You just switched to an AT4040, right? I'm going out on a limb, but I'm guessing you started noticing this after you made the switch. The AT4040 has a pretty broad peak in its frequency response out around 6500Hz. I can't remember what you were using before, but my guess is its presence peak was weaker, or peaked somewhere else. This ties back to what Kira said about maybe being hyper-aware of your mouth noise. My guess is the mouth noise has been there since day one, but with the new mic and interface you're just now noticing it. And now that you've noticed it it's hard to forget it's there.
This is not a bad thing, mind you. I remember some time last year you were having issues matching your sound to another actor's, and it came down to their using a microphone with more presence and clarity. The AT4040 provides both.
Welcome to presence and clarity!
Just for grins, listen to "Lullaby" by Shawn Mullins and enjoy all the mouth sounds he put in his vocals. (They're still playing that song on the radio twenty years after he first released it!) It won't help you solve the mouth noise issue, but it might make you smile while you work on a remedy.
Do you have a sample you could post in the clips and critiques? Might help to get another set of ears on it.
Not sure about Mac, but on my Windows machine the native software plays mono tracks panned to center so both ears hear it. Same with Audacity and Reaper unless you intentionally pan a mono track to one side or the other. There really shouldn't be an advantage to sending a stereo file of a mono source over just sending a mono file, and as Kira said, it doubles the size of the file.
From a mixing standpoint, the only time I really need a stereo track (or a 5.0, 5.1, etc. polywav) is when I'm laying down backgrounds. (The irony here is that most of what I record IS backgrounds.) Otherwise it's preferable to have mono sources so they can be individually panned to their location in the mix. Having a stereo source that's going to be mixed in over a background means the mixer first has to either mix the stereo track to mono, or split the file and discard one track. It's just extra work in the end.
Sorry for waxing technical and straying so far from the question, but since it came up...
No small part of me hopes it's just our brains in standby mode. Otherwise the alternate version of me has had finals for classes I never attended and all sorts of weird stuff happen that revolved around cats.
On the other hand, twice now the lucky bloke got to fly around.
Yeah, compression will exacerbate noise, especially if you're bringing up the overall level in the process. When your new interface arrives, I'd be curious to see a raw file off your new interface and another one off the Behringer. Ideally set the gains on the interfaces to get your average signal around -12dB to -9dB on both and do a straight recording to WAV. If you can leave about five seconds of silence at the beginning and end of each track, that can be really useful for analyzing noise.
That's some odd noise. Just looking at your file in Audacity, it looks like the noise has most of its power over 7.5kHz, but there's a spot in the recording with very little noise right around 11.5 seconds in. Can I ask what processing you're doing on the file? It almost looks like a gate closing, but it's right between two spots of dialogue. There's another spot just after with no dialogue, but the noise is present.
Reading through the specs on the Behringer mixer I'm tempted to point fingers there, but I wouldn't rush out and buy a new interface until you have a chance to verify that.
If you have some spare bits and pieces lying around, I like to keep an XLR plug with a 150 ohm metal film resistor soldered between pins 2 and 3. This lets you measure the input noise on your preamp/input combination. Leaving all your other settings the same, replace the mic with the 150 ohm load plug and record. What you'll get in the file is the noise of your system minus the mic. If all the noise disappears, that points toward the mic or the cable. If the noise is still there, it points toward the preamp/input end.
As far as software goes, Audacity always provides a good sanity check. It's free, and does a really good job with VA. If you record two tracks, one in your current software and one in Audacity, and the noise disappears in Audacity, something's likely weird with the software. But I can't think of anything in the digital end of things that would add the noise I saw in your file. That really looks like something in the analog end of the chain.
Sorry for rambling. I'm short on sleep at the moment.
1 - Get back to writing. NaNoWriMo burned me out again this year, but I came away from it with a reading list for writing better character arcs, plot development, etc. Ready to start applying what I've been reading since NaNo.
2a - More field recording! I've been on vacation for the last two weeks, and have recorded in the field more in those two weeks than in the last six months. It's been a blast. Gotta keep the blast going! 2b - Publish at least one SFX library from the recordings I've been making. Preferably two.
3 - No more injuries! (Yeah, I have this one in my VA resolution list, too. It's one of the core running threads of my life.)
4 - Somehow do all of these in the middle of finishing a multi-year project at work. (Just got word that starting January 18th I'm working ten hours a day, seven days a week, for six straight weeks. I hope someone is kidding.)
I absolutely love birds above most things in life, to the point where any activity involving them will catch my interest and occupy my free time (coincidentally, birds are even largely responsible for reigniting my desire to pursue voice acting). I actually wish to work in ornithology just as much as I want to work in voice over, though I'd have to go back to college for a Zoology degree and that probably isn't ever happening.
And no reason you couldn't do both! Just thinking of all the voice-over David Attenborough has done for BBC documentaries. If I remember right, the first project he did with Chris Watson was a documentary on the birds of paradise captive breeding program in Qatar.
1 - I'm recording a new book (one of my favorites), and I realized way too late the cast of characters is larger than I remembered, and out-strips the voices I can call up on demand. I am bound and determined to add new voices to my repertoire, and as spearcarrier said, learn to STAY in them and call them up at will when I need them.
2 - I'm gearing up for another round of microphone building some time mid-2018. I want to finalize plans for a couple of internal PCBs for building mics tailored specifically toward voice acting. I figure it'll require a couple of rounds of prototyping before they're ready, but I'm looking forward to the results.
You have my condolences, Michael. That's aggravating to have gear just hours or days away, and deadlines (imposed or self-induced) looming. If I thought I could get it to you today, I'd send you one of my cables. But tomorrow you're gonna have a rockin' setup! Hold onto that.
Excellent article! Thanks for taking the time to write this. I really appreciate that last point. (That's why tutorials like this are so valuable!)
The only thing I can think to add is room treatment. It's a whole snowball (no pun intended) of a topic and should probably be another tutorial entirely, but it's worth mentioning that even with the best of the best of everything you listed, recording in an untreated room won't sound as good as a recording made using much more affordable gear in a treated room.
First, take everything I say with a grain of salt because I use Reaper. That being said...
Don't stop using Audacity! At least, don't feel compelled to drop Audacity for the reasons you listed. It's a really nice DAW, and is plenty powerful for VA work. I've done a ton of SFX backgrounds in Audacity as well. I switched to Reaper for two reasons: First, I was working on a collaborative project with two other people, and Reaper was the tool of choice. Second, I wound up liking the non-destructive edits in Reaper enough to go through the rest of the learning curve. (And it's a steep learning curve!)
But I still use Audacity for a couple of things, and could still honestly use it for everything I do. Like most DAWs, it's functionality can be extended through plug-ins. If you don't like the compressor that comes with Audacity, there are other compressor plug-ins you can use with it. Here's a tutorial that uses one of the after-market compressors:
I think you summed it up when you said this: "I've been told many things about my recordings, but I've almost always been told that the quality of the audio clip is fine/clean." The proof really is in the pudding. If your sound is good, your sound is good. Period.
As for your other question about people who have looked at DAWs and felt like they couldn't understand a thing, don't sweat it. It happens with every piece of software I use. The software developers come to their particular package with their particular philosophy. Once you've used that package for a while, that underlying philosophy becomes part of how you think about that task. Switching to another one is jarring and involves a lot of re-learning. I learned 3D CAD on a program that was really designed for CG animation modeling (Rhino 3D). Later on I had to switch to Solidworks. The approach is so very very different, the learning curve felt like a friggin' cliff. I'm still trying to make the adjustment, but I'm starting to get the underlying philosophy of Solidworks now. DAWs are no different. Audacity uses a "do this to it" approach. DAWs like Reaper use a "route it through this" approach. Both work fine, but they're different ways of looking at the task at hand.
If you do decide to change DAWs, find a good set of tutorials you can work through with your own audio files to really explore the new software. On the CAD end of things, Rhino came with a set of tutorials that took me about a week to plow through. By the end, I was mostly functional. I haven't seen the same for Solidworks, and suspect that's why I'm having such a hard time adjusting. On the DAW end of things, I didn't find a comprehensive set like that for Audacity, but there are so many people using it that finding tutorial videos for specific things isn't that difficult. That's how I got up to speed on it. When I switched to Reaper, I'd have been lost if I hadn't found Mike Delgaudio's tutorials.
Welcome to the shoutbox, a fun place for quick chat with other members! No spam or rudeness, please.
speakingisart: Hey guys, new to this forum! Excited to be apart of the community!
Jan 18, 2018 13:50:46 GMT 9.5
Bean: Welcome to the site!
Jan 19, 2018 23:47:41 GMT 9.5
Harry Vance: If most anime work is supposed to be non-union, why do I see a bunch of anime productions like Madoka Magica where they have SAG-AFTRA talent in it? Is it that those anime productions I've seen are the exception to the rule or is there another reason?
Jan 20, 2018 1:17:58 GMT 9.5
LadyStardust: A lot of actors have to do non-union work as well in order to pay the bills, since so many projects are going non-union these days (particularly anime and JRPGs). Techncially you're not *supposed* to but since stuff like dubbing is very low on SAG's priori
Jan 20, 2018 15:33:56 GMT 9.5
LadyStardust: ty list to prosecute, most people don't get in trouble for it (although some use a fake name just to be safe0
Jan 20, 2018 15:34:10 GMT 9.5
LadyStardust: I've done a few union anime shows here and there but they are the exception not the norm, usually because they have to get or bring back an A-list voice actor. (you have to be a pretty big name to demand a show go union for you or else they'll just pick
Jan 20, 2018 15:35:15 GMT 9.5
LadyStardust: someone else). Also a lot of anime is done in Texas which is a right-to-work state so they don't really have to worry about union stuff there.
Jan 20, 2018 15:35:40 GMT 9.5
LadyStardust: If you're a high profile talent who works on prelay animation, Western games, and other much higher paying stuff, you may be able to survive on SAG-AFTRA work alone (or I believe for on-camera work, it's usually union anyway). But if the majority of stuff
Jan 20, 2018 15:36:52 GMT 9.5
LadyStardust: you have the opportunity to audition for is anime and JRPGs, you kinda have to be willing to do non-u stuff or you're not going to work very often.
Jan 20, 2018 15:37:11 GMT 9.5
LadyStardust: TBH there are a lot of projects out there that *should* be union, but aren't. high profile games etc.
Jan 20, 2018 15:37:38 GMT 9.5