How would you edit the sound of a racing motorcycle exhaust?

I have a recorded a number of videos with a Sony AS200V mounted on the top of my motorcycle tail racing on a track. I used the camera wind noise filter during the recording (probably not the best idea for sound quality?). You can see some footage here with the original sound:

Now I’m editing this clips and would like to have a deeper sound that what came out of the camera. I started with equalization, not knowing any better, and came up with the attached eq curve. Basically I boosted the bass and treble to give a close feeling to the exhaust sound.

How would you edit this kind of audio?

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That’s probably about right. You don’t go beyond about 15dB in either direction, so you shouldn’t have too much trouble with overload. The goal is to accurately recreate the experience of “being there,” so the sound system needs to be killer in both quality and volume.

It is, right? You shouldn’t be mixing stuff like this on the laptop built-in speakers or the earbuds that came with your Personal Music Player.

Two shoot comments. Welcome to recording a jet landing on a windy day.

I went back later on a dead calm day with a good sound recorder, recorded multiple jets and stripped in the new sound for the old picture.

I can hear you gasp in horror. That’s done more than you think.

Nobody would dream of using the sound from a Sony Action Cam!. It has sound because everybody is expecting it to have sound and for cuing, not for actual production.

Yes, totally, wind socks, foam, blimps and dead cats® are desperation moves and more often than not strip off all The Good Stuff in favor of not driving the microphone into early retirement.

I’m not at a machine with good sound…

I can put you in touch with a sound guy who got good sound on a cigarette boat at full throttle in Biscayne Bay (attach).

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I used the camera wind noise filter during the recording

What now? The Wind setting? Not a fizzy thing that goes over the microphones?

I wonder how they got away with that. It’s usually the microphone itself or the MicPre that gets beat black and blue with high wind noise, not post processing. Is having it not be gutsy the only thing wrong?

I gotta wait until I get to a grown-up computer.


Exhaust Equalized.mp3

That didn’t work, at least on my sound system. Plus just as I was congratulating you for not creating sound damage… you have sound damage. When the equalized work is on your timeline, View > Show Clipping. All those red bars are places where the sound is permanently damaged by being too loud.

What’s odd is that I was able to hear your sharp, crispness boost, but not the bass boost. It’s still gutless. I wonder what happened there.

As we go.

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I know what happened there. The Wind Suppression works about the same way Steve’s rumble filter does. Everything below 100Hz goes away. That can work if you have the average voice or higher, but it just kills Announcing Bass voices, bikes, and jets.

I get bass suppression of about 40dB to 50dB which is why your wimpy 10dB boost didn’t do anything.

And I think that’s the end of the story. I can’t bring back the beer-glass rattling thump without destroying the rest of the sound.

Where’s Waxy? This is his world.


I ride 'em not record 'em :wink:

I like the live roar :sunglasses:
Stripler smaller image.jpg
The road I was just about to ride this on has a sign that says “Quiet lane” - not when I’m there on the bike :smiley:

ok, tried to improve the bass for more presence and lower levels overall to avoid sound damage. These two mp3 samples play with VLC on Mac OS.
What other effects should I use?
And what action cam mic should I get for a motorcycle mount?

You have a Stunning Difficult Recording job. That’s why I wanted you to talk to the guy in Florida. I wouldn’t be using a camcorder microphone. Those are designed to pull human voices out of the trash, as in Birthday Party, Wedding, Party at the Beach, etc. etc.

Generally designed to suppress the exact sound you’re trying to record in favor of voices.

If someone wrote me a big check, how would I do it…?

I need to sit down with strong tea.


Remember: If somebody wrote me a big check.

I would continue to use the on-board camcorder microphones for the basic sound configured exactly like you have it. If you showed that video to your Aunt Minnie, she would think that was the greatest thing ever produced. Only we (and Waxy) know that it’s not real enough.

This is in broad generalities. I don’t expect you to actually do this (but I expect it to work).

I would choose a microphone not designed to droop low frequencies (like many vocal microphones) and plug it into my Separate Sound Recorder. You’ll have to sync up the two tracks later, but that’s a walk in the park compared to everything else we’re doing.

Then gaffer/duct tape the microphone to the body of the bike such that it’s not going to get too hot to touch. Stay away from the steering portions. Try to hit something metal. Completely cover the microphone with tape so that no air is allowed to enter. Rev the motor several times and make sure the conductive sound doesn’t drive the recorder into overload. Adjust as needed.

Start both recorders. I’m flopping around for a way to do a sync point. Ummmmmm.

Point the video camera at a structural member of the bike and smack it with a piece of wood (or something not likely to leave a mark). That will give you three sync marks. The video of the hit, the camcorder microphone thump and the separate recorder thump. Put the camera back to normal, get on the bike and go.

In post production, you should be able to marry the sound track from the separate recorder to the main show from the camcorder. Since there’s no wind on the separate recorder microphone, only the throbbing engine, growl and maybe piston screams should be there.

There’s only about a hundred things that can go wrong. Have a jolly time.


There’s essentially nothing on that mp3 below 200Hz : you can’t amplify what isn’t there.
So if you want more bass you’ll have to fake-it by mixing the track with a [-50%] pitch-shifted version of itself…

[ I’ve also made it essentially mono , rather than stereo , to mitigate the intrusive stereo-flutter wind noise ].

If that’s not bassy enough for you , repeat the -50% trick again to add another octave lower.

I couldn’t remember how to do the octave lower thing. I have a machine that can do that on my keyboard.

Do remember that the effect doesn’t track the real engine. Jacket-trembling rumble while you’re idling doesn’t always work, either.

Thank you for the advice, the pitch adjustment sounds good.
For reference here’s some extra info for embedded exhaust/engine sound recording: