I’ve always found it rather ironic that poor video with good
audio always comes across as a lot more professional than good video with poor
audio. And frankly, getting a decent audio recording at CHOICE is a real pain
in the proverbials - particularly since the recent renovation replaced the
tatty old sound-absorbing carpet with noisy wooden floors.
To make matters worse, the area set aside for the
video/podcast studio is a wall’s width away from all of the heat exchangers,
pumps and arcane mechanical paraphernalia that serve the test labs here in
darkest Marrickville. The walls are close (and thin), and the ceiling is low.
All of which makes for largely unimpressive acoustics.
Part of the solution here is to ‘close-mic’ the talent, using lavalier (lapel) or stand microphones placed as close to the audio source as possible, which keeps the ambient noise down to an acceptable level. But
even then, the acoustics still sound a little too much like the inside of a
toilet for my liking. This is because the microphone is picking up the audio as
it bounces off the adjacent surfaces, causing unwanted reverb and echo (neither
of which can be effectively cleaned up in post).
In an attempt to fix this, I’ve taken the popular DIY option
of cladding the walls with sound-absorbing foam. To keep things as cheap as
possible, I’ve sourced a locally-produced foam from Dunlop, rather than buying
the more popular imported brands like Auralex, which would have cost over twice
It’s not a professional job, by any means - I’ve not used
bass traps in the corners, and the edges of my cuts really don’t bear up to
close scrutiny, but I’m pretty happy with the end result. Check out the video
to see for yourself.
And if you’d like to hear the difference it makes, this
podcast was recorded in the new location.