How to improve the sound quality of audio using audacity

By | August 23, 2016

When i first started recording audio i sounded like a baby and didn’t like my voice at all. Although some part of me will always not like my voice, but slowly i have accepted it. I have also learned some neat tricks that improved the sound quality of the audio and made my voice more authentic.

I achieved this huge voice improvement using a free audio editing software called audacity.

What is Audacity?

Audacity is a free tool/software that many professionals use to edit their audio recordings. It can not only be used to improve the sound quality of audio and your voice but also for removing background noise and echo from audio.

Audacity Official Page | For enhance sound quality

Some of it’s other features are –

  • Adding sound effects
  • Changing the pitch and frequency of audio
  • Automatic noise and click sound reduction
  • Exporting the final audio in different file formats thus giving us the option of creating a high resolution audio.

What are we going to learn in this tutorial?

I am going to give some tips followed by the explanation of the different terms in audacity that have a key role in improving quality of sound in audio and improving the tonality of your voice.

Just a tip – You can click on images to make them bigger if you have any difficulty seeing them.

Tips for recording a proper audio

1) Speak from an appropriate distance  – Make sure your mouth is about a foot away from microphone. If you speak with your lips too close to the microphone it will cause mumbling and if you are too far away you not be audible to the listener. About a foot away from microphone is a sweet spot, but by all means test and find your own sweet spot because every person’s voice is different.

Right distance from microphone for great sound quality

2) Remove background noise and echo – This results in more clear vocals and the listener doesn’t get distracted by all the noise. I already have a tutorial about it here.

Enhance audio and voice quality using Audacity

Step 1 : Open Audacity. Then record or import the audio so that we can start working on it’s audio enhancement.

Step 2 : Select all the audio by pressing CTRL + A on windows and Command + A on mac. The below steps are to be followed after selecting all the audio.

Step 3 : Go to Effects ( at the top) -> Compressor, then set the threshold to18dB to -15dB -> click Ok. If you keep it above that, then the audio will get converted to background noise.

Using compressor in Audacity

 
Step 4 : Go to Effects-> Equalization -> Select Curve ( at bottom of popup)  -> Bass Boost -> Click OK . This is used to make the voice more deep and manly. So if you sound like a baby you might want to use the bass boost. Don’t do it if you are a woman or a girl because i don’t think you will want to sound like a man.

Using Bassboost in audacity

 

READ  How to remove background noise and echo from audio

Step 5 : Effects-> Equalization -> Select Curve -> Treble Boost -> Click Ok. The Bass boost had made our voice pretty deep but now we also want out voice now to pop up more and get louder. That is why we are using Treble boost.

Step 6: Effect -> Hard Limiter -> -4 db limit -> Click Ok. You will talking throughout the audio recording and sometimes you might be quiet and sometimes your voice might be a little louder that you expect it to be, which might get the audio a little clipped off.

This can also be discomforting to the listener. So to level off the voice in the audio we use a Hard Limiter. The db limit should be kept between -2 dB and -5dB ( I usually keep at -4) but try it out ( by pressing preview button on bottom right of popup) and see what works best for you because some people have more variation in their voice than others.

Using hardlimiter in Audacity

Step 6 : Effect -> Normalize -> Keep it at default and then click ok . This is to make your vocals a bit louder.



After you are done with all the steps above, your voice and sound quality will be totally enhanced.

Conclusion

If we follow the tips and the tutorial given above, we can improve and enhance the sound quality of the audio to a huge extent. Obviously, the content of the audio depends on your delivery too. Make sure to practice your delivery a lot of times before you actually sit down to record the audio.

There are also a lot of sound enhancers and audio enhancers that i won’t recommend if you are just starting out because they are not cheap. Remember to first remove the background noise and echo. Then use the above tips and tricks to get the high resolution audio from your usual microphone.


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