Help needed as to what Audacity effects to use

Although I have had Audacity on my machine for several years I have only used it to record my voice overs. (I installed the latest version this morning).

A colleague has just send me some video that was recorded in a church and shows the speaker using a hand held radio mic and the mic on the camera recording the sound coming from the installed speakers. Naturally the result is just dreadful. Knowing I have Audacity he has sent me this hoping I can improve the result. I am aware that it might be impossible to greatly improve but just a little would help. I really haven’t a clue where to start. I have attached a short clip of the audio. I hope this helps.

A short section of the audio has been put into Audacity but looking at the effects possible, my mind just boggles. Can anyone help by suggesting the names of effects to try with some simple instructions to guide me? It would be very much appreciated.

Many thanks. Mark

I don’t think there’s much you can do about that.

The biggest problem with the sound is the speaker’s voice echoing in the room, which is near impossible to remove because the echo is the same voice that you want to retain.

The next biggest problem is all the other people that are talking. Although AI is making some advances in being able to pick out one voice from other voices, that is still a very difficult task for computers, and virtually impossible with traditional audio processing. To a computer, one person’s voice is pretty much the same as anyone else’s voice, so you can’t remove the other voices without also removing or severely damaging the voice that you wish to retain.

It is possible to remove the sound of tea cups clinking, using Audacity’s “Spectral” effects.

Cutting bass & boosting treble improves the intelligibility somewhat …

Much thanks for that sound clip. Being able to work from the actual performance goes a long way to finding a solution—if possible. As Trebor, above, you can improve intelligibility a little by crispening a bit and reducing Room Boom.

What’s the goal?

Where did that sound go? Is that the church’s sound system? I wonder if they have a way to “borrow” the public address system sound for recording for next time. This must have come up before.

Desperation Method is recording sound right next to one of the church’s speakers, before it had time to bounce around between the walls. That kind of damage is almost impossible to fix.

The Hollywood Method (and there is one) is copy down the words on paper and have an actor perform the work in a studio. An unlimited budget has you hiring the original performer. Yes, they do do that. Not every field shoot is perfect.


Thank you all for your quick and helpful replies. As suspected, there is not a great deal one can do with it. I will try adjusting the Bass & Treble to see if it gives any improvement.

Of course, it’s not really my problem. Doing a bit of research I discover that the folk making the video have made several in the church over time and whilst their actual video has improved, in all of them it’s the audio that is just awful.

I will discuss this with my colleague. I will offer the suggestion of placing a mic near a speaker.
Thanks again. Mark

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