A few questions on improving a recording

17,1 iMac 10.14.2, Audacity

Have a recording of a meeting at my son’s doctor office.
Sound is low to sharp high tones occasionally.
I wish I understood how to:

Make the sound louder, yet not break through the roof on occasions.
Make the sound clearer without losing needed base.
Is there a Graphic Equalizer as I use in iTunes.

I have used Normalize, Equalization, Compressor, Amplify,
however if I increase one aspect, I lose elsewhere.
Is there a demo of how to improve a recording quality?

how to improve a recording quality?

You’re not improving a recording quality. You’re in disaster recovery.

Is there a Graphic Equalizer as I use in iTunes.

Effect > Equalization > Eq Type: Graphic. That will give you sliders to push different tones up and down as needed. I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work in real time, so you have to change something, OK it, and then listen.

Step one is save the recording in as high quality as you can; WAV rather than MP3. MP3 creates sound distortion every time you make one and it’s permanent. Now copy it to a safe place. If Audacity or the computer stops working during filtering, effects or the edit, it could destroy the sound file. I use thumb drives, external hard drives and some people use cloud storage.

Starting with the original sound file, you can try Chris’s Compressor. Chris designed it to tame wild volume changes in operas so he could listen in his car. You have to install it.


How did you do the recording? I’ve been known to use thumb drive recorders, formal voice recorders and iPhone/iPod recorders. All have pros and cons. Of course, you need to inform everybody you’re recording them. “This will be recorded for quality assurance and training purposes.” That’s why Customer Service always says that when you call.


“How did you do the recording?” We hired a doctor to evaluate our son. We were concerned about his development in early grade school. In early 1990’s I used a small portable cassette recorder w voice activation, and set it on the desk, explaining, I have trouble remembering what we discuss, so I could review it later. I have used it many times in doctors offices. I really do understand what we discuss, but I forgot so easily points they make. Has helped me over the years to review and retain. The VST aspect however inserts sound spikes when it activates. So I am concerned w reducing them without reducing the session.

I will try your suggestions, thank you.

We’re assuming the tape starting gives a high volume “Piew” sound as the electronics catches up with the job.

You can scan forward manually and reduce each one by hand. That can be a lot of work depending on how many there are, but you could do that. Drag-select the blue waves for the damage and Effect > Amplify to a much smaller number. That will reduce the damage and leave the valuable recording alone.

There are tricks you can do with the limiter. First, using a copy of the presentation, Effect > Amplify > OK. Just let it do its thing. That will increase the whole show volume until the damage is at maximum volume. Then Effect > Limiter to these settings.

Screen Shot 2018-12-25 at 16.36.42.png
That should reduce the disturbance by half.


Thanks for your help, Koz. Appreciate it.

Koz, the Compressed Dynamics plug-in works wonders. I listened to the podcast and set the compressor as he recommends. Then ENABLED the plug-in. It does a fantastic job of soothing the tops, increasing the middle. The wave pattern now looks exactly as I wanted it. The sound is remarkable. quiet sounds are increase and loud are reduced. But the overall quality is big and easily heard. I did use Noise Reduction to remove air conditioning hum. I don’t use the right terms, but appreciate this fantastic advice. Thanks again. :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

And thanks for the tip about the thumb drive recorders. They are incredible. Gack, I don’t have to carry around big boom boxes for music/radio, or portable cassette recorders where I have to turn the tape over and start again :slight_smile:
Where have I been?