Jeff did indeed expand in textual form on Gates and his iTunes Trick…
Expanders, or “gates”:
I use what is essentially the gate on Metric Halo’s “Channelstrip” plug in.
I also have a TC Electronics Gold Channel mic pre with a gate on it that works equally well.
I HAD a dbx gate that I pulled ‘cause it “clicked” when it opened.
One time, I was using the TC gate with a Distressor – the distressor was so noisy I had to gate it AGAIN – for that I used the gate built into the Yamaha 01v96 mixing board I was using. I then had an appreciation for the quietness of my standard LA-4 compressors.
To set the gate, turn the threshold down so your ambient background noise triggers it. Then adjust it up until the gate closes. At that point, any increase in ambient noise (airplanes, trains, trucks driving by, deaf DJ’s blasting monitors across the hall..) will trigger the gate, but so will your quieter moments doing voiceover. The higher the threshold, the louder you’ll have to be before the gate opens. This can cut off the first few milliseconds of your soft consonants or vowels, yielding an unnatural quality, so it’s important to strike a balance between letting your subtleties in and keeping the hum of your computer out. For voiceover with relatively quiet or static background noise, you want the gate to open and close lightning fast.
It really helps to CUT your lows BEFORE you hit the gate – this way program material never intended for the final product anyway (a truck driving by) won’t trigger the gate. Instead, you can keep on reading despite rumbles in the room. I’m also a believer in cutting lows before hitting compressors – so it doesn’t react to frequencies that will get cut out anyway.
How I do it – why I use it. Disclosure: I’m all mac. ProTools 6.4 – 7.4. iTunes version 4, 6, & 7. Haven’t tried this on iTunes 8 yet. This info probably works on Windows, but the keyboard commands will be a little different.
step 1: record tracks for 10 different clients.
step 2: rename all resulting audio files, include the date and the client’s name (usually call letters).
step 3: in ProTools, hit “Command + “u”” to invoke Strip Silence.
step 4: Settings: I keep the threshold fairly low. Region start pad & Region end pad both set to 500 ms. Minimum strip duration set to zero.
step 5: STRIP!
step 6: select unused audio (command + shift + “U”)
step 7: clear selected (command + shift + “B”)
step 8: highlight the stripped tracks – the selected region names should also be highlighted in your region bin..
step 9: “Compact Audio” no keyboard command, you have to pull it down from the menu above your region bin. “Padding” set to ZERO !
“Compact Audio” rewrites the file directory so that unused (stripped) audio is excluded from the file. Reduces file size.
step 10: open iTunes. I import using the “mp3 Encoder” with the custom setting of 320 kbps. To check your settings, hit “command “,” ” to open the preferences dialog.
Under “advanced” select the “Importing” tab.
step 11: hold down “option”, then under the ‘advanced’ menu, you should see “convert to mp3”. select it.
step 12: a box should open, navigate to the “audio files” folder where you just recorded, stripped, and compacted your voicework. iTunes should remember this location, and
open there again the next time.
step 13: select all the files you want to convert to mp3. Use “shift” to select multiple files. You can also select folders, and all files within those folders will be converted.
This uses iTunes as batch file format converter !
Advantages: no need to reassemble or re-import your compacted files for conversion to mp3. iTunes seems to convert to mp3 much faster than ProTools. You can continue working or recording on ProTools while iTunes converts in the background.
This seems like a lot of steps, but once you get the hang of it, it’s lightning quick. Takes me longer to compose an email to the client to let them know their tracks are ready, than it does to rename, strip, compact, convert, and upload a file.