Important Note: Be sure to fully quit Chrome before following the instructions below if you plan to use the web recorder. It is best to set your audio controls first, then start Chrome.
These instructions assume you are running Windows 10; the procedure for other versions of Windows may differ in some specifics, but should be similar. These checks should be done at the start of EVERY recording session. Having consistent audio settings is crucial to successful voice banking and your audio settings can get changed without you knowing it. Other programs that use audio, and even Windows updates can possibly result in settings changes.
Get your computer ready
You want a “clean slate” computer each time you go to record for voice banking. With Windows, it may be best to do a reboot just to be sure there are no background programs running that Windows does not need. Windows frequently does system updates right after being restarted. If Windows tells you it is doing an update, you should wait for that to finish before trying to record.
Another thing to watch out for is full system scans by your virus protection software. Sometimes virus protection scans you entire system looking for possible virus software. Make sure your system is not doing a full system scan since that can lead to system slowdowns and might interfere with recording.
Finally, Windows may start many programs and services in the background that are not needed and may sap system resources to some extent. In Win10, you can disable unnecessary background apps by going to Settings > Privacy > Background apps (you will probably need to scroll down through a list of options in the left side of the settings panel to find the Background apps selection). You can then go through the list of background apps and turn off any that you do not need to have running while recording.
Basic audio settings
- Plug in your USB headset mic.
- Right-click the speaker icon in the right side of the lower bar on the screen.
- Select Recording devices; a dialog window will pop up.
- Under the Communications tab (if present) in the Sound dialog window, select “Do nothing”.
- Click into the Recording tab and select your USB microphone in the list of devices (if it is not the default, click “Set Default” to make it the default).
- Click the Properties button to bring up the Microphone properties dialog
- Under the Listen tab (if present), “Listen to this device” should be UNCHECKED, and “Continue running when on battery” should be CHECKED. If you changed anything, click the Apply button.
- Under the Levels tab, turn the Microphone level to 100 by moving the slider all the way to the right. If you changed anything, click the Apply button.
- Under the Enhancements tab (if present), select “Disable all enhancements”. If you changed anything, click the Apply button.
- Under the Advanced tab (if present), select the audio format. The best setting might vary depending on your PC brand and model. Our default recording format is 2-channel, 16-bit, 44100 Hz (CD Quality). However, we have some clients whose audio sounds better when set to 2-channel, 16-bit, 48000 Hz (DVD Quality), and have found that some Windows tablets may work better if set to 2-channel, 16-bit, 32000 Hz (FM Quality). Under Exclusive mode, select both available options. If you changed anything, click the Apply button.
- Close the dialogs (be sure to click OK and not Cancel to close dialogs)
Another way to improve audio consistency is by making sure you have positioned the microphone exactly the same way for each recording session. We strongly recommend using a headset with attached microphone as one way to help ensure consistent microphone positioning. However, even with a headset microphone, it is necessary to take care that the microphone is positioned exactly the same way each time you record.
Never position the microphone directly in front of your mouth. Correct microphone placement should have the microphone parallel to your lips, close to your face and far enough to the side of your mouth to ensure that direct airflow from your mouth and nose cannot hit the microphone. Most headset microphones have flexible booms that can be bent to assist in correct positioning. Although the microphone should be as close as possible to your face, don’t allow hair, whiskers, or anything else to brush against the microphone while recording
Speaking style and rate
Finally, you need to be as consistent as possible in your speaking style and speaking rate from one recording session to the next. To achieve this, we recommend starting each new session by first listening to a sample of recordings from your previous session to hear the way you sounded during that session. Then record just a few new sentences and listen to them and compare them with some previous recordings. Ask yourself:
- Does my voice sound the same?
- Is my speaking rate the same as before?
- Is the loudness the same?
- Is the overall audio quality the same as before?
If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” try to adjust to reduce the differences and if you cannot fix the issue don’t record. Maybe letting your voice rest, or taking a drink of water will help if it is an issue with your speech quality or speaking rate. If there are problems you can’t fix, let us know so we can try to help.