Do you hear something that needs to be fixed?

Hi everyone. This is the third time I record everything in order to make a video for the web. I’m an amateur that knows very little about video-making and sound-editing. I’m just doing this for fun and hope it all ends up being, at least, OK.

In order to record, this time I placed the smartphone (its the best recorder I currently have access to) on the table, diagonal to me but with the microphone pointing towards me. Last time I had the smartphone close to my face, which generated thuds from accidentally blowing to the microphones.

I don’t have an educated ear that allows me to hear particular problems related to my recordings. I’m attaching a little fragment. Can you please help me identify what needs to be fixed? For example, last time I was told I had excessive sibilance. Do you hear that here as well? And what else?

I use Windows 8.1 and Audacity 2.4.1.

Thank you very much in advance :slight_smile:.

Yes, there’s a lot of sibilance in this sample. You can see it in track spectrogram view (Audio Track Dropdown Menu - Audacity Manual)
Notice the bright patches in the range 7 to 12 kHz:

You can see the same thing with “Plot Spectrum” (Plot Spectrum - Audacity Manual)
Notice the peak at around 8600 Hz.

You can compensate for this with the Graphic EQ effect (Graphic EQ - Audacity Manual)

When the sibilance is reduced, you will probably notice a “booming” sound. To reduce the booming, reduce the lower frequencies and pushing up the mid frequencies (around 1000 Hz) a bit.

Overall, the level needs to go up.

The result won’t be perfect, but it will be an improvement.
Here’s a quick before / after processing example:

I did something similar with De-Esser and noise reduction.

The next thing you can do is get rid of room echoes. The simple way is to make a blanket tent over you and the phone. The heavier the blanket the better. You can’t work for a long time like that (you run out of air), but if it helps the sound quality, that gives us an idea of what else can work.

There is no Audacity filter for room echoes. You have to get rid of them in real life.

Also, does your phone have different recorders? iPhones have Voice Memo which applies filters and corrections and also Music Memo which is plain and doesn’t have corrections.


Here’s one with couch pillows.

The video is way too long for what it says.

You can’t use the towel on the table because that’s where your phone is. You can try it with the phone sitting on the towel, but I think your volume will drop too much.

Still looking for the video done with a plain blanket.


I did save it.


Rookie mistake :frowning:.

Thank you all for your feedback. I’ll use the blanket tip for a future project. I won’t record everything a fourth time. I (and any viewer) will have to accept the room echo :blush:.

But I would like to use De-esser to reduce the sibilance. I already have it installed in Audacity. What settings do you recommend? I must confess I have no idea how to calibrate it :blush:. And the volume is too low, right? What would be a proper volume level?

Thank you in advance.

I won’t record everything a fourth time

No, but you can record a ten-second test so we have something good quality to work from—and do it with the blanket.

The acoustic signatures and tonal balance are going to change with the bedding and we’d just as soon not create the settings all over again.

My process was convoluted and a little strange. We should get Steve to give details about how he did it. I think his was simpler.


I applied the three tools in the audiobook mastering suite.

Screen Shot 2020-07-02 at 3.11.53.png
That boosted the volume and put the show in range of the DeEsser tool at these settings.

Screen Shot 2020-07-02 at 3.14.01.png
That that still wasn’t enough, so I added the Graphic Equalizer tool.

Screen Shot 2020-07-02 at 3.15.29.png
I’ve never used this tool before, so there are some surprises. I can’t produce the settings file.

And that’s how I got there. If you start with a poor quality recording, you can spend some serious time and effort in recovery.

All that and you still sound like you’re recording in a kitchen with echoes. This is also why catching the process in the middle instead of going for the best possible is a poor idea.


Sorry. Left out a step. I used some of the silence at the beginning of the file as Effect > Noise Reduction > Profile, and then applied Effect > Noise Reduction at 9, 6, 6 settings.

That helped push down the background noise, but it still doesn’t affect the echoes.


You can do very respectable recordings with a phone. This is a simple interview I did at a noisy cafe with my iPod music player (almost an iPhone).

It’s sitting on the table between us.