Voices distorted

Hello all :ugeek:

I am new here and I have absolutely no idea where to post this question. Using Audacity I used the Amplify feature under the Effects tab to increase the sound/vocals on a file for a video I am doing. I also used the Noise Reduction feature. It works great but the vocals sound distorted a little bit as if I had put reverb on them. The voices kind of sound like we are in a tunnel. Does anyone out there have any suggestions on how to fix this issue? Thank you!

If in doubt, post to the forum relevant to your operating system. For example, for Windows: Windows - Audacity Forum

If the problem was not there before applying Noise Reduction, then you probably applied too much Noise Reduction. Which version of Audacity are you using (Look in “Help > About Audacity”)

Thanks for replying Steve! I looked over several topics but I had no idea where to post this. I am using Audacity 2.1.1. What you said makes a lot sense. I will post the question there too. Any other thoughts?

I think I’m going to delete your other post. Typically we’d like you to stick with one thread and then if needed, a senior elf will move the whole thing.

Bubbly, distorted, honky voices are generally caused by overuse of Noise Removal, or possibly just using the tool wrong.

Noise Reduction isn’t an open-ended tool. You don’t turn it loose on your show and go to lunch. It’s a balancing act and shows can fall off.

It’s super important that your first step, the profile step is a segment of the show that’s Noise Only. Audacity will try to remove whatever you put in that sample from the show. If you put a little voice in there by accident or maybe breathing or clothing noises, that will drive Noise Reduction nuts.

Then select the whole clip or show and apply Noise Reduction starting with very gentle settings. If you’re reading for an AudioBook, I like 6, 6, 6. Those settings have worked for a number of people. If that’s not enough, increase the first number. 12, 6, 6. If you make it to 18, 6, 6, the show is going to start sounding funny much like what you have now. That can mean a permanently damaged recording.

That’s when you have to fix the recording equipment or environment. This isn’t magic. You can’t set a microphone up in a noisy, bare-floor apartment or next to a street and walk away with an ACX AudioBook sound product.

Are the raw capture clips posted anywhere we can hear them? We know what the corrected, honky ones sound like. We don’t need to hear those.

If you feel like it, record and post a simple, 10-second voice clip according to this recipe.


It’s a very newbie error to immediately destroy the original capture sound files. Big Mistake. You may need to go back to those if anything happens to either the edit or the posting. There should never be a reason to announce or perform twice.


Hey Koz and thank you to everyone who replied,

My settings on the Noise Reduction were set to how it originally is, which is 12, 6, 0 (I think this was it). I reset them to 6, 6, 6 and it sounds a lot better. I am going to play around with those settings and see how it sounds. I already can’t seem to hear the reverbish tunnelly (distorted) sounds to our voices that there was. I recorded a video outside with my neighbor and (never giving it a thought about our voices) our voices just weren’t loud enough. (given we were outside and not talking super loud) So I separated the voice from the video to make it louder. That’s where I’m at now. Any idea what the settings "Noise reduction, Sensitivity, and Frequency smoothing (bands) mean? (these are what they are called under the Noise Reduction)


The last one, smoothing, is a little magic. Too low and Noise Reduction starts to attack the performance leading to wine-glass voices. Too high and Noise Reduction becomes sloppy leaving little chunks and pieces of noise in the show, but working properly everywhere else.

There’s no guarantee that Noise Reduction will rescue your show. If you don’t have noises that lend themselves to the process, it’s going to fail. It can work really well with fan, air conditioning, refrigerator noises and low level microphone hiss. Noises that never change. It fails with traffic noises, jets going over, recording in a moving car, TV in the background and other noises that change second by second. The definition of noise is critical. It’s not just “stuff I don’t want.”

Noise reduction is a great improvement over the older Noise Removal. There were conditions like microphone hiss that Noise Removal wouldn’t touch.

6, 6, 6 is the setting I found useful in spoken word. Many times that will suppress or eliminate minor home recording problems and make a presentation acceptable to audiobook publishers. You should experiment with the settings.

never giving it a thought about our voices

The transition from Home Recording to Professional is frequently the step where you record sound as a separate show with a boom operator or dedicated microphones and sometimes separate recorder.

A video show without good sound is a rehearsal.