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Author Topic: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!  (Read 6052 times)

rightmindedness

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I'm having a serious audio recording problem using two Sennheiser MKE 2 lavalier mics in close proximity. Here's the situation. My wife and I are recording a live video broadcast. We sit directly next to each other facing a video camera. There's only about 6 inches between our chairs. I speak very loudly. She speaks very quietly. Both mics are going into a Mackie Onyx mixer. My mic is going into input 1 (track 1). Her mic is going into input 2 (track 2). I'm recording both tracks using Apple Logic Pro.

My voice is so loud that her microphone picks it up quite loudly. Her soft voice is picked up by my microphone but not very much. When I listen to both tracks combined, my voice sounds horrible. When I listen to my voice only on Track 1, it sounds fine. It's too difficult and time-consuming to go through our entire three-hour video broadcast afterwards and somehow cut out or mute each other's voices from our individual tracks. You can hear what each of our recordings sound like using the links below:

My mic soloed on Track 1 - http://www.thevoiceforlove.com/mics/Me%20-%20Track%201.wav
My mic on Track 1 and Track 2 - http://www.thevoiceforlove.com/mics/Me%20-%20Track%201&2.wav
Her mic soloed on Track 2 - http://www.thevoiceforlove.com/mics/Wife%20-%20Track%202.wav
Her mic on both Track 1 and Track 2 - http://www.thevoiceforlove.com/mics/Wife%20-%20Track%201&2.wav

These tracks have not been edited at all. Besides getting myself to talk more quietly, does anybody have any suggestions on what I could do to solve this problem with my voice sounding horrible? Without training myself to talk more quietly, what could I do so that each of our voices sound better, mind especially? Is there anything I can do so that neither of our voices are picked up by the other person's mic? Is there any piece of hardware I could purchase to solve this problem? I would really appreciate anyone's help. Thank you very much.
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Tim Halligan

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2011, 06:41:20 am »

I deal with this on almost a daily basis.

My wife and I are recording a live video broadcast.

Well...first of all, if you're recording it - it ain't a live broadcast. :)

I speak very loudly. She speaks very quietly.

Yep. There's the problem.

The loudest sound at the mic wins.


When I listen to both tracks combined, my voice sounds horrible.

Yep. You're hearing phase issues caused by 1 source (your voice) now having 2 arrival times...coupled with the fact that you've had to crank up the gain on your wife to get her level in the same ballpark as you.

It's too difficult and time-consuming to go through our entire three-hour video broadcast afterwards and somehow cut out or mute each other's voices from our individual tracks.

Hire a dialogue editor maybe?

Besides getting myself to talk more quietly, does anybody have any suggestions on what I could do to solve this problem with my voice sounding horrible? Without training myself to talk more quietly, what could I do so that each of our voices sound better, mind especially?

The fastest way to fix this is to hire a broadcast operator to mix the show "as live".

Is there anything I can do so that neither of our voices are picked up by the other person's mic?

No. Broadcast guys deal with this every day. It's all about managing the spill.

Is there any piece of hardware I could purchase to solve this problem?

No. A gate or expander would certainly get her out of your mic...but that's not the problem. A gate on her would be opened by your voice, so there is no benefit to be found there.


I would really appreciate anyone's help. Thank you very much.

No prob.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Tim
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jaykadis

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2011, 11:42:56 am »

I'd try a single omnidirectional mic placed where the balance between the voices is correct.  The louder voice might sound a little more reverberant if the room isn't dead. 

rightmindedness

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #3 on: June 10, 2011, 12:23:52 pm »

Thanks guys for your input. I really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

It sounds like I do need to get an omnidirectional mic placed above both of us. What would be the best quality mic I could get for under $500?  Would I want to get an omnidirectional mic or a cardioid mic? Which actual microphone would you recommend?

By the way, it actually is a LIVE thing, but we allow our students to download the recording afterwards and I try to clean up the recordings as much as possible to resell on our website.

Thanks again.
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jaykadis

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2011, 01:41:21 pm »

The problem with using a cardioid would be that at least one voice would be picked up off-axis and most cardioids don't sound the same off-axis as they do from the front.  If the room is noisy, a cardioid might pick up a bit less room so it's always a trade-off.


I have had good luck with the Audio-Technica small omnis (AT 4049) - they have a newer version (4049b) that I haven't heard but should be close to the older one.  They have a less expensive line that might suit your needs as well.

rightmindedness

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2011, 04:22:51 pm »

Thank you, you are a great help with!
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Andre Vare

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #6 on: June 13, 2011, 10:39:24 am »

Turn off the mic on the louder person?  This happens all the time in live SR.

Andre
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Christopher Graves

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #7 on: June 13, 2011, 08:25:42 pm »

I agree with the Phase Cancellation theory on this one.

Have you done this in the past with success using the very same equipment?
...if so, try moving the microphones around until they 'merge' constructively rather than destructively which may help circumvent the loss of fidelity that occurs when two mic's capturing one source combine with one another and 'phase' each other out due to mic spotting inconsistencies.
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EQ cuts at the right spots may help to divide frequency content that both voices occupy simultaneously. Just a thought.

Also stated previously, a noise gate/expander may help to prevent her mic from picking up your voice if dialed in properly by setting a threshold level that would prevent her mic from 'activating' while you talk into a different mic.

Good luck!
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John Roberts {JR}

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #8 on: June 14, 2011, 10:45:17 am »

Are you trying to fix this after the fact, or looking for a long term solution, or both?

The simplest future solution is to add an acoustic barrier between you and her. Since you are both facing the camera this could be relatively invisible when viewed head on.
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Adding some of your channel's signal, delayed slightly (for path length difference) and opposite polarity into hers, could cancel out some of the leakage, but the effectiveness of this could vary if you move around a lot. Without delay you could knock down some of the LF leakage, but HF wouldn't line up very well.
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You could use the side chain input of comp/limiter to duck her mic input while you are speaking... She might not care for this.  :'(
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Talking head scenarios often use an automatic mixer with "Dugan" gain sharing algorithm. This has the effect of stealing gain from her mic when you are speaking, reducing the offending pickup, but it will still be there if both of you are speaking at the same time and both mics are at similar gain. The Dugan algorithm would generally cause the louder speaker to duck the quieter speaker when both talk at the same time, but some advanced AM have trims for that too.
 

JR
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DarinK

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2011, 03:25:04 pm »

Another quick thing that might help is to get her mic as close to her mouth as possible, which will cause her voice to be louder through it.  You may be able to adjust the place a bit to a place where your voice is minimized; maybe there's some way that most of her head can be in the way, or you can sit a bit forward of her.  Good luck!
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mbrebes

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #10 on: June 15, 2011, 03:38:31 pm »

The problem is that your lavalier microphones are omni and pick up everything equally from all directions.  That's why you are bleeding into her microphone so bad.  My recommendation would be to use low profile headset microphones.  The proximity of the mic to her mouth would increase her voice in relation to any bleed from your voice.  The only other option would be to go to a cardioid or super-cardioid pattern mic to drop off-axis(your voice) sound levels.
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Jordan Wolf

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2011, 09:57:15 pm »

I recommend a set of headset microphones.  Think Crown CM311-A type (I think Sennheiser makes some).  DPAs are nice and Countrymans are good, too.  Think "sports broadcaster" style.
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Jordan Wolf
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MagnetoSound

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2011, 07:35:21 am »


Many of the suggestions thus far have merit, although I feel that EQ is best avoided at least until after any dynamic processing has been done.

John's suggestion of ducking your wife's mic with the signal from your own seems the best solution to me, but you will have to make sure that you don't both talk at once - or go in and manually edit at any point where this occurs, which should not be too much work, as most of the donkey work will have been already taken care of by the ducker.

Side-chain compression (ducking) is pretty easy to implement within Logic. There are hardware solutions (the Drawmer DS201 dual gate comes to mind, as it has a clearly laid out and easy to use DUCKING mode), including most compressors that are equipped with a side -chain insert.

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Dan Sansom
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alfonso

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2011, 04:56:06 am »

What does your voice sound like on her mic.  If you have MKE2 mics, you have good quality omnis.  Find the perfect placement with 1 mic only that captures both voice at equal loudness, then use compressor to smooth it out. And just because its a lavalier mic, doesn't mean it HAS to be worn on the body.  Try putting it on the otherside of your wife.
Al
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Fletcher

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Re: Problem recording two lavalier mics in close proximity - Help!
« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2011, 08:51:30 am »

Have you thought about running monitors while you're recording?  Turn her monitor down low so she'll speak louder in order to hear her monitor while cranking your monitor so you speak at a lower volume?

It may not solve the problem but it should minimize the the discrepancy in talent voice volume.

Peace
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CN Fletcher

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If you've spent most of your life with a few thousand dollars worth of musicians in the studio, making a decision every second and a half... and you and  they are going to have to live with it for the rest of your lives, you'll get pretty arrogant too.  It takes a certain amount of balls to do that... something around three"
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