I have been producing and


I have been producing and being paid for, recordings since 1979, and noise reduction is a REPAIR tool. Compression is also something you use on a case by case basis, to make the audio fit the purpose. This means that for some things, it’s likely I’ll apply compression – but my ears make the decision. For some projects where the end product has a clean wide dynamic range, then I may not use compression at all. For other ones, perhaps with busy mixes where some sources don’t cut through, I’ll apply quite severe compression.

What is absolutely certain is that any guide that instructs you to remove noise when it does not exist, means you are throwing away something. Like having a rule that says cut all carrots to 6″ long. If all the carrots are 8″ long, then you are throwing away a large amount of perfectly good carrots. Keep in mind that some guides may be written by people who really know their stuff, and others might be written by children at school, who have also read the guides and not realised that context is critical.

On your settings I see weird stuff. Equalisation is often described as curves – nice gentle starts and ends to the filtering process. You have notches – the kids of eq that is designed for removing complete bands. So 400Hz passes untouched, then you have removed everything at 500Hz – it’s just not nice sounding or musical.

You must learn to use your ears to do this stuff. Train them to hear subtlety. You are steaming in with very destructive and unpleasant sounding eq.

If you are using graphic eq, then it’s gentle curves to soften things or enhance.

Audacity noise reduction as your image shows is there to remove hiss or other things like maybe air con/wind noise – where you can sample a short section of it and then it tries to remove this fingerprint from the recording – it does it pretty well when you have a wreck of a recording, but if your recording is clean – why on earth are you trying to remove noise that isn’t there?

You are treating this like a painting by numbers exercise. As in do this, do this, do this – and probably before you actually listen to it.

In your case, you need to do some work to make your voice more smooth. Some people have super smooth voices, where their vocal folds are quite relaxed and can start to vibrate gently, ramping up to full volume on each syllable. Others have more tense and rigid fold that resist the airflow, and suddenly burst into action. Think of a saxophone reed. Beginners start with very thin and pliable ones, that produce tone with moderate airflow. More skilled and experienced players tend to graduate to thicker and stiffer reeds that can be louder, more strident and responsive. Your voice appears to be the second type – so just like a sax, needs some good and effective eq. NOT remotely of the notch variety!

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