Audio flat and muffled, is there a way to fix?

So. This might not be the right place. If so I apologize. I’ve gotten an Asus Xonar SE audio card. I’ve noticed, as of late, my audio from my Purple Panda lapel mic is flat and muffled sounding, I have the mic clipped to my shirt, out in the open (not under my shirt), and about * reaches for a tape measure * 6 inches (15cm ish) from my mouth. I noticed this in both Audacity and in OBS. Wondering if I need a better mic setup or if I can some how fix this in post with Audacity. I tried one tutorial on Youtube and it just made it worse when I added compression. What do you all recommend? I included an official test audio (found the link to the Produce a simple Audacity Forum Voice Test) to hopefully help you out. If a better mic setup, and given most headset mics are junk (I’m told, not rich enough to go out and buy every single one to try out. >.< ), would have to be a lapel setup, be cheaper than the full studio setup with XLR mic, converter box to PC, scissor stand, pop filter, shock mount, etc. Those are future goals. :smiley: But for now I’ve stuck to lapel mics as I can just clip it to my shirt, plug it directly into the computer’s front panel mic port, and no matter how I move the mic sticks with me at roughly the same distance. Though admittedly the Purple Panda (and one other cheapy I got as a hold over while the last Purple Panda got RMAed) is a 4 pole mic that I use the included 4 pole to 3 pole adapter cable. Thank you all for your time.

Edit: Oh! Totally forgot, my Windows version is over on the right in my profile (Windows 10) and my Audacity version is 2.4.2.

Re:“as of late”.
If it’s changed, a possible explanation is you’re now accidentally recording from the computer’s built-in mic.
If you (gently) tap the lapel mic, then the computer whilst recording you will be able to tell which one you’re recording from when you review the recording, (tap noise from the recording device will be much louder).

This is a desktop not lappy, it doesn’t have a built in mic. As I built this old girl myself (Ryzen 1700X system I prepurchased the parts for when Ryzen first came out) I should know if it has a built in mic. :smiley:

Your OBS recording has been processed, Noise-Reduction & noise-gate.
What OBS is/isn’t doing to your audio, (EQ,NR,Gate), may be the reason it has changed.

Compression does help, particularly multi-band compression …

I used the free KSHMR plugin in Audcaity, it’s not designed for speech, but it does the job …
suggested settings KSHMR.png
“pressure” is multi-band compression, “comp” is single band compression

LevelSpeech2.ny is another compressor worth trying on speech.

Points given if you can make it through that whole thing on one breath.

That better (attached)?

You have a monstrously noisy room. This clip has rumble (thunder) filter and Heavy Noise Reduction applied—twice.

Did you change anything like air conditioning, heating, or ventilation or add any equipment from the last time it worked OK? It sounds like a boiler factory back there.

No evidence of a noise gate. The noise is always there. Possibly compression. Compression’s job is make your voice quieter and the quiet sounds (room noise) louder.

Most lapel microphones are non-directional, so they have to be used in a quiet room or studio. They pick up everything. This is Charlie Rose and his guest. You can just about see the guest’s microphone to his left of the tie knot. That’s in Rose’s studio in New York.

On the other side of that is the older Rachel Maddow show. It looked like a nice studio, but it sounded like they shot it on the Rockerfeller Plaza loading dock. It sounded like somebody assembling an Ikea cradenza in one show. That’s when I wrote to the producer. “Come on, people, my garage is quieter than that.”

Her lapel microphone is on her left.

Screen Shot 2021-09-08 at 9.11.29 AM.png
The sound people agreed with me. They put processing and noise gates on her voice and she started to sound like an air traffic controller. Later they got a real studio and everything cleared up.

Once you have noise or distortion in your recording, getting rid of it later is very difficult—when you can do it at all.

As Trebor above, a sudden change in recorded sound—muffled and distant—can be traced back to using the wrong microphone by accident. Do you have a web cam? They have microphones.

Screen Shot 2021-09-08 at 9.06.48 AM.png
Announce a brief test and unplug the microphone while you speak. Did the sound go away?

Nobody said anywhere you can’t have a broken microphone. Did it get wet? I am treating one microphone super carefully because the cable in the bottom is starting to fail.

Head mounted microphones are a serious problem. I have one like this.

That’s a TED Talk. Terrific theater or presentation microphone, but again, best used in a quiet room or studio. Gamer headsets are an obvious choice. I have a Logitech gamer headset with directional microphone. It’s pretty dreadful. They sacrificed sound quality for directionality and noise reduction. I gave it its own box in the garage.

Home recording is hard to do. Most of the fuss is getting your voice into the computer without destroying the sound quality.


Oh. Maybe, yeah. I enabled, in OBS, "Noise Suppression (RNNoise (good quality, more CPU usage) " as this is a bedroom, Southern California, and summer. I did turn all the fans off but one that’s a small one, on low, on the other side of the room that’s pulling air into the bedroom. The KSHMR thing is pretty neat, though now it’s a bit buzzy, at least to my ears. That would be the high end? I think? In otherwise don’t quote me. >.< Which maybe the reason for the Limiter. Let me see if I can get the KSHMR thing to work. 3 minute processing time (50 min clip) and then the plugin window didn’t close. * looks at the limiter * How … No, I’ll go poke at a Youtube video on the Limiter to figure it out, hopefully, and pull the buzzyness out.

The “air” dial on KSHMR is like treble-boost, dialling that back from my suggestion will reduce the high-end.

If this was the quality of the original audio, OBS has done a good job to remove the mains-hum buzz & air-con noise
The residual buzz may be impossible to remove in post-production without damaging the voice.

Hum remover is the tool to reduce hum/buzz, but it does generate more ringing-artefacts the higher the values used …
suggested-settings post OBS.png

Well, it’s an improvement but, as you said, might not be able to get rid of all of it. As it sounds like, when I play my voice audio, that I am hearing myself through a blown speaker, that annoying buzzy sound from it. I know my headphones are fine, game audio is good, Youtube audio is good, etc. Just got some odd just noticeable buzzy, I dunno, harmonics ? I am just spitting into the wind here. >.<

I am starting to think I might have to rerecord this in the middle of the night so I can turn off all the fans, turn off the Noise Suppression, and throw a blanket over my head and the monitor and it won’t be suicide-ally hot.

Apologies if I sound grumpy. I got 7 videos recorded to upload but the more I listen to my mic audio the more it bothered me to the point I was hoping I could just fix it and be done with it but the fix is starting to look more and more like I am rerecording all 7 videos once I nail down the mic audio issues. And I can’t work on it during the day when it’s up in the 90 to 100s F (32c to 37c or more ) and the only cooling I have is a swamp cooler in the living room and 2 fans in the bedroom (to pull in air from the hallway and to blow hot air out the window, reverse at night when it’s back down to the 70s F (20s c) to pull outside cool air in) .

But, I shouldn’t be ungrateful to you all. So thank you all for the help you have provided so far. It’s helped some, It’s still, as I said, slightly buzzy but the buzzy isn’t background, it’s my voice that sounds buzzy. If it’s due to the OBS Noise Suppression or the fact I am using MKV with 2 audio streams (game and mic separate), meh. Then it’s from the source. Umm… * thinks *

Well, that’s a vast improvement. My Purple Panda, somewhere, developed an electronic hum that was frusterating me. I swapped to another cheap lapel mic I had laying around as a backup, doesn’t need a 4 pole to 3 pole adapter like so many do, even the Rhodes I was looking at and having a heart attack at the $65 price tag. >.< What do you all think? Oh! And this is with only one fan running in the background.

The fan can be reduced a little more if this notch-filter code is pasted into Nyquist prompt

(setf *track* (notch2 *track* 432 10))
(setf *track* (notch2 *track* 7242 5))
(highpass8 *track*  70)

notch filters in action.gif

Ok, it’s been a while but I wanted to check in with the experts here. I purchased a sound dampening (as advertised) moving blanket and clipped it to the desk’s hutch and draped it over me and the desk. Doesn’t quite go to the floor on either side but it does seem to be helping with some of the room echos. But what do you all think? I’ll leave two samples, raw and post processed with noise reduction, limiter (one thing is I am becoming aware of my habits, I need to stop exhaling so hard as I do now and again), and KSHMR, then a final limiter.

Before the final limiter I would cut-back some of the bass to maximize intelligibility …
bass-cut suggestion.png
And if you want to squeeze out the maximum quality, an expander like Couture.

An expander ? Isn’t that the opposite of the Compression I added though KSHMR ?

Ok. This is after Bass -3 and Level +1 you recommended and the Coutore set to Voice Desseer preset then limited the final time.

Yes they have opposite effects, but KSHMR does not allow you to adjust the threshold.
Couture can be used to compensate for that deficiency, attenuating the signal when you are not speaking.

[ If you want to compress the loud & expand the quiet in one pass with one (free) effect, JB Red Phatt Pro will do that ].

No idea how to do that, don’t see a Factory Default for both. O.o

Cannot get the attached preset to import though :frowning:
C&E_4OBS_RAW.xml (1.4 KB)

<?xml version="1.0"?>


The XML didn’t seem to work I clicked on the 3 horizontal line button at the bottom of the Phatt Pro box, clicked on Import, chose the .xml that I downloaded, and nothing happened.

Hi BelGarion

May I ask what recording level you used in Audacity?

The sample clip is under recorded by 13db.
Normalized to -3 db
Noise Reduction after one pass. I have done 2 passes. Clip cleaned up ok.

Will attach in cleaned up audio in next post.


Hi BelGarion

Have attached cleaned audio clip.