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Question

Voice Recording Advice

by flingwing / November 17, 2011 12:46 PM PST

I am trying to record voice narration for a PowerPoint presentation training program.

Currently, I am working with Audacity 1.3 (free) recording program and a relatively inexpensive Genius microphone all on a Lenovo laptop running Windows XP.

Try as I might, I cannot record a rich, clear, baritone sound on the software/hardware setup. My voice always seems to playback with a somewhat "tinny" sound as if I were speaking into a tin can. My natural speaking voice is not high and squeaky, so I assume it could be the gear I'm using.

Does anyone have any advice about good recording settings to use or how to use a *combination* of Audacity's sound-editing effects to get a better result? Using those post-recording effects in Audacity, I have tried to adjust the recorded clips but nothing seems to improve the sound of the narration.

Otherwise, perhaps someone knows of a better mic to use? For example, in a 5-year-old post in a CNET Forum, someone suggested switching to a USB mic from (I guess) a regular "jack-style" mic. Is that right: are USB mics better? Unfortunately, I can't spend a lot of money for a new mic right now.

Any ideas will be appreciated.

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All Answers

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Answer
Yes.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 17, 2011 3:09 PM PST
In reply to: Voice Recording Advice

This is one reason I use a recorder for such things. Just updated mine with a sale unit which is very nice. A Sanyo ICR-XPS01M It's very nice and I recommend it.
Bob

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Answer
Check Audacity wiki
by KenHusveg / November 17, 2011 3:30 PM PST
In reply to: Voice Recording Advice
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Thank you both . . .
by flingwing / November 17, 2011 5:23 PM PST
In reply to: Check Audacity wiki

. . . for the advice. Ken, I took a quick look at the URL and it looks like the help it's giving is addressing my problems. It's quitting time here so I will read those articles carefully when I get home.

Bob, it was your post in 2005 in a different CNET forum that mentioned USB mics were better. I am going to look at and price better mics this weekend and I'll also look at recording devices. I'll let you know if that solves my problem.

Thanks again.

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USB mics can be better, but when I read your post.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 17, 2011 9:25 PM PST
In reply to: Thank you both . . .

While USB mics are better when I read your post I knew you wanted better.
Bob

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Update on Results
by flingwing / November 20, 2011 4:38 PM PST

Gentlemen, this is an update on the results of my efforts to end up with a better sounding narration.

Ken, I read the stories on improving quality and tried several. However, that's a lot of information to assimilate and then use. In the end, the best results seemingly came from one suggestion in the Wiki article.
---------------------------------------------

"First, open the file [and select the entire sound bite]. [1] Apply the "high pass filter" in the effects menu. Use like 150 Hz cutoff frequency to do away with the bass that tend to saturate the recording. [2] Then use the "normalizer" in the effects menu. If there are very faint segments in the recording, use the "compressor" instead to enhance those weak parts before the normalizing process that is included if that box is checked in the compressor dialog window."

"Voila! You get a very good recording that enhances the spoken information. Now the results are almost comparable to what I got from my beloved iRiver iFP-799 in the original recordings already, that is very good. Then just export the result to an mp3 file, and listen to it using your favorite mp3-players' equalizer to fine-tune the spectrum for max clarity to your ears."
---------------------------------------------

The two steps did seem to make a slightly better sound but then after exporting to MP3 and opening an MP3 player, I found there were many, many different parameters that could be used when equalizing the MP3 sound. So there was more confusion. And nothing yet has appreciably changed the sound from my original recording.
-----------------------------------------------

Bob, I went looking for a recorder like the Sanyo you mentioned. No luck at finding one of those, so far. I did try a small Olympus recorder but it sounded like something for a court reporter to use <grin>. Nothing good there, as one could expect. I'm sure the Sanyo would be better.I couldn't even find a dedicated USB microphone at the computer mall I visited. I saw a Logitech headset that looked good, but the even the clerk admitted it was probably more for on-line chatting than recording.

I will continue to try tweaking my recorded files with the editors I have. Who knows I'll hit upon a combination of edits that improves the sound. So I'm still open to any further suggestions from anyone. Thanks.

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I picked mine up from woot.
by R. Proffitt Forum moderator / November 21, 2011 6:54 AM PST
In reply to: Update on Results
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