Need help finding a good microphone for political commentators who do interviews/discussions over Zoom.

Folkcafe

Active member
What exact issues went wrong in this video?

And should I get Noam to show all of his interviewers the video that I linked in my comment at 11:20PM?
And how do you know the problem is on the interviewer end? Whos is the likely amateur in this scenario? Sound and audio is a learned skill set and one that requires adapting to the circumstances of the moment and environment. Stop chasing your tail on this.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
I've rather lost the plot here. We've got an elderly fella, presumably locked down and trying to do remote input for broadcast? On TV at the moment are countless contributors, who in the main have compromised picture and sound. One of my favourites does his from a real studio - it looks like a broadcast radio studio. It has really good audio and the room acoustics are great too. The problem here is a difficult voice, no technical skills and perhaps even elderly hearing too. We can understand him - is that not OK. To improve things, need physical assistance which I assume is impossible during lockdown.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
I would propose a different path to try to figure out what the sound SHOULD be without all the intervening programs/internet issues. Simply set up his microphone, and using something like Reaper or Audacity, or whatever recording program he has, determine if the sound as he would be recording it is acceptable. First and foremost, the source must be good, otherwise all is lost.

If the recording isn't up to par, then all the fixes in the world won't make it better. If the recording IS good, clear, and accurate, then you can start playing with the other programs, sending the GOOD audio downstream and tweak as needed.

Also, FWIW, I don't think you have ever stated which video conferencing software is being used. Is it Skype, Zoom, Google Meet, MS Teams, Citrix? A combination of programs? You can't fix problems if you don't understand the sources.
 
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Just to clarify the purpose of this thread, Noam has CRAP audio when he does his daily interviews with people around the world.

I want to get him to fix his audio.

I will go back through this thread and try to compile a list of "tips" for Noam that distill every piece of advice given in this thread.

The video about how to optimize Zoom is also interesting, and maybe Noam can make sure to show that to all of his interviewers before they interview him, so that they can make sure that everything is optimized.

Just to be 100% clear, it's NOT normal for people to have audio as bad as Noam's right? In my experience, this is WAY WAY WAY WAY WAY worse than the normal standard of normal audio that normal people have.

Just take a listen to the videos that I've linked and tell me if you think that it's WAY worse than normal/standard/regular audio-quality.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
Your comments are a bit like having someone drive into a auto repair shop and ask "what's that tick-tick-tick noise" without allowing the mechanic to even look at the engine. The only thing we know is that he has an AT2020. Without additional information, its impossible to diagnose anything.

Sorry to be frank, but I think Arcaxis has the right idea. He needs a professional to come in and sort things out. If you are asking this many questions, you clearly don't have the experience or skill to work through this situation. It's not a simple "buy this piece of hardware" solution.
 
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To correct the record, Noam Chomsky does not have a $5 million net worth, but he laughed when he saw that so thanks to whoever posted that link because it gave him a good laugh.

Noam just told me that he's never heard any audio complaints, so now I'm wondering if my own sound-system is broken.

On a scale of 0 to 10, how bad is the audio in the video that I linked most recently? Am I just wrong about how terrible it is, or...?
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Zoom style audio can be excellent but often isnt. Since lockdown audio that would never have been broadcast has become normal so people start to accept it. What I meant is that with somebody present to control it results are better. What is certain is that for convenience I use my MacBook in the audio studio for zoom, google meet etc. When I’ve been in the video studio, I stuffed a cable into the black magic switcher and plugged that into the computer Ive got on the office desk. Audio and video were much better. But it’s a bit of a faff to get it working. The Mac is one click. As my wife says - so many wires!
 

DM60

Well-known member
I listened to it, and I think the tolerance is higher for these type interviews than say, a TV/radio interview. That being said, I do agree his voice output is bad. So you are not crazy, if that is what you were asking.

First, before I give any comments, I agree with all of the previous comments, we just know how it sounds and he has an AT2020.

OK, it sounds muffled as hell. It should be clearer to me. So, what is going on there? Is there some kind of EQ mixing the sound and taking all of the top end out.
He is pretty far away from the mic, maybe need to get him a little closer to the mic and put on some headphones/earbuds on so there is no feedback/echo. It could maybe be that there is too much digital gain to increase the vocals since he is so far back, that is causing the bad output.

Outside of what has been recommended, you try giving him some in ear monitors or headphones, get him a mic boom (the kind that mount on the desk and can swival) so he can get the mic closer and be able to lower any gain. See if that helps.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
Here is a pretty basic video (plenty on Youtube) that will get you an idea of why Nom sounds bad. He is nowhere near close enough to the microphone so I didn't even need to watch. It is going to be a trade off of having the microphone in the shot unless you go lavalier.

 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
Earbuds don't really give better results, just more isolation and of course make people look more normal in the picture. They do change the sound but I doubt this fella would really notice, and if there is any delay in the System, the latency can make him sound drunk. With poorly sealing headphones it's more lovable with - with IEMs it's impossible to live with. You don't have any technical people at his end so results are always going to be variable - but a mic close in will always be better than something more distant.
 

gecko zzed

Grumpy Mod
I don't understand how my reaction is that his audio is TERRIBLE and yet he says that I'm the only one who complains. How can that be?
No-one complains because they don't care or don't notice. We live in the era of Zoom and Skype with people talking into their webcams, and we are accustomed to the degraded quality that results. People undertand and accept the difference between a transmission from a studo and one coming from soneone's study. If Chomsky is doing the occasional interview it doiesn't matter that much.

On the other hand, regular podcasters will set themselves up with fit-for-purpose equipment, treat their room appropriately, and can achieve high quality video and audio broadcasts.
 

TalismanRich

Well-known member
The audio is clear because there is none of the processing found in video conference software. I'm guessing it was done with good professional or semi professional video and audio gear, seeing that it came from UMass. The audio is no more clear than any of us on this forum could get with the most basic recording setup.

This is such a basic question that I wonder if you have understood any of the information that we have given you over the past weeks.
 

Folkcafe

Active member
The audio is clear because there is none of the processing found in video conference software. I'm guessing it was done with good professional or semi professional video and audio gear, seeing that it came from UMass. The audio is no more clear than any of us on this forum could get with the most basic recording setup.

This is such a basic question that I wonder if you have understood any of the information that we have given you over the past weeks.
Pretty sure this is just some strategy to get us all to watch Chomsky videos. It was bad enough that I had to listen dispassionately to a couple to try to assist but I'm not falling for more of this nonsense.
 
I've been listening to the advice, but I wasn't sure why exactly this UMass video sounded so good. I apologize for not understanding that matter. I will try to listen more carefully and put 2+2 together better.

I'm not Chomsky's booker or his producer. He doesn't have a booker or a producer.
 

rob aylestone

Well-known member
The guy has a low voice that has very little up top, the sound just gets mangled by the processing used to prevent feedback and manage levels. I don't think there's anything wrong other than him having a difficult voice, especially as it's changed as he ages. I don't think anything is really wrong, it's just something that really needs treatment. If you use a mic that has less down below it will clean up but of course sound thin. what is your link with the guy? if he's happy and your not tasked with enhancing his voice - what exactly is the purpose here? I certainly got the idea you wee the engineer our producer.
 
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