How to remove distortion?

I have been happily using Audacity for several years and finally run into something that I am unable to fix. The sound track on a video I am processing is distorted, probably from too high recording level. I reduced the amplification and that helped a little but the sound is still ‘fuzzy’. I’ve posted a little clip of the original unedited track so you can get an idea of what’s going on. I would have posted a bigger clip but dialup . . . sigh.

I am on Ubuntu (Gutsy with a Hardy kernel) and using Audacity 1.3.4-beta (Unicode).

Thanks for any tips you can offer. (I searched but nothing jumped out at me.)

<<<(I searched but nothing jumped out at me.)>>>

Or me. It’s not classic clipping from too high a level. I wonder if the performer was wearing a headset that was overloading a radio microphone system. She seems to have the microphone element jammed right in front of her lips–which would have been OK had the system been able to deal with that kind of signal.

Especially because there’s music already mixed in, that’s as good as the show is going to get.

Overload/clipping is one of the four horsemen. Echoes, moving background noise, and extremely low level are the others. No recovery except sometimes in the police investigation sense.

Wait. Dialup?


Thanks, Koz.

Exactly. Many of the workouts are fine but a few start out like this - very annoying. Things improve a little when they begin to compensate for it. Not really amateurs but definitely not professionals - somewhere in between. You get what you pay for . . .

Especially because there’s music already mixed in, that’s as good as the show is going to get.

Bummer. At least the workouts are fantastic!!

Wait. Dialup?

Yeah. There are some of us dinosaurs out there. :wink:


That means you have a copper phone line. You can get DSL Extreme basic package for $13 a month, unless you live a million miles away from a phone company Central Office.


kozikowski mentioned “clipping” as one of the “four horsemen”

  1. can you elaborate a little and give possible remedies


  1. is there way to delete the dark blue


(I recorded voice. Line-out to mic-in [yea, now I know, dumb move]. Any chance of making it work)

Kinda the boonies where DSL costs more than $13 a month. Besides my $4/mo dialup seems to be faster than my neighbor’s DSL! Not really into media online - mostly technical forums and plain text lists. (I’m into ‘slow food’ and OTA antennas too.) When I do a major distro upgrade, I can always go to the local computer shop with the big pipe and they hook me up for the duration.

<<<(I’m into ‘slow food’ and OTA antennas too.)>>>


<<<1) can you elaborate a little and give possible remedies>>>

Yes. No.

The Four Horsemen were Strife, War, Famine, and Death. Only Death is mentioned in the Bible, but the others are identified in other texts.

In Audio Land, the four horsemen are the unrecoverable errors. Once you present an audio show with Echoes, Clipping (Overload), Moving Noise, or Seriously Low Level, you’re dead. Over on the video forums, we have a joke that you need to apply the Reshoot Filter. Pick up the camera and shoot it again because you have no show so far.

Typically, you can affect the error with audio tools and you can change the sound, but you can’t make it better. The other thing that happens is you spend weeks fooling with it and the result is awful.


No. None. There is a software package that can patch clipping. What they call clipping is one slight “tick” on an actor’s voice once every half-hour and everything else is smooth and crystal clear. What most users call clipping is a barely recognizable voice in a sea of distortion. Did I just describe your show?

We strongly recommend recording a few seconds before a performance and playing it back to make sure everything works OK.


Cool! My equipment isn’t that fancy. I’ve got several 19" analog CRTs to use up so I’m doing the converter box thing. Here’s my setup.. Currently, I’m pulling in all the local channels on UHF about 26 miles from the towers. It remains to be seen what will happen when FOX moves to VHF in February.


Which towers? I was surprised to learn that nobody in LA, even the techies, watch towers. I knew who owned every tower in each city I lived in including this one.

VHF should have much less trouble climbing over hills. We noted that nobody is scheduled to go back to what Europe calls Band I (channels 2-6).


Not LA! If you don’t know where the towers are, how do you know where to point the antenna?? Duh! helps locating them. :wink:

VHF should have much less trouble climbing over hills.

I don’t have hills, I have lotsa trees and am in a hollow (which is kind of an inverted hill, I guess). Time will tell . . .

Low pass filtering with a very sharp filter (24db, 36db) can remove parts of the distortion. If the (undistorted) input signal was too complex the filtering will remove too much from the original signal.


Which I don’t believe, but I kinda wish that post hadn’t gotten damaged.