Fledgling voice artist seeking counsel

As for voice distortion effects… I have used them, but I say, only if you are trying to be comical, or doing sci fi or fantasy. Even so it is a bit of spice that you do not want to overuse tiresomely. Maybe a bit of telephone like eq in serious stuff, but that is it. Distinguish males and females just enough to contrast – a slightly higher pitch, a bit of breathiness. You don’t have to be a perfect female to come across as a good dramatizer of all parts in a fiction. Listen to some audiobook greats like George Guidall.

Now this is artistic opinion, in which I am even less schooled than technical matters, so take or leave it as you like. But ultimately it is about pleasing ordinary people who listen, so I will speak as one of those.

INTEGRATE loses a bit of accuracy as (apparently) it is calculated with single precision.
An alternative approach, less elegant than your solution but also less heavy on ram:

(let* ((s (if (> len 2000000)
              (let ((step (round (/ len 1000000))))
                (snd-avg (mult s s) step step op-average))
              (mult s s)))
       (slen (snd-length s ny:all))
       (s (snd-avg s slen slen op-average)))
  (linear-to-db (sqrt (snd-fetch s))))

True, damage to the signal that looks like one big spike, is not quite like natural but undesirable click noises that do oscillate and decay on a fine scale, and the best math for finding and fixing each is perhaps not the same.

But I must disagree. There is a signature for mouth clicks, even if they are riding on another sound with bigger amplitude. They are obvious to the eye as well as ear, if you look at your sound in spectrogram. Clicks appear as bright vertical streaks. I figured out some math to automate the identification and filtering out of “bright vertical streaks” with some success. I intend very soon to post an updated version of my click removal tool, and as a bonus, a de-esser that almost fell out as an adaptation of much of the same code.

Ian, I recommend you get familiar with spectrogram as well as waveform views. They complement each other. Spectrogram helps you find where a click is more readily while zoomed out, but waveform helps you zoom in more precisely. I also prefer waveform dB view to waveform, because it stretches out the low levels and compresses the high levels, making little noises more obvious to the eye.

To use two views at once, try this: duplicate the track, mute the bottom one, make the top waveform dB and the bottom spectrogram. Click the pocketwatch (“Synch lock”) so that deletion from one causes corresponding deletion in the other. Treat the top track as your master, the bottom as just an aid that you throw away later. Learn what various speech sounds look like in each view.

I’m remembering we got someone else past mouth noises a while back. It wasn’t pretty. I think an elf designed custom software for his voice.

I first heard that term “Nyquist elf” from Koz, I think. Gee, it seems I have become one.


thank you for the further feedback.

I shall do some experimenting. :slight_smile:

And no, I shan’t be using distortion effects except perhaps for ONE thing in our current book and that is the few times our hero hears from someone via the radio but the signal is usually fairly bad. I’ll see how that sounds but otherwise shall be sticking to what I can do with my own voice. :slight_smile:


I think that would not be overdoing it. There are some ready made eq curves to simulate radio or walkie talkie. Also try white noise from the Generate menu in a second track and mix it.

Updated version! https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/updated-de-clicker-and-new-de-esser-for-speech/34283/1

radio but the signal is usually fairly bad.

AM or FM? Their problems are different.


Hmm, it doesn’t say. I’ll have to ask Joseph what he had in mind. I actually recorded the first of those tonight in my breathy, female voice (or something akin to one I hope!) as he really wants it to sound like the radio announcer in The Fog. :slight_smile:


When in doubt, take AM radio, it is the type that every one can build a receiver for in MacGyver style; the novel gives me the impression that all takes place in a after-big-disaster world. Thus equipment is difficult to obtain.

I think you’re absolutely right, Robert and yes, it does. :slight_smile:


Yup, my author confirmed that he was thinking of AM

“Kind of tinny and buzzy, maybe?”.


Yeah. Low pass filter at 5KHz or slightly lower. AM radio has a restricted fidelity because of the number of stations you can smash onto the dial. Then the buzz and fading.

I’m going to grit my teeth here because if you have a catastrophic event, there will be no lights or power in the neighborhood and hence, no buzz. That’s usually the effect that sells it. Everybody knows what fluorescent lights sound like on a radio.

You will have harsh static, but it doesn’t have to be overwhelming to be convincing.

Let me see what I can come up with.

You only get the fading if the show takes place at night or over a long distance. That’s connected to the script.


Here you go. I had to pervert Steve’s Noise gate and even then there’s too much hiss. AM doesn’t hiss. That’s an FM problem. I got the intercarrier whistle OK, but the static could be sharper.

See, that’s script again. Are they listening to a little transistor radio?

The pre-baked equalizer is misleading. AM has no natural low end droop. That’s only if you’re listening on a crappy radio.


Also AM radio tends to have pretty high distortion levels. Not sure if there is an audacity plugin to introduce harmonic distortion or not.

Yes, there is. The hard clipper, but it’s a custom effect that I can’t find quickly.

I think I got the noise better, but I can’t get rid of the Noise Gate natural reaction to try to “help me” by smoothing out the clicks. I WANT them harsh and irritating but the attack/decay slider will not go to zero.


Wow, that sounds good.

All right, this is what the script says:

“He and Harold had crossed nearly two states on foot, trying to get Home. They had been travelling steadily north since the night, over a year ago, they found a working radio and heard the broadcasts coming from the city of the living. They had listened to those broadcasts whenever they could pick up the signal—usually on overcast days— until their batteries ran dry. The signal was always weak, popping and crackling like Rice Crispies cereal, but it became a beacon, a bright ray of hope, calling them Home from the world of the dead. The first time they heard the radio station, they had both wept. It was a Barry Manilow song, “Looks Like We Made It”, faint and distorted. When Brent first heard the music issuing from the radio’s speakers his breath had caught in his throat and blood rushed to his head so fast he thought he was going to pass out. After the music played, a man and woman began to speak. They called themselves the Last Living Deejays. It was a husband and wife duo named Rick and Ronni Parker, and they were transmitting from Peoria, Illinois, a city they now called Home, where the survivors of the zombie apocalypse still lived something like a normal life. “If you are out there listening to this broadcast right now, know that you are not alone. And know that you have a home here with us, a place where you can live in peace and security among your fellow living human beings,” Ronnie had said. She had a purring, angelic voice. “Come, if you can. There is a place waiting here for you. There are fifty thousand living men and women here. There are children, and there are dogs. You can have a life again. You can be free. Run, you brave souls. Run Home!” They gave reports on the activities of nearby meat patrols, warned of herd movements, reported the local news, the births, deaths, and weddings of the citizens of their fortress city. They opined on the politics of their burgeoning civilization. Home was a democratic parliament, they said, much like England’s government before the Phage, though they called their legislature the Board of Trustees and “mayor” was the title of their head of state, rather than “president” or “prime minister”. The day they restored electricity to the entire city they held a wild celebration and played rock and roll music all day long. They observed all the old holidays like Easter and Christmas. They reported on their dealings with the nearby zombie tribes. They put on old–‐ fashioned radio dramas. They had a highly trained militia. They had high walls, and they had nukes.” Copyright Joseph Duncan 2014.

OK. good timing. I was going to ask you for that.

This is my latest pass. I think I got most of the “normal” distortions down for a standard, “fringe area” broadcast. In the absence of “civilization” you can get AM radio broadcasts across the US, and can hear thunderstorms three states way. Trust me on this…


So that almost has to be a transistor radio, right?

Again, we’ll ignore the reality of no civilization and therefore no popping. Remember, they used to send radio signals across the Atlantic using not very powerful equipment. They had the advantage of being the only ones doing it. With no storms, there’s nothing to stop you.


Thanks, mate.

I think I prefer the third one but it is a close call.

The only hesitation I would have is that the high pitched whine could perhaps be a bit jarring to someone listening in bed or what not.