Bass & Treble for voice

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
Forum rules
ImageIf you require help using Audacity, please post on the forum board relevant to your operating system:
Windows
Mac OS X
GNU/Linux and Unix-like
RobertTopp
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:34 am
Operating System: Windows 7

Bass & Treble for voice

Post by RobertTopp » Tue Jan 24, 2023 6:24 pm

Any suggestions on the best bass and treble settings for clarity of voice in recording stories?

kozikowski
Posts: 71679
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by kozikowski » Tue Jan 24, 2023 7:07 pm

Any suggestions
That's a little too open-ended. Bass and Treble are corrections from something existing. They're not universal patches.

The audiobook tools I authored were designed with the assumption that you recorded your voice with good volume in a quiet, echo-free room. You don't need Glen Glenn Sound Studios, either. I produced a passable voice test with my iPhone and my messy garage late in the evening. Gotta be messy. Cardboard boxes soak up echoes very well.

Noise and Echoes are the worst problems for New Users. Many home microphones come out of the box low volume and noisy. Echoes, or "recording in your bathroom" is easy to do by accident and difficult/impossible to fix in post production processing.

We can sometimes work with a test recording from you and suggest corrections and/or improvements.

https://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/Tes ... _Clip.html

Koz

Trebor
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:22 pm
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by Trebor » Tue Jan 24, 2023 10:30 pm

There's a free VST3 Auto-EQ plugin called Focusrite Balancer.
It will automagically correct an equalization to a specific target,
e.g. male voice, female voice, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, etc.

This is its idea of the shape of a vanilla male-voice spectrum ...
Focusrite Balancer, Vocals M(ale), neutral, default intensity.png
Focusrite Balancer, Vocals M(ale), neutral, default intensity.png (12.1 KiB) Viewed 211 times
e.g. 4kHz is ~11dB lower than 200Hz.

RobertTopp
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:34 am
Operating System: Windows 7

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by RobertTopp » Wed Jan 25, 2023 7:22 pm

Thank you Koz! I have been recording children's stories for quite a while and only recently decided to learn more about Audacity controls to improve sound quality. The default setting when I open Audacity is "6" on bass and "2" on treble which seems a little bass heavy. I tried to attach one of my mp3s but they are too large. If you have the time and motivation, here is a link to my most recent recording. Any feedback is welcome and if you don't have time, no offense taken. You response has already been helpful. https://readmeastoryink.com/stories/wizards-apprentice/

kozikowski
Posts: 71679
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by kozikowski » Wed Jan 25, 2023 9:06 pm

I think you're fine just like that. If you boost the treble any, you're going to start getting hissy, harsh, piercing, SSS sounds. I applied the audiobook bass and rumble reduction and it made just shy of no difference (although you still need that with audiobooks for other reasons).

If you're running out of things to do, maybe it's time to start a second channel. How about more adult stories?

Are you recording in your own home-made studio? You're missing a lot of common Home Recording problems. There is one problem when you get good that everybody will have methods of improvement—and they're all different.

One of the goals of reading is the fewer corrections, the better. If no other good reason you don't forget to apply the corrections, and in the right order.

Koz

Trebor
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:22 pm
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by Trebor » Thu Jan 26, 2023 3:30 am

RobertTopp wrote:
Wed Jan 25, 2023 7:22 pm
... here is a link to my most recent recording. Any feedback is welcome ...
https://readmeastoryink.com/stories/wizards-apprentice/
IMO you've got that bassy booth-resonance thing going. In your case the main-offender is 146Hz ...

wizard b-a.gif
red =before, green=after EQ
wizard b-a.gif (206.8 KiB) Viewed 148 times
https://audio.com/anonymous-audio/alternating-wizard [Maybe I've taken off a bit too much bass,
but does prove my point about the 146Hz resonance being the culprit].

[ IMO the free version of the TDR Nova plugin is the ideal tool for EQ/compression ]

kozikowski
Posts: 71679
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.13 High Sierra

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by kozikowski » Thu Jan 26, 2023 4:55 pm

You can get rid of that whale to the left of 100Hz with Effect > Filter Curve > Factory Presets > Low Rolloff for Speech > OK. That will get rid of all the very low pitch trash and tighten up the bass slightly, but won't do anything for that room resonance. That effect is similar to talking into a milk jug, but the milk jug is 7 feet tall or wherever your ceiling is. So that's the 146Hz peak.
[ IMO the free version of the TDR Nova plugin is the ideal tool for EQ/compression ]
You couldn't do that locally with filter curve?

Koz

RobertTopp
Posts: 32
Joined: Thu Mar 24, 2016 3:34 am
Operating System: Windows 7

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by RobertTopp » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:25 pm

Thank you both Trebor and Koz. I record in an 8X8 room with a high quality mic with a pleated foam sound absorber made for reducing echo behind the mic. It works surprising well. Yesterday I recorded a page of text then copied it into two new tracks so that I could try different changes and compare them. Changing bass and treble (not very much) had modest impact. The change that had the most impact, positive I think, was using the compression feature. I will experiment further based on your suggestions. I feel this has helped immensely and set me on a course for better understanding of sound and better sound. Thank you again.
And Koz, as for running out of things to do, I have been writing authors for reprint and audio permission for many years and have far more stories in the queue to record than I have time for. This is an offshoot of my hobby of reading aloud in public schools which I have been doing for 27 years.

Trebor
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:22 pm
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by Trebor » Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:59 pm

kozikowski wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 4:55 pm
... the milk jug is 7 feet tall or wherever your ceiling is. So that's the 146Hz peak.
146Hz => the round-trip reflection-path is 7.35 feet,
that means the reflecting-surface is approximately 3.67 feet from the microphone. :ugeek:

kozikowski wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 4:55 pm
[ IMO the free version of the TDR Nova plugin is the ideal tool for EQ/compression ]
You couldn't do that locally with filter curve?
Yes, but TDR Nova is real-time: can adjust setings as the track is playing,
whereas filter curve is the tedious preview-type effect.

Plus TDR Nova can dynamically adjust an EQ band,
i.e. only kicking-in when the signal is above a threshold in that band.
e.g. for de-essing, (and treating the room-resonance frequencies).

Plus it displays a real-time spectrogram of either the input (before TDR) or the output (after TDR).
Last edited by Trebor on Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Trebor
Posts: 11163
Joined: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:22 pm
Operating System: Windows 8 or 8.1

Re: Bass & Treble for voice

Post by Trebor » Thu Jan 26, 2023 6:14 pm

RobertTopp wrote:
Thu Jan 26, 2023 5:25 pm
.... Changing bass and treble (not very much) had modest impact ...
Audacity's bass & treble is a blunt instrument. A more precise tool is is required on this occasion.
Audacity's equalizer tools: filter curve, Graphic EQ, are capable of precision,
but are slow to use compared with free real-time plugins like ... https://www.voxengo.com/product/marvelgeq/

Plan B: Audacity's free competitor OCENaudio comes with 11 & 31 band real-time graphic equalizers.

Post Reply