can vocal quality be improved from "tinny" ?

I’ve been using audacity for awhile now for line-in recording of lp’s and tapes. I’m pretty comfortable with basic noise removal. However, now I’d like to move on to more complicated techniques such as cleaning up actual quality of sounds. I have some purely vocal recordings on tape or in a digital format which are not of the highest quality (many are church sermons before they got decent equipment). When I run the tapes and record in by line-in they are annoyingly tinny! I have a tape player which is hooked up to a pre amp along with the LP player.

I’m running beta 1.3
I do like audacity and find it’s really easy to use.I’m just not really good at reading manuals and having them make sense!
Thanks for any help.

Hi dixie,
i am familiar with church sermons on dodgy equipment that sound awfull. they are very difficult to listen to. Chances are if the equipment used was really bad there may be little you can do to make it sound nice. You will be able to take the edge off the recording by using the equaliser band in the effects menu.

Generally a tinnie sound is produced when there is too much treble (high end) and mid range frequency and not enough bass (low end).

Have you ever mucked around with the eq of you car or home stereo? I am assuming that you have, the audacity eq will work the same way. you will see a line that you can move up or down in sections or you can choose some preset eqs.

In basic terms the left side of the line will control the bass, as you get towards the middle you will start altering the mid range frequencies and to the right will be the treble. I suggest you try to add some bass to the recording and reduce some of the treble and mids.

unfortunaltely if you want to understand how to eq things properly you may need to do some reading however if you just sit there and muck around through trial and error you may stumble accross something that sounds ok. Like i said if the recording is bad you may not be able to make it sound grreat but you should be able to improve it.

Thanks for the reply!
I’ll see what I can do in terms of adjusting treble and bass on the preamp when I record the tapes. Also will see about playing around with the equalization setting. I didn’t even know where to start to improve the sound quality. I’d like to do some archiving for the church and wanted better quality than I was getting.

If you are using Audacity 1.2.6 try setting up the Equaliser similar to in this picture by drawing the blue line:
What this does is to cut the very low bass (below 100 Hz), then boost low frequencies (100 to 800 Hz) then progressively reduce higher frequencies.
If the result sound muffled, then push the right hand side of the graph up a bit so that the high frequencies are not cut so much.

Pull that equalizer window as big as you can. the numbers get more accurate when you do that.

This is a great deal more difficult than you think. You face the same problems of people who want to make their recordings “more spacious.” Not only is the voice poor, but the noise level on the recordings is no doubt high as well. Anything you do to the voice is going to happen to the noise, too. That posted equalizer curve is going to make any air conditioner or fan noise go through the roof.

Make sure you listen on really good quality speakers or headphones or you will be making changes you can’t hear or control.


Thanks for all the responses. I’ll try this week to play around with all those things. I tend to do better when I’m given a general idea and then play around with it-very much a hands-on type.