We need UNeffects! Like effects but backwards

I have an mp3 file which i downloaded and nothing else.

It has a ton of effects someone else has already done to it.

The person in it sounds like a space alien robot inside of wormhole.

Now tell me



do I make the effects not exist anymore so its like no one ever put the file through Audacity at all and its just a recording of a normal human being in an empty room???

Most likely you need a new recording without effects.

Some effects (such as “Amplify”, and to some extent “Equalization”) can be reversed by using “inverse” settings. For example, bass boost can be reversed by reducing the bass.

Other effects (such as “Reverb”, “Echo”, and “Distortion”) are virtually impossible to reverse.

It is recommended, strongly, that the performer Export a WAV protection copy of all original performances before they do anything to it. This against any failures or crashes, but also because we can’t take most effects, filters and corrections out of a show.


just a recording of a normal human being in an empty room

You may not like the empty room, either, since we can’t take room echo out of a performance. That talking into a wine glass sound is likely the performer trying to get rid of room or background noise and overdoing Effect > Noise Reduction.


Quick note. If you put the effects in, Edit > UNDO to take them back out until you close Audacity. Audacity Projects do not save UNDO.


Although you generally can’t reverse effects you may be able to make some improvement. You can’t expect to turn a bad recording into a “studio quality” recording…

Is this a spoken word recording? What are you doing with it, and how good does it have to be? i.e. Sometimes it’s best to make a written transcript, or if you are making a video turn-down the volume (so the bad quality is less-annoying) and add subtitles.

You can experiment with Equalization. (For experimenting, I recommend the Graphic EQ mode rather than the Draw Curves mode.) With voice, you can usually cut the very-low frequencies (below 200Hz or so) and the very-high frequencies (above 5KHz or so) without damaging intelligibility. And cutting low-frequencies will reduce any hum or rumble, etc. There probably isn’t much noise in the highest frequencies so you’ll just have to see if it makes it better or worse.

The “main voice frequencies” are around 200-300Hz so you can try boosting that range. There are important harmonics & overtones above that, so try a little higher too. Boosting the higher range (maybe 4kHz and above) will boost the “T” and S" sounds which can help with intelligibility.

After boosting anything with the Equalizer, it’s a good idea to run Amplify before exporting. Amplify default to whatever gain or attenuation is needed for “maximized” 0dB peaks. If you go over 0dB, Audacity itself won’t clip (distort) but your exported file can be clipped or you can clip your DAC if you play-back at full-digital volume, so the main idea is to attenuate (if necessary) but it doesn’t hurt either way.

The Limiter effect may help too (or it could make it worse). Run Amplify or Normalize before Limiting to make sure your peaks up to 0dB as a known starting-point for the limiter.

The Hard Clipping setting is the “most extreme” (although you can still set the amount/dB of limiting/clipping). Clipping (which is distortion) should normally be avoided but it can add “grit” which can sometimes help with intelligibility. It hard clipping makes it sound worse, try soft clipping or just hard limiting (which doesn’t clip). These can add “strength” to the sound.

undo is not an option because any and all ‘do’ was not done by me.
And I dont have the originals as this is NOT one of my own files.

I tried every possible effect and screwing around with all the settings,
all that did was make the space alien robot voice even more spacey and robotic

It seems like I cant normalize this file at all with this software as it is.

I guess nothing short of a time machine can help me

I guess nothing short of a time machine can help me

If you do get that to work, post back how you did it. This is a forum. Users helping each other.


Is this still the current state of undoing any effects during the recording process? No way to undo them? I think I just recorded 3 episodes for my podcast with a bunch of movie trailer effects I was trying out just for fun. I had NO IDEA they would be permanently set for all my future recordings!

Now if I uninstall and reinstall Audacity will they be factory reset again?

Audacity doesn’t apply effects during the recoding process.

I just recorded 3 episodes for my podcast with a bunch of movie trailer effects I was trying out just for fun. I had NO IDEA they would be permanently set for all my future recordings!

If you were setting payback affects in Windows, then they would be applied to everything but only during playback.
Go back into Windows and turn them off. It’s not a terrible idea with so many applications and services trying to “help you out,” to listen on a clean playback system that has nothing to do with your computer just to see what you have.

Windows has effects, Skype has effects, Zoom has effects, Audacity has playback affects. Do you like games? Guess what? More effects.

It’s not unusual for someone trying to record their voice clean to spend a good chunk of time turning off effects, changes and distortions. That leads to be recommendation that if you have enough trouble with this, stop recording on the computer.

I ran across another one a bit ago. My older MacBook Pro laptop is a beefy machine, but there are no speaker quality awards given. Then I found they got around that in later versions by applying effects and distortions. And you can adjust them.

Oh… Great…

There is another recommendation for live production. Export a protection WAV sound file after you read but before you start messing with the sound and other post production. You should never have to go all the way back to reading everything again.


Thanks! My bad. Still a newbie and thought I’d screwed something up. I tend to freak out win something goes wrong. LOVE Audacity and am thrilled to be learning so much.