The Microphone is Coming Back to Haunt Me

19 Jul 2006

I heard from BLUE that my Snowball microphone has been shipped back. I am eager to see if it works better. If not, it will be time to cut my losses and give up on the Snowball.

I took a little time last night to see if I could re-master some of the older podcast recordings I made with the Snowball.

Although the Logitech headset doesn’t have great sound quality, it does have the advantage of giving a very close-miked sound, and picking up very little room ambience. The Snowball hears much more of the room. In some of my earlier recordings, in a small carpeted office, I sat the Snowball on the table a few feet in front of me. When recording a couple of feet away, the result is a lot of room reverb, including reflections from the tabletop. The result doesn’t sound very good — it sounds like I’m speaking from far away, even after compression, instead of in your ear. Compressing with a tight attack and release and a downward expander can help strip off some of the room ambiance, but if you make it too tight, the words become fuzzy as the soft consonants get shaved off. I played around with EQ’ing to see if I could make it sound a little closer — boosting the lows to give a fake proximity effect, adding some “presence,” but didn’t get very far.

I thought adding some background ocean sound would help, but it doesn’t help very much. One thing that seemed to help a little bit is a “Stereoizer” plug-in set low. The voice sounds a little closer, I wind up with the voice quite a bit off-center in the audio field, so it sounds like it is coming from somewhere up and to the left.

The overall result isn’t awful, it just doesn’t sound much like the close-miked voice sound I’m getting with the headset microphone. So, I’m debating if I want to release the old recordings at all. Maybe this would be a good question for Bruce Williams of the Sine Language podcast!

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This work by Paul R. Potts is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. The CSS framework is stylize.css, Copyright © 2014 by Jack Crawford.

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