Anyone here good at Garageband/podcasting?

by Dana_W 21 replies
Here's my problem: I am trying to record myself reading something. If I do not use a headphone and microphone plugged into my Mac, then there's a hissing sound in the background when I play it back.

But when I do use it, the microphone picks up the sound of my breathing and records that. And I can hear the occasional weird mouth noise that I wasn't even aware I was making - I mean, if I open and shut my mouth it makes a noise - and I can not seem to eliminate it completely.

Is there a way to strip out all noises other than my voice after I record it? Anyone have any tips? I've never tried to record stuff before, this is so foreign to me.
#main internet marketing discussion forum #audio recording #garage band #garageband or podcasting #good #podcasting #podcasts
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  • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
    Dana,

    Test the microphone in different positions. It's often
    best to position it level with the tip of your nose.

    John
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  • Profile picture of the author Sarah Harvey
    Welcome to the world of recording.

    When I recorded myself when I played in a band, you have to consider lots of things.

    You would not have access to professional recording studios where the walls are insulated so the sound does not bounce all over. The easiest to do is:

    a) Record in a quiet environment. If there is too much background noise, it will be picked up.

    b) Speak clearly and hold your mouth slightly to the one side of your microphone, so you are not speaking directly into the microphone. Your lips should be positioned at least 2 cm away from the microphone.

    c) Learn to pronounce your words carefully and if you usually make noises when opening and closing your mouth, then practice a bit till you get it right.

    d) Do not hover over the microphone, just sit comfortably close.

    e) A smaller room has more chance of the sound not bouncing around and the more objects in the room, the better.

    f) Then you need to edit your recording... hiss can be removed from good editing to a great degree. Just look at the software you are using and edit with that...look at their help guide.

    If the software doesn't have any serious editing involved, then find something online.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve Robertson
    Since you're using a Mac, take a look at your System Preferences for Sound. Click on Input and make sure the mic you are using is selected. Adjust the Input Volume until you get as much volume as you can without distortion. Make sure that "Use ambient noise reduction" is checked.

    Make your recording room as quiet as possible, then listen for any fans or other noisemakers you might not have noticed.

    Using these settings, I can get a pretty good voice track using the built-in mic on my MacBook. But don't try to use a standard mic plugged into the jack on the side of a MacBook. This jack is for a "line level input" such as you would get from a mixer. A standard mic doesn't produce enough volume to be useful.

    Steve R.
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    • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
      Thanks everyone for their suggestions. I have an imac G5 and the only software I have is Garageband, which I have actually heard is pretty good and thorough. I've had a couple of one on one counseling sessions from Macintosh on how to use Garageband, but I haven't had a chance to ask anyone there about the noise issue.

      Garageband doesn't come with a printed guide unfortunately, just the video tutorials that come with the software package that it's part of, that are very basic.

      Some of this certainly does involve practice. I never thought I'd need practice speaking!

      I have to consciously remember to breathe more shallowly and quietly. When I first recorded I was speaking way too quickly too.
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      • Profile picture of the author giveusallfreedom
        I don't know about know about the mouth noise, but I can help you with the breathing part. Professionals put a screen in front of the mic so that you can breathe directly on it. When you breathe it prevents air movement coming from your mouth from hitting the mic. You can make one of these yourself with a coat hanger and a cloth or old t-shirt. Also I know your mic is part of your head phones, but there is nothing saying you actually have to use it this way. Take it off and put it on the table or something and speak into it that way. Before you do all this though I'd definitely try John Taylor's repositioning idea.
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        • Profile picture of the author PaulSchubert
          Good Afternoon Dana_W,

          I use Garageband on my MacBook Pro and it is a great podcasting tool for the Mac. I have to agree with John Taylor in one of the previous posts, whereas, the position of the mic is very important. In addition, a few of the other posters here made very relevant points about using a windscreen and a smaller room to help eliminate echo and reverb. Also, do check you mic settings through the Mac System Preferences/Sound settings//Input tab. If the mic setting is too high, it will pick up more noise than you desire.

          Go to one of my new projects at NonGeeks.com and play the video of my dog. I recorded that with Garageband with one take.

          The best of luck to you. If you need any help PM me. I am very busy, but will be more than happy to help a Warrior as much as possible.

          PAS
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        • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
          That is a good idea! I tried putting a piece of paper over my mouth every time I felt that I needed to take a deep breath...and it kept hitting the microphone and making a noise. Not a lot of noise, just a little bit of static, but you could definitely hear it on playback.

          Adjusting the microphone position certainly may help.

          In the newsroom where I worked we had TV reporters and I would watch them record their broadcasts and it looked soooo easy! I had no idea.
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          • Profile picture of the author dorothydot
            You also can set the level of your input volume for each track in Garageband. Practice speaking until the volume meter is just below the red.

            You can also go to the Track Editor [Track - Track Editor] - select Master Track and set the volume there. There is also a setting for Gate which can somewhat filter out background noises. Click Track Info - Real Instrument - Details- and adjust the sliding setter things for Gate. Check by playing back a part of your recording and adjust as necessary.

            If you have a mac, don't you have a built-in mic? For my video recordings, I used only the built-in mic and camera. For recording my harp music, I used an external mic and forgot to adjust the volume. Was able to modify the output fairly well using the Track Info-Real Insturment-Details and the various output adjustments. Lesson learned for next time!

            Hope this helps,
            Dot
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            • Profile picture of the author KenJ
              Use a pop screen in front of the mic. A pair of tights stretched across a coat hanger does the job. I use my wifes as I have given up wearing tights.

              Also you can get rid of extraneous noise by covering your head and recording area with a duvet while you are speaking. It removes all echoes and tings. I have a mate who does this and he is a semi pro musician.

              No one will be watching so give it a try
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              • Profile picture of the author JMartin
                1. Get a good mic. I use GB all the time and the mic I use is a good entry-level mic (IMHO). It's the Snowball from Blue and it's about $100 on Amazon.

                2. Get a pop filter. You can get a decent one on Amazon for probably $20.

                That Snowball has a pop filter built in, but I still use a 2nd one to pretty much eliminate the pops.

                Apple put out a seminar on using this stuff. It's here:

                Apple - Seminars Online - The Podcast Recipe.

                You have to register (free). It's a little over 1 hour and the main guy is a popular voice over person.

                Of course, the obvious question is about just how professional you need to sound.

                Jason
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              • Profile picture of the author Mark Riddle
                Here is some tips for you: Do you make these mistakes with a microphone? — Your Power Voice


                With a headset mic a foam pop guard works best, soft squishy foam ball to cover the element, not the panty hose stretched over a knitting hoop that is used in studios

                Mark
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                Today isn't Yesterday, - Products are everywhere if your eyes are Tuned!
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  • Profile picture of the author GrantFreeman
    Originally Posted by Dana_W View Post

    Here's my problem: I am trying to record myself reading something. If I do not use a headphone and microphone plugged into my Mac, then there's a hissing sound in the background when I play it back.
    This isn't a problem with your microphone or environment, it's becuase you're not using a preamp.

    I got this guitar I like to jam on and I always get the horrible feedback whenever I use Garage Band. I went up to guitar center and told them about the horrid noise from GarageBand, and they told me it's because I"m trying to use a direct connection from my little 6 channel mixer, strait into my imac.

    But when I do use it, the microphone picks up the sound of my breathing and records that. And I can hear the occasional weird mouth noise that I wasn't even aware I was making - I mean, if I open and shut my mouth it makes a noise - and I can not seem to eliminate it completely.

    Is there a way to strip out all noises other than my voice after I record it? Anyone have any tips? I've never tried to record stuff before, this is so foreign to me.
    I'd reccomend the same thing the folks at Guitar center recommended to me:

    1. Invest a little and get a simple microphone preamp. Here's a simple one for $100:

    M-AUDIO - Session with Fast Track USB - The Make-Music-Now Studio for Guitar and Vocals

    2. Look into Motion Pictures. This comes with OSX Tiger. Haven't messed around with this enough to know if this will just record voice but it's worth a look.

    3. Get WireTapPro:

    Ambrosia Software, Inc. -- utilities/WireTap Studio

    This is one kick-ass application. Click a button and you can record just about anything.

    Grant
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    • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
      These are all great tips.

      What is the purpose of a pre-amp? Does it make sense to get one just for voice recordings?

      And Dot, yes, I do have a built in Mic on the iMac, but when I recorded using it, there was a fuzzy hissing kind of static noise in the background. And when I record using the Microphone it picks up every little weird sound that my mouth apparently makes and every breath I take. I swear under normal circumstances I am not a mouth breather!!!

      But I'm going to try all of the tips everyone gave me here and see what works.
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      • Profile picture of the author CSwrite
        Dana,

        Here's a quick trick that may at least reduce the noise. Download a free copy of Audacity for Mac.

        Now, record using Garageband:

        Step 1: Hit Record
        Step 2: With the mic on breathe normally and open your mouth, just like you would when you are talking - but don't say anything. What we're doing here is creating a sound imprint that will be used later in noise reduction.
        Step 3: After ten seconds of this, begin speaking normally.
        Step 4: Save your file as an MP3
        Step 5: Open Audacity (you will probably need to install the free MP3 converter that comes with it)
        Step 6: Open the sound file. You'll see that long ten second pause at the beginning. Highlight this pause with your mouse.
        Step 7: Select Effect - Noise Removal
        Step 8: Click Get Noise Profile
        Step 9: Close that window
        Step 10: Highlight the entire file with your mouse
        Step 11: Select Effect - Noise Removal
        Step 12: You'll see that the bottom half of this window is now available. Slide the little slider bar to the desired level, and then click Remove Noise
        Step 13: Listen to your file. If you sound robotic, it's too much noise reduction. If the noises are still there, it's too little. The first time you do it it's a little labor intensive, but once you get the right amount for your voice it's a lot easier.

        This process will also remove background noise, the noise created by your computer and the mic interface, etc...

        This is what I used to do at my old radio show news job.

        Hope that helps!
        Cary
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        • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
          Cary, that is a great idea! I haven't tried to use Audacity yet.

          This morning, I took the advice of one of the posters on here and stretched a pair of tights over a hanger and put that inbetween my my mouth and the microphone. I also bent the microphone so it's further away from my mouth.

          That seems to block the sound of deep breaths and saliva in my mouth - gross, I know - and my mouth opening and closing. But there's again kind of a hiss in the background, so I will try out the audacity software.

          It is WAAAAAY harder to make a good clean recording than I ever would have expected.
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          • Profile picture of the author trafficwave
            I was recently doing a voice over for my site at trafficwave[dot]net.

            I used Garage Band in my MacBook Pro and one of those standard computer headset/microphones. (I have a USB/XLR Adaptor and a really nice Sennheiser but I was too lazy to go find them in my gig bag.)

            During my first few takes, I had hissing, room noise, etc... and then I remembered something I saw while watching a "behind the scenes" video for "Dirty Jobs".

            Here is the big secret:

            Get a sheet and just place it over your head.
            Background noise gone.

            I did the voice over in Garage Band.
            I drug a music bed over from iTunes.
            A little digital mixing magic and voila!

            I just LOVE my MacBook Pro!

            You can also use compression on your track to help block out some of the extraneous background noise, "S" hisses, mouth noise (like that lovely saliva sound).

            Just click "Track" ... Show Track Info ....

            In the right pane, click "Vocals" and select "No Effects".

            At the bottom of the right pane, click "Details" so that you can see the various processors that are available.

            Check "Compressor" and begin experimenting with those settings.
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            • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
              I will try that this weekend when I have a little extra time. I did use a home-made "pop screen" as some people here suggested. Helps eliminate background noise but then my voice sounds a little fuzzy.

              Sheet over head - if I'm reading an article out loud, I'm trying to figure out the logistics of that...hold the article under the sheet?

              I got a recorded phone call from my kid's principal - and I realized as I listened that HE takes a deep breath after every sentence! I never noticed before.
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              • Profile picture of the author BrianMcLeod
                Let me pop my head in here for second and offer a couple of quick audio production tips for those new to recording and working with audio:

                Tip 1: DO TAKES. You don't have to do it in one take and you don't have to keep your first take. Moreover, you can take the best pieces of multiple takes and combine them into one excellent "performance". If you actually knew how many times your favorite artists had to play and sing their parts on your favorite songs you would be shocked.

                Tip 2: COMPRESSION: Smooths out the peaks in the audio waveform. The loud parts get knocked down in level and the soft parts are brought up in volume. (Compression actually makes background and mouth noises louder so this is not what you're looking for to eliminate background hiss or mouth clicks, no offense to the previous poster).

                Tip 3: NOISE GATES: Gating clamps down on the signal at a specified volume threshold. Once a signal goes over the threshold, it becomes audible. Background noise or soft sounds underneath the threshold are lowered in volume or silenced. As with compression, it can become very unnatural if overused.

                Tip 4: PLOSIVES: Be aware that plosives like "P" will "pop" the mic. Put your hand in front of your mouth and say this: "Peter Piper Popped Plosives". Feel that burst of air hitting your palm every time the "P" comes up? So does the diaphragm inside your microphone. You can turn your head slightly as they come up. You can angle the mic so it is not perfectly perpendicular to your mouth and of course, you can use a pop screen.

                I'm happy to answer any questions anyone might have about audio production, just PM me.

                Best,

                Brian
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                • Profile picture of the author Dana_W
                  Mac that is so true. I probably recorded a dozen takes, and I should probably have done more. It helped immensely to pause the recording after every sentence or two. That way if messed something up I didn't have to erase the whole thing.
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                  • Profile picture of the author LonNaylor
                    Originally Posted by Dana_W View Post

                    Mac that is so true. I probably recorded a dozen takes, and I should probably have done more. It helped immensely to pause the recording after every sentence or two. That way if messed something up I didn't have to erase the whole thing.
                    YES! The Pause key is your friend! lol

                    Here's how I do multiple takes...

                    Rather than record all the way through and then do another, I say a phrase multiple times sequentially. Why?

                    Because it's totally easy to listen to 3 takes that are right next to each other...pick the best one...snip the other 2 out and move to the next phrase. In Audacity for example, just highlight the takes and hit Play. It will loop through the selection and you can pick the best one.

                    Compare this to weeding through 3 full versions and trying to copy / paste good stuff together!

                    Check out my sig line for a tutorial of more audio tips. ;-)
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              • Profile picture of the author trafficwave
                Originally Posted by Dana_W View Post

                I will try that this weekend when I have a little extra time. I did use a home-made "pop screen" as some people here suggested. Helps eliminate background noise but then my voice sounds a little fuzzy.

                Sheet over head - if I'm reading an article out loud, I'm trying to figure out the logistics of that...hold the article under the sheet?

                I got a recorded phone call from my kid's principal - and I realized as I listened that HE takes a deep breath after every sentence! I never noticed before.
                Now that you've done some recording yourself, you'll notice your favorite singers take breaths, too. It would be unnatural to take it ALL out.

                In my case, when doing the voice over under the sheet, I had it on my computer. I clicked "record" in GB and then switched to the screen with the copy on it.

                The sheet was draped over my head, shoulders, the computer, etc...

                The kids all laughed at me, but that was the best the v/o sounded!

                If you do get hung up or say something wrong... just pause and start again from that spot. It's easy to cut out the bad parts in GB.

                I did a phone interview with one of our Affiliates a week ago. He had a lot of hesitations ... "uh's" .... "ah's" .... etc... and repeated himself a lot.

                I moved the recording in to GB and started cutting mercilessly. The end result was that I cut the overall time down by half ... got rid of the awkward pauses (his and mine) and made us both sound halfway intelligent.

                LOVE the MacBook Pro!!!
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