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The Pro Audio Suite

A must listen Podcast if you're in audio or voice over. Our panel features industry professionals, George 'The Tech' Whittam, Robert 'Source Connect' Marshall, Andrew 'Realtime Casting' Peters and Darren 'Voodoo Sound' Robertson, plus special guests.

Each week we dive into topics that will resonate with Professionals and home studio owner alike...

Nov 13, 2023

WAVES director of training and develpment Michael Pearson Adams (Gomez to his Aussie mates) joins us in part 1 of a chat about plugins for Voice Actors. 

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“When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.”

Hunter S Thompson

In this episode of the Pro Audio Suite, we introduce our special guest MPA, also known as Gomez from Waves. We deep dive into the realm of audio plugins, focusing on user-friendly options for the less technically inclined. Gomez explains how these streamlined plugins can simplify tasks, such as noise reduction and reverb clean-up, in audio recordings. However, the debate ensues on the importance of pre-recording room preparations and the potential overuse of reduction plugins. The discussion also touches on the advancements in AI technology for handling audio issues, the concept of "best edit," and the niche specificities of various plugins like Clarity DXD Reverb and Dereverb Pro. Use code Trip200 to get $200 off your Tribooth.

#AudioEngineeringSimplified #ProPluginInsights #KeepingItSimple
(00:00:00) Introduction with George Wittam and Robert Marshall
(00:00:38) Discussing Noise Reduction Plugins with MPA Gomez
(00:08:38) Mastering Extreme Editing
(00:15:50) The Art of Invisible Editing
(00:16:48) Exploring Plugin Niches
Speaker A: Y'all ready? Be history.,Speaker B: Get started.,Speaker C: Welcome.,Speaker B: Hi. Hi. Hello, everyone to the pro audio suite.,: These guys are professional.,Speaker C: They're motivated with tech. To the VO stars, George Wittam, founder of Source Elements Robert Marshall, international audio engineer Darren Robbo Robertson and global voice Andrew Peters. Thanks to Triboo, Austrian audio making passion heard source elements George the tech Wittam and Robbo and AP's international demo. To find out more about us, check ThePro line up.,Speaker B: Learner. Here we go.,: And don't forget the code. Trip 200 to get $200 off your Tribooth. Now, we have a special guest today, MPA, known to us as Gomez from waves, is here to talk about some simple, let's put it this way, plugins for people like myself. A simpleton when it comes to audio engine. Simple people. Exactly.,: Right brain, folks. Right brain. Not simple, just right brain.,: Yes, exactly.,Speaker A: And I guess that's where the premise for this episode came from, really, was about keeping it simple. Because I was reading a Facebook post from a guy who was proclaiming the fact that he'd sort of been doing a session in a hotel room and hadn't bothered to build the pillow fort or do anything to negate the sound of the room, and then recorded his session and then used some sort of noise reduction plugin, like clarity, like whatever, like RX, to clean it up. And my first thought was, well, you're making the plugin work harder than it needs to, and that means that you're going to end up with artifacts in the audio that you want to keep because you've got this thing working so hard. Whereas I would prefer to hear, as an engineer, I would prefer to hear that you've done what you can to negate the room and then used a noise reduction plugin. If you feel it is absolutely necessary to just clean up what little artifacts are left, because there's less chance of that doing any sort of damage to the audio that I want to use. But then also, for voiceover artists and people who aren't techie, the words ratio attack time release time threshold mean nothing. So how do you use these plugins? And I guess the reason for getting you on, Michael, was to sort of, you know, what can they do?,: The thing with Pillowforts, from a pro point of view, and an advisory point of view, is people can actually go way over the top with those to the point that it degrades the sound more is not better. And I say the same thing to somebody. It's like when I'm advising them. And they say, well, we've been recording the voiceovers in the clothes closet. And I'm like, okay. And the result, they're like, well, it sounds really muffled and horrible and dead. There's no higher or mid or high frequencies. And I'm like, okay, so the first thing I want you to tell me is, is that cupboard filled with coats? If it's filled with things like coats and nothing else, then you're basically killing your sound. If it's filled with things, that is a variety of different kinds of cloth and material, you've got a much better chance of it just stopping audio dead rather than absorbing it. You don't want everything absorbed. You want it not bouncing around the room. The other one that I always love is when somebody goes, yeah, well, I put pillows and stuff around me. And I said, well, where in the room are you? This is next to the window. I said, you mean that floor to ceiling window in most hotels? Yeah, that's the one. It's a beautiful view. I wanted to see the view. It's like, well, the view is killing.,: You right now, bouncing off the window.,: Yeah. So there are varying levels of problem that need to be looked at. And that's literally one of the first things that we do when we're helping somebody is go, not only tell me that, yes, you're doing a pillow for this, I want to know what kind of clothes are in those closet. Not in a creepy way, but are we talking heavy winter coats? Are we talking big felt coats? Are we talking dresses, jeans? What are we talking about? How high?,: But at some point, do you solve the problem acoustically so much that you don't need a waves product? Or at what point is it like, okay, well, I can't actually bring in, or maybe I don't even want to go through the extent of flipping the mattress up on its side to put it along a wall.,: Flipping a mattress, as far as I'm concerned, just says more like you're worried about an assassin. So nearly every single masterclass I do with my waves hat on, I spend as much time telling people about the fact that I want you to use as few plugins as you possibly can to making sure that you're just not overdoing things. And it's one of the biggest problems is that people throw plugins on with way too much kind of ease and breeze without actually really thinking about it sometimes. And that also degrades. So you have to really decide, is this plugin going to fix something? Or am I just putting it on because I've heard it helps.,: You don't hear it helps, but you heard it helps.,Speaker A: Yeah. But the other thing is, too, Gomez, is that you should exhaust all your options in terms of getting a clean recording before you even put a plug in.,Speaker B: Yeah.,: Right.,Speaker A: To just open up the mic in the middle of the room and then go, oh, well, I'll just chuck a plugin on. In some cases, you're going to have to work that plugin so hard to get it cleaned up that it's to the detriment of the audio. Whereas if you've done everything, you.,: Absolutely.,Speaker A: And then you only need a tiny bit of plugin to get that tiny last few artifacts out of there, then that's a much better way of approaching it.,Speaker B: Right.,: There's also the positioning in a locality, too, of your face and your mouth to the microphone, even when you're in a. You know, if you're. If you're in a room that's really kind of echoey, entirely like a normal hotel room or anything that's got wooden floors, like this room, for example. I have no plugins on this because I didn't have time to put any on. But the simple reality is the closer you get to the microphone, the more chance that you've got of mitigating some of those issues without putting anything on it at all, and then you've got more of a chance of, okay, so what do I need to put on here? Clarity VXD Reverb or clarity XVX D Reverb Pro are definitely plugins that I wave a flag for the amount of effort, the amount of years, and the amount of time that we put into them. And people shouldn't buy them or try them just because somebody said years. There's just as many things out there that sound amazing, that somebody created in a month. But we did that. There's so many samples that we fed into this AI, like hundreds of thousands. And because of that, the result is it really works. But again, like any plugin, you can't overdo it. So my best suggestion with a plugin like Clarity VX de Reverb in a hotel room or an office or somewhere where you are, that is not your ideal place, or the place that you know is take it all the way to the extreme and then pull it back.,: Just a quick question for you. So if I was in a position where I couldn't actually manage the room that well, I've done everything I possibly can to control whatever artifacts, particularly reverb in a hotel room or whatever. If I use clarity VX de Reverb, is it destructive? So when I'm sending the file off to an engineer, can they?,: That depends on your routing. What platform are you using it in? How would you be setting it up?,: Well, I'm just saying if I give it too much, is it going to.,Speaker A: Do damage to the audio? Yes, it will do damage to the audio. Like anything over compressed, over noise reduction, overuse of noise reduction. You can even over EQ. Really?,: Yeah, definitely.,Speaker A: Anything like that because you're fucking with the audio. So you're changing the audio. Yes. It's, as Gomez said, hundreds of thousands of samples. But if you make it work too hard, it's got no choice but to start eating into the audio you want to keep. I would presume Gomez is.,: Oh, absolutely, absolutely. Which is why I say take it all the way to the extreme and then work your way back.,: Yeah.,: And by the way, I give that advice for pretty much every plugin. It's like if you really want to know how to use subtracted EQ, go to the extreme and then move your way back. Same with compression and everything else, but with something like an aipowered de rumor, which is effectively what clarity DXD Reverb is. It cleans up the noise and the reverb in the room. You are going to get to a point where you're basically saying, okay, I've taken it out of automatic mode and I'm just going to get what it gives me on extreme and it's going to kill your audio file. However, I will tell you that it's very hard to do that in clarity. Any of the clarity plugins, because way back when we released vocal rider. Remember vocal rider?,Speaker A: I use vocal rider all the time.,: Okay, so Vocal rider was one of the first plugins that we ever designed and developed that was focused specifically on identifying the frequency range and spectrum of a human voice. So if you put vocal rider on like a drum, it's not going to work as well as a human voice. It's not even going to know what to do with it. You put it on a guitar, same deal. It's not going to know what to do with it. This is also why we then released bass rider. And then we focused that on the spectrum and frequencies for bass. Now, going back to vocal rider, that was our first jump into that field of, okay, so we want this to only understand what's going on with the human voice. Now, let's move forward to 2021, 2022, when we released Clarity VX this is very much designed around the human voice, and we've actually created it in such a way that it's hard to really mess it up. But depending on how much noise you've got and how bad the room is, especially on the pro version of the plugin, where there's more to tweak. Yeah. You can over dig yourself into a hole with the simple one with just a big knob in the middle and a couple of small switches. It's really hard to mess it up.,: Can I ask you, when does it go from being reverb to being resonance? Or maybe early reflections? Right. Because there's a certain point where Reverb is the artifacts or the room itself. When it gets to a certain size, maybe less than, I don't know, six by 8ft or something, reverb no longer is the same problem anymore. Now you're dealing with, like, pressure zones and early reflections. Are we getting to the point yet with AI where we can start actually dealing with that stuff too? Because you sound like you're in a tube. You sound like you're in a box problem. Are we getting to the point where we can fix that too?,: I figured that's part of the room, part of the reverb.,: It is part of the room. And dereverb it totally is. We can fix that.,: That's awesome.,: Yeah.,: Because that's much more complex than just a reverb tail.,: Well, that's always been the problem. Most other, there's been various de reverb plugins out there. And to be honest, what I used to use before clarity came out with a dereverb is you just take a waves C four and you put it all the way on expand, and you can tweak each frequency band and you can kind of sit on the tail. And none of the other products out there could get rid of the early reflections, which were really the telltale sign of you being in a small space, right? Essentially, yeah.,: There's a lot you could do with clarity VX, just the noise fixing plugins. But with de Reverb, we went all the way. And it's down to the little nuances of reflections as well as the big tails and everything else. It's like we want to make you sound like you're in a room that has no reflections. And that's one of the reasons why one of the controls you have is basically controlling the presence of the plugin. And it kind of takes your voice and makes sure that you're telling the plugin. Okay. So now that we've cleaned up that noise. I want you to take my voice and focus more exactly on that. And then the plugin will go, okay, right, so now you're in a cleaner room and you've got the ability to take your voice and put it right out front. So the other thing that you can do is you can basically choose which neural network you want to use. So if you're doing spoken voice, pick one for spoken voice. If you're singing, then use that neural network. You can choose whether you want stereo or whether you want mono. So if it's just a voiceover and that's it, then you can actually tell it, okay, I'm just dealing with mono single here. And it's going to work in a different way, but it will clean it up really nicely for you.,: It's funny, though, because it is quite subjective. Because I do remember I was away in April, and I obviously had to work while I was away in some pretty weird environments. And I sent a file to Robert. And I sent the same file. In fact, I think I sent it to all three of you, George and Robbo. I got feedback from Robbo and I said, would you use that? He said, yeah, I'd use that. And I got one back from Robert saying I wouldn't be happy if I received that. So to me, that is a sign of the whole thing being a bit subjective as well. Some people have no problem with it, and some people have a major problem with.,Speaker A: Audio is subjective, I guess, in its own, in and of itself. Audio is subjective, I suppose.,: Yeah. But the question, of course, is. So if that's the case, would I use it for Robo? No. Would I use it for Robert? Probably.,: It also depends on your listening environment. I mean, I can tell you that if I'm listening to something in this room, in this home studio, through my speakers, then it's going to sound different to if I'm in British Columbia at EA Sports in their mastering studio, and the same voiceover would sound probably completely different because they're listening to. There I'd be listening through PMCs, and here I'm listening through Adams.,: They're in a very expensive room, I would guess.,: Yeah. EA Sports has, I think, about 28 rooms right now.,: I heard the video game industry is doing okay. Like there's a budget these days.,: Their audio rooms are insane. You know, when a company like EA Sports stops calling itself a headquarters and calls itself a campus.,Speaker A: Welcome to the Voodoo Sound campus. Can I just say too, by the.,: Way.,: Campus is a road.,Speaker A: Yeah, campus is a row of tense. Let's have a look at something else. Speaking of games, say I'm a voiceover artist and I've just finished recording an hour or so of gaming voiceover and I look at the file and I think, oh, shit, that's a little dynamic. And for whatever reason, God knows why, but I feel like I should put some compression on it. But the word ratio to mean means nothing and attack and release time. What's a good one for that?,: Something really transparent and relatively hard to screw it up too badly.,: Yeah, well, everything. You want everything to be the best edit that you never heard. If somebody is listening to something and going, oh, there's a plugin on that, then you failed. It's as simple as that. So the term the best edit I never heard is one of my favorites.,Speaker A: I use it all the time. I stole it off.,: You did, didn't you? Yeah, I did, yeah. So now that I've said that, I forgot what you asked Rob.,Speaker A: So something like, I mean, my thought would be Avox, but you guys also have all the one Knob series and all that sort of stuff for someone, a compressor in the hands of somebody who knows nothing about what they're doing but needs to put a tiny bit of compression on something.,: What's a good one in that case? Yes. Rvox. So in studio rack I have a chain that I save and it's just my voiceover chain for this specific microphone. And the first plugin on it is clarity VX de reverb. The second one is Avox and the third one is one knob brighter.,Speaker A: Such a good plugin.,: Which one, sorry, let me say it in another.,Speaker A: Move back to Australia.,: There you go, one knob brighter.,: Brighter.,Speaker A: One knob brighter is such a good plugin and I think we've talked about this before, but Slate digital do a similar one, fresh air, but they're both equally good and I guess, I suppose, like clarity and all the other noise reduction plugins, each seems to have their own sort of niche that they work best in, I suppose. I think one knob brighter on voice is awesome, but Fresh air on it across a mix for me, just gives it that little extra bit of sheen.,: Oh, absolutely. And fresh air is. I nearly look at fresh air as something that's more comparative to something from us that would not be anything to do with restoration or eqing of any kind. There's a plugin which I'm trying to remember the name of and good God, I can't remember it for my life now, but it lets you adjust the width of each of your frequency groups, like low, mid high, mid high, lets you monitor them or stereo them. And I embarrassed that the product name has gone out of my head. But yeah, that's the one that I usually compare more to, to the air one from those guys.,: When do you make the leaps from clarity VXD Reverb to dereverb Pro?,: Realistically, if you're not producing the audio yourself, then from my perspective, clarity DXD Reverb is totally good for you. That's kind of what you need, right? Yeah. If, however, you are taking on and you're doing post production and you're dealing with everything that's coming in from multiple voices, multiple places, and you've got a multi track in front of you and you're dealing with that on a day to day basis, then that's when pro comes in because that's where you have the ability to control the tail more so you can smooth out the tail. You've got independent knob rather than just a simple fader for presence. You've got something that we call a strength multiplier. You've got the ability to go into every single part of the frequencies and choose which ones you really want the plugin working on and which ones you don't.,: Is that that EQ curve looking thing across the middle?,: That's the one of the graph? Yeah. The one that says strength and frequency.,: Right.,: So effectively that's exactly it. To strengthen frequency, it's like, okay, rather than just a knob, what we did was go, okay, right. So we're dealing this for the seasoned post production guy or somebody of that ilk going, okay, so this is where that room is. Let me focus all that and bring out. I don't want much of the strength on that part, but I do over here between three and eight K, it's very tweaky. Oh, it is. Very now.,: But if you were trying to match, like, if you had five different sources and you wanted them to sound like they're literally in the same space, sounds like the level of tweakability you would want to have.,: Absolutely. But if you're a voiceover or you're somebody that's doing your own stuff and you're doing it, or you're doing a podcast and you've got a guest coming in and they're on their MacBook Pro microphone and they're sitting in a kitchen on a tiled floor with a window behind them. And that's the kind of thing where honestly, just use the normal one with the one big knob in the middle. It's like a lot of plugins. You can get yourself into a hole really quickly unless you've got the expertise to be able to deal with it. Which is also why we released two versions of these. One of them is a quick fix, and by Quick Fix, I do not mean degraded quality at all. It's exactly the same neural engines, but it gives you less tweakability so that there's less risk of you messing it up yourself. And then you've got Pro, which has more tweakability, plus a limiter built in, plus width control, plus tail smoothing, plus the ability to get more neural networks and an analysis of both mono and stereo. It gives you a lot.,: Yeah, that was just part one of our chat with Michael Pearson Adams or Gomez, if you like, from waves. We'll be back next week for a continuation of this conversation, and we're also tapping into something which is kind of topical as we age, because some of us are doing that. We'll be talking about hearing loss and how best to manage it when you do this for a living. So join us next week. More chats about hearing, more chats about plugins, and more chats with Michael Pearson Adams from Waves. See you next week.,Speaker B: Well, that was fun. Is it over?,Speaker C: The Pro audio suite with thanks to Tribut and Austria and audio recorded using Source Connect, edited by Andrew Peters and mixed by Voodoo Radio Imaging with tech support from George the tech Wittam. Don't forget to subscribe to the show and join in the conversation on our Facebook group. To leave a comment, suggest a topic, or just say g'day. Drop us a note at our website,