To me, there’s nothing more satisfying than really good audio. It’s something that most creators overlook and don’t put enough time or attention into. There’s a huge difference between audio sounding like this, the way it was recorded, untouched, unprocessed, unedited, and this. Something that was clearly crafted to sound more balanced, more full, more detailed.
The tips I give to you today can be used in mostly every audio processing application, but my program of choice, is Adobe Audition. Let’s get started!
Step number one: RECORDING
This is the most crucial step. After all, if you don’t record audio that’s clean and usable for processing, the rest of these steps won’t really matter, will they?
The mic you’re using doesn’t have to be the most expensive mic on the planet. Believe it or not, it’s not so much about the mic you’re using as it is how skilled you are at processing the audio recorded with it. For example, I use the Rode Video Mic. A lot of people use it, but most of them don’t sound this good — because they don’t process their audio. Whatever mic it is, make sure it’s as close to the subject as possible. The cleaner, more detailed the audio – the less room noise, and eho, the easier it will be to work with in post.
Record quieter than you usually do. A common mistake, is that people record way too hot. Which caused peaking and distortion when you get a little loud. You can usually tell if your audio levels are too high by monitoring your audio live, or listening after the recording and it just so happens to sound like total shit. Another good way is to look at the wave forms. If they look like this, just throw it all away. We want to give some room to work with the audio in post. So, if you’re recording in an external recorder, like I do, or you’re recording into a PC, or you’re even recording into a camera, make sure you set your audio levels to where, on average, you’re hitting -15, -12db. That’s really going to be the sweet spot.
Set everything up. Get your mic nice and close and start talking at the volume level that you will when you start recording – check the waveforms. Make sure you’re hitting that -15, -12db sweet spot.
Once your audio is recorded, let’s jump into post.
Now that you’ve got your audio in, let’s add some EQ and make dat voice sound sexy. Something to remember is that we all sound different so the mics that we use, are supposed to be universal and just capture a flat profile of our voice. Nothing special. Just a raw recording. Yes, some mics sound better than others, but you don’t know the true potential of the mic until you EQ it. I’ll NEVER put out a video without EQ’ing my audio first. Like I said, everyone’s voice sounds different, so EQ’ing your voice is going to be different than EQ’ing mine. But, in Audition, I use the Graphic Equalizer, 20 bands and the Parametric Equalizer. I use the graphic equalizer to play with the high and midtones of my voice and the Parametric equalize to adjust the bass of my voice. So play around with your settings to see what sounds best with you. But you don’t wanna get too crazy. We just wanna add some fullness and detail to our voice. Once you’ve EQ’d and you’re happy with how it sounds, let’s move on to the most important step. Compressing and normalizing.
How many videos have you watched where you’re constantly adjusting your volume? Some shit in the video is loud and some shit is quiet. Fucking amateurs. If you wanna sound like a pro, balance your audio. Let’s even everything out and make it all sound consistent.
First step, in audition, open up the single band compressor. For settings.
Set threshold to -15db
Ratio to 12
Attack at 0ms
Release at 100 ms
And leave output gain at 0db
Once you’ve applied this, you’ll see that mostly all of your waveformS are leveled out. If there are any rebel waveforms peaking out, go ahead and manually fix them.
So, the audio is compressed. But now it’s way too quiet. Now, we normalize. We’re going to boost every waveform, the entire audio track to a “normal” or standard level. In this case we’re going to normalize to -0.1db
And there you go, you’re pretty much done. You’ve completely transformed your audio. Go ahead and take a listen back. If you like it, you’re welcome.
Some of you, at the end, will notice that there’s some noise or “hiss” in the audio. Don’t worry, we can quickly take care of that.