For those of you who don’t already know, I’ve been working on recording my novel (Half Past Midnight) for presentation as a podcast novel for Podiobooks.com. I did a promo using my standard settings and procedure, and posted it on podiobooks.com for review. Unfortunately, I only received two reviews, both of which indicated that there was a slight problem with the sound quality, but neither of which had any idea what the problem actually was. With no other input available, I decided to continue work on recording the actual novel, with the idea that I would end up submitting the first episode to Podiobooks.com and get some good critiques via the submission process.
Unfortunately, I got carried away with the recording process and after the first episode, just kept going. I had the vocals for four episodes ready to go through and lay down music and sound effects, when I figured out (I think) what my problem was.
I was taking the raw feed from my readings, editing out all the breathing and stammering to get a decent base track, then running it through GoldWave Editor Pro for noise reduction, then running the resulting wav file through Levelator to level the sound, then filling with music and sound effects. I couldn’t find anything wrong with my process no matter how many times I looked it over. Still, the sound quality just wasn’t good enough.
I finally noticed that the mic I’m using was set to record the source in a 16 bit mp3 format. There was nothing wrong with my process. I was suffering from a classic case of gigo (garbage in, garbage out). My process was doing the best it could with the low quality source material I was feeding into it.
So today, while home sick, I took advantage of having an empty house, shut off the air conditioning, draped the blankets up in the closet, reset my mic to record in 32 bit wave format, and started over with the whole thing. And let me tell you, recording in an upstairs closet, with no air conditioning, in Houston, Texas… I was VERY happy to get the a/c back on!
I re-recorded the first two chapters, and will work later on running the new source files through the whole process again. I also plan to re-record the promo here shortly. Hopefully that will be a faster way to test my theory. If I can post the new promo on Podiobooks.com and get some more input (hopefully positive), then that should confirm whether or not I’m on the right track.