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Old 02-20-2019, 11:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by BalSam View Post
When it comes to noise gating/HPF/EQ/Compression/De-Essing etc I guess I was talking about AFTER I've successfully gotten rid of the background hum. I'm confused about the order in which these things should be applied (assuming they're all needed/required) once the hum is hopefully a distant memory...

Is there a kind of 'standard' chain for voiceover from beginning to end before rendering?
No, but a good guideline is to put things you tweak the most at the end, put things that make big changes to the audio before compression, and put things that require a long time to set up and which are dependent on an exactly-known stream of audio (e.g. noise reduction) at the beginning. You just have to think about how the plugins affect each other and order them accordingly. Sometimes there is not a "perfect" order that makes sense and you will always have to tweak a couple plugins when you just wanted to tweak one.

If you're going to drastically high-pass (e.g. to take a loud bass rumble out of the audio), you probably want that before compressors or other dynamics processing, so the dynamics aren't triggering on audio that won't be in the final result anyway (unless you want that effect for some unusual reason.)

The noise reduction is nice to have at the start since you'd have to re-learn the noise profile every time you adjusted anything coming before it (even a minor gain adjustment would throw it off.) (Although if you use ReaFIR and parameter modulation this may not be required since IIRC it's getting it's gain detection from the original audio on the track, not a point in the plugin chain.)

EQ that is minor (meaning, not a drastic HPF but just "polish" of the sound) can often come last -- often it's being tweaked a lot as you mix, and if you e.g. boost at 1k by 1dB you are unlikely to suddenly feel the need to change the compression coming before it.

So, given the list you provided, I'd go:

- noise reduction
- HPF and any other large-scale EQ shaping that should come before dynamics
- compression
- noise gating (if gating is just a simple threshold then compression/gating order is not so important; whichever is tweaked more should go last)
- de-essing
- polish EQ

With this order, any time you make changes to the compression, you'll have to check/adjust the de-esser, which is a pain, but the de-esser will likely work more effectively on a predictable signal that has been evened out a little, so it's probably worth it.

Oh and I've realised when I talked about make up gain it was AUTOmake up I've seen differing opinions about, not make up gain generally!!
People describing "auto make-up gain" might be mistakenly referring to "auto gain control", which is a different thing. AGC is just automatic compression with a slow attack/release and a high ratio, and it's usually awful, yes. But "auto make-up gain" usually refers to the compressor plugin software estimating how much gain, on average, will be reduced with the given settings, and adjusting the output gain accordingly. As long as it's only making that adjustment once (meaning, it's not dynamically adjusting it as the audio plays, but only adjusting it when you tweak the compressor settings) it's harmless.

As they say, if it sounds good, it is good.*

* when it comes to compression, beginners may have difficulty accurately determining if it sounds good. :-)
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