enough in post.) The best voice-over I get is with my inexpensive wireless lavaliers. However, the hassle of setting up and recording all the necessary takes on camera and then capturing all this (deleting the unwanted video after capture) is too time consuming. I have been looking at the newer Portable Digital Audio Recorders. My research shows that they will record a voice-over in .wav and have the quality using their on-board mics to simply copy and past to my PC and nle. What a time saver! It also could be used to capture natural and back ground sound. If only I knew if the quality was good enough. I am considering the Sony PCM–D50 ($400 to $500, ouch!), or the more reasonable Tascam DR-1 ($200 to $300). I would like to get some feed back on this approach. I’m tired of buying products that don’t measure up and can’t afford the high end stuff. Recording and capturing voice-overs with a camera is cumbersome and too time consuming if one has to do it often. Has anyone tried the approach I am considering?

    • #176115

      I have used racks with heavy, movers type, blankets draped over them in a sound baffle setup; also have several sides of refrigerator boxes cut into panels with egg cartons on some, and pretty much whatever kind of foam scraps I can find, or buy cheap, glued to them. These all help to isolate exterior noises for narrative, or a vocalist with guitar, using mics as mentioned above.

      While an external mixer helps get the general levels the way you want them, a noise gate/limiter will help cut back on pops, s and p sounds, inadvertent audio expulsions and the inadvertent boost in sound an untrained narrator makes when taking in the next breath and comes off louder for the first few words before he/she gets their voice remodulated.

      All kinds of fun, and funny, stuff goes on when trying to control and record narrative. If I can get the acoustics, I can usually find a way to get the rest the way I want – levels, etc.

      Actually, I am beginning to use my Zoom H2 standalone recorders more and more in many narrative cases, then simply working the audio into my production from those files. Not perfect, but then what is, really. These babies are GREAT tools and I’ve been pleased with their capabilities.

    • #176116

      Thanks, Earl. Yes, I have tried to build sound booths, etc. To deal with the s and p sounds and other inadvertent audio issues while recording narration, I use multiple takes listening with head phones and setting the levels manually in the camera, then piecing together in nle and there make final tweeks. But all this is too cumbersome and time consuming for the videos I often produce on a limited budget. I often am making a short video for a client’s web site and edit video and write narration as I go along. Then I record my own voice as the narrator and splice it in (sometimes use my wife). I have a new higher end project and want to come up with a more professional narration. I should point out that I am not talking about video interviews; I am talking about anonymous narrators. I need to find a talent and I will probably use my lavalier and camera in a quiet remote outdoor setting (no wind or human caused sound–my videos are virtually all outdoor related). This seams to give me the best results. The problem with this is it will be very difficult to make narration changes later as the edit evolves. My videos usually involve many clips drawn from my extensive stock footage with footage shot for a specific project and the videos tend to evolve a little from the original script as the editing progresses. I also would like to streamline and improve my work flow so as not to have to capture narration from the camera, but simply copy and past from a digital recorder (of course making adjustments as needed in the nle). I don’t need perfect sound quality and hope that a portable digital audio recorder will do the trick. I would appreciate any other comments.

    • #176117

      Zoom H2 =”portable digital audio recorder.” Works for me, as I noted I am going this direction more and more.

    • #176118

      A couple more suggestions:

      There are a couple of things you can do – For plosives (P, B, T, etc…) you can get a pop filter (for example: http://pro-audio.musiciansfriend.com/product/Nady-Metal-Pop-Filter?sku=426600).

      For a sound booth, look at this article: http://www.harlanhogan.com/portaboothArticle.shtml
      – He sells them but you can make your own if desired.

    • #176119


      I was able to achieve the results I wanted with an old JVC mixer connected directly into the 1/8″ microphone input on my mac and a cheap Shure mic connected via XLR to the mixer. The quality certain wasn’t perfect but worked great for my project. Is is possible that the input on my computer needed a line level signal rather than the mic level it was getting before I had the mixer? either way the mixer helpedsignificantly. A pop filter was also very helpful.

      I don’t know why people were suggesting an A/D converter, Doesn’t the computer convert the signal to digital?

      Thanks for all the posts!

    • #176120

      a “snowball usb mic” or similar, may be all you need for a mic.

    • #176121

      Why dont you record to the camara to the computer using a LAV , Or A Stage mic. Then captrue into SoundBooth , I have done it this way without a clean room or a mixing boardand it works and its not a hassle and no extra Cost.

      Does you Cam have XLR connetcters?

      Is the Voice over the only sound in the track or are you trying to do track recording with the Music?

      Is the IMac sound card Full-duplex?

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