I’ll start off by saying that I just started using LingQ, and from what I’ve seen/used so far it seems like it will be a great program to invest in for language learning.
However, the audio recording quality could definitely use some work, at least for the beginner level courses and the podcasts (I’ve listened to some German and French). I’m not sure how these recordings are done, but from the sound, it seems that they’re done around a single microphone that has relatively poor background/noise reduction technology. A way to fix this would be to use some high(er)-quality headsets for each speaker with noise/background reduction, though the recording software may also need upgrading.
Overall it’s a “minor” issue, but unfortunately for me poor quality sound is a pet peeve of mine. In any event, I’ll definitely be using LingQ for many of my language learning endeavors in the future. Thanks for the great website and program(s)!
Some of the sound quality is better than others since the content is created by many different people using many different microphones and computers. We would love for the sound quality of all content to be perfect but that is not possible with our members providing much of the content. Just poke around until you find something at a quality level you like. You may also find that if the content is interesting, the sound doesn’t have to be quite as good.
Thanks for the quick reply. I understand the difficulty in achieving a “perfect” sound quality given your situation.
Still, if I were to limit the issue to one thing that is most difficult (for me) to ignore: it’s when the people having a conversation are talking from different distances from the mic. When one person sounds like they’re talking into the mic while the other person is a few feet away from it, it’s hard (at least for me, though I imagine I’m in the minority) to think of it as a casual conversation. I’m not sure what the guidelines are for recording, but other than any hardware/software-induced issues, having everyone equidistant from the mic would solve most of my troubles (which was the main motivation behind my suggesting headset use).
I’ll be using LingQ regardless (even the audio!) as it’s a great program, and I can quite easily deal with this issue on my end (just have to get used to it). Just thought I’d offer up some input based on experience so far.
P.S. After reading my last post, I realize I may have sounded overly critical. That was certainly not my intention. I absolutely love the style of learning presented in LingQ and the issue I’m having isn’t even close to important enough to steer me away from it.
The reasons I brought it up are simply because of 1) poor sound quality is a pet peeve of mine, and 2) it’s an easy way (relatively) to improve the quality of the content. If you hope to eventually compete with some of the more “mainstream” language learning programs (i.e. Rosetta Stone, etc), then the best way to do this (other than advertising) is simply to improve the quality of the material. Now when I say this, I’m not in any way saying that the actual language learning method necessarily needs improvement – I love the way it’s set up. I’m just talking about the general stuff – e.g. Audio Quality (in my case), Website Layout, course accessibility, etc. . .
Again, I love the learning style presented here. But, if I am to be an honest critic, some of the “quality” in the aforementioned categories is the #1 area in need of improvement if the site is to become more “mainstream” :-).
Thanks, ocius, I think! You are right about sound quality and we will eventually introduce a sound quality rating. In the meantime, if you have suggestions for individual content providers on improving their sound, you can post your suggestions in the Lesson forum for those lessons.
Just be happy that we’re not in the lingq beta version anymore… where it was just a series of cans attached to strings…
Since for many of us making recordings for LingQ is our first attempt at recording anything, it would be helpful to have a FAQ on creating recordings.
I have no idea if my microphone is a good one or not. I just bought it from a shop. It seems to produce better recordings than the microphone on my headset.
How about suggestions for suitable microphones or a list of features to look for? I’m generally up for a shopping trip
I’m not an expert on the matter, but from my limited experience in recording and editing audio/video, here’s some general (and easy) guidelines:
-A good, cheap, non-headset mic is Are you a human? – you can usually find these in electronics stores for a similar price. The benefits of a non-headset mic are that you can more easily have multiple people recording from one computer. The primary downside is that many cheaper mics pick up ambient noise.
-If you’re looking for a headset mic, the thing to look for in reviews is mic quality. Most headsets focus on the sound playback quality rather than the mic quality. Newegg.com is a good site for all things electronics and it typically has detailed reviews if you look hard enough, but you can also find them at amazon, bestbuy, etc,.
-Play around with mic volume. If you’re on a windows, you can typically do this by plugging in your microphone and clicking on the speaker icon in the bottom right corner. You can also get to audio settings through Start>Control Panel>Sound, Speech, and Audio Devices. I don’t have a mac, so if someone with a mac could comment on how to do this for the mac users here that’d be great :-).
-Do some test recordings. Try recording at different distances, volume settings, etc., and compare quality. Make sure you’re talking to the microphone, not to the screen or another person in the room. If more than one person is recording through the same mic, make sure everyone is an equal distance from it and you’re all talking toward the mic (not to each other). All mics are different, so you just have to figure out how sensitive yours is and work around it (or, if you’re not happy with it… buy a new one :-p).
I just started with the Lingq lessions Italian internediate, but unfortunately the audio quality is very poor. So I fear that I will quit before really starting.
I have been trying to record texts in Amharic. I have found the sound quality to be poor. I think that the room in which the recording is done is one of the problems. The room causes unacceptable sound reverberation. Can the use of a different and better microphone help with avoiding this problem?
Finally! My congratulations!!!
The unacceptable sound reverberation can be reduced by puting a blanket over a head with the microphone. It’s the easiest and the cheapest way.
It is also possible to play with different sound effects like noise reduction and compression.
If you can hear the room’s reverberation recorded, it means your microphone is already sensible, better sensitivity may increase the recorded room’s reverberation.
There are also different “pick up patterns”. The omnidirectional picks everything around you, cardioid picks just your voice with less reflections.
At the beginning of my recordings for Portuguese lessons I used a very cheap microphone - 1 Euro each - and the sound is not so bad. Nowadays I use a Sennheiser and I agree the quality is quite better. But you don’t necessarily need a very expensive microphone to have good sound quality.
That’s right. Software can also solve some problems.
We are now back on the internet properly. I don’t know how long this will last, but I will make the most of it while I can.
@Ress. Thanks for the tip, but do you mean that the person speaking has to have a blanket over their head and over the microphone? My friend is actually reading sentences in English and recording in Amharic. He does need to be able to see!
@derla003, Then pick another lesson! Most of the Italian lessons are very good.
It is also possible to sit under the blanket with a lamp in a hand.
But not too long. You need some fresh air sometimes
I know that a famous German podcaster sits ‘in’ her wardrobe because the fabric reduces the noises of the surrounding and make the sound more smooth.
Sound is better if there are lots of things in a room, much better than in an empty room.
But the idea with the blanket should work too
I tried the blanket thing myself but have not yet had a chance to ask my friend to try it. I used a local light cotton blanket called a Gabi. The sound was not bad, even using the Macbook computer mike, and I could read the text from the computer screen. I did, however, get quite hot in the few minutes I spent under there!