Problem with tapering vocal waveforms

I am working in Audacity 2.3.1 and editing an interview for a podcast. I am encountering multiple instances of a vocal waveform tapering off and distorting the sound quality in the middle of a word, usually on a vowel. I’ve included a sample, this one in the middle of the word “introduction”.

This is a recording from a colleague using a headset and mic (not sure which brand). It’s not super noticeable, but since it’s in the middle of an interview, I can’t just ask her to re-record. I’m wondering if anyone who has encountered this issue before can give me some insight into what might be causing it and if there’s any way to improve the audio quality. Part of my problem is that I’m fairly new to Audacity and audio editing in general, so I’m not sure what the correct/technical terms are for this sort of issue, which makes searching for help/solutions much more difficult. Any help, even just with what language to use to describe this, would be appreciated!

I can’t just ask her to re-record.

Wouldn’t do any good. If this is the headset system she uses all the time, chances are it’s set up for auto everything: Auto Noise Reduction, Auto Gain Control, Audio Echo Suppression and probably more I haven’t thought of. If the goal is simple communication or conferencing, those settings are very valuable. There’s nothing like ten people in a conference and they all have traffic noise in the background.

However, if you’re completing with ESPN or Cable News Network for an interview, that’s less valuable.

There’s no good way to take that distortion out.

There are stupid-wacky ways to “solve it.” Type out all her words, find a Text To Speech program that sounds like her and use that instead.

Find a sound in the monolog that’s not distorted and substitute it for the damaged sound. That can’t take you more than six or eight months for a short interview.

So no. You’re stuck.


Where you wearing headphones during the capture? Depending on the setup, your microphone management system may be creating some of those problems. If you’re doing a Skype interview, you always get the best sound if everybody is on headphones or earsets. Skype doesn’t have as much work to do or corrections.

This was a live Skype interview I did across the country. I’m in Los Angeles and Denise is in New Jersey. Sorry, “Joisey.”

Denise sounds like she’s in the room with me because we’re both broadcast professionals and we’re both on headphones.