48 Replies
Andy Bowyer

Mike--no problem.  I'm on the fence about it.  On the one hand it does cut down on sound-reflection quite a bit.  On the other, I think the result sounds too "muffled" to me, and there's still a bit of reflection going on.  Probably it comes down to where the mic is placed within the portabooth...probably requires some "playing around with."

Bruce--Good for you, but don't let the Humane Society find out about you kicking the cat out of its home...you may be fined.

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Steve Flowers

I think the results you get using the box will depend alot on your personal projection and frequency. With my own voice I get significant muffling with a mic setting back in that box. If I set it in front of the box I tend to get better results but it's still not as good as a solid acoustic backdrop. YMMV.

Sean Speake

Mike B. said:

Natalia Spurgin said:

We have a pop filter... we also have a break room right outside the studio and a mic that picks up every conversation held in there. I've picked up some interesting stuff.


Lol! I could tell you some similar stories involving the wireless lavalier.


I used to work as a boom operator (also known as a meat-based C stand) in film and television. I could usually tell how close we were to a break by the gurgles in the director or first AD's stomach's.

But rule one was always to secure the wireless mic's before anyone left the set.

Chris Wall

Andy Bowyer said:

Stereo voice tracks, in my estimation, accomplish one thing, and one thing ONLY:  They chew up your hard-drive/storage-space TWICE as fast.  I would be inclined to suggest that a MONO voice track will give you more "presence," but I'm not entirely sure that's more than opinionated nonsense, to be honest.

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I think the file size can be an issue, but not necessarily.

If you're dealing with people who are accessing over a slow connection or who may have limits on how much data they can use on their phone plan, maybe, but if you're creating courses to be delivered over an intranet, then I think it's a different story.

Yeah, sure, if you go with Redbook CD WAV settings (16-bit, 44.1 KHz sample rate, etc...), then, yeah, your files will get pretty huge, but if you go with a 190 kbps stereo MP3 file, your file size will be about 10 percent that of a WAV file.

So, over an intranet connection, I don't see the file size issue as that big of a deal.

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IF however, you're going to try to do some cool little tricks with your audio, say, to match your video...let's say for example that "Karen" is on the left side of the screen, and "Ralph" is on the right, you might want to mix the track so the character audio is dominant to one "side" or the other.  If this is the case, it's easy enough to convert a MONO track into STEREO, and play with the "Pan Volumes" from there.  You can actually create some nice effects.  However, you don't want to put ALL of your audio to one side or the other...it really gets weak and sounds "far away" or "low volume" if you do that.  Rather, mix it so that it's....oh...probably 65% dominant in the proper channel, and 35% in the weaker one...here's an example of such an approach:

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And that's exactly what I'd like to do.

I have my voice talent record in Audacity into mono files. Then, when I assemble the soundtrack, I split the left voice 70/30 to the left and the right voice 70/30 to the right, for the exact reasons you state above.

However, I'm working on some sales and communication skills courses, and I'm looking to demo some of the skills using Storyline photo characters, and I'd like the audio to reinforce what's happening onscreen. When the character on the left side of the screen is speaking, then I want the voice coming, 70/30, from the left side of the audio mix. And the same would be true for the right side.

When the narrator speaks, a solid mono file is fine since the narrator is a disembodied voice.

My audio files do this wonderfully (I used Audacity to build them).

However, I lose all my left and right positioning when I bring the audio into Storyline or Presenter, and I feel that robs the training of some of the quality it could have, especially for the types of courses I'm building.

File size, especially if you save down to an MP3, really isn't an issue in my world. I'd like to have the left/right pans that stereo recording would make possible to reinforce the visuals onscreen.

Chris Wall

Thanks Andy. I try.

Here's my issue though: when I import the audio files into Storyline or Presenter, the audio files are turned into mono files. I'm struggling with how to get them into the courses in stereo. I found one 500-day old thread in which the poster was invited to submit a feature request because it isn't clear to me how this stereo thing was resolved (I'm presuming it hasn't been).

When I clicked on the link in that thread (so I could also submit a request for a stereo audio file feature), the link takes me to a place where I can submit a request, but it wouldn't accept my password (I think I need to go back and verify whether I was in a Presenter thread or a Storyline thread.

Steve Flowers

Hey, Chris - 

That's a cool effect. I agree that can give you the appearance of immersion in an environment. The only caution I have with that approach is some folks (like me) have limited hearing in one ear or the other. A subtle split 60/40 might be better for folks with a partial disability.

I usually go with mono but that's a pretty neat strategy to split the field like that.

Chris Wall

That's true, Steve. It's easy to tweak the settings in Audacity.

We also take pains to ensure that all our courses also have the script available through the Notes tab in the Storyline player so if learners have even more severe forms of hearing impairment, they can always resort to the transcript of the course there.

In my last job, one of our teams did a project for the Canadian government, and they had to include output to Braille as an option. Now that was wild!!

Now, if I can only figure out how to import stereo files into Storyline!!

Dawn Russ

I really should take a picture of our set-up for audio. I have a box from flip chart paper with side flaps lined with an inside-out plastic tablecloth attached to a flipchart easel to block out sound behind me and the air conditioning unit. My Snowball microphone is in an office storage box lined with a towel and then propped up on boxes to get to standing height. It's pretty funny, but we are non-profit and can't afford those fancy-schmancy protable soundbooths, lol. I guess I can just dream of the real thing for now.

Back on topic, I definitely prefer stand alone audio recording/editing program.

Andy Bowyer

It always amuses me how home-recording types have a tendency to "apologize" for their approaches to sound-dampening their recording space. Heck, I've been guilty of it myself a few times. But the truth is, nobody cares what it looks like, only what it sounds like. Thick blankets, mattress padding, and even rigs like Dawn describe above are all fine as long as it gives you the desired results. If anyone tells you differently, they're probably trying to sell you something.

Chris Wall

Outside of work, I'm a big stereo / home theater geek, and I actually think there's a parallel to creating a good place to record audio in and, as the audio geeks on audioholics.com and audiokarma.org say, tuning a room to get the best possible sound from it (this typically involves where and how you position your speakers and the use of what are called room treatments, basically devices that are positioned around the room to absorb echoes or other unwanted sounds).

There's a company called Auralex (Auralex.com), for instance, that sells some really good room treatments at fairly modest prices. Their web site even includes a link to a course/site they've called Acoustics 101.

Just google this: "acoustic room treatment", and you should find lots of cool stuff.

We're doing some stuff, too, with our microphones (we don't have super-duper mics, a couple of Samson Go Mics - I heard one of our courses played over a good system the other day and was pleasantly surprised at how good the audio sounded) like ensuring everyone puts all the switches in the right place, just a simple microphone setup job aid, really.

Steve Flowers

Chris is on it, it's how your room is setup. I just moved some furniture out of my office and it changed the sound profile. I had a couple of spare boxes / totes, draped a towel over the tote and positioned in the direction where the furniture was until I was happy with the sound.

We had some thick curtains and rods in a closet. Hung those on two opposing walls to knock down some of the bounce.

There's a video of a fellow that drapes a blanket over himself to record narration somewhere. With and without is notably different. For my voice, I prefer to have a little bit of "room feel" over a stuffy booth that soaks up standing waves. Whatever sounds right within your budget is good to go

James Brandwood

Thanks for sharing your expertise Andy and Chris. I hadn't thought about using pan volume to give the impression of different chanracters talking. Very handy idea.

I'm using a Perception 220 mic, which is one directional... something about a condensor transducer (but now I am just using words I don't understand). The fact that it is one directional helps with the background noise, but the biggest help is that you get a bigger sound wave so when you do your noise removal you lose less of the sound you want.

I had been using a different, no very good mic, and the difference in quality is really obvious so my advice if your low on funds would be to spend your money on a good mic rather sound proofing options. You can always sound proof on the cheap with some of the ideas Dawn and Steve mentioned.

On the topic of Audacity vs Articulate, I'm firmly on the side of Audacity (or other program). When Storyline came out I though have the all in-one video recorder and sound recorder would be great - then I lost all of my audio a couple of times and realised Storyline had problems. The cause of the audio disapearing... well actually it is still there it just doesn't associate the file properly, but anyway the cause has got to do with the way you back up, save, move or share the file, which is something because of my work, I can't do the one way Storyline likes. 

The only way to get around it was to record in Storyline and export your audio files to back them up so you could put them back in when they invariably disapeared. I figured that's the same as recording and saving them elsewhere and importing them. You can also do a lot more with your recordings in Audacity than Storyline and end up with better sound.

James Brandwood

Reading through this thread has reminded me that when we got the new mic it came with a Cubase license, which I never got around to having IT install. We really only record audio here so I just kept using Audacity because it is so simple but is anyone using a Digital Audio Workstation like Cubase? and do you think it would get much better sound quality tha a simple program like Audacity?