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25 Jan 2021
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Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 07 Jan 2019 23:27 #98422

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Hey everyone. I've started using the voiceover feature and love how it works with the auditions and such, but am having some issues that I can't figure out.

I'm using an iMac pro with an Audient id22 interface and a Sennheiser MKE 416 shotgun mic, and this works fantastic on its own using external software. It works fairly well through FCPX, but I find that the audio levels really screwy and the sound quality is not fantastic compared to recording externally.

For instance, to get the volume reasonable, I have to crank up the gain on my interface, but the level indicator in FCPX has no level numbers. So I crank everything up until I start to hit yellow then back off a bit, and record. The audio is only coming in about -12, so should be perfect right? But I'm eating the mic and the proximity effect is gone. The audio sounds tinny and muffled. Not drastic, but not as nice as I'm used to. I crank it up to about +8db in FCPX so that when played back, the audio levels are -2 to -4, and the waveforms show red everywhere. The meters show it's not peaking, but the waveforms are totally lit up. What gives?

Also, with my mic and interface, I typically don't need ANY post on VO, but it seems like FCPX is messing with my audio quality. Is that normal?

I'm leaving on the 17th to Texas, to do a two day remote VO session with the host, so ZI want to make sure I have this system worked ahead of time. The backup plan will be to just record to external files, but if I can swing it, I'd like to use the FCPX voice over function, since we don't have a final cut or script yet, and we need to use what we have to finalize the VO.

Any ideas her?

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Last edit: by Smesh.

Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 08 Jan 2019 05:08 #98426

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Sounds like the mic needs phantom power.

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Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 08 Jan 2019 06:24 #98427

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Sounds like the mic needs phantom power.

Apparently the waveforms turn red at -6 but are not clipped, while the levels turn red at 0. As from eh mic, it does require phantom power but that's on. The GUI is just a little lacking in the fcpx VO, so it's a trial an error thing. I'm not sure about the sound though. I wonder if FCPX is running the mic through some kind of processor instead of just taking the very clean signal from the id22.

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Last edit: by Smesh.

Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 08 Jan 2019 13:48 #98429

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I do VOs daily, have for many years, FCPX has never been anything but spot on for me. I'm not familiar with the Audient id22 so can't speak to that unit. I have used the Sennheiser MKE 416 at one time. It's a shotgun, not the best option for VO work. Getting right up on it defeats it's pick-up pattern. You want to get back from it a bit. It should pick up nicely. Try a little off center, perhaps? The mic, though not first choice for VO, should work just fine. FCPX works just fine for VO work, as i do it daily, have for years, with a variety of mics, no issues. Not sure about the Audient unit. And you don't want to clip VO work. And you want to be back from the mic, not up on it, you do not want proximity effect. If you're close enough for that, you're too close. Swaying, moving to and fro, that will all give bad fluctuations in your level and and could give inconsistent characteristics.

Check in the Audio/MIDI Setup app and see how your interface is getting along with the OS.

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Last edit: by Ben Balser.

Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 24 Jun 2021 18:52 #115166

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I have had exactly the same issues as you describe. To be frank, I'm surprised this has not been addressed more frequently in forums. I do a LOT of voiceover work for educational media, getting on for 10 years. About a year ago I decided to modify my workflow, which was when I used the FCPX voiceover tool for the first time. Up until then, I was using Logic Pro and importing the wave file into Final Cut, and getting excellent results. I use high-end gear and am pretty familiar with my voice and the kind of sound I want to achieve. Coincidentally, I had also recently moved house. So when I started recording directly into FCPX I was shocked at how bad everything sounded. I became half-convinced it was due to the new recording environment, even though I had installed all my usual sound absorption materials, carefully positioned the mic, etc. I went through multiple loops trying to fix a misdiagnosed problem. Eventually, almost by accident, I recorded some speech into Logic for a purely audio project I was working on. Everything sounded perfect! After that I did several AB comparisons– identical set-up, just recording into Logic (at 48kHz) vs. Final Cut (I challenge anyone to try this). It was night & day. I guess I needed convincing that FCPX would record voiceover SO poorly. I intermittently repeat this AB test to see if Apple has fixed the issue, but no change yet. So, to this day, even though it takes a bit longer, I still record voiceover into the DAW and import the sound files into logic. Then I time the video clips (mostly stills) to match the audio.

One last thought. There is zero control over the bit-rate input in Final Cut. For all we know it could be recording at 22 or 24 kHz, then upsampling to the standard 48kHz on export. There is a distinct lack of detail and depth, in addition to the other problems you outline.

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Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 25 Jun 2021 04:31 #115169

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I'm now curious, I get great sounding VO in FCP, so I did a test. Project set to 48kHz stereo audio. Recorded VO, match back to Browser clip, Reveal in Finder, open in QT Player and showed the media info.
Linear PCM, 24 bit little-endian signed integer, 44100 Hz, WAV

44.1kHz is very disappointing, and shows Apple is very misleading when a project is set to 48 and we don't get 48. But, the difference between 44.1 and 48 in an unprocessed, raw audio file is negligible, 99% of the population can't hear the difference. And although standard video is 16-bit it is odd that FCP is up-scaling to 24-bit. No clue why. And what's up with recording WAV files now? Does Apple have no faith in AIFF any longer?

So I looked up a VO file I recorded in an older version of FCPX, January of 2015.
Linear PCM, 24 bit big-endian signed integer, 48000 Hz, AIFF
So there, it did record 48kHz, AIFF, but not any longer. Odd...

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Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 25 Jun 2021 18:41 #115186

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Curiouser and curiouser, and thanks for your response. If what you say is correct, then that might be the source of the issue, but not for the reason that most of the population can't tell the difference between 44.1kHz vs 48 kHz sampling frequencies. Let's assume that the video audio in the final rendered video is actually what it says in your project, 48 kHz (you could check this). But that the recorded voiceover file is, as you say, 44.1kHz. There is then a mismatch between the video audio and one of its audio subcomponents, the voiceover. When the video is rendered, in the ideal scenario, Final Cut should use an interpolation algorithm to convert 44.1kHz to 48kHz. This is a sophisticated process, since only one in every 160 samples of the 48kHz output stream will correspond directly to original samples from the 44.1kHz data stream. Logic Pro and other DAWs are designed to do this sort of thing routinely of course. But if appropriate interpolation is not employed in Final Cut during the rendering process, the voiceover audio will be degraded when the video is played back. This is all hypothesis of course. I am surprised that you do get such good results with the VO tool in contrast to my experience. I tested my system out again yesterday and, to me at least, there is an audible difference between Logic and the FCPX VO tool. In a sentence, the VO tool recorded audio sounds thin and lacking in detail compared to recording in Logic Pro. My hardware chain is: Neumann TLM 103 > Great River ME-1NV Preamp > Linx Hilo > Macbook Pro (2018).

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Last edit: by terence1957.

Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 25 Jun 2021 18:49 #115187

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Last thought: If my hypothesis is correct, when using the voiceover tool, in order to avoid an audio sampling rate mismatch you would need to set the project sampling rate at 44.1 kHz. I should check this out when I find the time.

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Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 26 Jun 2021 13:00 #115195

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I did voice overs for 5 TV spots yesterday inside. FCP, came out clean, crisp, no issues. I've never had quality issues with the VO tool in FCP.

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Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 27 Jun 2021 11:03 #115238

It looks like there are a couple of things at play here.

First of all, I hooked an audio signal generator into my Focusrite Saffire audio interface and recorded it as a source for VO. Doing this confirms that FCP does nothing at all to the signal prior to recording, and has exactly the same flat frequency response as recording to the Mac by other means.

Secondly, macOS for many years has contained audio software (called CoreAudio) that any audio app can call on to perform audio tasks. This precludes developers having to start from scratch every time writing software for recording and playback – they call on CoreAudio to do these sort of audio tasks for them and only have to provide a GUI for whatever their final software is designed to do. In this way, FCP just asks CoreAudio to record from a chosen input and write the file to a particular destination, in this case to the FCP Library being used.

The sample rate of the audio file that is recorded via the VO facility is defined by the sample rate that the audio interface is set to. I proved this by changing the sample rate setting of the Saffire between 48kHz and 44.1kHz, and sure enough the sample rate of the recorded file followed these changes.

Whatever software comes with the audio interface you are using should have a sample rate selection facility, or you could use Apple's AudioMIDI Setup (in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder) to select the sample rate. Similarly if you are recording from the Mac's Line Input, you can select the sample rate setting in AudioMIDI Setup.

Pretty much all audio interfaces with a couple of inputs and outputs, provide these individually to macOS, so that audio software can access these directly. With this in mind, when recording VOs it may be better to choose to record the mic input of the audio interface directly rather than recording the whole output of the unit. Open the Record Voiceover window. expand the Advanced section, select the name of your audio device in the Input popup menu, and all the device's inputs should become visible on the right. Choose the input you want to record from.

In the case of the OP, in the software for the Audient it looks like there are faders for DAW inputs which will be from FCP when it's running. This may well have been feeding back to the VO recording (hence my suggestion to record directly from an input). This would probably create a situation of digital audio mayhem if Monitor on the Record Voiceover window was switched On.

The picture below is of the inputs showing from audio devices in the Record Voiceover window.
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Last edit: by Rinaldo Doon.

Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 27 Jun 2021 19:04 #115241

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Thanks, for your insights Rinaldo. I do exactly as you describe when using the VO tool, setting the Lynx Hilo to 48 kHz to match my project setting. I have no rational answer for the discrepancy, but I know what my ears are telling me. I'd be happy to post brief samples of Logic vs. Final Cut recorded VOs.

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Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 29 Jun 2021 09:41 #115266

terence1957 – that would be interesting to hear. Good idea.

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Last edit: by Rinaldo Doon.

Voice Over Tool Issues. Can't Get Volume Up, Weird False Peaking On Waveforms 29 Jun 2021 11:23 #115268

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"The sample rate of the audio file that is recorded via the VO facility is defined by the sample rate that the audio interface is set to."

You'd think that was the case, but my Apogee Quartet is set at 48kHz yet FCP is still recording 44.1 which it never did before the latest update.
Also, why the change from AIFF files to WAV files since this latest update?

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