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8 Biggest Pain Points in the Audio Engineering Process and How to Fix Them
Dolby.io

Audio engineering consists of more than just buying the best microphone and pressing the record button. It’s a complicated process full of challenges and bumps in the road, which can quickly become overwhelming.

1. Background Noises

Background noises consist of any unwanted external sound that accompanies your audio. That can include dogs barking, kids playing, or any off-mic conversations happening outside the recording.

The Solution: Use Dolby.io’s Media Processing API

Thankfully, removing background noise is very easy with the right technology. Dolby.io’s Media Processing API allows audio engineers to remove background noise in within minutes.

With our adaptive noise reduction technology, you can detect and reduce background noise from any track. The software isolates your voice from the background so the listener can understand each word.

Another good tip is to create an environment where background noises are less likely to occur. For example, make sure to turn off any electronic devices (such as televisions or the AC) that create extra noise.

2. Reverberation and Echo

Echo is the delayed hearing of a soundwave, which makes audio dialogue hard to understand. It usually happens when you’re recording in large, empty rooms with lots of surfaces to bounce sound off.

The Solution: Use Sound Absorption Panels Across Your Recording Studio

Reducing reverberation and echo in your audio starts by optimizing your recording environment. You can prevent it by using sound absorption panels that catch sound waves before they become an echo. In addition to sound panels, using acoustic foam in your studio further reduces audio resonance.

3. Audio With Different Guests Mixed Together

It’s common for business owners who run podcasts to invite multiple guests onto their episodes. Unfortunately, this can also create problems for producers during the audio engineering process.

Editing recordings (such as podcasts) where multiple guests are together can quickly turn messy. Recording everything on the same track makes it harder to independently clean and mix each participant’s section.

The Solution: Record Separate Tracks for Each Guest

By recording each participant on separate tracks, you get more flexibility in managing the overall quality. It’s easier to clean and edit each track and results in a higher-quality production after mixing.

The best way to set this up is through the use of tools such as GarageBand. All you have to do is launch a new project on GarageBand, click the track menu, and choose “Enable multitrack recording.” That’s it!

4. Wind Noise From Outdoor Recordings

External recordings come with various mixing challenges that you don’t find indoors. One of them is wind noise, which creates a loud bass sound and rumble that reduces the intelligibility of your audio.

As frustrating as wind noise can be, you can avoid it by using the right equipment. Covering your microphone with a fur windscreen can block wind from hitting it and protect your audio quality.

Now, what do you do if you’re mixing audio that already has wind noise after the fact? Don’t worry—it’s not the end of the world: You can use a high-pass filter in your audio software to reduce the noise’s impact on your track. It’s an equalizer tool that eliminates low-frequency signals from your audio source while allowing high frequencies to pass through.

5. Plosives in Vocals

You run into plosives whenever you’re recording someone speaking. Plosives are annoying, popping sounds in your audio that occur whenever a speaker uses heavy consonants (such as the pa, ba, or fasounds). The air in the speaker’s mouth causes the mic’s capsule to overload, which ruins your sound quality.

The Solution: Install a Pop Filter on Your Microphone

A pop filter works as a noise protection filter to reduce popping sounds in your audio. It’s a mesh screen you affix to your mic stand that eliminates fast-moving air into your microphone.

Or, you can also use Dolby.io API’s plosive reduction feature to ensure the speech on your audio stays clear. All it takes is a couple of lines of code in our software to weaken the sound of plosives on your track.

6. Sibilance

Sibilance consists of overproduction of s, t, and z sounds in your audio. You typically find sibilance in the upper-frequency range of 5 kHz–8kHz, which creates a sharp, distracting hiss sound for the listener.

The microphone you use can also have a significant impact on your audio’s sibilance. Some mics can minimize it, while others make the sibilance sounds in the recordings even worse.

The Solution: Leverage Dolby.io API’s Sibilance Reduction Feature

Dolby.io’s Media Processing API does all the hard work for you when it comes to eliminating sibilance from your audio. Our sibilance reduction feature instantly takes care of accented s and x sounds to deliver a smoother dialogue from each speaker you’re recording.

Another tactic is to keep an appropriate distance from the speaker and microphone. Doing so helps put less pressure on the mic and allows vocals to flow better.

7. Distorted Audio

Distorted audio sounds like it’s breaking up and creates a fuzzy tone to your recording. It occurs when your recording equipment can’t handle your track’s high audio levels.

The Solution: Fix Your Audio Levels With Dolby.io Media Processing API

You’re likely setting up your audio levels too high without realizing it. It all comes down to finding the right sound balance to reduce the impact of distortion on your track.

Dolby.io Media Processing API fixes your audio levels through loudness correction and dynamics processing to ensure balance across your track. It’ll ensure that you set the correct recording levels and avoid distortion.

8. Radio Frequency Interference

Radio frequency interference refers to any chirping, ticking, or clicking sounds in your track. It can come from various devices around you, such as cell phones, AM radios, and televisions. Audio cables can also be a big culprit.

Interference creates an extra hurdle for producing the highest-quality sound, especially when you’re unsure where it’s coming from. It’s also very frustrating and annoying for your listener to hear.

The Solution: Move Routers, Cell Phones, and Other Devices Away From Your Recording Equipment

To overcome radio frequency interference, make sure to move any device that can interfere away from where you’re recording. You must also make sure to turn off all cellular devices so they don’t release any signal.

If all of that doesn’t work, consider switching your recording location instead. You might be recording next to objects you can’t move (such as radio towers) that are interfering with your audio.

Bypass Audio Engineering Issues Before They Happen

Recording and mixing audio doesn’t have to be a headache. By applying these tips and tricks, you’re on your way to creating a more productive audio engineering process.

It all starts with proper preparation. You need to be mindful of the steps to take—such as optimizing your recording environment and buying the right microphone protection—before recording a single sound.

For sound issues that you can’t fix on your own, however, that’s where we can help. Dolby.io provides you with all the tools you need to deliver high-quality sound. Talk with one of our experts to learn more about our software today.

Tags: audio-engineering
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