Commentary audio

3 replies [Last post]
Joined: Oct 17 2007

Hey all,

I produce live events and often find myself doing sound as well as video mixing to keep costs down - and I'm definitely not a sound man but was hoping for some guidance from you lot!

I have a number of audio inputs: Commentators (x2), Feed from a desk (music/MC) and ambience microphone.

I tend to find that the music/MC remains reasonably constant throughout and very rarely have to fiddle with the levels.

I bring down ambience when the MC talks or when the music is going - which isn't too hard...

The most problematic audio is the the commentators. They require adjustments when something exciting happens, I've even had a little bit of peaking which I'd really like to avoid.

I was wondering if you sound-folk have any recommendations on what I might be able to do to avoid clipping??

Also some pointers on getting the best sound from commentary would be great as well - I've put a low/hi pass filter on and I guess this isn't going to be a case of one thing will solve all my issues but any help/advice would be very much appreciated!



Joined: Mar 31 1999
Re: Commentary audio


You need a compressor / limiter. The compressor 'makes quiet speech louder and loud speech quieter' and the limiter prevents peaks from getting any further along the chain.

A compressor / limiter is standard kit in broadcasting. You'll probably find that once your commentators have been 'tamed', they won't need EQ. Just make sure that they speak over the tops of the windshields of their mics and not straight into them. This avoids the pops from  'p's and  'b's which are often a cause of peaking.

I can't recommend a particular compressor / limiter because it will depend on your kit, on the connections you use. and the price you are prepared to pay. Do some research.


Joined: May 17 1999
Re: Commentary audio

Are you using a mixer yourself or just recording straight to camera?

Joined: Oct 17 2007
Re: Commentary audio

Thanks all!

I've got a mixer and apparently it has a built in compressor on the inputs and a limiter on outputs so that sounds good :)

Any recommendations on attack time / threshold / release time / ratio values for a compressor?

I think I've played with this before and remember needing to have a release time of 1-2 seconds as when they're loud they're usually loud for a few seconds and if it stops compressing then a choppy decrease in volume happens.

The limiter also has attack time / threshold / release time / ratio - am I looking to do anything in particular with this?

I expect it's the same story with a limiter as well... when it peaks it tends to peak for a good few seconds so need to make sure I've got a quick attack time, slow release time and maybe a threshold of -1 or -2dB?

Can I ask... if the compressor both amplifies/reduces the volume then why the need for the extra limiter on output? Forgive my ignorance!

Thanks for your advice so far :)