50 year old recording of wedding converted to mp4 - voices are faint and echo

I was able to get a reel to reel tape (I no longer own a deck) converted to MP4 by Legacy box, but they provided an MP4 that was recorded at playing the tape at 2 or 3x recorded speed. So I have 2 issues. One, I need to slow the recording down to closer to ‘real time speed’, and 2 once I’ve done that allow the voices to sound more ‘present’ and not deep and muffled. If anyone could point me in the correct direction, I would be very appreciative. I’ve done the ‘getting started’ tutorials, but none seem to address the specific things I’m attempting to do. Thank you in advance.

Did you complain?

In order to open MP4 you’ll need to install FFmpeg (if you haven’t done so already). Sometimes the instructions can be hard to follow but just download and RUN FFmpeg_5.0.0_for_Audacity_on_Windows_x86_64.exe to install it and you should be ready-to-go.

The Change Speed and Tempo effect changes speed & pitch together just like changing the analog speed.

The Graphic EQ effect can boost the high and mid-high frequencies to bring out the “T” and “S” sounds that can help with clarity and intelligibility. And you can reduce the lower frequencies if that helps.

Boosting the highs will also boost the tape hiss. :frowning: You can try the Noise Reduction effect, but when the noise is bad, “the cure can be worse than the disease” so it’s just something you have to try.

And unfortunate side-effect of speeding-up playback is that you push the highest audio frequencies beyond the audio range and they can be lost (in the analog or digital domain). If they are completely lost you can’t get them back! (You can’t boost “nothing”.)

You can’t remove the echo/reverb. That’s probably natural reverberation from the room where it was originally recorded.

Run the Amplify or Normalize effect as the last (or almost last) step to “maximize” loudness.

The Limiter effect with make-up gain can bring-up the overall loudness by boosting the quieter parts without clipping-distorting the peaks.

If the recording is so-bad that it’s hard to understand or just hard to listen to, you might want to type-up a transcript to go-along with it.

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