Improve Quality of Phone/Video Call Recording

Hi all,
I recorded the Audio of a Video Conference and need to improve the quality. It sounds flat and dull (the typical phone audio quality) and I want to make it more crisp - like a proper audio recording. Are there any easy steps to do so? I can only find the usual “improve your recording” tutorials with normalize, boost bass and treeble etc… but these do not help for low quality audio recording.

The result doesn’t need to be perfect - just a bit better and not that dull.

Thanks a lot in advance!

Post some of it. “Flat and dull” is not a lot to go on.

They don’t have to sound like a cellphone (unless it was actually placed from a cellphone). I did a Skype call recording and my subject, in spite of being three time zones away, sounded like she was sitting on the sofa beside me.

If it was placed from a cellphone, say, in conference mode, you’re stuck. Those are heavily processed at the phone to avoid noise, interference and feedback. Those tools all work, but they give you permanent “cellphone voice.”

You can avoid a lot of that distortion by having the far end use headphones, earbuds, ear “something,” and don’t force the phone to do all the heavy lifting.


A bare-minimum phone-line audio only contains voice frequencies up to 4kHz, (most people can hear >12kHz).
It’s not possible to amplify sound which isn’t there.
A slight improvement in brightness is possible via a vocal-exciter which synthesises higher harmonics of the audio which is present.

If you have the choice, try video conferencing software that uses Opus (for example “Jitsi”). Opus format is exceptionally good at preserving audio quality at low bit rates.

Here is a snippet of the Audio File. I think that makes it clear what I mean with “dull” and “phone quality”.
Sure I am aware these audios are highly processed and compressed - and once information is lost it cannot be recovered. But I am an audio noob and I thought maybe there is still a way to get at least a bit better quality out of it…

Thanks for the sample.

No. You’re stuck. The voice is choppy because it went through a noise gate. The silent bits are not just natural room noise, they’re absolute dead digital zero. On top of that is the data compression “talking into a wine glass” sound.

The sound already has a presence boost. Sound around 6000Hz is boosted and if we increase the “clarity,” it’s going to get crinkly paper harsh.

Try Effect > Bass and Treble: Boost Treble 6dB.


Oh. I missed that. He also has microphone buzzing and if you increase the treble too much, it will sound like a penny vibrating on a plate.

If I had to guess at the interview story, I would say they made a bad recording and your sound file is what happened when somebody tried to fix it. Can you get the interview “clean,” without all the effects?

I bet we can do a better job.


This is the same snippet in original quality. Volume is a bit lower, the previous one was already normalized (and not sure what else done with it).
This one def. needs to get a bit louder w/o clipping (–> normalize, max amplitude -1dB ?) - and if possible get rid of this “telephone” audio style, which was my primary worry.

Thanks guys

Same problem. Someone applied extreme noise reduction and it’s almost impossible to recover from that kind of distortion.

I thought about trying to reverse the tonal grouping caused by the noise reduction (comb filtering), but the first part and second parts of the sound file are different.

Someone else may post.


Thanks for your help.

It was not someone but something that applied the noise filter, this is the pure audio I got from the system. That is actually what ZOOM (the video conf tool I used) is giving me. Will look for alternatives or parallel audio recording on participant side in the future.


Like Koz says, the main problem is choppiness.

If you use extreme (high-ratio) dynamic-range-compression, & add comfort noise, the choppiness is lessened …

That is actually what ZOOM … is giving me.

Oh, that’s super good to know. There was a forum posting recommending Zoom for people who needed to record their conference and pieces of conferences for post-production later. That’s a lot less useful if Zoom is going to do that to voices. Is this your first experience?

The classic method for recording conference voices (last week) is to have each person record their own voice. Most of the time, the local voice is good quality and still available even with the conferencing software running. The people all save sound files and forward them to you.

That’s how this was done.

There are techniques for dealing with timing and sync issues, etc, but that method can produce a far higher quality product than trying to record everything yourself.

That’s less useful if you’re doing an interview. There’s ways to do that, too, but it involves two computers, or computer and sound recorder.


1 Like