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Author Topic: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!  (Read 1362 times)

Daniel Krueger

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New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« on: October 05, 2020, 02:17:04 pm »

Hello everyone!

With COVID still keeping alot of people at home, I've had to implement livestreaming at my church. A new camera, computer, software, and a plethora of accessories are helping us to achieve this. What we haven't figured out/mastered is our audio quality.

We run our sound directly out of one our outputs on our Mackie DL32R via XLR to the mini (3.5mm) microphone input on our computer. We have a noise gate at the microphone input, that from what I can tell, isn't causing the audio quality to worsen.

___________________________________________________________________________

The Problem

The big problem we have right now is when our praise team is singing. We have 4 singers, piano, bass, and guitar. The audio coming out sounds almost as if it's being selective in which audio to pass through.

Now the problem that I'm running into can be listened to at the link below at about the 20:28 mark:
Sunday Church

The woman singing is set at the same output level as the other singers, but she comes through the loudest.

The next week it might be another one of the singers.

You will also notice the guitar is only coming through on the higher frequencies.

You can barely hear the piano and bass.

Kinda sounds like you're in metal cylinder partially filled with water, right?!?

___________________________________________________________________________

Now What?

I am completely stumped to what this would be caused by. Cords? Connections? The Board? The Computer?

Though I do have some theories:

Question #1:
Should we have another interface between the board and our computer?

Question #2:
Is there a setting on our board that we need to change since it is being processed by the sound card on the computer?

Question #3:
Do we need a new/better sound card in the computer?

I'm open to more discussion on this and would appreciate your help!

Thank you!



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Dan Krueger
Saint Mark Lutheran Church

John L Nobile

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #1 on: October 05, 2020, 02:43:33 pm »



Question #1:
Should we have another interface between the board and our computer?



Yes. the mini jack input is never an option for me. External interfaces are now hi quality and cheap. I would start with that.
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Chrysander 'C.R.' Young

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #2 on: October 05, 2020, 02:43:55 pm »

We run our sound directly out of one our outputs on our Mackie DL32R via XLR to the mini (3.5mm) microphone input on our computer. We have a noise gate at the microphone input, that from what I can tell, isn't causing the audio quality to worsen.
Now What?

I am completely stumped to what this would be caused by. Cords? Connections? The Board? The Computer?

How exactly is this connected?  Are you feeding the L and R main outs to a Y cable that connects them your broadcast PC?  Pics would be good.

Quote
Question #1:
Should we have another interface between the board and our computer?

Depends.  I can say that the 1/8 inch TRS mic inputs on a laptop are not really designed to handle balanced XLR signals.  That board has the options to send sounds to a PC via USB.  Not sure what routing options that board has, but you may look into using that option and sending a separate broadcast mix to the PC.

Quote
Question #2:
Is there a setting on our board that we need to change since it is being processed by the sound card on the computer?

Probably not.  Once you get a better connection from the board to the broadcast PC, I suspect that odd sound will abate.

Quote
Question #3:
Do we need a new/better sound card in the computer?

USB is your friend.  That mixer can multitrack32 channels out which you can mix down separately; I would be surprised if you could not route a stereo broadcast mix out the USB to the PC.  Otherwise, a quality sound card that can handle XLR inputs could be used to receive a broadcast mix from the board.

Quote
I'm open to more discussion on this and would appreciate your help!

The sound your hear sounds to me like a phasing issue like the LR signal is not being summed correctly.  Also, the audio sounds like a FOH mix, not a broadcast mix.  I suggest having a separate broadcast mix that gets sent to the stream.  At my church, we have a separate broadcast mixer with operator in another room.  There are a lot of videos out there on doing broadcast mixes.

Good luck and please give us some pics and more detail.  The more we know, the more we can help you.
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Mike Caldwell

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #3 on: October 05, 2020, 08:08:25 pm »

Lots of ways to do this but right now lets focus on the XLR to the mini jack audio input.

If the XLR is wired straight through to the 1/8 inch mini jack as in pin 1 to the sleeve, pin 2 to the tip and pin 3 to the ring that is causing the lack of bass, and the overall frequency response issues do to the phase cancellation of taking a balanced line output driving a stereo unbalanced input on the TRS 1/8 input jack.

If you computer sound card has the option select that input to line level and get
a transformer interface to make the audio connection to the computer.

Something like one of these will work.

https://www.rapcohorizon.com/product/223/laptop-blox
You actually run this backwards and it will work fine.

Any passive DI box ran backwards will work with a couple adapters.

You'll need an adapter cable and hard wire the input terminal to the cable.
https://www.rdlnet.com/product.php?page=504

This will get you to a mic level input if needed, takes a little DIY cable work.
https://www.rdlnet.com/product.php?page=163

Whirlwind makes it easy with this.
http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/black-boxes-effects-and-dis/specialty-interface-solutions/lm2c-camera-mic-adapter

What software are you using, OBS?

After everything I just typed using a USB audio input would be the best way to go either directly from the board or a stand alone USB audio input interface.

As for the mix, as mentioned a separate mixer for broadcast is the true way to do it but requires more people and money.

A compromise is setting up a post fade mix/aux to just feed the live stream, set all the channel send levels for that mix to maybe 50% now go and set the channels that are the spoken word inputs to around 80%, adjust that master mix level to get the proper input on your recording/streaming software. Apply some moderate compression to that mix as well.

Do a couple live streams, give them a listen, for any levels that need changed go back to that mix and adjust those channels as needed.
With the mix set up post fade level changes you make to the main mix will be reflected in the live stream mix but will track with any mix balance adjustments you made on the send levels of the live stream mix.

Once you fine tune the live stream mix balance and your inputs stay more or less the same you should not need to change to much after that.
You can always listen to the live stream mix using the PLF function with headphones and make some adjustments live.

Next step will be to add a couple room mics to the live stream mix.

Where are you located.....Mid West Ohio by chance!!!!
Lots of audio folks are looking for some extra work, there's a good chance one of us are close enough to do a service call and get you up and running.


« Last Edit: October 05, 2020, 08:14:24 pm by Mike Caldwell »
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Ed Hall

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2020, 11:07:36 am »

Initially when we started live streaming we had similar sound issues. We were creating a separate mix on a GLD80 and going into a Black Magic Devices interface to combine the video and audio. First we stopped using four AKG C414 to pick up EVERYTHING! Lots of phase issues. We went back to Senn e935s for vocals and that cleaned it up somewhat.

I found that noise suppression filters were a big problem.  It wasn't noticeable with spoken word, but on music and singing, with the sustained notes, it was creating a sound similar to comb filtering. It's designed to remove sustained low level sounds, like air conditioners, sustained piano or organ. Removing that made a big difference.

Lastly we stopped using the Black Magic Design interface and went into OBS Studio. It now sounds very natural when streamed. I'm not sure what wasn't working for us with the BMD box, but it was messing with the audio.

Now it's just a matter of compressing everything properly and getting a nice mix to send out. Audio for broadcast is different than live audio.
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Daniel Krueger

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #5 on: October 06, 2020, 01:48:39 pm »

Thank you everyone for your responses!

There are a few things mentioned that I will definitely try out or look for in our settings that would work. I think an external interface so we can use USB for input is a good start.

Some folks are looking for a little more information:

For one, we are in Kentwood, MI. We have a church size of about 300 between our two services. Both are live-streamed via VMix.

The Mackie DL32R we use is controlled via iPad that can be used from wherever in the church, thus, we have the actual console placed near where our sound equipment is used to reduce the need for lengthy cords. The only lengthy cord we use IS the cord that runs to the live stream PC. (About 100ft away from each other).

That system does have a USB interface option but due to the length of cord needed and our current network setup, I don't think it's a viable option.

The XLR output is the same that we would use for singer and instrumental monitors.

The cord runs as such:
XLR to XLR out of console > XLR to Mini (3.5mm) > Mini in to Noise Gate > Noise gate into Mic input on PC

______________________________________________________

I'll throw up a link to some pictures of our setup if you guys are interested. I have this setup to notify me when there are responses so if you need anymore info, just let me know!

Again thanks and God bless!
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Dan Krueger
Saint Mark Lutheran Church

Scott Holtzman

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #6 on: October 06, 2020, 08:17:14 pm »

Thank you everyone for your responses!

There are a few things mentioned that I will definitely try out or look for in our settings that would work. I think an external interface so we can use USB for input is a good start.

Some folks are looking for a little more information:

For one, we are in Kentwood, MI. We have a church size of about 300 between our two services. Both are live-streamed via VMix.

The Mackie DL32R we use is controlled via iPad that can be used from wherever in the church, thus, we have the actual console placed near where our sound equipment is used to reduce the need for lengthy cords. The only lengthy cord we use IS the cord that runs to the live stream PC. (About 100ft away from each other).

That system does have a USB interface option but due to the length of cord needed and our current network setup, I don't think it's a viable option.

The XLR output is the same that we would use for singer and instrumental monitors.

The cord runs as such:
XLR to XLR out of console > XLR to Mini (3.5mm) > Mini in to Noise Gate > Noise gate into Mic input on PC

______________________________________________________
I'll throw up a link to some pictures of our setup if you guys are interested. I have this setup to notify me when there are responses so if you need anymore info, just let me know!

Again thanks and God bless!




What is the purpose of the noise gate?
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Scott AKA "Skyking" Holtzman

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Mike Caldwell

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2020, 07:32:28 am »

The 100 foot cable run is no big deal for a balanced line connection. If you go with one of the transformer interfaces I listed put that at the computer and run the balanced line to it.

I wondering about the noise gate myself. Is that as stand alone unit or in the streaming software. I assume you have a lot of noise on the on the live stream input and you were trying to get rid of it.
With a proper interface not something you'll need.

Eileen Krause

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #8 on: October 08, 2020, 11:33:02 am »

Hi Daniel,
I faced similar logistics/equipment location problems at my church when we had to quickly reverse course due to COVID and stream services at our small church.

I’m running dedicated audio MiX out from our AllenHeath Q-16 via 60’ XLR (cable length not an issue as others have pointed out)
connected To XLR input on USB Audio interface—. Example—You can get Focusrite Scarlet for $180 or a Behringer UPhoria for $140..
(if you look at different models you can see different options on them— such as ability to monitor from the interface etc.) 

the USB interface can then be located close to your streaming device so no worry about USB cable limitations.
Hope this helps.

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Brian Jojade

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #9 on: October 08, 2020, 12:41:05 pm »

To troubleshoot, it's usually best to remove anything not critical in the signal chain to narrow down potential culprits. In this case, the noise gate could be removed to see if that's the cause of the issue. 

However, as was brought up earlier, check the wiring of your connection into the computer.  If you wire an XLR pin 1-3 to ring tip sleeve on the 3.5mm jack, it's not going to work correctly.  Since the XLR is a balanced connection you are essentially sending out of polarity signals to left and to right.  When it gets summed mono, all you end up hearing is what's different between the channels.  Channels in your system panned perfectly center would cancel out.  Adjusting pan slightly to one side or the other will then come through. 

Another potential issue is that if the input jack on your device is a mic level input and you're sending a line level signal, you can very easily overdrive the input.  Without knowing the machine you're using, it's hard to say if that's the case.  Some computers are intelligent enough to know the difference and adjust accordingly. Others, not so much. Audio inputs on computers vary.  In this case, it doesn't seem that overdriving is the root issue.

Note that simply switching to a USB interface using the same jack configuration won't change anything if your cable is miswired.  Unless the audio input interface is absolute garbage, it can be just fine.  Most computers these days have at least an acceptable built in audio interface, unlike decades past.

The correct way your cable should be wired would be pin 1 and 3 of the XLR to the sleeve of your 3.5mm, and pin 2 connects to both the tip and ring of the 3.5mm.  This will send the same audio signal to both the left and right inputs vs sending an out of polarity signal between them.

Check that first before doing anything else!
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Daniel Krueger

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2020, 10:03:08 pm »




What is the purpose of the noise gate?

Scott, the purpose of the noise gate is to clean up some feedback/buzz coming from the line. Reviewing the other notes here, it seems that using the USB interface would negate having to use that.
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Dan Krueger
Saint Mark Lutheran Church

Daniel Krueger

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2020, 10:05:12 pm »

The 100 foot cable run is no big deal for a balanced line connection. If you go with one of the transformer interfaces I listed put that at the computer and run the balanced line to it.

I wondering about the noise gate myself. Is that as stand alone unit or in the streaming software. I assume you have a lot of noise on the on the live stream input and you were trying to get rid of it.
With a proper interface not something you'll need.

Mike, exactly! It's a stand alone unit; a quick fix that stayed quite long. Lots of noise coming into the live stream input and that would clean it up. Next step is finding a good USB interface for sure.
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Dan Krueger
Saint Mark Lutheran Church

Daniel Krueger

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2020, 10:07:33 pm »

Hi Daniel,
I faced similar logistics/equipment location problems at my church when we had to quickly reverse course due to COVID and stream services at our small church.

I’m running dedicated audio MiX out from our AllenHeath Q-16 via 60’ XLR (cable length not an issue as others have pointed out)
connected To XLR input on USB Audio interface—. Example—You can get Focusrite Scarlet for $180 or a Behringer UPhoria for $140..
(if you look at different models you can see different options on them— such as ability to monitor from the interface etc.) 

the USB interface can then be located close to your streaming device so no worry about USB cable limitations.
Hope this helps.

This definitely helps. Looking at USB interfaces like you mentioned at this moment. Will send an update once I've received and tested it. Regardless if it solves the problem, a USB interface can only improve the setup.

THANKS!
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Dan Krueger
Saint Mark Lutheran Church

Mike Caldwell

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2020, 10:59:32 pm »

Mike, exactly! It's a stand alone unit; a quick fix that stayed quite long. Lots of noise coming into the live stream input and that would clean it up. Next step is finding a good USB interface for sure.

The noise gate was/is just a band aid on the larger problem.
A transformer or USB interface will take care of the issue.

Jonathan Johnson

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #14 on: October 14, 2020, 01:36:29 pm »

Mike, exactly! It's a stand alone unit; a quick fix that stayed quite long. Lots of noise coming into the live stream input and that would clean it up. Next step is finding a good USB interface for sure.

Is the device actually a noise gate or is it a noise filter?

The difference:

A noise gate operates in a manner inverse to a compressor, by attenuating (muting) the signal when the signal drops below a threshold. It doesn't actually remove the noise; it simply quiets the noise during pauses in speech. When the signal -- either speech or music -- rises above a certain level, the gate unmutes to allow the signal (and the noise) to pass. It creates the illusion of eliminating noise, only because noise is less noticeable when there is desired sound than when there is a pause in the desired sound.

An analog noise filter is simply a band-pass filter or equalizer that attenuates frequencies present in the noise.

A digital noise filter analyzes the signal and digitally removes what it perceives as "noise" in the signal.

A brand and model of the device would help us understand.

As Mike Caldwell suggests, an isolation transformer will usually overcome most noise issues on interconnects. Passive DI boxes contain transformers.

Here's a low-impedance balanced XLR to low-impedance balanced XLR isolation transformer: http://whirlwindusa.com/catalog/black-boxes-effects-and-dis/transformers-isolation-devices/isoxl -- there are also impedance matching transformers in different form factors for going from low-impedance balanced to high-impedance unbalanced. A passive DI box is basically the same thing, with the addition of a ground lift switch and optionally attenuation switch or knob.
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Daniel Krueger

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2020, 09:11:11 pm »

This definitely helps. Looking at USB interfaces like you mentioned at this moment. Will send an update once I've received and tested it. Regardless if it solves the problem, a USB interface can only improve the setup.

THANKS!

Hey everyone, I hope you see this! After purchasing a Scarlett Solo USB, the problem was solved immediately. Made my week when I heard the people at home had a much better audio experience this time around. This will allow us to live stream more of our music-focused events as well as many other church events much more confidently.

Now excuse me as I spend a few hours mixing everything; now that I can actually hear each channel individually!

I cannot express how thankful I am to have found this site. Honestly, this is one of the most positive experiences I've had since COVID hit.

God Bless!
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Dan Krueger
Saint Mark Lutheran Church

Mike Caldwell

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #16 on: October 21, 2020, 07:22:58 am »

Hey everyone, I hope you see this! After purchasing a Scarlett Solo USB, the problem was solved immediately. Made my week when I heard the people at home had a much better audio experience this time around. This will allow us to live stream more of our music-focused events as well as many other church events much more confidently.

Now excuse me as I spend a few hours mixing everything; now that I can actually hear each channel individually!

I cannot express how thankful I am to have found this site. Honestly, this is one of the most positive experiences I've had since COVID hit.

God Bless!

Good to hear you got the audio issues cleaned up and all of our trouble shooting ideas helped.

Eileen Krause

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Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2020, 02:51:50 pm »

 Hi Daniel
Glad we could help.  I earned a whole bunch of grey hair ( well MORE grey hair) having to quickly rig up a set-up for streaming and recording videos at my church.
Good choice on the Scarlett USB interface....   one reminder-- have EXTRA USB cable at the ready, those little puppies can fail at the worst moment..    ahem.. not that it ever happened to me.  ;D
And I agree regarding advice from folks on this board.  I got some great feedback and support on a couple issues here and even bought some gear from one of the regular contributors.
This is a great resource. 
Eileen
 
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ProSoundWeb Community

Re: New to Livestreaming | Need Audio Quality Help!
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2020, 02:51:50 pm »


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