Raising The Echo Of Fireworks


I’ve been using Audacity for over two years now, but it becomes a pain in the ass. My goal is to capture fireworks displays on my camcorder and record the audio separately for higher quality sound. I have a Tascam DR-05 that I use to record audio. But there is a problem. The ‘bang’ from the fireworks is captured great, but the volume of the echo is very low. If I make my Tascam more sensitive, the bang is going to crack and the echo isn’t much improved. So that isn’t the key to success…

For solo bangs (salute shells) I’ve used Audacity to crank up the echo with the amplify or normalize option. Alright for 1 shell, but for a whole show with hundreds of shells…it’s just too much work.

So here is my question:
Is there a way to automatically raise the audio of the echo? In the image included the green parts.
Image of a small piece of audio from a fireworks display at Malta

Tascam DR-05
Windows 10
Audacity 2.1.0

Hope you guys can help me out on this one!

We’re sorry about your pain.

You could probably use either Effect > Compressor or Effect > Limiter. Both of them reduce loud sounds in favor of quieter ones.




Both of those tools add beneficial or desirable distortion and once you close Audacity, there is no UNDO like there is with Amplify and Normalize. Save Raw performance backup files in case you change your mind or make a mistake.


If the recording is stereo, the echo will be louder on a version where you remove the center of the stereo-image.
You can get a free plugin to do that here … Antress Modern Splitter , ( select “side” to remove centre ).
My suggestion, make an in-sync duplicate [Ctrl+D]of your firework track , remove its center, (so just side), then mix that with the original for more 3D echo-iness.

I think your biggest problem will be the audio conspicuously slipping out-of-sync with the video if the recording is more than a few minutes, ( as the two recording devices are not synchronized ). Before the fireworks do a dry-run to see how long the devices stay in sync.

JUST FYI - Almost all commercial recordings use dynamic compression (to make quiet parts louder and/or loud parts quieter).

It’s probably even more important with fireworks since its unlikely that your playback system can reach realistic SPL levels and it’s unlikely that you even WANT to reproduce the original sound levels.

You might also try adding some artificial echo if you can match-up the timing. (The Audacity effect is called “Echo”, but the more common audio terminology is “delay”.)

Depending on what the echo sounds like, you might also need some reverb (short indistinct echos). In that case, you’d probably need to make a separate delay track and add the reverb to that track so the reverb doesn’t get applied to the original “bang”. (Then mix the echo/reverb track with the original.)

Or, maybe you want reverb instead of echo… From your waveform I can’t tell if you’ve got distinct echos or reverb. (That would depend on the reflections you’re getting in your particular environment.)

Thanks, I’ll give these two effects a try and let you know if it worked.

I’ve been doing this for quite a long time now, nothing is out-of-sync luckily.

To see the results of my previous work:

This is a link to a video I made. Set-up can be found in the description. Here I edited the echo with audacity by amplifying it. Took me about half an hour to edit the sound for just these salutes.

Another question popped into my head: is there an option to just cut of everything above a certain volume level? For example, delete the red parts shown in the image below?

I’m sorry, but I can’t find it. Is it not in version 2.1.0? I have a ‘hard limiter’ though.

The current version of Audacity is 2.1.2. Get it from http://www.audacityteam.org/download/windows. Then you will have Limiter but not Hard Limiter.


Thank you guys so so much! This was exactly what I needed. The limiter in combination with normalizer was the solution. I’ m so happy, this saves a lot of time.