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Thread: What tricks in Audacity (or other software) to make Ukulele sounds better

  1. #1

    Default What tricks in Audacity (or other software) to make Ukulele sounds better

    Recently I recorded a simple piece and wanted to use Audacity to make it better. There is only Ukulele, no voice, no singing.
    This is the first time I use a USB Condenser microphone and a decent Ukulele to record the sound. The result is not bad. The dry sound is already decent.
    What I did in Audacity is to reduce the noise, then increase the volume by increasing the "gain".
    I tried to add Reverb. No matter I set the "room size" to 25 or 75, it sounds distorted. Then I left out the reverb.

    The final result is just reducing noise, and increasing the gain. So the sound is dry.

    It sounds not bad. But I watched a lot of videos, apparently they have the sound processed and it sounds a little "wet" but nice to listen.
    I did some search and seems most advice is to reduce the noise and add reverb.
    I'm wondering if there are any other tricks to make the sound "wet" while good sounding.
    I use Tenor Ukulele, if that matters.

    Thanks
    Last edited by wqking; 04-29-2021 at 03:47 PM.

  2. #2

    Default

    Hello there.

    1.
    I would advise preventing the need to increase volume by increasing the 'gain' in Audacity.
    This will contribute to noise and adversely affect overall quality.

    Rather, ensure the "Recording Volume" is sufficiently high so that the raw recording is at an appropriate level.
    Audacity's Recording Volume should be integrated with Windows.

    If your mic is not capable of getting a sufficient overall volume level even when "Recording Volume" is set to 100% - you may consider getting a better mic.

    Ensure that the mic is close to the source of sound (eg: Ukulele), maybe about 10-15cm away.
    Ensure that your input is "Mono" rather than "Stereo". Sometimes Audacity defaults to Stereo recording input, which is a problem since it doubles the signal being recorded.



    2.
    Reducing noise via Audacity could potentially affect overall sound quality. All recording setups contribute a bit of noise, but you should be able to record at sufficient volume with minimal noise. If your recording generates a lot of noise relative to the recorded sound, then it could be a problem with your mic/mic preamp or computer.

    By "noise" I am referring to the subtle electronic 'hiss', not physical noises (such as cars driving past, etc).




    3.
    Regarding Reverb, I would recommend using the "Gverb" plugin in Audacity.
    I find it easier to use than the "Reverb" plugin. Some newer versions of Audacty might not have "Gverb" any more, and you will have to look online and add it yourself.

    These settings are considered the "Quick Fix" in Gverb.
    You can increase the Room Size and Reverb Time to your liking if you want it to echo more:

    Roomsize: 40 m2
    Reverb time: 4 s
    Damping: 0.9
    Input bandwidth: 0.75
    Dry signal level: 0 dB
    Early reflection level: -22 dB
    Tail level: -28 dB
    Last edited by kissing; 04-29-2021 at 06:14 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Usually EQ and reverb will help the uke sound most natural. If you post a clip we could probably give better advice. Gold in, gold out is the saying so if you're mic is good there might not be much left to do.
    Brad Bordessa

    6th Sense Course - Learn to play Hawaiian-style, 6th harmonies

    Listen to my ʻukulele podcast!

  4. #4
    Join Date
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    I can only wish you the best of luck.

    I have recorded myself playing ukulele and singing quite a few times using Audacity. Every time I have tried to make any enhancements it has come out horrible. So I gave up and focused on getting a raw recording that I liked good enough that I only needed to adjust the volume a bit.
    Pros will record in a sound dead environment and add reverb. I would just record in a room with slightly longer reverberance and keep it. Like said before, keep the mic level so you will only need to turn up the volume a bit afterwards. You don't want clipping in the input, where it is recorded higher than the pc can play it, and you can't expect to hit the exact level you want. So a little gain will be needed.

    Since I spend $50 on Reaper, a DAW where you can experiment with EQ etc without altering the input file, I have begun experimenting a bit more with EQ, reverb, compression and limiting. I am still horrible at it, so I guess I shouldnt make too many suggestions. I will only say that I dont find it easy.
    Audacity will to my ears give you just a good quality on the raw recording, but working with clicktracks and enhancements works so much better in Reaper.
    I have to admit that I think some of my old un-edited Audacity recordings sound better than my recent "enhanced" Reaper recordings. Perhaps due to the room of recording. Perhaps because I try to reach a special LUFS level and mess with compression that I am not good at. What I mean to say is, dont underestimate a good unaltered recording if you are an amateur like me not knowing the ways around EQ etc.
    Last edited by UkingViking; 04-29-2021 at 11:45 PM.
    Playing:
    Anuenue AMM tenor - Magic Fluke Koa Tenor - Cocobolo concert - Kamaka Tiki concert - Cort concert - Ohana LN soprano.

  5. #5

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    Thanks all for the good tips and advice.


    Quote Originally Posted by kissing View Post
    Hello there.
    Reducing noise via Audacity could potentially affect overall sound quality. All recording setups contribute a bit of noise, but you should be able to record at sufficient volume with minimal noise. If your recording generates a lot of noise relative to the recorded sound, then it could be a problem with your mic/mic preamp or computer.

    By "noise" I am referring to the subtle electronic 'hiss', not physical noises (such as cars driving past, etc).
    Eventually I found the noise is from that the mic is too near to my computer. After I move the mic 10cm away, the noise is not notice-able. During my that test I realized a Headphone jack on the mic is so useful, it enables me to listen to and ajust the mic in real time without recording the sound.

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