View Full Version : Ways to improve sound quality on youtube?

Dan Uke
10-11-2012, 02:57 PM
I just purchased a Zoom H2N digital recorder to improve the sound quality of my videos. How many use mics, digital recorders, and other methods to improve the sound quality?

I would like to read what setups you have including type of mics, recorders, mixers, preamps, software, etc. Thanks in advance

10-11-2012, 03:58 PM
I just use the above microphone then I do some tweaking in Garage band then put it back into imovie .
I wanted simplicity and the ability to travel with my microphone.
I have a feeling that microphone setups can get pretty technical and really expensive fast.
But I am also curious about other setups that I could use to also improve my recording ability

10-11-2012, 04:13 PM
I use a Zoom H1 as a USB mic when I record in iMovie. Works great.

10-12-2012, 12:52 AM
I recently bought a Zoom H4n which seems like an incredible mic. I don't have much experience in this area so I don't know if I can help you out much, but the Zooms have great reviews and seem to top the list of portable, reasonably priced mics. Athens, GA where I live is a huge music town and many sound engineers use them for their live recordings. That said, there are a number of videos on youtube about the mic and how to use and tweak it. My use has been similar to those who use it as an independent mic and then drop the sound track into a video editing program. Make sure you use a loud noise (that's why movie folks use those clap boards) so that the sound is easily synchronized with the video. When that's done you just edit out that portion of the video (duh). cheers, g2

10-12-2012, 01:55 AM
Daniel -

I've got a Zoom H4n also and the onboard mics sound great if you have the recording volume set properly. Just do a test run and make sure that the recording level isn't set too high or that you're sitting to close to the mic - I find it's really easy to record too loud and end up with a track with lots of spikes and distortion.

I seem to remember you downloading Audacity recently - like loonie says upthread, you can import your recording into Audacity (or GarageBand for mac) and clean it up and tweak it. Follow Gary's advice about syncing it up with the video in your video editing program - just be sure to delete the audio portion from the original video clip after you get it all synced up.

10-12-2012, 09:09 AM
I have an Edirol R09 recorder. Very expensive when I bought it, but quality. They are cheaper now but still more expensive than the Zoom recorders which seem to get good write ups. I use Audacity to tweak the recordings.

The main thing with these digital recorders is to make sure your record level is such that you are not peaking all the time. The Edirol has a peak level LED, I presume the Zoom will too. Make sure that it isn't flashing all the time, preferably not at all. I have found that it does no harm to record at a relatively low level (not too low, but well below peak so there is no peaking at all) and then use the amplification function in Audacity to set the level you desire after you've done "tweaking" the recording.

Much of the time, I simply use the output from my video camera. I have a Panasonic video camera with built in stereo condenser mics which seem pretty good. Certainly good enough for You Tube videos, so much of the time, I simply use the inbuilt sound on the videos.

I think it's as well to bear in mind that the You Tube conversion process can degrade your videos, so I generally use medium quality but I do do some basic editing of the videos before uploading them, mainly just cutting out the beginning and end to remove me going to the camera to turn it on and off. I also usually add a fade in and fade out as I think it looks better.

I'm a Linux user so, apart from Audacity, I probably use a different set of tools from most people.

10-12-2012, 09:39 AM
I had a digital recorder , [not a zoom but like it] and wasn't happy with the quality and had a hard time with synching..sold it and bought a Shure vocal mic,and a cheap instrument mic; which I am replacing[it's prone to feedback], with a Shure SM57. these mics are workhorses, even pro's use them. I thought going this route would be more versatile as I can use these with my loudbox amp . I've been posting to the seasons. going right into windows movie maker[too cheap for a MAC] . FOR THIS SET-UP you need a analog to digital pre amp . I use a USB DUAL PRE. 2 CHANNELS and accepts mic or instrument cables. so if your instrument has a pickup you only need one mic. today I plugged into my amp so I could experiment with using the chorus and reverb built into my amp. I usually use no effects, but after seeing some of the things weeginga was doing I thought I'd give it a try. I think this set
up may be more expensive in the short run, but I think more versitle than a usb mic. and the equipment has a pretty good resale, there are tons of Shure 57&58s on ebay. they ARE PRETTY HARD TO KILL. HERE'S A LiNK TO MY FIRST ATTEMPT at some chorus and reverb , coming out of the line out on my amp, through the usb pre, and into moviemaker. oh, and I just record the video with my web cam, so no synching.
that being said, I wish I hadn't sold my recorder so I could record outside. I guess I could use my laptop, but it is not as handy as a zoom.hope this helps

Dan Uke
10-12-2012, 09:53 AM
Those are great advice

10-12-2012, 10:46 AM
Just remember to upload your video(with improved audio track) to 720p+, so youtube can encode it to at least 720p. The sound quality of youtube 720p video is way better than 480p or below.

10-12-2012, 12:39 PM
I use a Shure 58 microphone when I feel like taking time to set it up. I use a Presonus audiobox USB interface direct to the laptop. The drivers for the audiobox will go wonky at the drop of a hat though (plugging in a usb web cam kills the audio from the presonus even though it's still showing as connected, for example). Once that happens you actually have to reboot to get the audio back. WHich explains why I don't fool with the mic unless I have time to set both the mic and my little Flip camera up.

The built-in audio in the flip is actually very good but prone to background noise (especially from the AC) because the microphone is so far from the audio source.

Whatever I use for the initial recording, I then kick the audio over to Audacity for a little cleanup - usually noise removal and sometimes a bit of reverb, then join it back to the video in Corel. Even when I'm not doing anything to the audio and using audio from the camera I find it helps to export it to MP3 and then sync it back in Corel Video Pro as a separate pre-compressed audio track. Otherwise, when Corel outputs the movie it really screws up the audio - adding very noticeable clicks during the compression - extremely annoying in a program I paid good money for!

Sometimes for something very quick and/or silly I'll just use the web cam but you have to be VERY careful not to overdrive the audio with those. Even with the AGC turned off and the mic volume turned down the Microsuck LifeCam will overdrive the audio very easily.

Finally, be advised that YouTube recompresses the video when formatting it for their site and sometimes they screw up the audio pretty bad - on some occasions I think they've even converted my stereo audio to mono. If you really want a good clean sound sample, such as for evaluating instruments or comparing A and B the way to go is with an audio sharing site like soundcloud.com where you can upload a good quality MP3 and they don't screw with it.

In general, I've found that webcam AGC is much poorer than the AGC in even a simple little video camera like the Flip HD. The AGC is too slow to reduce gain, and too fast to restore gain, so anything strummed tends to have horrible distortion at the leading edges of the strum.

Oh...and finally...lest I forget - I've used the iPad a couple of times. THe audio is pretty good - about on a par with the Flip HD but the iPad has a wider-angle lens so is typically closer to you for less background noise. I just wish that the new iPad had increased the resolution of the front camera as it would be really nice to record in HD and see what you're doing. Unfortunately, only the back camera is HD.


10-12-2012, 01:48 PM
Not that I make videos, but I really really wish I had an Apogee mIc, their mic that plugs into the iPad. I prefer ipad recording since it clips so easily to the mic stand, and the ease of importing and exporting to and from GB on mac and iPad. There's no USB pre that will do that and power an xlr mic, not unless you want to pay way more than if you just got the mIc. I've given up waiting on the Spark Digital, and Blue as a company has been generally awful anyway. I've got a Blue Snowball right now, and it suuuuuuuuuucks. It's like recording AM radio, it's that noisy, and generally useless.

I say this to save anyone the heartache of thinking they can cope with the Snowball. Just about anything else will be a better choice.

10-12-2012, 09:54 PM
I have a Rode Nt3, I think. I bought purely because the company are Australian.

10-12-2012, 10:22 PM
I usually plug my Audio Technica AT202 USB condenser mic to my MacBook Pro and record the audio through GarageBand and use iMovie to record the video. Then I sync the audio in iMovie. But if I'm in a hurry I'll just use the built-in speakers of the Mac or whatever camera I'm using. I've also gotten good results from my Edirol R09.

10-12-2012, 10:42 PM
It sucks that when people listen they often don't switch to 720 which gives much better audio. There are thousands of ways to go about this but I can add a tip to the discussion. For those of you recording separate audio and syncing, get some good headphones and move around your mic to different positions while you are playing or have someone else play while you move it around and see what a difference mic placement makes. Perhaps most are already keen to this but thought I would mention. Also the new Final Cut Pro X, while I hate it, I use it for a reason. Automatic Sync. This really comes in handy with multi cam sync but is quite a bit quicker even for a single shot. That and it is so incredibly fast. There is no render time and lightning export. Somehow I still take forever gettin it done

10-12-2012, 11:57 PM
Hi, I'm new here but I thought I would put in my two bobs worth. I record with professional microphones, Audix VX5 (condenser) for instruments and often vocals and an Audix OM2 and Behringer XM8500 for vocals amongst others. Then into a mixer, a converter interface (Behringer uca-202),new mixers have the interface (USB) built in, computer and I use Garageband. What this setup gives me is versatility. You can use the setup for recording or live performance. You need to learn how to use a mixer (gain structure) and microphone setup techniques to get the best results but when you do the results can be very good. Here's my latest and greatest recording with an acoustic baritone ukulele and a Jupiter Creek solid body electric, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TSXd0vUzfaw


Dan Uke
10-13-2012, 06:04 AM
One thing I realize is that there is options for everyone.

I have a friend who's a pro and I wanted a digital recorder that I can also use attached to my Canon 7D and he recommended the Zoom H4N for the price range I was considering. Most of the stuff he had laying around his house, I couldn't consider since they were expensive but reading everyone's setup, people spend money on equipment.

Maybe I should have spent more money on the H4N since it has an XLR input for a mic...

10-18-2012, 05:58 AM
Unlike a previous poster, I love the Blue Snowball. What I can't stand are latency issues, and that's why I currently don't do much multitracking. I expect to just plug something in and boom - it works, so if it doesn't, there's only "so much" time I'll spend messing around trying to "fix" things. Anyway, for me the Snowball works well for capturing audio that is a uke and singer. I've recorded other things with it, but generally just uke/vocals. If you're getting too much background noise, you can make a booth for it and that works really well. Harlan Hogan has instructions on making one. I can't speak to the video side of things though.
It's a jungle out there... :o

10-18-2012, 11:29 AM
Regarding multi track computer recordings and latency (delay). I've certainly had to deal with this in the past and it can be painful but I've found that if I shut down every other program on my base model mini mac, even mail and only have Garageband open then I don't have any noticeable latency to deal with. I can monitor previous tracks in headphones perfectly.


10-18-2012, 11:41 AM
Although I have several Shure SM-58 mics, and a Shure mixer, AND an MXL USB mic, I usually just use my Kodak Playsport ZX3. I put it on a tripod, try and center myself in the frame (not always successfully!), and push "record".

If I had lots of time, I'd invest in a reasonable piece of software that would allow me to multitrack (And a camera that has an audio in jack!), but for now, this works.


10-18-2012, 10:21 PM
Although I have several Shure SM-58 mics, and a Shure mixer, AND an MXL USB mic, I usually just use my Kodak Playsport ZX3. I put it on a tripod, try and center myself in the frame (not always successfully!), and push "record".


Most of the time with You Tube, that's all that's needed. With the amount of compression they apply there seems little point in having studio quality equipment or anything near it.

I do much the same but sometimes I extract the audio and add a bit of FX.

I am considering getting a reasonable quality mic but that's because our band are starting to get a few bookings.