Soft/light/calming voice effect

I have come across several recordings and youtube videos, especially meditations and hypnosis tracks, where the voice seems processed to make it sound somehow softer, calming and more “filling the space around you”.

For example, this is one of many (just focus on the voice not on all other music/sounds):

What effect could that be and how can I reproduce it?

Thank you :slight_smile:

Reverb (big dark room)
suggested reverb settings.png
NB: first you have to duplicate a mono track, and join them into a pair
to get the stereo surround-sound effect after reverb is applied.

If Audcaity’s native reverb is not big enough, try Valhalla supermassive (free) plugin.

Listening back with headphones, I would deduce that:

  1. He’s working the microphone - meaning he’s probably very close to it, and neither speaking too loud or soft and at a regular pace.
  2. Post production - sounds as if they have boosted his voice round about 5-7khz by a few db, this would emphasis the Ssss at the end of some words, and aid a bit of clarity to the voice.
  3. Have also boosted bass on his voice by a few db - giving richness, and depth.
  4. Have use a lot of echo and reverb to give a spatial effect left and right in the “stereo picture”.
  5. Probably mixed with laptop speakers in mind or earbuds on mp3 players.

Thank you Trebor,

the first past (reverb) is getting pretty close.

Do you mean that after the reverb I also have to apply stereo surround? If so I could not find any “surround” effect. Did I misread your post or do I have to download it from somewhere?

Thank you :slight_smile:

By “surround-sound” I meant stereo-reverb, as opposed to mono-reverb.
Stereo-reverb has the filling the space around you quality, but mono-reverb does not.
To get stereo-reverb you have to start with two tracks in a stereo pair, (they can be identical, aka dual-mono),
then you apply a stereo-reverb effect like Audacity’s native reverb,
or a plugin like Valhalla supermassive for a huge reverb effect.

That that they have not de-essed before adding reverb is a sign it’s not a professional job.

De-essing - well that’s a new turn-of-phrase. Rather like the term “gain staging” which seems to have caught-on with many YouTube channels, who devote 20 minute videos to it.

Gain staging is nothing more than balancing every in-put and out-put in the recording chain - and thats nothing more than good studio craft. I believe it’s called nowadays, finding “the sweet spot”.

It’s something I was doing 45 years ago, from my Teac 4-Track to the mixer, mixer to the Fostex 4-Track, and mixer to echo/reverb, and so on and so forth.

When you record a vocalist, particularly one who has a “middley” voice, there aren’t many “esses” there to begin with. Unfortunately the “esses” creep in when adding a bit top (high frequencies) in post production. This is where art of mixing come into play - not too much or too little.

Listening to the YouTube clip, and purely from a technical perspective, Weiss is really good at “working” the mic, and the engineer, has got it pretty-darn-right in the mix.

You see, its mixed for the medium its aimed at, in this case computer speakers, earbuds and so on.

Getting back to reverb - make your own, its far more creative than moving sliders back and forth.

  1. Do a vocal track “dry” and don’t add reverb to it.
  2. Duplicate the dry track.
  3. On the duplicate track, use the Time Shift Tool to advance the track by 5 milliseconds.
  4. Duplicate the dry track again, and do likewise, but this time advance the track 10 milliseconds.
    Keep duplicating and advancing until you feel there are sufficient tracks to make the desired effect.

Mix using the mixer board. Put the dry track centre and pan the time shifted tracks Left and right in increments. For example: the track with 5 millisecond delay put 25% left or right - the track with 10 millisecond 50% left or right, until the track with furthest delay (50milliseconds) is panned 100% left or right.

Each one a little lower in volume in the mix, until you have pyramid shape on the mixer board.
This will add perspective in the stereo picture - example, front to back as well as left to right.

When you are happy, mix and render.

Keep practicing, because you may not realise it, but you are learning the art of mixing. You have now taken Audacity out first gear and into second - wait until you put it into top and see what powerful tool it is.

I can almost hear the responses even before clicking the Submit button, pulling this post to bits.
“Things have changed since your day” - my response is no - the more things alter the more they stay the same, as the old adage goes. A business letter typed on an Remington typewriter 40 years ago will not look too dissimilar to one produced today using a word processor. Recipients address, date, salutation line, all still there.

The trend now is to make up your own new word for something that’s been around for donkeys years.

Thank you Trebor and ISSAACC.

Very detailed and useful replies. I’m learning so much. Very much appreciated!! :slight_smile:

de-essing has also been around for donkeys years. It’s compression of high frequencies only, (e.g. those above 4kHz),
to tame excessive sibilance …