Commercial Radio in Background Effect

I am new to Audacity (Windows 7, 2.0.6) and have been using this terrific program primarily to enhance voice overs for a documentary I am producing.

I have an interview shot in a large, empty commercial garage (think airplane hanger) with no background noise. I’d like to introduce background audio so that this scene segues better from the previous scene which has plenty of background ambiance. Would anyone be generous enough to suggest a technique for creating the effect of a commercial radio station playing country music way in the background? I have a clip from a station recorded from the webernet, but, of course, unaltered, it sounds like a radio playing next to the interviewee. I’ve tried a few ideas without achieving the effect I’m looking for: a radio playing on the other side of a huge room. Many thanks in advance.

Of course, crank the volume way down (probably by -20dB or more) then add some reverb. (Or, add the reverb first and then crank it down.) A little echo might help too as long as the echo isn’t too obvious.

so that this scene segues better from the previous scene which has plenty of background ambiance.

If you have a section background noise only, you can try copying/looping that to create a background. The trick would be to make it not sound “looped”. That might mean long crossfades and maybe long & short sections and maybe multiple overlapped crossfades, etc.

In addition, use the Equalization effect to reduce both the low frequencies (below about 300 Hz) and high frequencies (above about 2000 Hz). Combined with reverb, that will help to “push” the sound further “back” in the mix. You may find that the “Telephone” preset is adequate for the Equalization, but try experimenting to get the effect as you want it.

Borrow ambience from the segment you’re trying to match. ACX AudioBook makes specific provision for that in their editing instructions. Record some Room Tone (natural noise) and use that for editing instead of jamming dead silence into a segment.

I recently went to some effort to record my natural voice in real time over loud field sound effects (windy jet landing) because I knew what a pain in the neck it was going to be to produce it in the studio later and have it sound convincing.


Wonderful advice! Thank you all. It sounds just as I’d hoped.

What did you do in the end?

I applied reverb using the large room preset. Next, I added a small amount of echo (can’t remember how much). Finally, I used the telephone preset in equalizer. And, of course, lowered the volume. Thx again to all.

Thanks for the feedback and glad you got a result that you’re happy with.