Effects Order for Audiobook Narration

If I need different EQ filter settings can one of you post an EQ chart showing the settings. I know enough to be able to duplicate a chart.

Here’s a clip of the Timisoara Sample with the Fliter Curve EQ Effect as shown in the earlier post.

Here’s the EQ I applied.

That’s consistent with the EQ I applied to your Timisoara reading …

good EQ match

The overall slope on this purple wedge is what matters, not the fine detail.

@Trebor The 19s sample I last sent to you doesn’t sound good to me, but I have a hearing problem. Does it sound good to you? If not, what can I do?

The EQ sounds good to me.
I have an AutoEQ plugin which automatically adjusts the EQ for a male voice, and what you submitted is >90% accurate to that plugin on its vanilla “neutral” setting: it just reduces the bass by 3dB from what you have …

U is blue, AI is Green
You blue, AutoEQ green.

I got the auto EQ plugin when it was free, but they charge for it now,
but you get a 30 day free trial period.
It’s a VST3 plugin so only works in Audacity3 as a realtime effect.

If you compare your spectrum with that of popular audiobooks,
(read by men), that will show you how good your EQ is.

So if I am understanding correctly, you feel I should apply the EQ I used on the 19s sample to all of my chapters, and the result will be acceptable to a listeners ear? Should I tweak the EQ settings to make them even better. If so, how should I tweak them. Also, where in the order of Effects should I apply the EQ? On the sample I applied it after Low-pass and before Compression.

Everything recorded with the mic in that position will require the EQ adjustment you applied to sound like a typical man-reading-audiobook.

If you don’t like how it sounds to you, you should check that you don’t have any playback audio enhancement applied. If engaged they could apply a second type of EQ which affects how things sound on your headphones/speakers.

I would install a real-time equalizer plugin into Audacity, then you can tweak the EQ as it is playing, (by trial & error). There are many free ones, e.g. … Graphic Equalizer Plugin, 16-Band, Lin-Phase [VST, AU, AAX] - Marvel GEQ - Voxengo

Audcaity’s free competitor OCENaudio has two* realtime equalizers built-in. (* 11-band & 31-band).

The spectrum is the objective measure of what the audio sounds like:
it is not biased by headphones/speakers/electronics/software or human hearing.

A high-pass filter is used on speech to remove the low frequencies,( say below ~100Hz). IMO there’s no need for a “Low-pass” filter on speech.

Yes, well that may not work out so well in this case.

Trebor is the quality control analyst, not JimBerlin. Also we should remember if JimBerlin is patching the existing reading, he’s doing it in the face of Missing Tooth Essing and bad microphone management.

Oh, and we have a time constraint. The current reading has to be prepared for human consumption by a rapidly approaching deadline.

And Quality Control, General Advice, and Production Management are coming from, by my measure, people 9 time zones away.

Of the three people working on this project, The Voice Artist, The Recording Engineer, and The Producer, I think The Producer needs to re-arrange the deadlines and/or the goals to be more realistic.


I knew I didn’t have time for the ideal treatment so I wasn’t planning to install the real time EQ plugins this time. But I sure appreciate the advice, maybe later. For now I will apply the EQ I created and trust your ears and analysis that it is listenable. THANKS GUYS! YOU’RE AWESOME!!!

I owe you both a coffee.

I’ve just had a go with the $onible Pure:EQ plugin.

It works in Audacity3 as a realtime VST3 plugin …


It’s better than its free AutoEQ predecessor, Sonible Balancer
it has higher resolution: consequently better at reducing room resonance …
Sonible Pure EQ is better than the free Sonible balancer
Sonible balancer Vs $onible pure:EQ. (“Vocals Low” = Male voice).

Free trial lasts 30 days: could be long enough to complete the project.

@kozikowski I want to pivot subjects now. I noticed several years ago you commented on audiobook files. I want to create my own book that I can sell to friends and others privately through a PayPal payment and then a direct transfer of my book to them (maybe via We Transfer). Do you know how I can create one audiobook file from all of my chapters?

btw @kozikowski @Trebor You both get my book for free. You don’t have to listen to it if you don’t want to. Maybe my esssses will be too painful for you.

Hello friends!

I was very interested in this plugin, however, I have already installed it and it is working perfectly.
Could you please teach me the purpose of this plugin and what it actually does or even a tutorial or booklet on it?

Hug to everyone!

Sonible’s Pure:EQ ? …

Hello Trebor

Thanks for the feedback.
It wouldn’t be this one though, it seems interesting but it’s a paid plugin, I prefer the free ones.
I was talking about this one above this topic:
Mid-Side Encoder-Decoder Plugin [VST, AU, AAX] - MSED - Voxengo

But I already got the manual, but so far I don’t know what its purpose is and what it actually does.

Friendly hug!

MSED is used to adjust (and display) the width of a stereo track.
[ It does nothing for mono tracks. Voxengo have free a pseudostereo plugin for that … Stereo-Widener Audio Effect Plugin [VST, AU, AAX] - Stereo Touch - Voxengo ]

@Trebor @kozikowski I’m back in my newly constructed sound booth ready to re-record my audiobook. My tooth was fixed 2 ½ weeks ago and I now know how to use my microphone properly.

Now I have a question for you both:

Are there settings I should make (if possible) prior to recording? Or do I simply record and afterward apply whatever filters are necessary?

If you don’t mind, my first recording will be a test that I’ll post here to get your feedback. That way I can ensure I’m recording correctly. THANKS!!!

Only in the sense of recording in a quiet, echo-free room. I have one of those and I can record an audiobook-adjacent quality voice test on my phone. That room goes a long way to production success.

If you record that ten second sound test and post it with no effects, filters, corrections or “help,” it should be possible to apply Audacity Audiobook Mastering and walk away with a submittable, if brief, sound test.

Where you go from there can be as simple as: read your chapter. Export a WAV Raw Reading. Edit out the mistakes and fluffs, edit to the ACX format for spacing, chapter headers, etc, one last listen, Apply Mastering. Export the WAV Edit Master and export the MP3 submission chapter. Go on to the next chapter.

Many forum posters arrive with a bushel basket of effects and other corrections. The person wearing the Producer hat is going to want to turn out a marketable book with the absolute minimum of work. Every effect you add takes up time and introduces the opportunity for mistakes.

A “bad” voice is no reason to start adding corrections. One of my favorite readers is Sarah Vowell. The best thing that can be said about her voice is that it’s clear. Nobody is going to ask her to advertise expensive products in Hollywood, but I have most of her audiobooks.

This is from Assassination Vacation.


Fair warning that it’s not unusual for a New Reader to get to the end of their first book a seasoned professional, read back through the first few chapters with horror, and start over.