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Thread: Recording with Blue Yeti

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
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    Default Recording with Blue Yeti

    Hi,

    I have been using my Blue Yeti for recording for the Seasons of the Ukulele here on UU for a while, but I am not sure I am getting the best results that the mike can deliver. Lately I have found that when I raise the level of the tracks to match the sound level of other youtube videos, the sound gets distorted.
    So a few suggestions would be welcome.
    I know that I could get a real setup rather than a USB mic, but I really want to get the best from what I have.

    My setup:
    I use a tabletop PC with Audacity and a Blue Yeti USB microphone.

    Recording style:
    I want to record vocals and ukulele simultaniously, to sync into my video. Recording one track at the time has advantages, but I have little time to do it, I don't play very tight so it often sounds a mess, and the video recording would require a lot more work also. So I stick with both at the same time.

    Current modus operandi:
    Audacity is entry volume is set to 7/10.
    Blue Yeti gain is set right in the middle
    I record in Stereo mode.
    I set on a stool with the mike on the dining table. The ukulele, my mouth and the mike forming a triangle with 1,5-2 feet sides. At least I try to accomplish that.
    With these settings the graphic indicators in Audacity on the screen show response without going nuts.

    I have read recommendations for stereo mode for stringed instruments, but also recommendations for cardioid mode for all recordings. I dont know how much the effect depends on how close you are to the microphone. If I record one thing at the time, being able to place the uke just e foot from the mike or less, I guess that cardioid will be clearer and you dont get any stereo effect from the room anyway. But how about with my setup, where I am further away anyway?

    And how to turn up the volume - gain, input level, or adjusting it in Audacity afterwards?
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Default

    This is my main acoustic mic as well for awhile now and I think it can be used to get at least semi-professional results.

    If you're getting a decent level recorded without clipping, that's the most important step, and there is a lot you can do afterwards to improve it. I haven't really worked with Audacity so I don't know what all effects it is capable of, but in Reason, I will take out some noise first. There are dedicated noise reduction plugins available but even a simple high pass filter can work wonders. Next I'll often use a compressor and/or limiter to raise the overall level, again without introducing clipping which is probably where your distortion is coming from.

    Recording and editing/processing are skills just like playing and singing, and it takes practice and trial&error to figure out what works for your environment.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Denmark
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    Default

    So what I get here is that I should raise the volume with a more clever function than just the volume slider for the track.
    And if there is some clipping, that I just can't hear untill I crank it up, I guess I must turn down the gain.

    Any Audacity users who has a simple standard procedure out there?
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  4. #4
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    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by UkingViking View Post
    So what I get here is that I should raise the volume with a more clever function than just the volume slider for the track.
    And if there is some clipping, that I just can't hear untill I crank it up, I guess I must turn down the gain.
    You can use the volume slider but the problem is you can't push it any further than the loudest point is quiet, if that makes sense. In other words, say the loudest recorded point goes up to -5db. You can boost the volume slider by 5db without having that loud point clip. But the rest of your track might still be down around, I dunno, -20db. You can't make that part louder with the volume slider without clipping the loud point.

    There is a feature call Normalize or Normalization in most audio editors that essentially does this for you. It boosts the level of the clip so that the loudest point is at 0db. If you want to go further, you're gonna have to use a compressor.

    Google "how does an audio compressor work" or try this as a starting point:
    https://www.uaudio.com/blog/audio-compression-basics/

    To your question about turning down the gain, I assume you mean the gain on the mic. You need to do that if the recording itself is clipping. You can see that in the waveform on screen. If it is "topping out" and it sounds distorted at that point with the volume slider at "0" (i.e. "unity"), then yes, you need to back off the gain or sit further away.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Oct 2015
    Location
    Denmark
    Posts
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    Default

    Just found time to study a bit more, I must try these things next time I record.

    So I can normalize
    Do conscious editing like removing noise etc.
    Listen if the volume is all right
    If not compress and normalize again

    Or something like that.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2013
    Location
    JoCo, NC (near Raleigh)
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    4,625

    Default

    Yeah, like anything, takes practice and trial and error.
    Ukulele:
    Iriguchi Tenor "Weeble" - A, WoU Clarity
    Blue Star 19" baritone Konablaster - DGBE
    Cocobolo 16" SC#1-gCEA, SC SLMU
    Ono #42 19" baritone, Ab, LW
    Imua iET-Bb, M600
    Covered Bridge CLN pineapple - Eb cuatro, SC XLL
    Rogue bari
    Bonanza super tenor, cFAD SC LHU
    Kala KSLNG, Eb SC XLU
    Flea soprano, C LW
    Hanson 5-string tenor, dGCEA
    Bonanza SLN GCEA
    Bonanzalele concert
    Guitars:
    Jupiter #47, G, TI CF127
    Pelem, A, EJ45LP

    !Flukutronic!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Minneapolis, MN, USA
    Posts
    1,429

    Default

    As Jim says "practice and trial and error". I find that getting the track right in the beginning is more successful than "Noise Removal". I almost always use normalization after recording a track, but if I have done a lot of clipping I just record again or just record over the problem areas.
    I am the best ukulele player on my block!

  8. #8
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    Denmark
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    Oops, tried to submit a post and accidentially made some kind of report. How do I take it back?

    I have no clue what I clicked for that to happen.
    Ohana SK30M mahogany super-soprano, Cort UKEBWCOP Blackwood concert, Anuenue African Mahogany Tenor, Fluke Koa Tenor, Hora M1176 spruce Tenor

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Herts, UK
    Posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by UkingViking View Post
    Oops, tried to submit a post and accidentially made some kind of report. How do I take it back?

    I have no clue what I clicked for that to happen.
    Don't worry about it. I figured out what had happened when I saw the report.

    You'd be surprised how often it happens. I've probably done it myself.
    And whether the blood be highland, lowland or no,
    And whether the skin be black or white as the snow,
    Of kith and of kin we are one, be it right, be it wrong,
    As long as our hearts beat true to the lilt of a song.

  10. #10
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    Aug 2016
    Location
    Texas
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    Default

    I listen to most of your recordings Mikkel, and for what it's worth I think you're getting a great live sound. I haven't noticed any distortion, but I'll pay closer attention in the future to see if I can hear any and let you know!

    I've used the Blue Yeti mic for a lot of my SOTU live recordings. I record directly into iMovie, which has very few editing features. I try to spend most of my time before recording getting the hottest signal I can get without overs. The best way to do this is put on a pair of headphones and turn up the gain to the point of distorting and then backing it off a bit. The only thing I do afterwords is normalize and that does seem to help tame the highs and bring the lows up.

    I believe Jon uses audacity and he could probably give you some pointers there. It obviously allows tons of editing features, including EQ, compression, reverb etc. Near the top of my to do list is to learn how to record my live videos simultaneously into in Logic Pro, where I can tweak them and then line up the mixed & mastered audio with the video again.

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