PLUG INS w/ Audacity

is there anyone in this forum who might know a bit about these external plug ins?:the
someone who might know how to use them?
because on their website there are no instructions or tutorials, well i downloaded their PDFs but it is directed to highly professional tech engineers only I am just a beginner and I cannot easily understand the manuals

they are compatible with Audacity, that is why I thought to download them and use them and actually they work well after
i already used them (in Audacity) to further enhance a voice recording, after that I had already applied Audacity amplification unfortunately I do not know which dial I was moving , there are lots of unctions in them and I do not the meaning of each, i just know that i moved one dial in the Blockfish plug in and the audio gained a good amplification without distorting the sound, but if I had to re-do it I would not know how

Would that be helpful if I would list their functions names as they appear in Audacity window and maybe someone in the forum would know how to use them in the proper way in reducing noise and enhance the volume?
I think is so cool that Audacity can work with these other plug ins as well

Thanks a lot

I don’t know anything about these particular plug-ins…

the audio gained a good amplification without distorting the sound, but if I had to re-do it I would not know how

When you “normalize”, you boost the level to the point where the peaks are at (or very near) the 0dB digital maximum. This is as loud as you can go linearly (without altering the character of the sound).

If that’s not loud enough, you can boost the loudness with [u]dynamic compression[/u]. Compression reduces the dynamic range by making the quiet parts louder, or the loud parts quieter. (Not to be confused with file compression like MP3).

Basically, compression works by boosting the quiet/medium sounds without boosting/distorting the peaks. Typically (depending on the compressor), it’s done by pushing-down the peaks, and then boosting everything with “make-up gain”. This means you can increase the average level (and make the file sound louder) without clipping the peaks.

If you just increase the volume too far linearly (i.e. without compression), you get [u]clipping[/u] (distorted flat-topped waves). This can happen if you try to get 100 Watts out of a 50 Watt amplifier, if you overdrive your ADC or DAC, or if you try to go higher than you can “count” with an integer file format (like 16-bit WAV). With (integer) digital audio files, the maximum is referenced as 0dBFS (zero decibels full scale). If you try to make your peaks go over 0dB, you get clipping.

Most audio editors (including Audacity) use 32-bit floating-point internally so you can go over 0dB, and it’s virtually impossible to get clipping inside the audio editor… The file only gets clipped when you save/export.

in the proper way in reducing noise and enhance the volume?

The problem is… When you boost the volume you also boost the background noise. You can try some noise reduction or a noise gate. A noise gate is an extreme “downward expander”, that kills the sound completely when the level goes below your preset threshold… Expansion is the opposite of compression, and it can make loud parts louder or quiet parts quieter. You have to experiment… A noisegate can be annoying, if you hear the backgorund noise cutting in-and-out.

Thank you so much

I have not read the whole tutorial about the dynamic compression, I will, but I just have a quick question in the mean time:
Where do i access the dynamic compression in Audacity?
I have tried the EFFECTS but it is not in there, do i download from somewhere?
Or I have to be a sound engineer to use it?

About the normalizing, I tried to do as you suggest, just to 0 dB, I can barely notice any difference
I wonder if you know if there is a reverb boost not ECHO) but just a deepening effect of the voice, somewhere in Audacity plug ins, that I might not have noticed ?
Thanks a lot now

If the object of the exercise is to make the track louder, then probably the easiest effect to use is “soft clipping”.
What this effect does is to “squash” peaks that are above the threshold level that you set, and so allow more room for amplification. It differs from the bad digital clipping that DVDdoug described in as far as it does not completely chop off the peaks flat, but just squashes them so that they are not as high, though if you use it too severely, then you will hear distortion, so the trick is to use it enough to provide the necessary volume boost, but not so much as to sound distorted.

The soft clipping limiter is available here:

Where do i access the dynamic compression in Audacity?

I might have downloaded some optional effects, but when I click on Effects, I see Compressor, and I think it’s a built-in effect. And, it looks like at least one of the digitalfishphones plug-ins is a compressor. I’m guessing that’s what you used before.

About the normalizing, I tried to do as you suggest, just to 0 dB, I can barely notice any difference.

That’s probably “normal”. :smiley: If the file is already normalized (if it already has 0dB peaks) you are not increasing the level by normalizing again. Most commercial recordings are already normalized, or if this is your own recording and you recorded at a high-level, or if you simply had one 0dB peak somewhere in your file, normalizing won’t do anything.

I wonder if you know if there is a reverb boost not ECHO) but just a deepening effect of the voice,

Maybe someone else can recommend a reverb. There is an optional LADSPA Effect called “Gverb”, but I haven’t used a reverb with Audacity. Reverb is an echo-like effect (with many short-duration reflections, so you don’t hear the sound clearly repeated like you do with an echo). With natural/physical sounds, you usually have to be outdoors, or in a very large room to hear a distinct echo (“Hello… Hello…”). In a tiled bathroom, or in a concert hall, you hear reverberation (Heellloooo…").

If you want to deepen the voice (more bass), try boosting the low frequencies with the Equalizer. Or, you can try the “Change Pitch” effect (but you might get artifacts).

Yes it is.
There is a section in the manual about how to use it, but it’s more complicated than I would like it to be.
The Compressor effect in Audacity 1.3 is pretty good, though not very easy to understand exactly what it is doing (it’s a lot better than the compressor in Audacity 1.2.x)

Thank you sooo much…for the detailed instructions
WOW, so many new things to learn, :unamused: it is not so easy to record as many people think, but its fun to learn

OK, just to review and see if i have understood right:
Soft Clippings, where is this effect?
IS not present in the Audacity effects, unless it has a different name there?
Or do i apply the SOFT CLIPPING through a different tool? Would you mind to let me know which?
Thank you

Then, …The DYNAMIC COMPRESSOR, oh good, it is the one and the same that is built in in Audacity, ( I thought it was external, sorry)

Yes , you are sooo right, it is not an easy tool especially for me, even if I read and re-read the tutorials, I still have not figured out how to make it work with my file, I experimented with different values, but i would just distort the sound, or even decrease the volume
I am guessing you need to know the exact value to choose, in each option, yes, …and that is the reason why I downloaded the Blockfish plug in, yes it is a compressor, and the Endorphine-fish plug in is a booster,
it is easier to just move the buttons in them, while you are listening to your file, but again, even that is difficult, unless u know what you are doing :smiley:

So,my question:
which would be the best way for you or someone else in the team, to advise me on which values to use in the compressor, to boost my file,
I wonder if i could upload a sample to a website, and then post you the link to it for you to listen to it? would that work?
because if I have to attach it to my post, it i will be too short, barely few seconds, or would that be also enough time?

then about the equalizer, to boost and make my voice deeper, yes, that sounds a really good option
are you referring to the one called EQUALIZATION?
I did just open it up, it is not easy to understand either, I did turn the graphic equalizer on though, to make it easier for me, thats better, shall I just play with the dialer, like every other equalizer? and experiment? Or is it a better way to know?

then last question:
The Gverb, wow, I think that might exactly what I was referring to
I just realized that my Samson mic had a a little sound enhancer software included,
so after recording a sample with Audacity, then having amplified it, then removed the background noise in Audacity, then saved the file as a WAV, after all that, I just tested this Samson effect called Studioverb, (I am sure is the same as Gverb)
I applied it, and it does add some very slight echo that does not repeat itself, just makes my voice a little deeper, but if I am not careful, it becomes distorted

So maybe you or someone else might know how I would know which values I would need to choose in the Audacity Gverb, to just add a little boost and depth, without adding distortion?
Do i just experiment with the values? Or is a better way to know exactly,

Thanks again now

You have to download it and put it in your Audacity Plug-ins folder, then restart Audacity and it will appear in the “Effect” menu.
On Windows, the Plug-ins folder will be in the Audacity folder which will usually be in “Program Files”.

With “Dynamic Compression” and “Limiter” type effects, there is usually a “Threshold” setting. The waveform that is above the threshold level will be “squashed” in one way or another, allowing the waveform to be amplified more. A high threshold (close to 0 dB) will only affect the very highest peaks. A low threshold (a bigger negative number of dB) will cause more of the waveform to be squashed so the affect will be more aggressive.

For the built in Compressor, you will probably want the “Attack” and “Decay” times set very low - try setting them to minimum (all the way to the left). The “Ratio” slider gives more affect to the right and less effect to the left. You will need to experiment with the other settings.

Awesome, thanks a lot

I did download the Allow Soft Clippings plug in, but when I click on the downloaded file to open it and save it in Audacity folder, it says that “WINDOWS CANNOT OPEN THIS FILE” and it directs me to a page on the browser where it says exactly same thing, no help

Then I clicked your link few other times and this last time it is trying to open itself through Adobe Reader, but then an error comes up saying that A Reader cannot open this file because the attachment was not correctly decoded, I wish I knew what that means!! :slight_smile:

But it also give an option to open it with a specific program, but I do not know which that would be???
Can you advise which program to use in order to open the file?

also, when you write the following:
if you want to deepen the voice (more bass), try boosting the low frequencies with the Equalizer. Or, you can try the “Change Pitch” effect (but you might get artifacts).Which are the “low frequencies” in the Equalizer? are the sliders contained into the right part of the graphic equalizer window? or those on the left?

And how do I BOOST these low frequencies, by pushing the sliders all the way down (like in Windows Media Player) or all the way up?

Thanks soo much

don’t bother opening it, just save a copy of the (.NY) file to the Audacity plug-in folder.
sclimiter.ny (1.83 KB)
'save' not 'open' file.png

Ok great I did succeed to get the file into the Audacity plug ins by right clicking your link and save it,

I read your info explaining how the Hard limiter works, (about the Waveform squashed and being amplified) thank you for that
I am not a sound pro, though, sorry, how do I apply the knowledge?? :slight_smile:

I see these 3 settings in the Hard Limiter:

What do they represent? In poor words, which values (0, -0, high negative numbers, or high positive numbers) would help me to amplify the voice , in these 3 settings, without creating a big distortion??

And also, yes, I am sorry, to ask again, :slight_smile:, I really do not know which are the Low Frequencies and the High frequencies values in the Equalizer, I am assuming the low might be the BASS ??
Which section of the sliders should I slide up (or down) in order to create some voice boost you think?
I know is not easy to know exactly , but just in general?

Or should I post this question in a different part of this forum?
Thank you sooo much…

Bass = low frequencies = sounds below 200Hz (approximate)

There is a “Bassboost” effect, in the “Effect” drop down menu , or you could push up the sliders around 50-150Hz in the equalizer .

The “Soft Clipping Limiter” will do less quality damage than the “Hard Limiter”.
Also, the “Soft Clipping Limiter” can automatically amplify the audio after squashing the peaks, whereas the “Hard Limiter” just chops off the peaks and you have to manually amplify it after.

Thanks a lot

Scroll back to my previous post Tue May 17, 2011 4:50 pm

Sorry, just going back to the Soft Clipping limiter you advised me before:

In which order do I apply it?
Is there a way to apply it before the recording?
Or should I first do Amplify, then Noise Removal as you guys advised, then Soft Clippings, then either Boost and then Gverb
Or do i apply Soft Clipping before i even do the Amplification and Noise removal?

In SCLimiter, which value is best to apply to the Linear Threshold to allow plenty of amplification but still be safe?-- I just experimented with 0.59 --while on the Hardness (Soft) I put 0.56— and in the Make Up Gain I put 1 -yes
I do not know what it means :slight_smile: but it increases the volume quite a bit, I like it, even though at some points it vibrates too much !!!

Also I remember you mentioning before that usually if I use the 32 Float bit, I will not get a clipping in anyway, even if I boost and amplify?
Or do i remember wrong?
Thank you so much

A typical work flow might be something like:

  1. Amplify to -6 dB
  2. Equalization/tone adjustments
  3. Amplify to 0 dB
  4. Noise Removal
  5. Compressor
  6. Reverb
  7. Soft Clipping Limiter
  8. Final tweaking of Equalization/tone adjustments
  9. Final Amplification to -0.3 dB

No (unless you have a hardware compressor/limiter, for example: )

With the above workflow, probably something like Threshold=0.7, Hardness=70%, Apply Make up gain = Yes.

32-bit float format on Audacity 1.3.13 can support amplitudes above 0 dB without clipping, but the sound will still be clipped by your sound card when you play it back. If any of the processes push the peak level above 0 dB you should apply “Amplify” as the next effect to bring the level back down to 0 dB or lower.

Thank you Steve,

Those values you gave me for the Soft C Limiter really helped tremendously!!!

About the sequence you gave me, in the AMPLIFY, what about if the level of my recording is already at 0.1 dB ----- should I still reduce the volume to -6dB, even if the purpose is to boost the volume and not the opposite? Or can I go up instead, until it allows me to increase without allowing clippings (the OK button will still be on)

Also, in the Equalization, how do I know if I am adjusting the Tones in the right way, as I cannot listen to the recording while I move the sliders
(or moving the line up or down) and hear how they sound?
is it, by any chance, possible to skip the Compressor and/or the Equalization steps, as I really do not know how to use them correctly, especially if I have to do them twice, I might just destroy what was maybe good in the first place? :slight_smile:

Also could you help me understand why usually I have to go back to Amplify again at the very end?

Would I still be OK if I skip that too? Or is it better to do that

Thank you so much

When using the Equalizer it is usually convenient to be able to cut and/or boost. If the audio is very close to 0dB before applying the Equalizer, then applying boost to any frequencies may push the signal over 0 dB and cause it to distort when playing through the sound card. Providing the audio is in 32-bit float format, the waveform will not be actually damaged, but if it is distorting through the sound card it makes it difficult to tell if you have adjusted the Eq correctly.

Actually, I don’t do step 1, but skip straight to step 2 and use the “Draw Curves” view. If the amplitude before processing is a little low, then I will make the Eq curve mostly above the 0 dB line and if the amplitude is quite high I will make the Eq curve mostly below the 0 dB line. In effect, the Equalizer is providing the amplification. If I’ve got it about right, then step 3 isn’t required either.

The exact amplification level is not critical until you get to the final step. It just needs to be kept in a reasonable range so that you can hear it clearly without distortion.

This is (in my opinion) one of Audacity’s major weaknesses. It is also the highest rated feature request on the Audacity wiki:
The “Preview” feature can be a help, but by default the preview length is rather short. If you go to “Edit menu > Preferences > Playback” you can change the preview length. I find it useful to increase this to 5 or 6 seconds.

Also, before Equalizing a long track, test your settings on a couple of short sections. When you have it right, apply to the entire track.
(Tip: use Ctrl+Z to Undo the effect and Ctrl+R to apply the same effect with the same settings)

You do not have to use any of the steps. Each step in that workflow accomplishes a particular task, but if that task is not required then that step should be skipped.

The Equalization step is only necessary if you need to make frequency adjustments. For example, if the recording sounds a bit “thin” (lacking bass) you may want to increase the bass frequencies. If the recording sounds “tinny” and “hissy” (excessive high frequencies) you may want to turn down the high frequencies. If you do not want to adjust the frequency balance, miss out the Equalization step.

Noise Removal can be useful for reducing low level constant noise in the track. For example if there is a little bit of hiss, then Noise Removal can help to reduce that noise. Personally I think this effect should be called “Noise Reduction” rather than Noise Removal, as attempting to completely eliminate (remove) the noise will probably require such aggressive settings that it causes noticeable damage to the remaining audio. When using this effect, aim for reducing the noise without damaging the remaining audio. “Damage” will typically sound like a bubbly metallic effect and can sound worse than leaving a little bit of noise.

“Compressors” produce “dynamic compression”. That is, they reduce the difference between loud and quiet so that the audio level is more even. This can be useful for making the overall volume level greater and for evening out the volume level. If used too much it will make the sound boringly even.

The Soft Clipping Limiter chops off excessively high peaks, but does so more gently than “hard” clipping. This effect causes intentional “damage” to the sound, but if used excessively it will sound distorted. Used in moderation it can allow the overall level to be significantly increased without noticeable distortion.

Most of the effects can cause subtle changes to the frequency content, so it may be necessary to tweak the Equalization again at the end, but if it sounds OK, skip this step.

Apart from the final Amplify step, all of the other Amplify steps are just to keep the audio level within a useful range - loud enough to hear clearly without distorting. The final Amplification step is important because that sets the level of your final exported audio.