Monday, July 16, 2012

Mailbag: Listening Exercises, Android Recording, Booth Budgets, and Video Production

How do you train your ear to pick up the subtle differences between audio qualities? My audiophile friends can but I can't. -@PatrickSqueaks
Well you have to use your ears A LOT. Listen to everything you can critically. Listen to your favorite bands. Can you pick out the individual instruments, where they sit in space in the recording, do instruments conflict with each other? Does the singer get lost in the guitar or vice versa? Start broad, then start refining what you like and what you don't. It's a lot like wine or scotch tasting...

The technical component to this? Make sure you listen on recording equipment instead of consumer gear. Consumer gear likes to emphasize EQ, like MEGA-BASS, which while pleasant, certainly wont help accuracy.
Greeting... I noticed you posted a good post on android tablet audio recording [Following Up On Android Audio for Voice Over]. I am looking for a suggestion for getting clean no static audio recordings. I am using hi-q mp3 recorder app, which allows to set the bits and other settings. I am trying to access the mic through the headphone plug. Every time I plug into it I get some heavy static. Any suggestions? -Steven
Problem isn't the software, but the hardware. The 3.5mm jack built into tablets is designed for the bare minimum quality for chatting over a low fidelity skype connection. Until Android supports USB Audio I/O like the iPad does, we're going to be stuck with low quality, possibly scratchy recordings from the hardware in our tablets. Best of luck!
The reason I am contacting you is to inquire about the Mailbag you posted last Friday entitled "Home Studio "On a Budget"?" You say in there "...if you want helpful and accurate advice, don't be shy! Tell me your budget!" My budget would be five grand and asides from software and (possibly) machine I would be starting from scratch, unless the laptop was still causing an issue during recording. -Colin
If you have that much scratch to get up and running, I would HIGHLY recommend hiring a professional. Have a working pro get into your space, take a listen, maybe bring some gear to audition. I can tell you what gear I like, but not knowing what you'll be recording, and having no idea what your space sounds like, I'd basically be flying blind. I think hiring a pro to be on-site is a much better way to start off than buying gear blind.
Hello? This is Gabrielle ALL the way from SOUTH KOREA *^^*. I have Sony a35 and my microphone is AKG c414 XL II. I want to shoot video of my lectures at home with a clear, crisp sound. People are recommending me to buy Zoom H4n, but it would be much better to record directly into the camera to cut back on my post production workflow. Since my Sony a35 do not have audio manual control, Juicedlink preamp Riggy RA333 is my another option. I was wondering how you can make your audio sound crystal clear with no "hiss" or background noise (By the way, I love your voice and your jokes are very funny ^^*!). I just want to know how you get your recordings done and which preamp/recorder you recommend for my AKG c414 xl II. I really appreciate your time to consider this matter. Thank you. *^0^*
Hey Gabe! Thanks so much for checking out my videos!

For ALL of my reviews, I record audio to a separate source, often my H4n. I have not played with an option like the JuicedLink. The main drawback is, to disable AGC, the RA333 needs to send a loud signal back into the camera to trick it into thinking that there's a constant and consistent signal. This means the audio on the camera will essentially be mono. Depending on how you do your post, you'll need to disable one channel of audio while editing.

Personally I would prefer to have full two channel, high quality audio (I tend to record everything in 24-bit these days). It means having to sync in post, but you get pretty fast at lining up takes, or you could always use a program like PluralEyes.

My personal set up for reviews is ridiculously simple. Mic to preamp to H4n for most things I produce from home now. The big difference is making sure you treat your recording space to cut back on distracting elements and noise. That's the bummer of having a nice reference mic like the 414. It'll pick up EVERY impurity around you.

Don't forget to use my affiliate links before shopping at Amazon (you'll be helping support this site at no additional cost to you), and keep those questions coming folks! 

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