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Why You Might Have More Than One Microphone Open And Not Know It

Hey, there!

My Pro member, Karen, recently wrote me about something she’d seen on one of the groups she follows on LinkedIn, Audiobook Narrators. (She’s a really good one.)

She works very hard to make sure her space is as quiet as possible, but noticed that getting rid of excessive room noise was proving next to impossible.

The potential issue:

If you use a Windows-based laptop or desktop, you might have more than one microphone open on your computer, even though you’ve only selected one via Audacity.

That’s a big problem.

Here’s the solution.

First off, if you’re a Macintosh user, unless you’ve added some pretty obvious sound enhancement software to your Mac, this won’t apply to you. You should still read it, so you can help your fellow Windows-based VO artists that might not know about this.

If you have more than one mic open at a time, you’re in for some bad recordings. Having two mics open doubles the sound input, adds the poor pickup of your voice by that other microphone to the clean recording you’re making with your professional mic, and nefariously adds room noise to your final audio. You may drive yourself crazy trying to silence that extra noise.

There’s an easy fix.

If you have a Windows XP (or earlier) PC with a sound control panel that has a “mixer” control that allows you to have more than one input active at once, this can definitely be the case. Here’s a reference:

http://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Mixer_Toolbar_Issues#Windows_XP_or_earlier

On that page, you’ll see this image of the Sound control panel’s Capture mixer, and it tells the whole hidden story:

capture-mixer

Notice that rather than being a drop-down menu of which mic to have active at any one time, you can have any or all of them active, and “mixed” together, based on where the volume control is set on each channel.

You could, without knowing it, have not only your chosen mic open and active, say, the audiotechnica AT-2020 USB Plus I recommend, but also the built-in mic that comes with every computer made. If that mic’s channel is active, and the input level is set high enough, you’ll get a mix of the sound you want from your AT-2020, AND the sound you don’t want from that other built in mic.

Bottom line: if you have this style of control panel, make sure everything OTHER than your AT-2020 is muted.

Here’s how to make sure:

From the toolbar, click Start > (Settings) > Control Panel > Sounds, Speech and Audio Devices > Sounds and Audio devices. Then, click on the Audio tab, and in the Sound Recording panel, select the microphone you want from the drop-down list, and click Volume.

This will bring up that mixer pictured above, labeled Capture. From here, just make sure that ONLY your AT-2020 is active, and that the built in mic has no check in the Select box under the volume slider (or that any other input is selected). (Note: depending upon your computer, your mic might not be labeled by its manufacturere or model number – you may have had to, at some point, set up a generic USB Microphone Device.)

After you’ve OK’d your way out, make sure to restart Audacity, or if you have the latest version, click on the Transport menu and choose Rescan Audio Devices, just to make sure Audacity knows what the heck is going on.

And again, on Macintosh, the choice is singular – you can only have one input active at a time, unless you’ve added some special software to the system.

Hope this helps.

David

9 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #

    David

    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    David,
    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!
    Shirley

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

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