Improved "leveling" for speech

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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:11 am

It occurs to me that the previous test audio is flawed in that we are comparing different words, so I've compiled a new test sample,
The first part has short phrases repeated with a pause between each phrase. The first, third and fifth repeats have been amplified by -6, -12 and -18 dB respectively.
The second part of the test is the same as the first but without the pauses. This part is to test how well the compressor is able to respond to rapid changes as might occur in a conversation.
level-test.ogg
(1.67 MiB) Downloaded 116 times


New "extra simple" compressor and test results to follow.
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Mar 06, 2014 12:46 am

Results for Audacity Leveler:

Default setting - Moderate:
moderate.ogg
(1.79 MiB) Downloaded 118 times

My assessment:
Not much noticeable distortion, just a touch of harshness on the loudest phrases, but negligible leveling of the volume changes.


Heavy:
heavy.ogg
(1.83 MiB) Downloaded 115 times

My assessment:
Noticeable reduction in dynamic range between the louder phrases and the -6 dB phrases, but accompanied by noticeable rasping on the louder phrases, particularly "Some words".


Heavier:
heavier.ogg
(1.87 MiB) Downloaded 102 times

My assessment:
Definite reduction in dynamic range. The -12 dB version sound close to what the -6 dB was and the -18 dB version close to what the -12 dB version was. The distortion on the loud phrases is now quite unpleasant. I'd not want to listen to this for very long.


Heaviest:
heaviest.ogg
(1.9 MiB) Downloaded 111 times

My assessment:
Breaker one-nine, breaker one-nine. This is the bear in the air...
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Mar 06, 2014 1:06 am

New version of "Level Speech" compressor.
LevelSpeech.ny
(2.35 KiB) Downloaded 131 times



Default Leveling amount 30%:
default-30.ogg
(1.76 MiB) Downloaded 116 times

My assessment:
Good amount of dynamic range reduction. The quieter versions are still noticeably quieter than the louder version, but much less difference. Louder versions sound a little "heavier" and a very slight increase in background noise. Enormously better than any of the results with the Leveler.


Leveling amount 70%:
70.ogg
(1.81 MiB) Downloaded 116 times

My assessment:
Very strong leveling, probably more than would be wanted in most situations but could be useful for "maximizing loudness". It would be interesting to test this on some uncompressed "hard house" or hip-hop recordings. Noticeable "compressed" sound to the louder phrases. Some noticeable increase in background noise, particularly after "I stood a little to the right..sss"
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Mar 06, 2014 2:24 am

Slight tweak to the effect. The default setting is unchanged but the noise level is a bit lower, particularly at higher settings.
LevelSpeech.ny
(2.35 KiB) Downloaded 116 times
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Thu Mar 06, 2014 4:17 am

Another minor tweak. Slight speed improvement when using as a 0 dB limiter (Leveling amout = 0%)
LevelSpeech.ny
(2.37 KiB) Downloaded 110 times


This is a rather nice "advanced feature" for such a simple effect.
1) Ensure the track is 32 bit float format.
2) Amplify above 0 dB.
3) Apply the effect with "Leveling amount" set to 0.
The over 0 dB peaks are limited to 0 dB and the track amplified to a peak level of -1 dB.
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Sat Mar 08, 2014 9:24 pm

Tweaked the amount scale to give finer control with subtle settings.
Default threshold (internal setting) raised from -18 to -12 dB.

Not sure is scaling down output to leave headroom is a good idea or not so removed from this version.
LevelSpeech.ny
(2.4 KiB) Downloaded 779 times
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by Trebor » Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:01 pm

It certainly improves matters ...

Demo of Steve's LevelSpeech,ny (2.4 KiB).gif
Demo of Steve's LevelSpeech,ny (2.4 KiB).gif (53.65 KiB) Viewed 2724 times

but how can it "know" when it is the quiet person talking , ( and to increase the gain accordingly ),
rather than a quiet section within the loud person talking, which should be left alone ?
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by quake004 » Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:37 am

Is this plug-in still needed or can it be done with the normal leveler?
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Wed Nov 25, 2015 11:26 am

quake004 wrote:Is this plug-in still needed or can it be done with the normal leveler?

If you want a "mild distortion effect", then "Leveler" may be the effect that you want.
If you want to "even out" the volume of voices in a recording without distortion, then, in my opinion, the "Leveler" effect is not the effect that you want.

I would suggest that you try both the Leveller effect and this "LevelSpeech" plug-in and use whichever you prefer. Please leave comments in this topic with your opinions regarding these two effects.
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Re: Improved "leveling" for speech

Permanent link to this post Posted by quake004 » Mon Nov 30, 2015 5:43 pm

I tried the level speech plug-in with this audio. I used the -36 threshold and heaviest degree of leveling. I don't like how it turns out. The louder voice gets very sharp. Some tips to make it smoother?
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