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RtToEE Recording Quality


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#1 baltasch

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 03:01 PM

I just downloaded your recording of the session "Return To The Temple Of Elemental Evil" and I wasn't realy able to enjoy your recording because the audio quality is rather bad. So I wondered wheter you're using a cheap microphone or you decreased the quality to make the file smaller and so easier to download?
I recorded our last rpg session with a external microphone pluged in my laptop and it sounded far better than your recordings, so I suggest you're working on this problem because I realy admire your style and your level of gaming experience and i'd be happy to listen to all of this recored adequately!:lol:
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#2 Hal

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Posted 01 September 2006 - 03:06 PM

The Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil file was the first one we ever recorded.

It was done over 3 years ago with a minidisc player and a disc mic in a loud room, primarilly to test the mic. It is the reason the site existed but yes, the quality is pretty poor :D

It is there more as an homage than for any other reason :D It would be like killing the grand daddy of the audios to take it off the site :P

Everything else should be OK and we are currently looking into improving the recording rig even further :P

Hope that clears stuff up :D

Hal :hal:
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#3 baltasch

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 04:44 AM

OK you're right you can alomost feel the nostalgia floating through the air while listing to your rather nubish 1st recording... but I still have some complains: Your audio files have a data rate of 32 kBit/s and a sample rate of 22.050 kHz which I think is compressed from your original Files. Wouldn't it be possible to put the uncompressed Files online too, just as an alternative for those who have a internet connection which is fast enough to handle massiv downloads? It would also be nice to place the microphone not direcrtly on the table but overhead so the recording will no longer be disturbed by the sound of falling dices or jerks pumping the microphone.
Furthermore the microphone should be placed near the dm because he's (usually) the one who talks the most (and the most important things) and players who cough directly into the mic should be beaten up or get a 3 negative levels for their evil deed :twisted: :wink:
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#4 swj719

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 05:01 AM

At about 3 hours or so per episode, a higher rate would make for HUGE freaking files...

The bandwidth used would skyrocket...

Also, judging from a comment or two during WLD, it seems that he main mic IS overhead (comlpex pendulum? Only you lot would make my game into a physics class).

And an omni directional mic would still pick up dice rolls...

Seriously, you try recording 3+ hours a night in a fashion that yields good sound, and yet is downloadable/playable/won't slaughter the site's bandwidth...

If bad audio bugs you, don't listen to old Yog Radio, or the first eps of Masks...

Props still to paul... Audio quality is very nice now... But where the hell are my new eps of Yog?

Wanker... :)
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#5 Hal

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 05:10 AM

OK!

You clearly have not listened to all the audios. You have to appreciate that the files available are not a static process through time but a fluid and changing thing. We have developed the process over time, with both the recording equipment, techniques and the post processing.

The early recordings were at a lower bit rate to allow for those with modems to fully benefit from the site as well as the fact that they took up less space on the server. Since then we have abandoned those with dial up modems and have moved to much larger and more affordable servers, hence the more recent recordings are of a higher quality.

The unedited files are made available in their raw format straight from the recorder to the Patrons. They have the raw files from session 22 of the WLD onwards as well as the Banewarrens files and the Temple of Elemental Evil files. There are also the odd file in there from our board gaming evening (some of which are available on the main part of the site!

We are also in the process of looking at changing the equipment used for the recordings to allow for a clearer listening experience. I have been speaking with some audio professionals and we have come up with a setup which should allow for the listener to experience the audio as if they were sitting in the centre of the table (uncomfortable but a good place to listen from). This will involved stereo and soundscapes and all kinds of shine.

At this moment in time the microphone does hang over the table. It is slightly off centre being more towards the quieter players (we do sit in a specific order to allow for more clarity on the recordings).

I appreciate any feedback (negtative or otherwise) and am well aware of all your comments already. Obviously if you were paying for the audio you would have avenues to make your "complaints" however the audio on the site has always been free and always will be. The comments you have made are nothing new and we are working to rectify the problems. I am sure you can appreciate that the recording conditions are far from ideal. Ultimately each player should have a wirless lav mic and then we can adjust for their own levels, however, due to the aformentioned "freeness" of the audio this would take an investment miracle at this time :D

Hope you continue to enjoy the files :D
Hal :hal:
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#6 Salubrai

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 06:25 AM

RttToEE was probably the ONLY file on the site which has real audio issues -- and you will note a distinct JUMP in quality should you ever play the files using an MP3PRO player, as they are all encoded with that extra quality layer. Go here http://www.mp3prozone.com/ , download the free player or Winamp plugin, then listen to any of the files on the site. You will REALLY appreciate the difference.

To be honest, I never understood why Paul disliked the slight room echo. When listening to gaming sessions, I much PREFER the sound of "being in the room" rather than speaking into a mic directly. It gives a more "you are there eavesdropping" feeling.

Ain't I creepy?! :twisted:
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#7 PaulofCthulhu

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 07:56 AM

Slight room echo is fine on game recordings, but not much tolerance on radio show type recordings. We use different set-ups in each case.

Paul
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#8 Keener

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 10:14 AM

I think the fact that both rpgmp3.com and yog-sothoth.com produce these audios on there time as a volunteers and have provided so many hours of fun quality recording. That fact should really give pause to anyone wanting to complain about some minor audio problems. I for my part want to say thank you again to Hal, Linsay and all the players at rpgmp3.com and to Paul of C and all the contributors at yog-sothoth.com, they have kept me entertained for hours, which can't be said for most other media.

Thank you,

Keener
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#9 Salubrai

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 12:15 PM

Slight room echo is fine on game recordings, but not much tolerance on radio show type recordings. We use different set-ups in each case.

Paul


Indeed! And room echo is required for the noise level of BALAZAAR! "He's only a dwarf."
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#10 swj719

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 12:40 PM

RttToEE was probably the ONLY file on the site which has real audio issues -- and you will note a distinct JUMP in quality should you ever play the files using an MP3PRO player, as they are all encoded with that extra quality layer. Go here http://www.mp3prozone.com/ , download the free player or Winamp plugin, then listen to any of the files on the site. You will REALLY appreciate the difference.

To be honest, I never understood why Paul disliked the slight room echo. When listening to gaming sessions, I much PREFER the sound of "being in the room" rather than speaking into a mic directly. It gives a more "you are there eavesdropping" feeling.

Ain't I creepy?! :twisted:


Seriously, is it THAT improved from an iPod set to spoken word?
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#11 riddles

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 01:05 PM

Perhaps I'm missing the point. Its the spoken word, not a concert recording.

So long as I can hear everything clearly, and they sound roughly like they do in real life, why do I want higher recording rates etc?

Personally, I think Hal and Paul have got it about right, though I can appreciate Paul's comments that he treats the radio sessions differently to the tabletop recordings.

Even RttToEE was listenable to, though in comparision to the later stuff, it doesn't sound great...
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#12 Salubrai

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 10:06 PM

Wow. What a "bad man" I am for suggesting downloading a plugin for Winamp that takes all of twenty seconds to install, getting higher voice quality FREE using the same source files. In the time you spent writing the post wondering why I'd be such a prat to suggest this--you could have just LISTENED and seen why I said "wow, this would be a nice thing if you like." Excuse me.... now, if I could explain.

Hearing it on an iPod is hearing it in MP3 standard. MP3Pro files have two "playing levels." They play at their normal rate on regular players and play at a higher rate with specialized players. The difference is nicer sound quality. And it's the same file.
If you don't WANT an 32kbps MP3 file that sounds like a 64kbps MP3 file, then don't bother downloading the special player. It's all up to you.
You can happily go along all your life listening to them with regular MP3 players (as ipods and pretty much EVERY portable player doesn't support MP3Pro) or get a special player and see what the extra fidelity adds.

You simply get better voice definition, you can hear a fair bit more of the nearly silent comments, and it makes it easier to understand WHAT's said.

But you can also just screw it all and never bother downloading an MP3Pro player. Because as I said, MP3Pro files CAN play under any player, just lose their extra "pro" quality.

Why is this so hard for people to understand? I'm abandoning this thread because when I suggest something that would be nice and is a free way to get a little nicer sound quality, people jump on me like I've criticized the sessions rather than told you how to get a bit nicer sound quality free and without any real effort. I mean really, sorry for giving you an idea of something you might not have already known.
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#13 swj719

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 10:29 PM

I asked if it was better because I enjoy listening to the audio while on y way to classes/while at work, and that means the iPod. At home I could certainly use mp3Pro, but I don't yet have it, and as a rule I avoid installing anything I don't have to.

I wasn't questioning you, or suggesting anything. I was asking because I just didn't know...

What I didnt' know was the level of difference, which is information you have now given me...

However, instead of a pissy lil rant, a response of "Dude, 100% difference, it's like sitting at the table next to Hal" would have sufficed...
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#14 Salubrai

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 10:35 PM

Not talking about you.
And I've explained this so many times, and yet I have no evidence of ANYONE ever bothering with it because computer "folk" are generally so convinced they're right they will purposefully not do something just to be stubborn. That's what drives me nuts.

After all, I wasn't ranting about you in particular -- but you did take the time to ask me what the difference was instead of just going and getting a 50kb plugin and listening for yourself. Which is easier? It's not even new software, it's just a DLL plugin. I even gave the URL
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#15 Salubrai

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Posted 02 September 2006 - 10:43 PM

Ok, ummm... it's like: the difference between WLD1 played on a regular MP3 player and the raw files at 64kbps?

I'm beginning to wonder if I have some kind of incredible hearing -- because honestly, I'm one of the few people I know who seem to notice a WORLD of difference between the mp3pro and mp3s.
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#16 riddles

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 02:46 AM

To be fair Shathis, it's only speech. If I can understand it, that'll do.

But yes you are 100% right in that mp3pro sounds alot better than pure mp3. But not enough for me to get it, re-encode it to a higher sample rate as normal mp3 to listen to on my mp3 player...

You have a better ear than me, and I happily bow down to your superior aural skills! :)
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#17 Thing

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Posted 03 September 2006 - 08:37 AM

yeah, I am mainly concerned with being able to hear peoples voices and make out what was said wich i could do easily on the least of the recordings.

Even on the best of the MP3Pro encoded files there where still moments when you would get 2 or 3 people trying to speak at one, or somebody would shout out a line while someone else was talking, but that is fairly normal for the game table as you are running without a script.

Higher quality is always great, but if the file sized get up there too big the bandwith costs would be insane (More so then the already are).

Basically, I think everyone is doing a great job, especially on the new Banewarens and I am eagerly awaiting Lindsays new game.
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#18 Salubrai

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Posted 04 September 2006 - 08:58 AM

All of the files on RPGMP3 are generally already in the MP3Pro format. Please note previous message.
A 32kbps MP3Pro file is the same size as a 32kbps MP3 file.

One just sounds better when played through the proper player, or with the correct plugin.

Lacking those it sounds like a regular MP3, at regular mp3 quality levels. It's like watching a HDTV show on a regular TV.
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