Strain sound on a word

Every once in a while I hear a slight strain on a word or couple of words in a track, like I went just a bit too loud. Is there any effect or trick I can use to lessen that strain sound, aside from a redo of the word?

I appreciate any suggestions.

Envelope tool can be used reduce (or raise) the volume of individual words …

If the strain sound is because your blue waves got taller than +/- 1, you’re stuck. If the blue waves don’t fit in the window, that’s permanent overload.

Did the sound get harsh and buzzy? Record your work at a slightly lower level. We can easily recover a slightly low recording. Overload-too high is deadly.


Clipping or Peaking over 0dbs will cause this to happen. Once you clip your audio all you can do is try and repair it as once it is embedded, you will never be able to remove it. Most Professional Recording Engineers will set their input levels between a -6dbs and -18dbs depending on the recording environment. Most manufacturers have their USB interfaces designed between a -6dbs and -18dbs to provide the cleanest noise to signal ratio. These two suggestions may work well for your situation.

  1. Set your input level between a -6 and -18dbs. 2. Practice moving away from your mic 4 or 5 inches if you need to raise your voice to emphasize a few words to keep the flavor of your reading, at the same time keep an eye on your input meters to keep within the proper input range. You would reverse this if you need to speak softer. You would simply move a little closer again, keeping an eye on your input meters. After you practice this enough, it will become second nature and you will find yourself doing it automatically. Since no one knows what your recording environment is or what mics you use, this is something you will just have to experiment with.

If you notice in the gif below, you will see the input meters change from green, (very good) to yellow, (this is a warning your input is getting close to peaking) to red which is very bad. Once you hit the red, you’re dead. Like I said, if you practice these two steps you will come out sounding like a pro. If you ever watch music videos and you see the singer moving the mic away as their voice gets louder, this is the same thing they are doing. They know if they do not do this, it will cause their audio to clip. If they are being recorded they would more than likely do a “take 2”.

I see the poster likes to change the Audacity meter range to -96dB and expand the meters all the way across the window. I do that. It helps avoid surprises.

You would reverse this if you need to speak softer.

That’s the “let me tell you a secret” voice. You lower your voice and move closer to the microphone. Especially with directional microphones (and pop and blast screen) you can get a good “whispering in your ear” effect. Try it a couple of times before you commit a script reading. As above, once you seriously hit the red region of the Audacity meters, that may be the end of a clean chapter or reading.

It’s also strongly urged you wear good, sealed headphones while reading. Hearing your own voice in real time helps self-control and avoid theatrical expressions that can damage your performance. Not all microphone systems allow that, and the ones that do are recommended.