Adobe Audition CC v.11.0.1.184

Hi

I do a community radio broadcast. I end up with the audio levels of music all over the place.

I found the YouTube clip on using this programme for compression - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjEuO3AV_F0

I said to my station manager this seemed to solve all my problems. He responded sinking this idea - see below. Is there a way that I can easily get the volume levels of my music, audio clips consistent within the parameters that the station manager has set out below?

Kind regards
Paul

PS - you have the gift of great, easily understood, communication.

" Compression and Expansion should only be used on your vocal presentations and never the music you play .

Recording with good levels and good microphone techniques is paramount.

Bear in mind that the station also compresses and expands audio to eliminate transmitter over modulation.

It is therefore important to be careful with the level of compression that is used.

These YouTube videos are generally aimed at the Podcast and Internet radio providers where the material is not compressed by the medium.

At Cairns FM89.1 we use a peak modulation level of -3dBFS.

By viewing the mix down of the prepared program you should be able to see a minimum transition in levels between audio segments.

As I said before make sure you “Watch your recording levels” and “work your microphone” to keep your levels as constant as possible.

Working the microphone compensates for the lowering of your voice level as you run out of breath which you will notice as you tail off a sentence.

The version of Audition used in the station is Adobe Audition CS3. Due to the cost per licence we are not able to change to the latest version.

Stuffing around with the Compression and Expansion of audio changes the sound of your voice, my suggestion keep it natural breath properly and speak in shortish sentences."

How are you broadcasting? Is this broadcast live using a playout system or pre-recorded and submitted for broadcast.

Either way remember that what you’re hearing won’t be identical to what the listener is hearing. If you’re monitoring through a studio desk then you’re hearing the desk output which then goes through processing before being transmitted. Again if you’re pre-recording you’re hearing the “raw” audio before it goes out via the station processing.

The important question here is what does the station output sound like? If the station output has levels all over the place then there’s an issue definitely.

Hi

Thanks for responding.

I pre-record. The station is Cairns FM89.1. I have just started doing this. I am learning fast - especially because I am starting without knowing anything.

This was the first email I sent to the station manager - that prompted his reply.

I firstly go to favourites and set the entire recorded programme, including music, to -3 dB.

But some of the music has very variable levels. If I increase the level then some of it peaks - goes off the top. At the same time the main level is still too quiet.

Kind regards
Paul Fordyce

How does the actual station output sound though? That’s the key thing here. The station processing will take care of a lot of this between running through the desk and the transmission.

The last thing you want to do is to over compress the file you’re sending as it will sound horrendous then when it goes through the station’s processing.

Music will have a variety of peaks though. That’s the dynamic range.

My first suggestion would be to run match clip loudness on every clip in the multitrack before you mix down. Then set the music to auto duck using either essential sound panel or side chain compression so that your voice is ducking the music on your links. Then mix that down and normalise the final output and see if that helps.

Like I said I’m new to this. The last para sounds like it’s what I should be doing next. But I don’t understand the physical things I have to do in Adobe Audition CC.

Because I am new to it I start putting my programme together by opening a new audio file. I then paste in the songs I have for the programme and do my voice recording in the spots in between. I open each song as I need it - edit out any silences at the beginning and the end and then copy and paste it into my recording.

I think you are suggesting that I adjust the sound levels in the music before I import the music.

Now, when I have completed a recording I first get rid of the background noise. At the start of my recording I record about 10s of silence to set the ambient level. Then I do the whole of the recorded programme to get rid of that ambient noise level. I record at home first thing in the morning when no one is up so the house is quiet. No sound proof room.

Then at the end I select the whole programme and use the -3 dB Favourite setting to adjust the noise level for the whole programme, down. Then I go to any songs that are too quiet and individually bring their levels up in the whole recorded programme.

Hope this is not becoming too long and tedious for you dealing with an unranked amateur!

Kind regards
Paul Fordyce

That’s not how I’d do it but that doesn’t mean my way is entirely the best either.

I would plan the show, pull the tracks I wanted into Adobe audition then work in the multi track view.

I think you want 4 tracks as a minimum. One for voice for your links, 2 for music so you can cross fade if you want and one for imaging/sweepers.

Now this is where you may think it’s over complicated. I’d route the music tracks into a bus and then possibly the vocal track and the sweeper track into another. I’d then set the music bus to be auto ducked using side chain compression by the vocal track or vocal and seeeper bus if I went that route so the vocals (and sweepers) aren’t competing with the music at the same volume.

Place each song into music track 1 and 2 alternately and then arm the vocal track for recording. Record your voice track links where you want them to be then drag the tracks around to get the segue sounding right.

Use the sweeper track for any sweepers you use to join two tracks that aren’t joined by a VT link.

At this point in time everything will be at different volumes so when you’ve finished creating the mix select all the tracks in your multi-track and right click. Select match clip loudness and match them to your target level in lufs.

Then mix down the multi-track session into one final file which I would then normalise to -3db. Save that and hopefully you have a far more consistent sound for your next show.

The one thing that would easily solve your levels is to master the mix but I wouldn’t suggest that without knowing the station processing as it may then be that you end up with something that sounds great to you when you finish it and send it off but will sound horrendous over the air as it’s over compressed by your mastering and the station’s own processing combined.

Hopefully if you follow the steps outlined above for Audition though you’ll get much closer to a uniform level and the station processing will even out anything else during the chain from desk to transmitter.

You say you have no sound proof room but do you have any sound treatment? Not essential if you’re recording with a good dynamic mic but if you’re using a condenser mic you’ll most probably need some form of acoustic treatment to trap the room reflections.

With regard to the ambient noise try another way. Rather than running noise reduction which can degrade the quality of all of your vocals try analysing the portion of silence you reordered using amplitude statistics and either set a noise gate or downward expander from the peak amplitude of the “silence” achieved from the amplitude statistics scab. Use the effect from the dynamics settings to try and remove any background noise that way setting the level to be careful not clip out any of the audio you want to keep by having your threshold set too high.

Alternatively, ask the station what if you can voice track direct into their play out software. Certainly when I’ve voice tracked before using Zetta I did a whole hour into under 15 minutes. That may be your quickest way and the bonus is, if set correctly, Zetta will normalise your voice tracks as you commit each one to the log.

Hi

Thanks for that. A lot to absorb. I’ve never used multi tracks before. So I’ll have to figure out how to do that. Typically in my 50 minute recording I use about 10 different songs. I guess it would not be viable to have a separate track for each song on the screen at once. I using a large iMac screen for the recordings so I have plenty of screen available.

I’m using a NT-USB Røde “Versatile Studio-Quality USB Microphone”. Money is an issue.

Is there a video on YouTube I can watch to learn about multi tracks? I subscribed to your channel.

I’m a perfectionist and want the best product I can give - which I know is not what’s happening now. I’m really excited to be getting your input - and very grateful.

Kind regards
Paul Fordyce

Hi Paul

If it helps you out I can make a short video this evening showing you the basics of what I said to do? Obviously using songs I’ll have to be careful how much plays to not just have it pulled straight back off YouTube due to copyright but I’m sure I short video would be ok with copyright.

I know that probably seems a lot to take in, especially with you being new to audition but I think that way will give you a decent quality output.

Hi Mark

that would be great.

I have used many programmes at fairly high levels. I just have no previous experience recording audio like this.

That would be much appreciated. I really want to give the best product I’m capable of

Kind regards
Paul Fordyce

If I don’t get it done tonight I’ll do it tomorrow once my son goes to bed and stick it up on YouTube.

It’s by no means the definitive way to do it but hopefully it’ll help you a little.

Mark

Any help will be appreciated. I just bought the programme and started using it straight away. As I said I have no previous background with recording so any improvement in my technique is exponential.

Thanks
Paul

Hi Mark

When you get the video done and uploaded can you give me the link?

Thanks
Paul

Hi Paul

Sorry, had a manic two weeks including having to rebuild my PC to trouble shoot an issue.

I don’'t have OBS set on my PC at the moment so I won’t be able to make a video until that’s done.

The process above should get you what you want. Bear in mind you don’t want to be shooting for a flat line wave form when you mix down otherwise that will sound awful when it runs through the station processing.

What you’re looking for is your peaks to be around a uniform level. That’s dynamic range which music has and so does vocal work. By getting the peaks all around the same level you can then safely leave the station’s processing to deal with the rest of the levelling.

Resist the temptation to apply compression or harsh hard limiting - this would end up as virtual comression - to your mix. The only way I’d say to use hard limiting would be to trim any excess peaks so in that case you’d want to set your maximum amplitude but set the input gain to zero so it just stops audio from creeping above your target db level.

Hope this helps

Hi Mark

thanks - real life gets in the way!

Understood.

Regards
Paul

I will do it when I get the time to re-install and re-configure the software but I’ve been working off my laptop for a while now due to a PC issue that was solved with a hardware and software rebuild.