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Audio Processing: Part 2

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On last week's Geeks and God podcast we dove into some audio processing plugins and hardware boxes and described what it was that those did to your audio. On this week, we try and get a little bit more practical by telling you how to acually use those devices, give advice on settings to start with and much more.

We talk primarily about EQ and compression, but delve into gates, effects, and a few more other things. We talk about compression threshold, ratio and attack release, and we try and give you some good settings to start with. When we talk about EQ, Rob attempts to give you some general ideas about frequency ranges to keep in mind when you're trying to make your audio sound a bit better...

But, before all this, we talk (ahem..or rant) about YouVersion and give some insight into some new OpenDNS features...

Love your podcast!

I just found your podcast a few days ago, and am madly playing catch-up. I can't believe it took me so long to find it. Y'all are right up my alley! In any event, I'm now about halfway through your Drupal series, and can't wait to recommend it to my friends. I'm learning a ton, and it's so painless. I listen when walking home, doing dishes, etc., etc. I wouldn't recommend it for going to sleep, though. Tried that and had had to replay the whole episode. :)

welcome

Welcome to the forums. Hope we are able to help you out.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

I really want Opendns to

I really want Opendns to work for me. Its a great idea. I have an Airport Extreme router. As you can see from this post. Its been a bit of a problem.

Isnt there issues as well if you have a dynamic IP as many of us do?

Until I get that figured out I will have to use my iBoss.

dynamic ip

If your ip changes the routing will stop working. But, how often do you think your ip changes? I have tracked that and have gone well over a year with the same ip. While they are dynamic they tend to rarely change.

Also, there are programs that can send you an email when there is a change do you know what happened.

I see the issue with the airport extreme. Looks like it has a problem. Hope it's fixed soon.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

A year? Wow. I have no idea

A year? Wow. I have no idea when mine changes but I thought it was like every few days. I never actually checked. Thats great if thats the case. You mentioned programs that send emails when the ip changes. Do you know of a specific one for mac?

If the IP changes does will I be unable to access the internet until I update opendns with my new IP? Im just curious because say Im at work and it changes, theres no way my wife would know how to input the new IP. They would have to wait until I get home to do so.

still work

if you use opendns and your ip changes the filtering will stop working. It was looking for your ip and your ip has changed. Yes, I know this can be a downfall.

Check out http://www.dyndns.com/services/dns/dyndns/. This will associate a host name with your ip but also email you when the ip changes. I have used this in the past.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

On my way over

Very cool. Thanks for the link. Heading over there now to check it out. Opendns has really worked well since I set it up yesterday. I added a bunch of shortcut urls for it which makes it a time saver when inputing urls. For example, I have "gg" for GeeksandGod.com. :)

The main reason IMO for using this is the content filtering. At first I wasnt sure how good it would be compared to my iboss. I had to test it out. So I hit google and started typing in searches for random words like hot girl, nude, etc... to see if would block those. It blocked everything I could think of throwing at it. I was very impressed.

The only problem I have with the iboss is that since I use Vonage for my home phone service in the rare occasions that my iboss network goes down, I lose my phone service. I have to then remove the iboss from my network to use the phone. It doesn't happen very often but it can still be a pain when it does. I have a teenage daughter, so when the phone doesn't work, believe me, I hear about it.

better than email

Who needs email reminders when you have TDRs (Teenage Daughter Reminders). I bet TDRs are faster and more reliable ;-)

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Dynamic IP addresses are supported at OpenDNS

OpenDNS supports dynamic IP addresses.

If you don't need/use the account-based features, then you can simply point to our nameservers and go on your happy way. ;-)

If you want to use the account-based features with a dynamic IP, then you can "Set Up a Dynamic IP" in the Settings tab (within the Dashboard), and then keep OpenDNS updated, either manually (from the Networks tab) or (easier) with software on your computer or router.
http://www.opendns.com/account/dynamic_dns/ has details and links to software downloads.

We are constantly looking for ways to make this easier. Suggestions welcome.

John Roberts
OpenDNS

Hey John, Thanks for

Hey John,
Thanks for posting. I understand that dynamic IPs will work from what Matt said in a earlier post that the IPs don't change very often. I really want to set up on my router, but your forums post that people are having some difficulty doing this with the new airport extreme router from apple. Hoping apple sees this and will eventually resolve the issue with a firmware update.
Until then Ill just check it periodically and make the changes manually on my dashboard on opendns site.
Its a great service out there and the adult filtering I have found is very good. Thanks for adding that feature to Opendns.

John is right

John is right. In opendns settings you can tell it that you have a dynamic ip. Then, install the software to check the ip and do the updating.

I'm now setup and running all that.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Nothing for mac?

I dont see any links for software on that page for macs. From what I understand is that this link works if you enter in your opendns login name and password. Seems like someone would be able to make a widget using this information. Am I right on that?

mac software

There is mac software. The DynDNS Updater software (http://www.opendns.com/account/dynamic_dns/downloads and http://www.dyndns.com/support/clients/) has a mac version.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

I did try the one on dyndns.

I did try the one on dyndns. I guess I just dont get it. I didnt understand what I was doing and how it works. Ill have to read up some more on it to grasp it.

Levelator

Just want to add a nice addition to have at least for me when doing audio is The Levelator. Its free and does a great job at leveling out the audio. I have basically a zero dollar budget for everything, I have to go for cheap. At zero dollars its right up my alley :)

talked about it before

I forgot all about this until you mentioned it. We talked about it back in Episode 26.

Back then we liked it. Though, it doesn't compare to doing it on a good system with good tools and some good knowledge.

It's definitely worth checking out.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Not A Fan...

Yes, it's true, I'm an audio-snob...but I demo'd the product after we did that show and I wasn't a fan.

If you're not an audio person, it does OK, but I found that it really could degrade the audio quality if you're not careful. As MF says, there's no replacement for a good compressor and a little knowledge (it doesn't even take much).

A human will always be able to make better decisions than a plug-in...at least as of now...

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.bobchristenson.com

-Rob Feature
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mustardseedmedia.com

The Levelator...What It Does

Hi, Rob. I'm and audio snob, too, having spent literally decades in pro audio (music, film, broadcast). The Levelator is not a replacement for a compressor, which is designed to reduce dynamic range over short periods of time. Rather, The Levelator is strictly for "leveling" -- it's like riding gain, adjusting differences as there are changes from one speaker to the next. And because The Levelator has infinite look-ahead, it can do things that a compressor simply can't do. If you want compression, then you should use a compressor. If you want more consistent levels, then use The Levelator. Also, The Levelator is not a tool for noise reduction.

Those of us here at The Conversations Network use it on virtually every program, and we consider ourselves professionals. When you have a podcast with perhaps hundreds of level changes when there are vocal changes, do you go into the show and manually adjust each one in post production? That's something that we aim to do, and The Levelator was developed to automate that process. In fact, when we feed it good audio input, we find that it does a substantially *better* job that we can do by hand unless we spend an inordinate amount of time.

As always, if you have a short WAV or AIFF source file that produces undesirable results with The Levelator, please send it to me, and I will forward it to the developers, who are always looking for ways to improve the algorithms. Thanks. ...doug kaye (doug@rds.com)

Where feedback?

I hope Rob can elaborate but I know he has an incredibly automated setup for the show. There are only a couple manual steps. Some of this is due to how little change there is from episode to episode so he has a template. Some of it has to do with the automator on the mac.

Is there a proper place to provide feedback besides your email address? The forum?

We tested this out some time ago. I can imagine it has gotten better since then.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

The Levelator

Matt, the forum is indeed the best place for feedback at this time. Of course, you can always email me as well.

Remember, The Levelator is not a replacement for something else. It's not intended to be used as a substitute for noise gates, for example. My personal workflow is to use noise gates, noise reduction, EQ, etc., first, then to run the mixdown through The Levelator as a mastering process to get the output to a standard level and to even out the levels of different speakers. If I have a lot of music, on the other hand, I'll typically use The Levelator before mixing in the music but after noise gates, etc. Again, it's not a panacea, just a tool like anything else, and one needs to learn how to best use it through experimentation.

took it for a spin

I just took it for a spin on some recorded audio. There was definitely improvement. The audio was easier to listen to after being levelated. Is that a word?

But, I know from working with Rob that a little knowledge and some decent tools can do better. Like, adding a gate in would have gut back that little background noise when the speaker was silent. Is there a way to do that with the levelator?

Maybe this is a tool for a job kind of thing and a philosophy thing. We don't just want our listeners to do but to understand. We don't want them to be posing but to get it. That's our hope anyway. With understanding you can do so much more.

But, there are those who will never get the audio because that's not their gift. And, those non-audio people will have to work in audio situations. For things like that tools like the levelator created by you audio snobs is great. It's not as good as what you can do manually but much better than some people could ever do with the best tools.

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Matt Farina
Geeks and God Former Co-Host
www.mattfarina.com

Channel Strip for Garageband

I use Channel Strip for Garageband plugin on my mac. It's fairly price and has some neat features that make are el cheapo audio sound halfway decent. I dont understand a lot of whats going on with the controls. I just play around with it until it sounds good to me.

You might also want to check

You might also want to check out CyberEars.com for releasing anything you record. We use them for Podcast Hosting and it works great.

Jess

Levelator ... tried but to much pumping

We also gave it a test to try to reduce background and normalize. The Levelator processed audio was a little more comprehensible, but it seemed to introduce an unpleasant "pumping" effect (the rise and fall of levels was pretty perceptibly noticeable while listening). Might be a quick and dirty fix for recovering a recording in real bad shape.

Mark

Mark

The Levelator...Help Us Improve It

Mark, if you have an example of The Levelator adding audible pumping, we'd love to enlist your help to fix it. Can you send us a source file (as small as possible WAV or AIFF) and the matching output file, so that we can hear what you're hearing? Because The Levelator doesn't operate like a compressor or limiter, but more like someone manually controlling levels, there's a chance that we can make the product better based on more real-world input examples. Thanks. ...doug kaye (doug@rds.com)

Never a unwanted effect added

I have had nothing but good results with it. Of course Im not in the "audio snob" category either. I know very little. All these audio terms meant very little to me unitil the beginning of the audio processing casts here. I use it for the purpose it was made. To simply level the audio. We dont have the best equipment by far. Were just now moving out of the cheapest equipment category. So little apps like this do wonders for us.

Missing images

Thnx for the podcast.

The screenshots on this page are broken.