Old 07-30-2021, 07:14 PM   #1
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Default 4 Person Audio Film Commentary - If/When to Gate?

Hey all. I'm going to be using reaper to record a 4 person audio commentary track for a Blu ray release of an older film. I'm going to have the movie itself imported as a media item and the clip viewer on a TV for the participants so everything will be in sync.

I'm curious if/when I should be using any kind of gates to cut down on background noise and cross talk in the individual tracks?

I'm using 4 cardioid condenser mics, so cross talk should be minimized there to start. But I have a Roland Octacapture interface that has built in compression and gate at the hardware level for each mic preamp. Should I be using these? Or should I be using reaper to do both?

And if using reaper to do compression and gating, should I be doing it live during the recording, it only putting it on after recording and during the mixing process?

Any other tips for a 4 person vocal conversation would be greatly appreciated!

Last edited by ssj4vegita2002; 07-30-2021 at 07:15 PM. Reason: Wrong button
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Old 07-30-2021, 08:17 PM   #2
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If you really really want to ensure that you have no chance of fixing it if live gating goes a little wild, you can record it live with it committed.

I'd recommend recording the vocal mics raw. Simply because you can.

Then dial up your gating, etc. You can still aim to automate this with a gate like you would have live. I'm not suggesting to do something in a time consuming way.


If there really really is a time crunch, record your live gating/etc production to tracks but also record the raw mics for safety.

If there's a mistake you can adjust and hit render again.

At least some production on the way in was needed with analog tape.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:49 PM   #3
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For post production of those recordings it might be interesting to send each voice track a side chain signal of the other three speakers. See what you can do with that.

Then there are those automixers such as Dugan or Amm by Tbproaudio https://www.tbproaudio.de/products/amm

I‘d always record first. The mic placement is the best thing to get good first. I presume you want to capture them all in one room. Thought about placing absorbers between them ? Or get the mics as close to them as possible.

I‘d be using broadcast mics if possible. The SM7b or re20. Something I can get in close, which is harder with condensers that don‘t have the best pop shields. The broadcast mics on arms are easier to move around without creating bumps too. For a single person a nice condenser is great.
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Old 07-30-2021, 11:54 PM   #4
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Your decision is more or less dictated by the crosstalk – which you deny is there, but still may lead to terrible phase cancellation effects (I doubt each contributor has his/her own booth). As airon says: rather use dynamics, and more upclose. Compression and gate after the fact, yes.
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Old 07-31-2021, 05:20 PM   #5
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It's either the Dugan (I'm interested in trying out TBProAudio's solution but haven't gotten a change yet) or mixing with faders in real time. Any attempt at setting up gates is more trouble than it's worth.

You can give it a shot after the fact but in the industry where this happens every day (production audio for film) nobody uses regular gates to solve this. There's much less of it for podcasts, mostly just turning mics on or off since they generally use something like an SM7B.

If you want to see somebody doing this in real time here's a good video:
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Old 07-31-2021, 06:03 PM   #6
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Try to follow the 3:1 microphone distance 'rule' between participants.

Also ... in Post ...

Consider using Down-ward Expansion, rather than hard Gating. That can
help things sounding abrupt or 'jumpy'.
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