Written by Wade Clark • January 04, 2018
Have you ever watched a video with no audio or really bad audio? If it is play-by-play commentating for a sporting event or your church's choir singing its best song, your viewers want the audio to be great. In this article, we will discuss how to fix audio issues you might be having.
A live broadcast that has no audio can be painful to watch. If you aren’t able to provide an audio feed, any audio is better than no audio for your viewers. Even if it is just from the camera microphone picking up the speaker or the ambient sounds of the event, your viewers will appreciate knowing that it is not broken. If you must stream without audio, you might try using our BoxCast Graphic Overlays feature to add an overlay saying something like: “Unfortunately, this live stream does not have audio.”
If you are getting audio from a soundboard, try turning the levels up or down a little bit from the soundboard. Also check to see if there is equipment in the path of your audio that has adjustments you can make that might affect the audio signal. For example, if you are using a direct box (“DI box”), check to see if there is a “pad” switch that you can toggle. Many boxes have these switches, which can be used to lower the level of the signal (or, maybe the pad was already switched on and disengaging it will make your signal louder).
With BoxCast, we offer a feature called Low Latency Preview, which can help you monitor and troubleshoot the audio of your broadcast.
Buzzing or audio noise can come from a lot of things. It can come from the cables, audio mixer, or directly from the source audio, like a microphone or another sound source. Here is how to find out what is causing the buzz and troubleshoot it:
If you have the ability to, your first step will be to mute all channels on the soundboard and un-mute them one-by-one until you find out which source is causing the problem. You could also use the “solo” function if your soundboard has one - this mutes all channels other than the “soloed” channel.
If you are unable to mute channels with your soundboard, or if this still doesn’t solve the problem, the issue could be your cables. Try swapping the cables one by one. It is really important to use a systematic troubleshooting approach here, so that you're not inadvertently messing up something that was working fine. Your goal is to isolate the root cause and maybe avoid that issue in the setup in the future. Remember to only change one thing at a time when troubleshooting!
Once you have identified which source or equipment is causing the buzzing, use a systematic troubleshooting approach again to try to fix the root problem. An easy thing to try is changing cables that connect the problematic piece of equipment to the soundboard, or to other equipment. If the equipment uses wall power, you might try plugging it into a different outlet (or a few different outlets) to see if that helps. If any of the problem equipment has a “ground lift” switch, try toggling that and see if it makes a difference. As a last resort, you could try another piece of equipment to kill the buzz like the Rocktron Buzz Kill AC Hum Exterminator.
If you are only hearing the buzz in the recording, then it is coming from something after your audio mixer. You can follow a similar troubleshooting procedure as described above to see if you can fix the issue between the mixer and the BoxCaster. Specifically, make sure that the cables going from your mixer to the BoxCaster are as short as possible. Minimize the number of times they cross over power cables, and if they run parallel to power cables, keep them as far apart as possible. Use as few adapters as possible to get from the outputs of your soundboard to the inputs of the BoxCaster.
Try to avoid mixing unbalanced and balanced audio signals. To learn more about that check out this video we created: Balanced vs. Unbalanced Audio Cables.
The most common cables used for audio in the video production space are RCA, ¼ inch and XLR. Unbalanced connections like RCA and ¼ cables should be run as short as possible to avoid noise issues - 25 feet is the maximum length that you should ever run. XLR cables send a balanced signal, so they can generally be used up to several hundred feet. As a general rule, you should try to use cables that are the length you actually need (with a little slack). Don’t use a 100’ cable when a 20’ will do, unless you absolutely must.
Need More Help?
These are all questions that our amazing support team often receives when it comes to perfecting the audio setup for your live stream. If you sign up to live stream your events with BoxCast, our support team is available seven days-a-week to answer your questions and make sure your live broadcast is flawless. Here at BoxCast, we understand that producing a live streamed event can be stressful, so we try to do everything we can do to take the struggle and stress out of streaming. If you are looking for a better way to live stream, let’s talk!