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Old September 4th, 2018, 01:17 PM   #1
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Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

Hi all.

I recorded a female moderator for a health series. If this helps, the audio was recorded using a A-T 899 Lav, a Sound Devices 633, WAV Poly.

The sound is pretty good to my ears, but the person's actual voice has a kind of "crackle" on some words, for lack of a better word.

The audio was not clipping, it's just the nature of her voice.

I'm editing in Final Cut X. Is there some audio filter that I should consider adding that might help this out? Or do I just live with it. This is one of those things that probably won't bother anyone but me, or you audio pros.

I've attached a section of the audio in question.

Thanks.

Jonathan
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File Type: wav Audio.wav (1.88 MB, 81 views)
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Old September 4th, 2018, 04:47 PM   #2
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

Could this be "vocal fry" (Google)? Irritating as hell, but it's a thing, and I don't think there's anything we can do about it in post. Pre, maybe education, point it out and try to get the speaker to talk properly.
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Old September 4th, 2018, 05:27 PM   #3
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

Interesting, but the mod we used is around 70 years old. She is a member of faculty at a college so we were not working with a pro, though she did well with a lot of direction.

The video series is geared toward women 50-90.
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Old September 4th, 2018, 08:05 PM   #4
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

I can hear what you are talking about, but I reckon this audio will be just fine anyway.

Andrew
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Old September 4th, 2018, 09:49 PM   #5
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

I tried a little EQ.on the low end 98 hz region iirc, seemed to help the crackly voice but sounded a bit flat.
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Old September 5th, 2018, 11:15 AM   #6
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

I have experienced this with 'older' voices on occasion, but it's usually not constant, sudden scratchiness on a certain word or phrase. After I listened, it's the same in your case, on the word "excited" and 'ber" in the word remember. My go-to tool for this occurrence is the Smooth plug-in in Sound Forge Pro. Sound Forge Pro's version is called "Smooth/Enhance". It's a one-knob plug-in... to the right, enhances, to the left, smooths. I would only apply this tool only in the needed instances. I'm not aware of a plug-in that would work very well applied to an entire file that works automatically.
I'm sure something similar is available in from other plug-in makers like iZotope, Waves, ect. Audition or even Audacity may have it. It's been on all the versions of Sound Forge Pro, as far back as I can recall.
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Old September 5th, 2018, 11:42 AM   #7
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

I just used multiple passes of Mouth De-Click in Izotope RX playing with the different parameters as I went. Then I selected the upper range and used Deconstruct. I only worked on the first part.
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File Type: wav Audio_cu.wav (1.88 MB, 40 views)
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Old September 5th, 2018, 11:55 AM   #8
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

Here's another try, again just the first part just using one pass of Deconstruct. This was done with Izotope RX 6 Stand alone. As Rick says, just use it in the areas that need it.
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File Type: wav Audio_cu2.wav (1.88 MB, 40 views)
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Old September 9th, 2018, 07:22 AM   #9
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

Just a thought. If the person looks her age, and the intended audience is also older, perhaps only minor tweaking is appropriate. A 20 year old voice on a 70 year old face would not seem right, would defy expectations, and might hurt credibility depending on the exact content.
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Old September 9th, 2018, 09:43 AM   #10
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

The process' that both Bernie and I recommend, does not change the character of the person's voice in any way, it only lessens the gritty sound on the affected words or syllables.. which I surmise is some kind of digital artifact. I don't recall ever hearing this in the analog days working with reel-to-reel.
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Old September 9th, 2018, 12:11 PM   #11
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

Thanks for the help guys!

Yes there is video that goes along with the audio. I just uploaded the audio to save time an space. I'm leaning toward just leaving this alone. And add this to my continuing education on al things audio.

JL
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Old September 10th, 2018, 12:17 PM   #12
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

I'd leave it alone but for the next one simply try a different mic, or try different positions - a few inches can make a huge difference. In the early days of lav mics, which were really just small omni on lanyards we discovered some people just have odd clashes between their voice and chest resonance - which when they merge create odd emphasis on certain frequencies. We do lots of headset work, and for some, they sound best on DPAs, other people just sound hard - maybe a Countryman will work on them, or a Sennheiser - We've never found out why some suit one person and others suit another, but well worth trying before you do it again.
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Old September 10th, 2018, 01:32 PM   #13
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

That's a very interesting observation.

Andrew
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Old September 11th, 2018, 08:19 AM   #14
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

Here is another go. Using a very old Sonic Foundry "Crackle" plugin.

Chris Young
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File Type: wav Sonic Foundry Crackle Redux (old plugin).wav (1.88 MB, 38 views)
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Old September 16th, 2018, 04:47 PM   #15
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Re: Advice for scratchy voiced moderator.

The crackle edges are around 4kHz to 6kHz. Try scooping up there and pushing 125 Hz up a little.

Yeah, it's there, but enh!

What's that about gilding a lily?

Regards,

Ty Ford
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