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Thread: Reducing Base In Previously Recorded Video

  1. #1

    Default Reducing Base In Previously Recorded Video

    Hello my name is Mike and i just bought a Sony HDD Digital Camcorder and then last night I went to a concert and i was in the front row and i got really nice video but the sound was really distorted. All the other sound of the music came out well but the base was so bad that it muffled the speaker. Is there a way i can keep the original sound but lose the base? Is there a program i could buy that would make it easy for just reduce the base and keep the rest of the original sound. If you could help me out i would really appreciate it.

    thanks Mike

  2. #2

    Default Here is the link to the video

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Blog Entries


    Sorry Mike, I won't beat about the bush and will get straight to the point. It looks like your audio is lost beyond rescue.

    There are all sorts of filters, software and plug-ins, none of which (unfortunately) will be able to restore the audio you have on youtube.

    I'll try to explain what's happened (not much compensation, I know but it might help you to avoid this in the future) with your sound recording.

    In essence, digital sound recording takes tens of thousands of "samples" of the sound every second and turns it into numbers. The numbers can be thought of as a figure between 0% (silence) and 100% (the maximum your system can handle). What's happened in this case is that the volume is so loud that it's recorded nearly everything as 100%. This results in the distortion you hear.

    What sometimes happens in that the bass (which we feel at a concert, more than hear) is pushing the apparent signal past the 100% limit. This isn't helped by the cheap camcorder microphones which can't take the high SPL (sound pressure level or, in plain English, the high volume) of a rock concert, when you're standing near the speakers.

    Since software can only recover information which is there in the first place, it has nothing to work with. It just has a whole stream of numbers at 100% so it can't extrapolate (or calculate) what the original sound should be. It's like having a photo which is so overexposed that you just end up with a white sheet of paper. There's no way you can work out what the image should be. You've got something similar with the sound information.

    Sorry to be so negative, but (going on the youtube sample) that's what's happened.
    Last edited by Rembrandt Rob; 04-15-2007 at 09:36 AM.

  4. #4


    damn thats too bad. So is there a way next time i can turn the volume down on the camera so the immense sound wont seem so loud on the recording? i dont think it helped that i was in the front row right by the speaker. but i thank you for spending time to explain that to me.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Bristol uk
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    Sounds to me like the mic has been overloaded totally. Camcorder mics often are not capable of recording very loud sounds, and even many off camera mics will struggle in concert situations.

    The sennheiser mke300d is around 150 quid and can go up to 110 dB, but I am guessing that some concert situations may peak even higher.

    Expensive 'pro' mics can typically handle 130 dB and that is stupidly loud but expect to pay 400 up.

    There are a few people around on the forum who often do concerts, thay may be able to offer more informed advice.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
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    I can only confirm what Mark W's already said. It does look like your microphone was simply overloaded, due to you being so close to the speakers.

    Think of sound recording as a chain, each link needs to be intact for the whole thing to work. The start of the chain is the sound source which then vibrates the air. These vibrations are picked up by the diaphram of your microphone and converted into an electrical signal. This signal is then amplified, then recorded (onto tape, hard drive, disc, whatever).

    When you "turn down" the microphone, what you're doing is reducing the electrical signal in the middle of the chain. In your case, the problem started before that. It seems that the sound from the speakers is so loud that it's overloaded the microphone, so even if you lower the signal, it's already been distorted.

    There are two ways 'round this. One way (the best way) is to move the microphone away from the speakers. This can involve you getting a "feed" from the concert's sound desk or setting up your own microphones. Unfortunately I can see that it would cause problems for you and having cables snaking through a concert crowd is definitely not to be recommended. The other way is to put some sort of acoustic dampening between the speaker and the microphone, unfortunately this always distorts the sound.

    Keeping this "quick & dirty".
    What you could do is have an accomplice with another camcorder, in the middle of the crowd, thereby getting a different camera angle and a lower (recordable) sound level. Another way is to have a dynamic microphone (they tend not to be as sensitive as camera microphones) slung around your neck and plugged into the camcorder. It's not perfect but better than nothing.

    It really depends how seriously you're going to do this.

  7. #7


    well guys i really appreciate all the good advice. first of all i was too damn close to the front of the stage. next time i think it would be better to be further away and just use the zoom. I think it was the sound vibrations that rattled the diaphram of the microphone. but anyways thanks again


  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Swan Valley, Western Australia


    Hi. Sorry to drag this up, but I've come here looking for specific advice, and this video shows a similar problem.

    My band recorded ourselves in the studio, and the sound is actually quite good for what it is, but the kick drum (mic'ed through the PA) causes that same distortion that is evident in this video.

    Since it's just the kick drum, is it possible to "clip" it from the audio at all??

    I'm new to this stuff.

    I have the video disc (multi-side DVD-RW) and Sony software but didn't grab handycam (guitarist owns it) so can't install the Sony software.

    I was going to use WinXP Movie Maker to start with, then tried a .VOB conversion tool which failed miserably, so I've stopped messing about for now. Any advice, mainly on the sound quality improvement side of things, would be awesome before I kill something



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