Adventures In Audio

How I improved my audio - From the Mancave

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Fernando Zegarra:  David nice glasses, but maybe you prefiere take out the sticker of the lens, but in this case it is not the issue of my comment, I saw your other video and in my opinion the best thing you can do is get a lavalier type microphone, which due to the proximity of your voice does not pick up all the sounds in the room like any other. microphone included if it is omnidirectional, since you do not want to edit the audio and video due to the synchronization problem, you connect this lavalier microphone directly to the iPhone either through the direct input of the iPhone Jack 3.5mm or with the lightening adapter and that's it, it's the most fast.

Fernando Zegarra replies to Fernando Zegarra: ​@Audio Masterclass Davis, thank for your replying. And of course I'll watch the video update.

Audio Masterclass replies to Fernando Zegarra: There's an update on this at DM

Robert K:  I’m looking for a way to improve the sound of the internal speakers on my laptop (Lenevo IdeaPad 5 Pro 16ACH6). I’d like it to have the sound quality of a MacBook. Any idea ?

Robert K replies to Robert K: I know about other solutions such as headphones, external speakers.
I’m basically asking about the internal speakers.

Steve Mawer replies to Robert K: Just get some decent headphones?

KELTHUZ Official | Music, Vlogs and Commentary:  ah, I was right about the Adobe thing. I can recognize it after 1 second. Too robotic indeed, I never used it after the first time. For dereverberation I use a free VST plugin Goyo Voice Separator, it works much more transparently than Adobe Speech Enhance - although it probably won't remove such severe boxy reverbiness like in these videos

Harvey Limpopo:  +2 readers?

Dave2002:  Amused by the sticker on your glasses - which comes and goes. Personally I liked A and E the best - with a slight preference for E, but a lot depends what the objective is. The comment about green screen was revealing - so you're not actually in the space which it might appear you are in! I use headphones a lot - maybe the results for me would be different if I were to use speakers instead. I didn't particularly like B - but I understand the reasons.

Possibly different microphones could make a big difference, and another option is to use microphones to get a dry sound, then use a DAW and use artificial [convolution] ambience. Having said that using a DAW would "simply" add in more time, effort and complexity - though there are ways of using DAWs so that they can be active during the original recording - otherwise you have to redo the audio again in post processing.

I have several sets of microphones, though in honesty I often just use the ones in the computer I use. Some of the Zoom mics have different settings for surround sound, or X/Y stereo or M-S stereo which can be fun to play with.

Personally I use Logic a lot, and the synthetic ambience for that can be helpful - but my interests are mostly for music where the effects are likely to be different. I'm guessing that what you'd like to do is to tame the bass so that your voice sounds more natural. I'm guessing that perhaps using stereo with a decent mic, but then doing a roll off of the low frequencies, and also a narrowing of the stereo width for low frequencies might give good/better results, since the spatial localisation could be retained, without getting the extra unwanted "depth" which alters the sound of your voice. Other DAWs are possible - I also use Reaper, Ardour and a few others, so that may be a way to go.

You would almost certainly get different results if you tried to play music or musical instruments in your Man Cave!

StukaUK:  +2.0 glasses are not extra strong.

Howard Skeivys:  I wandered lonely as could be. Because I disliked set up A C D and E. I rather favoured set up B. But then that might be me.

Some one once suggested to me, that I get 2 tall stepladders, throw a duvet over each of them to establish where room treatment would be most effective. I found they made no notable improvement. Updating my leather recliner sofas with lighter, fabric, static sofas made a massive difference, though that’s not why I bought them!

anahatamelodeon:  The original request was for a post-processing improvement. One suggestion I and others posted earlier was to use EQ to notch out the most offensive frequencies. I finally got round to trying this: extracted an audio file from a "man cave" video (actually it was today's, about FM radio) and loaded into my DAW. Using the time honoured method of boosting to find the big peak frequencies, then changing the boost to a cut, I got a much less reverberant sound with narrow band cuts at 126, 194 and 384Hz. I'd say it's worth a try. The apparent reverb time is certainly shorter and the whole thing is subjectively less bassy (but that's not a bad thing, for speech clarity). This was using Robin Gareus's X42 EQ in Ardour on Linux, but any basic parametric EQ on any DAW would do the job.

Nic c:  Back in the days of CB radio, bearing in mind reception dogged with interference, poor signal to noise radio, an 'echo mike' (extended duration reverb) was thought to improve speech inteligibility in these circumstances, and I think it did. My preference was D, then B then C but I could still understand E and A perfectly well. I don't agree with how you think D is processed, because we know closed captioning (speech recognition) gets things wrong so you'd hear those errors surely? I think you should just get on with it, talk about audio (as you intend these short to be) not about the audio.

watchtheskies:  Hi, if you have some books and some small cardboard boxes, you can dramatically improve the situation, the idea is that you turn the first reflective surface into a diffusion surface, this will reduce the resonant ring which builds up between the walls in front and behind you,
this is what you do:
stack up books and small boxes against the wall that you are facing, you should rotate the books and boxes so that the corners face towards you at random angles, make sure that the spines of the books face the wall and not towards you, this way you will have some absorption as well as diffusion

Bernard Piorek:  It would be easiest just to use a PZM Mic to eliminate the reflections from the desk top.

anahatamelodeon replies to Bernard Piorek: I don't think the desk top is the source of the most problematic reflections, but a PZM should be a great way to place a mic close to you and off camera for a video and I wonder how many YouTubers do so. As DM has said, though, connecting an external mic to an iPhone is not a trivial matter.

Andreas Boe:  I've been editing and filtering voice recordings for ten years and I do have some input. The number one thing to remember is that it isn't the sound itself that's most important, but the listener's perception of it. The acoustics of the room you record your voice in sound like a padded coffin, so it hurts my brain to see the large room in the background while listening to it. There's a great mismatch between them, so I can only assume that it isn't the actual room you're sitting in. If you don't do anything else, please exchange the background with something matching the acoustics of a padded coffin. The next thing I would recommend you to do is to use an equalizer on the recording to pull the booming lower frequencies way down. The sound is really bad as it is and it makes it tiresome to listen to, even for listeners who aren't consciously aware of it. It may work for a podcast about knitting, but not for one about quality audio. The third thing I would say is to try to get rid of some reverberations by some form of sound absorbing material and/or reflectors, whatever suits you. I like your channel. You have a no nonsense approach to audiophile stuff that I celebrate, but I hate the sound of your recordings. You could perhaps try a clip-on Røde mike popular among non-tech-savvy youtubers for it's practicality. I believe it has some built in signal processing that automatically takes care of acoustic artifacts and signal levels.

Andreas Boe replies to Andreas Boe: Thanks for the reply. Visuals matching acoustics is a great theme I'm sure would open many people's eyes to the complexity of audio perception. In voice recordings one of the most important things to be mindful of to provide a relaxed listening experience for the audience is the breathing rhythm of the speaker. It makes a ton of difference. @Steve Mawer

Steve Mawer replies to Andreas Boe: That's a really good point (about the appearance of the "room"). Maybe a new experiment with 4 or 5 different backgrounds to see how much our eyes can fool our esrs.

mcpribs:  My preference is B.

Rabb1t Jones:  Pillows are wonderful. When you are finished recording just lean forward and have a nap!
I still favor B.

Andy Dent:  Recording of an iPhone can be really good. A radio station I presented on used this for it's local news and weather to be honest it was hard to tell if it had been on a phone or in a studio. In my studio I have some room dividers from Ikea placed around the room. That kind of works. John Lewis pillows never undersold for room treqatment.

stevenewtube:  One word, RODE

Winging It!:  Eric Idle's face with Macca's voice! Truly mind-blowing concept! Have you ever met the man? Idle or McCartney?

DTXGaming:  B for now. When you say no editing, you mean uploading from the iPhone directly, I assume. That rules out having a dedicated mic track recorded from a lavaliere. But hear me out, what about using a mic in close proximity and hooking it up through an audio interface to the phone? I certainly wouldn't mind seeing the mic in the frame.

Audio Masterclass replies to DTXGaming: Old people like me can't understand phones so uploading directly isn't an option. No editing means starting, recording, stopping - all continuous. The point really is personal discipline to help me improve my presentation. Regarding the mic, the issue is the phone's lightning connector. There's the which might be a possibility but I have other things to try first. DM

Hi Res Audio Costa:  What was and still is clearest to hear is still "D". It doesn't sound un-natural one bit. You just don't like the sound of your own voice.......the fact that you don't like it means it sounded the most like your own natural voice without influences from the room.

Reverberation is added to vocals to try and help make singers voices sound "better". Clarity is the most important.

anahatamelodeon replies to Hi Res Audio Costa: "just don't like the sound of your own voice"
... but DM has said that Abobe Podcast probably works by making a synthetic voice tuned to sound like his own voice, so it's NOT his own voice. It sounds horribly articifial to me, like all those YT videos that use a text-to-speech synth that get an instant dislike + "no more from this channel" from me and are always boring to listen to anyway.

Kevin Taberski:  Might I suggest a lav mike? I use the Rode SmartLav+ - along with Apple’s USB-C headphone dongle with decent results.

Kevin Taberski replies to Kevin Taberski: @Audio Masterclass - Thank you for the reply! I meant Lightning connector. I was confused with my iPad, which is USB-C - I have dongles for both. The iTrack Solo is more than I need - I use my iPhone as a body-pack recorder and for voice memos, so portablility is important. The dongle costs around $8.00 US.

Audio Masterclass replies to Kevin Taberski: I have a Beyerdynamic miniature microphone which works well as a lavalier but the issue is the lightning connector I need to get the signal into my iPhone. There is the which seems to be an option but I have other things to try first. DM

Scott Wolf:  Anaerobic just means without O2. Not a vacuum. Anaerobic Glycolysis, Glucose---> Lactate, is a metabolic pathway, sans O2, but ATP is still synthesized, although at a reduced rate compared to Oxidative Phosphorylation. But your response cracked me up anyways. I remember it from the Alien film ads many years ago.

Jon Jonssen replies to Scott Wolf: But it does achieve that 'dead' sound (in the long run).

Scott Wolf replies to Scott Wolf: @Rabb1t Jones" Nerd", is a Hollywood fabricated moniker to assist in dumbing down the populace. An ignorant, uneducated, populace is easily controlled. Post my 1st undergrad in Applied Math/Computer Science, I enlisted into the Naval Flight Program. Billeted within the VA Community, "There is no slack in Light Attack". Then to experience life from an enlisted personnel's perspective, joined up with the MA Guard, Yankee Division, the original, Minute Men, as an E-5 ground pounder. Because I did so, undergrads 2-4, all in the Sciences and my grad work, tuition waved in the Public University System. I'm curious, but a, "Nerd", nope.

Rabb1t Jones replies to Scott Wolf: Hooray for nerds!

TES Productions:  significant improvement

j:  Why dont you show a picture of your real listening room? it looks like an artificial background to me.

Audio Masterclass replies to j: What YouTubers who use a green screen will rarely admit is that it saves tidying. DM

Mark Carrington:  I applaud you for your efforts, however, it is a question of expectation for me. I have zero expectation of audio quality in these types of videos, beyond being clearly audible, which all are, with the possible exception of D which is, frankly, weird. Listening late at night via IEMs and a dongle DAC, I’m not fighting background noise, so it is perfectly adequate to the purpose.

On the other hand, listening to music on my primary system, I strive for a level of engagement through sonic excellence far beyond that which my non-audiophile friends can begin to fathom. Each tiny improvement brings me joy and when I find myself immersed in the music, no longer listening to imperfections, I know my system is working well.

In short, I forgive imperfections when perfection is impossible and accept that for simple verbal communication, option A serves its purpose well enough.

Audio Masterclass replies to Mark Carrington: I think you should get your own YouTube channel and share your wisdom. It is, in many cases, badly needed. DM

Pablo wedgburg:  If you can afford an iphone, you can afford a John Lewis duvet. That "strength" sticker on your reading glasses is most distracting especially as I can't see what is says.

Audio Masterclass replies to Pablo wedgburg: +2. I picked up the wrong glasses - normally I use +1 for the computer, +2 for reading, +3 for anything detailed, and when I'm soldering I always wear my plus fours. DM

fredy gump:  I think you're approaching this the wrong way! The most convenient thing would be to have a room with great acoustic treatment. So it seems you are being forced to create the perfect listening room, because then you can effortlessly record videos whenever the mood strikes!

Audio Masterclass replies to fredy gump: As I said in a previous video it's impossible to fix an acoustic treatment problem with EQ, either recording or listening. Make the problem less of a problem then yes. But fix it, no. I have a lot of acoustic treatment in my room but I did it quickly and cheaply. Quick and cheap can make a huge improvement and I'd certainly recommend it over doing nothing. Doing it properly however is something that always seems to be some way off in the future. DM

richclips:  I'm so pleased that your choice would be "B" as for me it's very clearly the most natural sounding, in all of the other versions I can "head" the room, as they only managed to dampen certain frequency bands. I hope you can stick with "B" as then we can all appreciate your dulcet tones with less room interference ;)

Audio Masterclass replies to richclips: "Dulcet tones". Said no-one ever, until now. DM

D-C:  Man, nothing sound related, but, those off the rack specs will ruin your eyesight.

RetroVideo:  B sounds the best IMO :)

meshach turpin:  As a representative of the Green Carpet.
I must inform it's been felt that the test carried out was completely unfair and possibly slanderous.
An example put to me was if you were to try and wrap your self in a carpet when you go to bed.
Although the most important issue is that of slanderous deception and defamation of character.
The leading of people to believe the size, weight, tonal balance, efficiency and beauty of the impostor, this, "duvet" you speak of is equal the that of the Green Carpet .
The Green Carpet would like these issues dealt with as soon as possible.
Protests will be organised ...

I think audio B was the best.
What do you think, a baked beans tin. line it with cotton wool then stick the phone in. A little more cotton wool for garnish and talk directly into the tin ???

I do enjoy the shows, keep up the unfair work ! haha

even blacker crow:  Very nice room.

even blacker crow replies to even blacker crow: ... and I agree with your choice, B. It/they will catch your head the next time someone suggests those interconnects.

adskn:  Please take the sticker off your left lens!

anahatamelodeon:  OK, here's my suggested improvement on the pillows idea: get a big cardboard box, line bottom and sides with RWA45 mineral wool (that's the best sound absorbing material and density, better than plastic foam) place on desk with open side facing you, mount phone in the cavity so it's surrounded by rockwool on all sides except the front. How you mount the phone... I'll leave that to your ingenuity.
Better wrap the rockwool in fabric so you don't get itchy fingers from it too.
I don't know if there's enough space on the desk to do that, but hopefully some compromise of size and absorption thickness can be found.

Josha Beukema replies to anahatamelodeon: Instead of cloth I'd use selfstick kitchen foil, rockwool can be a bit smelly. That foil is about 8 micron thick so sound travels through it easily. I did the same with my room treatment and had no impact on sound absorption (maybe above 15khz but my ears don't go that high). Keeps it dust free and easy to clean.

Curt Gozaydin replies to anahatamelodeon: I kind of like your idea it’s kind of like having the vocal booth or the surround of foamy material in a concave cylindrical shape around you with a microphone pointed right at you in the center of the thing. It’s very similar approach. I hope he considers it. It’s not that complicated and I think it’s not that complicated to do. Thanks for that!

Not Ezreal:  B definitely.

marxman00:  Get a throat mic !

marxman00 replies to marxman00: @Audio Masterclass Cue the Dalek ! Enunciate! Enunciate !

Audio Masterclass replies to marxman00: Comment readers might think Mr. Marxman means a lavalier. I suspect he does actually mean a throat mic because there are such things. If any throat mic manufacturer wants to send me one to test then I'll give it a go. DM

Pentoga:  Option A or B would be good. Option D has an almost spooky, dead or unnatural timbre to it so I rate it last.

Matt Brown:  Recording in an anaerobic chamber? What does the person who wrote the comment want to record? Something short, I suppose- something lasting less than 60-90 seconds maybe? An audio recording before committing suicide?

Audio Masterclass replies to Matt Brown: It's a typo or autocorrect. They surely meant 'anechoic chamber'. DM

WT1701:  Have you thought about a Patreon account? You will be able to sleep better with John Lewis pillows and treat the green wall with acoustic treatment.

WT1701 replies to WT1701: Yes if helps you sleep better at night. Joke aside, people like to support there favourite YouTube channels with Patreon.

Audio Masterclass replies to WT1701: Can I get a John Lewis duvet too? DM

Gabriel Godwin:  A solid and simple solution. As you suggest, the more distant room sound isn't so disagreeable. Dampening those very early reflections in the vicinity of your phone, screen, monitor does a fair job.
For the purpose of these videos perfection really isn't necessary. I'd venture to guess that most of your subscribers are here for your content rather than critiquing your audio.

Gabriel Godwin replies to Gabriel Godwin: @AudioMasterclass  Indeed, these "mancave" videos are a different animal. Your production on your "formal" videos has never been in question to me.

Audio Masterclass replies to Gabriel Godwin: It does surprise me that for a channel on audio people don't critique my audio more. I've found though that it's best to have a balance between quality and convenience. My more formal videos will have better sound. My 'Mancave' videos will be getting a small sonic upgrade soon. DM

BentBilliard:  I agree, the best is B. In fact, that also rhymes, you see?

Steve Mawer replies to BentBilliard: @Audio Masterclass C, D and E also rhyme, of course, so perhaps not the best basis for making a choice?

Audio Masterclass replies to BentBilliard: You're a poet and you didn't know it. DM

Ron Schauer:  Setups A or B seem (to me) to be the easiest/best and most effective.
So- either nothing at all, or a sound absorbing material placed below the camera in front of you.
Either one sounds reasonable to me and the placement of the pillow makes perfect sense. 🙂
As for something more convenient and durable than a pillow, you can make custom sound absorber panels inexpensively from old bath towels, wood strips and thin cloth (or grille cloth).
They can of course be made in any size, shape or thickness you desire.
And with handles placed on one or more edges they can be easily moved to and from storage when not in use.
There are lots of YT videos on how to make them in this manner.

Love the sticker on the glasses in Setup A.
I wish my own were "only" 2.0 in strength.

Thanks for another great video.

Audio Masterclass replies to Ron Schauer: Yes there are lots of YouTube videos on this topic, some more accurate and useful than others. The BBC has a useful publication on acoustic treatment, the title of which escapes me for the moment, but that's what I'll be following when I upgrade. DM

Les G:  Aha ! , the green carpet got a mention ! Shag pile wins the day, anyway, sorry to hear your substitute quilt failed the tog test why don't you just cover the rear and side wall with green acoustic foam tiles ( the toblerone ones ) ? This should kill the reverberation and you have a green screen all round ? If you want another really wacky idea why don't you kill the sound waves going in straight lines and bouncing back off the walls by hanging foam spheres ( beach ball size ) around the room. Dissipation/diffraction ? of linear waves stops the reverb. Go on ! you know you want to try it !!!!!!!

meshach turpin replies to Les G: @Les G Likewise ! I'm sure the future will hold some entertaining comments...

Les G replies to Les G: @meshach turpin top of the pile, glad to meet you !

Audio Masterclass replies to Les G: Believe it or not, the idea of green acoustic treatment did occur to me. However the thought of having to work amongst that all day is very much not to my liking. DM

meshach turpin replies to Les G: You and I ! I did'nt realise that someone else had suggested a green carpet.
It's good to know I'm not the only one to have ideas like this.

Nikolaki A:  Audio B sounds best on my mobile phone's speakers.

I think a cheap lavalier mic that connects into the iPhone's port would be simplest. Yes, we may see it and its cable but surely this would be the least faff?

Does that break any 'rules' I may have missed?

I love the LPL.

adskn replies to Nikolaki A: @AudioMasterclass Of course, if you did get a xlr to lightning adapter, could you use it with the mic you normally use in your main videos alongside the iPhone - high quality mic, in proximity to reduce echo, out of sight?

adskn replies to Nikolaki A: I do think a lavalier mic is the solution - either using a xlr to lightning adaptor or a new mic specifically for the mancave videos

Nikolaki A replies to Nikolaki A: @AudioMasterclass  one would have thought Apple might employ their neural cpu cores to process audio from the built-in mic in the same way they do images from the camera.

I guess the next thing on the cost ladder are those 2.4GHz wireless transmitter receiver units that do fit in lightning ports.

Lots on Amazon some only £30🥴 Those 5 star reviews look suspect though, a bit too glowing.

Audio Masterclass replies to Nikolaki A: Lightning mics are not common but it will be an avenue for further exploration. I have a miniature Beyerdynamic mic that is perfect as a lavalier but XLR of course. XLR to lightning adapters are not unknown, but very thin on the ground. DM

Paul Stubbs:  At a radio club, we had a member with a less then ideal voice via his radio. So some suggestions were made, including putting something in front of his mic, then one bright spark chimed in and suggested a mattress.

Steve Mawer replies to Paul Stubbs: @Audio Masterclass I hope you're talking about sound absorption!

Nic c replies to Paul Stubbs: 🤣

Audio Masterclass replies to Paul Stubbs: Oddly enough, it's not unknown for engineers to sleep in the studio. DM@Jon Jonssen

Jon Jonssen replies to Paul Stubbs: @Audio Masterclass May as well go the whole hog, mattress, duvet and pillows.

Audio Masterclass replies to Paul Stubbs: Not such a crazy idea. There's an awful lot of absorption in a mattress. I know, I've tried. DM

Paranormal Banana:  I still don't understand why you chose Adobe Podcast instead of Nividia Broadcast or Goyo for solutio D, these would work grerat and I can assure you there is no resythesis shenanigans. I use them all the time.

Audio Masterclass replies to Paranormal Banana: Nvidia only runs on Windows so it’s a personal no thank you to that. I did try iZotope RX but it didn’t give me any improvement. Goyo may be a possibility for further tests but my experience so far with de-reverb is that the results sound too messed about with and I’m happier with the original ‘honest’ problem. DM

Ships Ahoy:  Assistant mutiny is imminent..😂

Ships Ahoy:  🤣What part of the word “artificial” do people not understand? 😉

Steve Mawer replies to Ships Ahoy: All parts, apparently.

Jack Evans:  Excellent work, and you may be in the top echelon of effort put forth by conversational style YouTuber's videos. I appreciate all the hard work, certainly. 😀

I always scan through the YouTube comments before I post something, then like one if they say the same thing I was going to. No point in being redundant. Unless my wording is more brilliant, of course.

andymouse123 replies to Jack Evans: Yep, that's what I do too !

Joe Burke:  My preference was tending toward B, then confirmed at B when you repeated all options near the end. I was then a little disappointed when you suggested B, lest you think I'm just being agreeable, lol.

thexfile:  You could try beach towels to absorb the sound or a lapel microphone.

andymouse123 replies to thexfile: Beach Towels ?..thats German Tech I believe.

Radman:  +2.00 is not extra strong, especially for a man of your vintage.

roy fishall replies to Radman: I was trying to work out if +3.5 would have improved the audio even more. :)@Audio Masterclass

Audio Masterclass replies to Radman: I might have been exaggerating a little. I normally use +1 for computer, +2 for reading, +3 for detail, and whenever I have some soldering to do I’m wearing my plus fours. DM

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Tuesday August 22, 2023

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David Mellor

David Mellor

David Mellor is CEO and Course Director of Audio Masterclass. David has designed courses in audio education and training since 1986 and is the publisher and principal writer of Adventures In Audio.

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