Making different audio files sound the same


I’m using Audacity 2.4.2 on a Windows 10 machine.

Every day I’m sent a few audio files from a person reading certain documents for a podcast. These documents are all being read by the same person, but are being recorded in different locations sometimes using different machines (cell phone, laptop, etc.).

My job is to string these audio files together into a single recording, clean them up, and release them as a podcast. With Audacity I’m able to remove background noise well and normalize volume, but the recordings still sound different from each other–some are more “tinny” than others, some have more bass, etc. I do a pretty good job of individually tweaking the equalizer settings for different files so that they sound approximately the same, but what I’m wondering is this: is there a way to string these files together and then run some filter over them or something so that they have more or less the same general “sound?” It would be great to not have to tweak each file separately.

Does that make sense? Any thoughts? Thanks in advance and let me know if you need more detail. I’m a mid-range tech geek, so I know some things pretty well and pick up the ones I don’t pretty quick. :slight_smile:

That’s the way to do it. It’s time consuming, but there’s no other way.
There are some tools that can help, such as “Plot Spectrum”, “Normalize”, …, but I’m guessing that you already use those.

This is one of the main reasons that professionals use recording studios, and why professional recording studios keep records of how the recording was made (which microphone, which recording booth, microphone placement …) In a tightly controlled recording environment the recordings will have less variation. There’s also a reason why professional “voice talent” are employed - A skilled professional will be able to hit the same (or similar) intensity, tone and pace on Friday as they did on Monday.

How are you listening? This job would be hopeless without a killer sound system, particularly if some of the work was shot outside. Being able to hear rumble and barely audible thunder/earthquake sound is super important. Wind noises can be the worst. Those sounds can really mess up volume setting and clip matching.

“Those two clips sound about the same and yet the the sound meters and overload points are very different!!”

If you’re not able to collect good speakers and amplifiers, then good headphones are indicated. I did a music mix during a vacation and I did it with cheap headphones I got at the local music/bookstore. It was OK… but the mixes never sounded quite right and it was a mystery until I got home and sorted how bad the headphones were.

I think you have a production disconnect. Shoot something in a studio when you want all the parts to sound about the same and need the continuity from segment to segment with no distractions. That is the audiobook thing. Shoot something in the field when you want the “You Are There”, “Travels with Charlie” production. The change in sound quality is part of the show. “Here we are at a bazaar in Marrakesh.”

Shooting something on location with Charlie when what you really wanted was the studio shoot gives you your job. No, we can’t take out echoes and we can’t split a mixed production into individual sounds.

Good luck.