Better narration, needs tuning?

Hi, I’m redoing an 8.5 hour training course, since I am so much better than I once was. Progress happens.

The attached excerpt is where I am now. This has had some tempo speed up, pitch lowering, made stereo, Ozone Imager, RMS normalize, and soft limit applied. It’s like a different person, it’s so much better than the original. However, I suspect it is far from optimal. Could the denizens of this forum recommend any improvements? Thanks so much.

Many people go into training with the idea they’re going to talk slowly and painfully as to someone with learning difficulties. I can’t listen to those…at all.

However, you can overdo corrections and produce work that sounds like the legal boilerplate at the end of a commercial. NotIntendedToReplaceAdviceFromAMedicalPractitioner.

I’ll take the boilerplate way before sitting through a training video for four year olds, but the idea is hit normal cadence. How you get there is up to you.

I am so much better than I once was.

That’s the unwelcome news that you will probably read your first audiobook book twice. The first time as an awkward beginner and the second as a seasoned professional.


Thanks. I think I’m somewhere between awkward and seasoned, on the awkward side of center :wink: I’ll keep at it.

Have thee any thoughts on improvements that might help with EQ, presence, or the like?

Do you have anybody whose presentation you like? How do you compare to them? I noticed a new user affliction that they have no idea what’s current and expected.

This is where you say, "I really like the work of [Name Here]. His readings are clear and easy to listen to.

That doesn’t always work. I like a theatrical reader whose style is a little quirky. I like her readings because I like her other presentations, not because she’s representative.

EQ, presence, or the like?

I note another New User idea that’s not useful. Arriving at the rodeo with a laundry list of corrections, filters and effects. The idea is do the least that will produce an acceptable product. Natural sounding presentation is a good thing. If your microphone setup can’t do that, maybe it’s time for a new microphone or studio rather than dumping effects on the work.


Well, my observations so far are from many years onsite training, a couple years of research trying things with my online course on Udemy, listening to other courses, and other research.

First, most teaching is too slow. Most political speeches are too fast. But most teaching is too slow. You can’t teach at the speed you’d like, assuming listeners will take many seconds to digest your wonderful thoughts. You have to keep them engaged. I’d say about 140 words per minute. And with as much passion, and changes in pitch and tempo, as you can. A two second pause at the end of a really key point is about the maximum.

Get a good mic. I have the Scarlett Studio CM25 MkII, into Scarlett Studio box, USB into the computer. Disconnect the Internet, close all programs, deactivate all virus checking, run nothing but Audacity. Pop filter 4 inches from mic, speak 3 inches from pop filter. Adjust gain just short of overdrive, 75% on my set up.

However, for me, I cannot achieve 140 wpm and do a good job reading the script So I record the best job I can, then speed up tempo with Audacity by 16%. Do NOT use high quality stretching, as it distorts narration.

Then I lower pitch 5%, because my voice is too high.

Then I make stereo, and apply Ozone Imager, 33 and 3.3, since it makes narration so much more interesting.

Then RMS normalize -18, and soft limit -3 db hold 10 ms.

I do not do noise reduction, as I don’t like what else is lost.

It’s working. Much better than just me. Hope this all makes sense.

I’m still really interested in your expert thoughts on improvements on EQ, presence, or anything else on where I am now with that excerpt though.

The pseudo-stereo effect is a bit too strong IMO. Can narrow it by passing through Ozone imager again with minus width …

narrow stereo image -50.png
Needs a bit more de-essing. I used Steve’s de-esser on it which is stereo-linked, (unlike Paul-L’s de-esser).

Steve's de-esser settings used.png

I’m still really interested in your expert thoughts on improvements on EQ, presence, or anything else

Then we’ll be waiting for an actual theatrical expert which I’m not. I’m happy if you sound human.

The only voice quality thing I noticed in the clip is the area between one and two seconds which sound suspiciously like boilerplate. “YourMileageMayVary…” I’m happier with that than slogging slowly through a narration, but that’s not normal, either. ACX has a comment: Avoid distractions.

listening to other courses

Thus artfully dodging the question.

There was an artist at work who I regret never having put on “tape.” He could fill a room by announcing—my joke—that he was going to read the first three pages of the Los Angeles Phone Book. He presented a vacation slide show. I’m not joking. I arrived late and got to stand in the hallway. So yes, I can totally put a name to an announcing goal.


Thanks both.

If I had to pick a great narrator, it would be Richard Attenborough.

But I’m no Richard Attenborough. There-in lies my challenge. I do my best, with as much sincerity and passion as I can. And then use Audacity to lift me up several levels :wink:

Had to add this :slight_smile: I just received a comment on my course:

“The lecturer should seriously should change his job and be commentator in National Geographic, what a voice.”

Obviously a kind reviewer. But the message is - Audacity has greatly helped.

Congratulations. :slight_smile: