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    Help with boxy/muddy sounding voice
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    Hello there. Mostly a lurker here but from just lurking I have learned quite a bit and was hoping I could get some help (my skin is not tough enough for jwsound even though I lurk there too).

    I recorded this with a Tascam DR10 CS and a Rode Lav.

    https://drive.google.com/file/d/1iOo...ew?usp=sharing


    I have been processing it up and down and around and I cannot get rid of a certain boxiness that the sound has. The best I managed was cutting a bit at about 240, 360 and 520 Hz and then a serious cut at around 1KHz where there's a constant noise, then adding a a gentle rise at about 120Hz and 2KHz, but it still has that annoying boxy sound.

    Any advice on how to process it so that it sound clearer?


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    Hi Aram,

    Here's a quick sample on how I process audio: Dingo version of Boxiness

    Here are the basic steps I took using the MAGIX Sound Forge audio editor...

    1- Increased the volume by +6 dB ( your audio was too quiet )

    2- Used paragraphic EQ to boost and cut specific frequencies over a 2.5 octave scale. Here's a screen grab of the SF PEQ control panel...

    Dingo_Boxiness.jpg

    So I'm cutting off frequencies lower than 80 Hz ( with many recordings it's all noise below 80 Hz ), next I'm boosting frequencies at 150 Hz by 4.4 dB ( I do this by ear, as every person's voice is different ), next I'm boosting frequencies at 300 Hz by 1.2 dB, next I'm cutting frequencies at 800 Hz by 9.1 dB ( this is where most voices can sound very flat ), lastly I'm boosting frequencies at 8,000 Hz by 8.5 dB. ( this is because your mic doesn't seem to be very sensitive in the higher range, so boosting this will add some clarity to your voice )

    3- Used a compressor to keep all waveform peaks after the EQ to -6 dB or lower. ( -6 dB is good for general audio playback )

    4- I used spectral noise reduction to lower the hiss in the background. ( properly matched mics and recorders won't have much hiss when recording in a quiet room )

    Is this closer to the audio sound you were after ?
    Last edited by TheDingo; 08-14-2019 at 01:08 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by aram View Post
    I recorded this with a Tascam DR10 CS and a Rode Lav.
    Where did you place the lav relative to the speaker's mouth? The sound is severely rolled off on the top end, which could be placement, particularly if the lav is hidden under clothing. The rolled off higher frequencies effects the consonants, and above that the "air", which may be why you think it sounds boxy.


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    Thanks for the help, guys. The lav was clipped to the neck of my t-shirt. Maybe it should have been placed further down?

    Dingo, I checked your version. Thank you so much for having a go. It definitely sounds clearer which I like, but I also think there is a harshness to the higher frequencies that I don't personally like.

    dingo.jpg

    original.jpg

    I can see the difference in the spectrum both in SPAN (see pictures O for original and B for Dingo's version) and in the sonogram in MEqualizer and there's clearly a lot more energy in the higher frequencies in yours. Gonna try what you did, but not boost as much at 8KHz and see how that goes.


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    Quote Originally Posted by aram View Post
    Dingo, I checked your version. Thank you so much for having a go. It definitely sounds clearer which I like, but I also think there is a harshness to the higher frequencies that I don't personally like.
    That's because I am applying ( somewhat crudely ) a huge amount of gain at 8,000 Hz. Properly recorded you shouldn't have to add gain like this.

    I've gone through seven different LAV mics over the past 10+ years, and for the past few years I've standardized on the Oscar Sound Tech OST-801 and OST-802 mics. They are a clone of the TRAM TR50 mic ( I also own a TRAM TR50 too ) but to me they sound better, especially in the upper range. The OST mics are also less than half the cost of the TRAM mics. ( about $90-100 depending on the configuration )

    My favorite LAV mic that I own is the Sanken COS-11D, which sounds a lot like a condenser mic, but it picks up everything in the room, so I can only use it in very quiet environments. ( the OST mics have a neat trick where you place them facing their vampire-clip, so that only audio is picked up from above the mic, and this is a big help when recording in noisy environments )


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    Thanks for the advice on microphones, Dingo. Maybe when I move house I'll order one of the OSTs I've been curious about them for years.

    I reproduced most of your recommended settings (slightly modified to what sounded better to me) but made the high shelf only +5.5db and I think it is not too terrible now!

    Only I am hearing some slight reverberations from the room that I did not hear before and they irritate me! Better stop now, while I am still sane.

    If anyone wants to check (and more advice is always welcome), I made the modified files available below and you can see the settings I ended up using in the EQ and compressor.

    https://drive.google.com/drive/folde...L6?usp=sharing

    Almost final Boxiness Post.jpg


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    Quote Originally Posted by aram View Post
    Thanks for the help, guys. The lav was clipped to the neck of my t-shirt. Maybe it should have been placed further down?

    .
    Rode Lavs are a pretty dull sounding mic in my experience. I think they are a pretty neutral sounding mic, but they do nothing to add clarity to voices in normal lav hiding situations. Be prepared to add some higher end. Also, a mic at the neck rarely sounds natural. This is especially true if the mic is under the chin and pressed against the larynx. It sounds a bit like this is a placement issue.


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    Quote Originally Posted by TheDingo View Post
    My favorite LAV mic that I own is the Sanken COS-11D, which sounds a lot like a condenser mic
    Not altogether surprising since, like any lav, it is a condenser! So not quite sure what you mean. It is, like most (surely all?) lav mics, a pre-polarized/electret condenser, but electrets need not sound any different/or worse than an externally polarized (aka 'true') condenser: for high-quality non-lav electrets we have, for example, all DPA's range of SDC mics (the 4006, 4011 etc.)

    Sorry for the slighty off-topic aside!

    Cheers,

    Roland


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    Unless I'm being thick - in the good old days, we'd have fixed this simply by turning up the treble - not faffing around with parametric or graphics - it's a bit dull, so turn the treble up - that would be fine for me!


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    Quote Originally Posted by Throwback View Post
    Not altogether surprising since, like any lav, it is a condenser!
    I think of pencil mics and shotgun mics as condenser mics. Most LAV mics don't sound like either of these type of mics, but the Sanken COS-11D does. I haven't used a DPA lav but I would expect similar sound to the Sanken.


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