Bass & Treble for voice

Any suggestions on the best bass and treble settings for clarity of voice in recording stories?

Any suggestions

That’s a little too open-ended. Bass and Treble are corrections from something existing. They’re not universal patches.

The audiobook tools I authored were designed with the assumption that you recorded your voice with good volume in a quiet, echo-free room. You don’t need Glen Glenn Sound Studios, either. I produced a passable voice test with my iPhone and my messy garage late in the evening. Gotta be messy. Cardboard boxes soak up echoes very well.

Noise and Echoes are the worst problems for New Users. Many home microphones come out of the box low volume and noisy. Echoes, or “recording in your bathroom” is easy to do by accident and difficult/impossible to fix in post production processing.

We can sometimes work with a test recording from you and suggest corrections and/or improvements.


There’s a free VST3 Auto-EQ plugin called Focusrite Balancer.
It will automagically correct an equalization to a specific target,
e.g. male voice, female voice, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, etc.

This is its idea of the shape of a vanilla male-voice spectrum
Focusrite Balancer, Vocals M(ale), neutral, default intensity.png
e.g. 4kHz is ~11dB lower than 200Hz.

Thank you Koz! I have been recording children’s stories for quite a while and only recently decided to learn more about Audacity controls to improve sound quality. The default setting when I open Audacity is “6” on bass and “2” on treble which seems a little bass heavy. I tried to attach one of my mp3s but they are too large. If you have the time and motivation, here is a link to my most recent recording. Any feedback is welcome and if you don’t have time, no offense taken. You response has already been helpful.

I think you’re fine just like that. If you boost the treble any, you’re going to start getting hissy, harsh, piercing, SSS sounds. I applied the audiobook bass and rumble reduction and it made just shy of no difference (although you still need that with audiobooks for other reasons).

If you’re running out of things to do, maybe it’s time to start a second channel. How about more adult stories?

Are you recording in your own home-made studio? You’re missing a lot of common Home Recording problems. There is one problem when you get good that everybody will have methods of improvement—and they’re all different.

One of the goals of reading is the fewer corrections, the better. If no other good reason you don’t forget to apply the corrections, and in the right order.


IMO you’ve got that bassy booth-resonance thing going. In your case the main-offender is 146Hz …

wizard b-a.gif [Maybe I’ve taken off a bit too much bass,
but does prove my point about the 146Hz resonance being the culprit].

[ IMO the free version of the TDR Nova plugin is the ideal tool for EQ/compression ]

You can get rid of that whale to the left of 100Hz with Effect > Filter Curve > Factory Presets > Low Rolloff for Speech > OK. That will get rid of all the very low pitch trash and tighten up the bass slightly, but won’t do anything for that room resonance. That effect is similar to talking into a milk jug, but the milk jug is 7 feet tall or wherever your ceiling is. So that’s the 146Hz peak.

[ IMO the free version of the TDR Nova plugin is the ideal tool for EQ/compression ]

You couldn’t do that locally with filter curve?


Thank you both Trebor and Koz. I record in an 8X8 room with a high quality mic with a pleated foam sound absorber made for reducing echo behind the mic. It works surprising well. Yesterday I recorded a page of text then copied it into two new tracks so that I could try different changes and compare them. Changing bass and treble (not very much) had modest impact. The change that had the most impact, positive I think, was using the compression feature. I will experiment further based on your suggestions. I feel this has helped immensely and set me on a course for better understanding of sound and better sound. Thank you again.
And Koz, as for running out of things to do, I have been writing authors for reprint and audio permission for many years and have far more stories in the queue to record than I have time for. This is an offshoot of my hobby of reading aloud in public schools which I have been doing for 27 years.

146Hz => the round-trip reflection-path is 7.35 feet,
that means the reflecting-surface is approximately 3.67 feet from the microphone. :ugeek:

Yes, but TDR Nova is real-time: can adjust setings as the track is playing,
whereas filter curve is the tedious preview-type effect.

Plus TDR Nova can dynamically adjust an EQ band,
i.e. only kicking-in when the signal is above a threshold in that band.
e.g. for de-essing, (and treating the room-resonance frequencies).

Plus it displays a real-time spectrogram of either the input (before TDR) or the output (after TDR).

Audacity’s bass & treble is a blunt instrument. A more precise tool is is required on this occasion.
Audacity’s equalizer tools: filter curve, Graphic EQ, are capable of precision,
but are slow to use compared with free real-time plugins like …

Plan B: Audacity’s free competitor OCENaudio comes with 11 & 31 band real-time graphic equalizers.

Trebor and Koz. Just a final note to tell you that I made a duplicate copy of the story which I linked to earlier, then applied Compressor and Filter Curve (factory preset for voice) and found a significant and noticeable positive change in the sound. Thank you both again, your suggestions have been an immense help. New version:

It’s good, but it still has too much 147Hz. IMO a filter “curve” with two V-shapes helps a lot …
double-V , -9dB @ ~147Hz , -6dB @ ~294Hz.png

Hi Trebor, I am sorry that I am not very expert at sound. Should I go to “Filter Curve” and add these two v shapes just as they appear in your chart? What exactly are those "v"s addressing? Thanks

IMO yes. You can save it in “Filter Curve” as a preset.

147Hz is too loud because of the dimensions of the room you record in, and that low frequencies (<250Hz) more readily pass through sound-absorbers, and bounce back to the microphone.
147Hz room-resonance correvtion with V filter (9dB louder than neighbors).gif
Depending on the loudspeakers/headphones used by the listener, the resonance at 147Hz may not be obvious.

Audacity’s plot spectrum display is an objective measure of frequency content,
and not influenced by loudspeakers/headphones/amplifiers/hearing.

Thank you!