Question on Effects


I’m new to Audacity. I just started using it yesterday and already loving it like crazy! I think I can’t live without it! lol
Anyways, I recorded myself singing the song “Drive - Vanessa Hudgens” but it didn’t turn out so well I think its because of the mic I’m using. I’m gonna buy a high quality mic for $200 soon. OK, I want you guys to do me favour. Listen to this song
and tell me how do you edit your voice to sound like that. I mean not sound like Vanessa Hudgens’s voice (Of course you can’t get that voice unless you were born with that!). uhmmm… How can I put this? :unamused:
OK! you know what I mean! If you listen to that song again (rewind that and listen carefully), you will notice that her voice sounded like its from the tv or something (its kinda like a voice effect I think). I don’t really know how to explain it but whatever! I just hope you understand… I also hope that you know how to edit like that! Looking forward for answers!

Thanks in advance,

You use very expensive equipment, and lots of post processing (Eq. multi-band compression, limiting, over-dubbing, etc.)

so do you mean I can’t do it with Audacity? Can you give me examples of what softwares I can use to do that? Because I happen to have Sony Sound Forge Audio Studio 9 (…

You can use Audacity, but just as you point out that you need a skilled and accomplished singer, sound engineering is not just a matter of pressing a button. Making good recordings takes time and experience.

When I say that you need expensive equipment, the studio in which that vocal was recorded would probably use a microphone something like this:
The microphone would be initially amplified with a pre amp such as this:

They would probably use a mixing desk something like this:

and would then use a rack load of outboard effects (often hardware effects, but may also use software effects).

There would be engineers, producers, technicians etc. all experienced professionals with years of experience in recording. Even the room that the recording is done in will have been designed and acoustically treated to create a “perfect” recording environment.

So we are left trying to produce high quality recordings on a relatively tiny budget. Fortunately Audacity is free, allowing us to use our limited funds on hardware such as a nice microphone, a decent soundcard, some studio monitors etc.

Audacity is a great piece of software, and capable of excellent results. With the addition of LADSPA effects we can use reverb, compression, limiting, ADT, and lots more, but using them well takes time and experience.

When I first started recording, I had an old 1/4" tape machine and a Sure SM58 microphone. The first recordings were not great, but I recorded some music, and gradually the recordings improved. Eventually I reached a point where the equipment was the limiting factor, and I had to upgrade, but by this time I knew much more about recording than when I started.

I think that sometimes too much emphasis gets put on equipment. While it is true that bad equipment will not produce great results, expensive equipment will not either unless you know how to use it. The important thing is to get started and do some recording. Audacity will not be the component of your recording system that limits your creativity.

Personally I’m not so sure why you’d want your voice processed so generically. Sure, she’s got a nice voice, but the audio processing is very dull.

There is such a thing as too much polish.

Anywho, 70% of that is performance. The other 30% is carefully overblown studio work.

First, the mic needs to be very nice, the mic pre-amp needs to be clean, and the recording environment needs to be equally nice. A $200 mic will probably not cut it here, though it might if you have a mic that’s carefully matched to sound good with your voice. In other words, test out as many mics as you can before you buy one. Don’t buy one based only on reviews you find on the internet. Same with Mic pre-amps, shop around. You won’t be able to do much about the recording environment aside from researching about building a better studio, but I’m going to guess your budget won’t allow it.

Second, I didn’t hear many obvious effects except for careful double tracking during the choruses. Basically just sing the chorus twice (or maybe even 3 times) and play the second take quieter than the first, be sure to pan the doubled tracks slightly off the lead vocal.

Third, careful EQ. I didn’t hear any bass frequencies in those vocals, so cut everything below about 350 Hz (maybe even higher). I’m not sure what they did to the high end, it’s impossible to tell.

Fourth, there’s probably an Exciter or an Enhancer subtly applied to the higher frequencies. Audacity doesn’t have any plugins with this effect and I’m not sure how to apply it, I’ve never liked what it does to vocals.

Fifth, there’s almost certainly some form of Auto-Tune applied to make her sing perfectly in key. Which particular plugin is used is hard to say. Antares Auto-Tune is the popular one (I think). However, Audacity also can’t use these kinds of plugins since it can’t support VST plugins (due to legal issues).

Finally, there’s some kind of reverb applied to all of that. But I have no idea how to tell you exactly how to re-create it.

Audacity can be used to make very nice sounds. It is more limited than some other programs (Sound Forge being one of them), but most of the audio quality comes from the person behind the recording. If you want your record to sound like it was recorded by an engineer who makes $100+ dollars an hour, then hire one. It takes a lot of experience to make good records. Plugins can make up for some lack of experience, but plugins alone won’t get you there.

WHOA! Thanks for the useful infos! Looks like I’ve to go shopping for some of those stuff this weekend! haha lol
THANKS SO MUCH! GUYS! You guys should write articles on this b/c you’re pretty good!


I may be a bit late to the party here but I’m hearing a great deal of compression.