background noise PROGS ON FROGS

February the 15th was our first day recording for our podcast, The Frog Queen from Saturn and I learned a few things! I have no previous experience doing voice recordings and I’m writing these posts to chart my progress. I thought it might be interesting to see how someone who knows absolutely nothing, solve common recording issues for the first time.

What goes wrong first? Quite a few things. First, we had to set up the equipment. Here’s what I’m using:

Asus computer
Shure 57 microphone and stand
Cheap vinyl pop filter
Behringer UMC404 HD audio interface
Adobe Audition

I had set up my equipment once before in the past and was greatly concerned about the amount of noise I picked up. I attempted to create a makeshift sound booth in one of our closets. It didn’t really work out. Also, we could not afford to lose the storage space. So, I packed up everything, including the blankets I had nailed to the closet walls. Since I couldn’t figure out what was wrong I didn’t return to the problem for a while.

Flash forward many months where our writing material is in more of a position to be recorded and the pressure to know what I’m doing has increased. I set up again. At one point my USB cable malfunctioned, leading me to waste a lot of time trying to figure out why Audition didn’t recognize my mic. I replaced the cable and it worked. The noise surprisingly, wasn’t that bad, despite it being summer with everyone running their ACs on top of multiple fans. I was relieved.
There was still some noise being picked up, though. I was hesitant to put Ken (the creator and voice actor) through the trouble of recording his lines. Would I be able to remove it? I googled it and found this:

This link shows a few ways to reduce noise. I used only one method that day.


If you follow these steps you get a window that looks like this


Reading this again, I realize I might have done something incorrectly. The blue line that you drag around may need to follow the gap between high and low frequencies. I was basically tracing the yellow line with it. So, I may have reduced the quality of my recording…I’ll have to test that again out later.

With the noise sufficiently reduced we began recording. Just six lines. Ken was playing a breathless old man named twenty fourteen, or 2014. We stole inspiration from Everett from Back at the Barnyard and the Grand Legumes from Camp Lazlo. We ran into some problems with plosives. They appear when blows air on the microphone which distorts the sound. I go into more detail in part two which you can check out here