A few weeks ago I’m at a friend’s Halloween party on a Saturday night and I get a casting notice from my manager. They need an audition recorded and submitted by noon Sunday. No problem. I leave a little earlier than originally planned so I can get a good night’s sleep and rest my voice.
The next morning after a spot of tea I sit in my booth to record. I hit the record button in Adobe Audition and start talking. Nothing is being recorded. I check my cables. Nothing. I check my settings. Nothing. I reboot my computer. Nothing. I open some audio files in Audition and it works fine. Hmm…
I contact my buddy Sean Caldwell who is not only a top-notch voice talent but a serious techno-file. He is kind enough to have a troubleshooting session and determines that my external sound card (an ancient Presonus Inspire 1394) is dead, specifically the inputs. That means the outlet that I plug the mic cable into is shot.
I download Audacity (a free audio recording software) and record the audition just in time. BTW I’m able to export the sound file to Audition and edit it with no problems, which is why we think it’s the sound card.
Sean recommends I replace said ancient Presonus Inspire 1394 with the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2. Here’s a pretty picture:
(click on the pic if you wanna check it out online)
I follow the instructions, plug it in, set it up, and nothing. What the hell…?
I call Focusrite support, try recording while the guy is on the phone, and of course it works. I get off the phone and of course it doesn’t work.
That’s when I realize each time I tried to record, the bit depth was different. FYI the higher the bit-depth, the higher quality the audio. Read this Wikipedia entry to know what I’m talking about. It records at 32-bit but not 16-bit. Okayyy…
So I reach out to Sean again (who I’m sure is quite sick of me by now) and after about 20 minutes of troubleshooting he asks me which channel my mic cable is plugged into. I tell him Channel 2 and he suggests I plug it into Channel 1. Voila! Now I can record in 16-bit.
I have one more problem which I have yet to figure out. When I record in 32-bit, I can’t record any louder than -6 decibels. When I record in 16-bit it records as loud as I want. Any ideas?
TIP OF THE WEEK
I think there are two lessons to be learned here:
Work within your limitations. I don’t have much technical expertise when it comes to audio recording and frankly I don’t care to. However, I do know enough to know that I don’t know enough, if that makes any sense.
Communication is everything. The main issue was that the Scarlett 2i2 and Audition were not communicating properly and still aren’t, hence the volume issue. It is critical that all aspects of your voiceover business work in harmony whether it be hardware, software, or otherwise.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK
From my village to yours; this is Tom Dheere, GKN News…
Tom Dheere is a 19-year veteran of the voice over industry who has narrated thousands of projects for clients in over a dozen countries. He is also a coach at Edge Studio, voiceover business consultant known as the Voice Over Strategist, and is currently writing & producing the comic book “Agent 1.22”.