Improve audio quality

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Improve audio quality

Hi everyone, what is the best way to improve our audio quality? Currently using the PowerDeWise Lav mic for talking head and PPT narration. I'm thinking of investing in either a better Lav mic or Shotgun mic.
 
MBA Level Strategic Planning - 10 Steps to Business Strategy
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Hi @BryanT  I'm buying a new a shotgun mic in the next couple of weeks, more than happy to report back on what one I bought and how it sounds if you want?

Best of luck. 

Hi @LiamDavin1 that would be great, thanks!

Hi @BryanT . New shotgun mic due to arrive on 7th of May (3 weeks after I ordered it) I'll get back to you when I have had time to test it.

Hi again Bryan

The reason for buying a new mic is we're planning to record both outdoors and in other spaces away from our acoustically-treated studio. I want a shotgun mic because of its focussed pick-up pattern. In other words it's more focussed on what's directly in front of it and less so to sounds coming from the sides. After a lot of research I opted for the Rode NTG2 which cost €200.

 

First order of business was to do a benchmark test. I set the NTG2 up side by side with an AT4033A (€400) which is one of my favourite VO microphones, and as I expected, the 4033A sounds much better. However I applied some processing to the NTG2 and managed to make it sound quite similar to the 4033A. What's worth noting here is the 4033A picks up more of the fan noise from the laptop nearby than the NTG2 did. This exercise shows me that I have a very usable mic.

 

Next I did a distance test. I recorded myself speaking at 12 inches, 18 inches and 24 inches away. The sound (tone) remained consistent at all 3 distances (this is good) albeit I could hear room sound creeping in at 24 inches. Conclusion: The NTG2 is a very decent sounding mic for the price, and I see myself using it a lot in the future.

 

The Rode NTG2 requires an XLR mic cable, there's no option for a USB. Also it's a condenser mic and requires 48v phantom power to work. You'll need an audio interface or recorder of some sort that supplies phantom power. It does have the option of 1 AA battery, but bear in mind that only supplies 1.5v whereas phantom power supplies 48v, so this may decrease its quality (I've not tried it with a battery, and personally I wouldn't use it with one).

 

I'd recommend if you're buying it that you buy yourself an audio interface, which will set you back about €100. I'm more than happy to suggest a good one if you're interested. You'll also need a mic lead and mic stand.

I hope this helps. If you have any more questions I'm more than happy to answer.

Best of luck

Liam

Great info, thank you for sharing Liam.

 

What is an audio interface? Is an example the Zoom H4N that I have heard about? And then how do you sync up the sound with the video afterwards or are you able to record both to one file?

 

I'm quite new to all of this and so far I've just been using my iPhone with a lav mic plugged in directly to it (which is super easy but not the best quality). I'm trying to figure out how to take it to the next level without getting too technical or expensive. 

 

Cheers

Bryan

 

Hi @BryanT 

 

What is an Audio Interface
An Audio Interface converts the signal from your mic into digital so it can be recorded into your audio or video software. They commonly connect through your computer via a USB cable. You can also listen back to what you've recorded through the interface using headphones or speakers connected to the interface. Here's quite a nice one, that I use to teach beginner sound engineering students: 
https://www.thomann.de/ie/focusrite_scarlett_solo_3rd_gen.htm

 

The Zoom H4N is a little different, being both a hand-held recorder and an audio interface, and it has microphones built into it. I can't comment on its quality as I've never used one, however reviews tend to be favourable.

 

How to synch audio and video 
Before you do a take, you clap your hands in front of the camera (think movie clapper-boards) this creates a spike in the audio that is visible in your audio editing software. Then you find the part of the video where you clapped your hands and line up the "spike" with that. It can be a little fiddly at first, but you quickly get used to it.

 

When I have some free time (I hope in the next few days) I will plug my Rode NTG2 into the Audio Interface that I gave you a link for, and I'll record myself, so you can have a listen to what it sounds like with no processing at all. When I've done it I can send it to you via WeTransfer so you can hear the quality (I will need your email address to do that). 

 

I hope all of that makes sense,

Cheers,

Liam

Great, thanks for the clear explanation Liam. That sounds like more work but I'm sure the quality is 1000x better. 

 

Look forward to hearing your Rode NTG2. I'll send you my email.

 

Cheers

Bryan

Received the file, thanks so much Liam!

 

It sounds great and I now understand how it can be done. Hopefully with the launch of a few more courses I can justify the investment in one of these soon. 

 

Cheers

Bryan

LawrenceMMiller
Community Champion Community Champion
Community Champion

After wasting time and money on cheaper mics I finally got this and it is perfect. https://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/1484178-REG/sony_uwp_d21_14_uwp_d21_camera_mount_wireless_omn....

 

It plugs into my Nikon Z6 and it gives both battery level and audio level readings. Helpful.

 

Lawrence M. Miller
Author/Instructor

You're welcome @BryanT . Best of luck. 

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A/V Solutions
Figure out how to create the best audio and visual set-up for your price point and skill level. This is a great place to chat about different mics, green screens, video editing software, and more.
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