Seeking tips to improve distant sounding voice

Hello, is anybody able to offer advice on how I can improve the quality of this speaker’s voice for my podcast?

To me, it sounds like the lady is quite distant from the microphone…

Thank you in advance :slight_smile: :sunglasses:

The good news is that it’s not damaged, distorted, or broken. It’s just low volume. It is a little odd that it strongly resists loudness boosting. It’s not a stereo or cancellation problem. It does that in mono, too.

Are we matching an existing podcast? Address? Do you use a LUFS standard loudness? RMS?


It’s more like noise-reduction* is turned up too high. Boosting the treble and compressing makes it clearer …

[ * they may not be aware noise-reduction is being applied at some stage(s) in the chain].

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Hi Trebor - thanks so much. Plot Spectrum is super helpful.

Please could you tell me how I do a treble boost… or is there somewhere you can direct me to have a look?

Hi Koz,

I don’t use a LUFS standard loudness, I purely go by what ‘sounds’ / ‘feels’ right and aim for between -12dB and -6dB. Is there a LUFS standard something you recommend for a podcast and how to check it?

Also, are you able to tell me the best way to measure RMS?

Existing podcast:


Import “Maz-EQ” preset (attached) into Audacity’s “filter curve” effect …
Importing EQ curve in Audcaity 3.gif
Maz-EQ.txt (407 Bytes)

Different platforms have slightly different LUFS specifications,
e.g. -14 LUFS for YouTube, -16 LUFS for Apple podcasts, -14 LUFS for Spotify.

The free version of Youlean’s loudness plugin is worth downloading
Youlean Loudness Meter - Free VST, AU and AAX plugin
[ There is a Mac version, but don’t ask me how to install it : I don’t speak Mac].

WOW thank you so much. that’s made a huge difference to the audio - sounds so crisp :slight_smile:

Thank you! I just downloaded this but it says I need to pay for the PRO version for file analysis.

Just trying to work out whether it is worth investing in… would you say that as long as my audio is within the range of roughly -12dB and -6dB that LUFS doesn’t really matter too much for a speech-only podcast?

If it’s too crisp …
cutting treble boost.gif

The free version takes playback time: Analysing a minute of audio takes a minute,
whereas the paid for version can analyse an hour of audio in a few minutes.

e.g. Maz (before treble boost), (~6 seconds), is -17.7LUFS, (so 1.7 too quiet if the target is -16LUFS )
Maz metered on Youlean free.gif

Ah cool thanks! t’s telling me: “real time measurements are disabled because of the invalid sample rate”.

Any idea what this should be?

And no, not too crisp at all. It sounds great! But thank you for that!

You’ve got me there: I have no idea how plugins work on Macs.
My (free) version of Youlean is on Windows.

The only other free loudness meter I know of which allegedly works on Mac
is ToneBoosters EBU Loudness v3 … (it’s a bus tool)

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Hi Trebor, just coming back to this now I have figured out how to use real-time plug ins in Audacity!

Are there any tools available in Audacity to adjust the LUFS automatically, or does it need to be done manually?


Audcaity3 comes with “loudness normalization” where you specify the LUFS target …
[ It’s not a dynamic compressor-like effect: it simply adjusts the amplitude of the entire selected audio so that overall it matches the LUFS target you specified ].

Hi Trebor,

Massive thanks for this, that has made things so much easier.

Is it wise, then to still Compress (using either the LUveler, TDR Kotelnikov or LevelSpeech Plug-ins)
and Normalise the audio AFTER applying the"loudness normalisation", or do I no longer need to do this?

Thank you for your help,

If you need to deliver audio with a particular LUFS, (e.g. YouTube’s -14 LUFS maximum),
you should apply Audacity’s “Loudness Normalization” as the final step in the effects chain,
(i.e. after any compression has been applied).

If you use two different normalization’s consecutively in the effects chain,
the result is the same as if you just applied the second one alone, (i.e. the first one is redundant).

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