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Level Out Uneven Voice Audio Recording - How to Fix Loud and Soft Speech in the Same Audio File

Always start with a good microphone.
Always start with a good microphone. 
Bad Audio is widely considered the number one reason people will stop listening to a podcast or watching a video.

While your audio doesn't have to be amazing it does, at least, have to be clear and audible for listeners to not give up on it.

I've always had trouble recording my own voice because I'm naturally softly spoken. When I do speak up I can't maintain it for long sentences. Even with quality microphones, the higher range of my natural speaking voice isn't that loud - even with my mouth less than a foot away.

As you can imagine, recording three and a half hours of me talking while demonstrating all the features of a software application, as I do in The Lazy Animator Beginner's Guide to Cartoon Animator, was always going to result in some pretty uneven audio (who can remember to keep talking loud while you're concentrating on a demonstration).

I thought my audio was passable but I did get some strong feedback, prior to release, saying the audio was so bad the viewer was constantly having to adjust the volume level. Which I wasn't having to do when I listened to my audio, but not all audio systems are created equal.

Far from being an expert on sound recording I set about looking for a fix, since I couldn't really rerecord three and a half hours of mostly adlibbed audio over again (not to mention I'd spent at least a couple of weeks editing out all my pauses, mistakes, and long silences).

Thankfully I came across this video by audio expert, Mike Russell, whose whole Youtube channel is dedicated to helping people learn how to record better audio.

Not only does Mike demonstrate the exact problems I was experiencing with my audio, he shows you how to fix them simply by adding a compressor filter.

Video: How to Flatten Audio to the Same Volume Level - Mike Russell
Video: How to Flatten Audio to the Same Volume Level - Mike Russell
(Note: Mike has disabled his videos from being embeded. Clicking the
image will take you to the video on Youtube.)

While Mike uses Adobe Audition CC for his demonstration, Compressor filters are a fairly standard feature of most audio and video editors. I was able to translate his demonstration into the Compressor filter in my video editor of choice, ShotCut, and managed to much improve my voice audio level to something more uniform.

I'm not going to even attempt to run through what I did, other than try to emulate what Mike does in his demonstration. Definitely watch Mike's video if you have a similar issue.

I will admit the audio on my courses still could use improvement (especially at the recording stage) but I was able to listen to all my video tutorials on a laptop with very crappy speakers without having to adjust the volume level at all.

Adding a compressor is such a simple fix it's definitely worth a try, even if you're not an audio expert. It's makes such a difference, particularly if your audio is all over the place.

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