More often than not, I’m approached by buyers who have had horrible luck trying to fix audio files. So I’ve compiled a list of considerations for anyone trying to record anything! In no way is this list exclusive, but it is a great starting point for anyone looking to improve sound quality. Feel free to contact me with any specific questions in regards to your projects, and I hope you find this helpful!
- Don’t Be afraid of the Microphone!
The most prevalent problem I encounter has more to do with the source of the audio, than the quality itself. Recording sound is a very methodical process and everything begins at the source. If the clarity, volume and intensity of the input source is compromised, the final quality of the recording will suffer.
More often than not, vocal recordings sound mumbled and slurred. The simplest way to overcome this issue is to slightly over-articulate your speech. Slow down and relax and speak or sing clearly. it’s harder to improve mumbled vocals and slurred consonants than it is to reduce the harsh consonant sounds in a recording. Be aware of what you sound like recorded, and try different ways of recording yourself. A mirror or video often comes in very handy in helping see what your face is doing as you form words, especially the ones that sound problematic in the recording.
- Be Aware of your Environment
Environmental sounds account for the majority of problems with recording quality: Wind noise, Crowd noise, Traffic etc… The more you can anticipate, the better. Some of these problems can be more difficult to deal with that others, but knowing is half the battle. Wind socks, and Microphone placement can greatly overcome some noise related issues, Technology can be a huge asset in this case as well, properly timed Noise Gates, and Compressors can be a great tool as long as they are used correctly. A huge number of bad recording I see are also a result of improperly used equipment, which brings us to the next point.
- Know the limitations of the task you are trying to accomplish
It is near impossible to get a studio grade recording using 1 microphone in a crowded room, Studios offer a controlled environment and optimal treatment solutions for room dynamics. Understand the limitations of the equipment you are trying to use, as well as the surroundings. Different microphones can offer more ideal recording quality in different environments, and it can be a lot more cost effective renting a couple of piece of equipment than to have someone spend hours in a Professional Studio fixing it after the fact.
- Proper Gain Structure
Make sure your input volume of your recording device is optimal. There is a perfect sweet spot when it comes to audio recording: not too loud - not too soft. Recording to loud can result in clipping and can be dangerous to your equipment, Clip noise in a recording is also likely the most difficult thing to fix after the fact. Not enough gain can result in audio “dropouts” when the volume of the source becomes too low for the equipment to pick-up. Trying to improve the volume of a quiet recording can result in more ambient noise, and further deterioration to the quality of the recording.
- Ask Questions
Many people encounter these problems while trying different methods in recording. Your greatest strength is to learn from the mistakes others have made, and to learn your lessons without having to make the same mistakes. Ask the professionals, I offer lots of free advice to those who come asking, better to aim for quality off the bat, than to fix it after the fact!
So that said, if you ever find yourself in need of advice or guidance, to help improve your recordings, and how to get that “radio sound”. Give me a shout! Check out my gigs! Always happy to help out!