I'm looking for a way to convincingly manipulate a studio recording to sound like it's on location - for a radio piece. There are two interlocutors, and while their parts are being recorded separately, they will both be placed in this other context.

The voice tracks are being recorded in an iso studio with a broadcast console and Rode Broadcaster mics (large diagphragm cardioid condenser). The destination is a beachside scene overlooking the Pacific ocean in Sydney - an outdoor sculpture festival.

Aside from the predictable attendant background sounds (waves, gulls, wind and passersby), I was curious if anyone had some tried and true techniques for making the thing sound more authentically 'outside'. Here's what I'm thinking as a starting point:

• High-pass the voice tracks to reflect the thinner sound of a reporter's mic (and proximity effect)
• Add a barely perceptible amount of ambience
• Record some handling/wind noise and duck the voice tracks once or twice when this is inserted
• Maybe band-pass the location recordings and sum them to mono

What do you think? I'm somewhat uncertain of the last two ideas - am I labouring the point? Is it possible that it could just be a very nicely recorded location piece with quality microphones (including stereo for atmos)?

Thanks in advance for your ideas!


2 Answers 2


Performance will get you a long ways towards your goal. They need to project, make sure their headphone feeds aren't too loud. Are they supposed to be getting interviewed? If not keep the mic farther away in more of a boom position. Make sure you don't have any room reflections. Some of it depends on how far you want to go - believable vs "radio" and intelligible vs "real".

  • Thanks for your thoughts. Yes, they're getting interviewed. There'll be no room reflections! I guess the question of how far I should go is paramount, you're right. I can probably get away with miking them in a normal way and mixing it a little differently, but it's a good suggestion to turn the cans down and distance the mic a little for those bits. Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 4:13
  • If they are getting interviewed moving the mic away might not be important, projection and energy probably will be
    – coaxmw
    Commented Dec 4, 2013 at 4:16

You should always record as you would like something to sound. Post-processing sound is about always fake (when in fact you want something "real") and wastes a tremendous amount of time for something that will most likely never sound good, you're just playing with the software. Remember that good sound has existed way before computers, so computers aren't necessarily needed for anything more than recording and editing. So, always try and get the source right and things will be simple.

In general, convolution reverbs (e.g. Altiverb) are your best pick for digital "worldizing". Although you can also worldize by replaying the sound from a speaker placed in the environment that you want and then re-recording the sound there, though it obviously will not be quite the same as a live recording.

  • Thanks! Yes, the limitation here is that this person is recording in another city. So I'm unable to go on location to do it with them, and asking another engineer to do it in a short timeframe is a bit beyond possibility I'm afraid. So I'm relying on a clean studio recording as a starting point! Commented Dec 5, 2013 at 11:02

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