Bob Decker wrote on 10/9/2011, 1:21 PM
I usually use the smooth/enhance plug-in, which is in Vegas and Sound Forge, to fatten the vocals. For my voice I usually go towards the Smooth end of the spectrum. I recorded most of my podcasts with an H2 Zoom. I encode the podcast to 128kps mp3. I don't use a noisegate, they never seem to be of help, If it's a major burst of noise I just edit it out. If there were any hiss I would use one of the equalizers in Sound Forge or Vegas
This seems to be pretty good quality and I've gotten good feedback on my podcasts. Here's a link to listen to them. Some of these are soundtracks from videos and are noted as such. You may want to go back to some of the earlier ones and you'll hear some good examples of what I'm talking about.
Jeff Waters wrote on 10/9/2011, 2:42 PM
Thanks Bob! (I just got very very sleepy :))
richard-amirault wrote on 10/9/2011, 3:13 PM
RE: (noise)gate

I sitll don't understant those folks who advocate the use of a gate on *everything*.

I undertand the concept and how they work .. but .. if there is noise that is loud enough to be heard under the vocal portion of a recording then removing it for the non-vocal portions (silences between words, sentances) only serves to draw attention to the noise as it appears and disapears and appears and disapears, over and over again. I once had to stop listening to a podcast because of just that. I could not concentrate on what the person was saying because the noise was demanding my attention.

And if the noise is NOT loud enough to be heard under the vocal portion of a recording, then why bother removing it from the non-vocal parts?
amendegw wrote on 10/9/2011, 3:45 PM
"I sitll don't understant those folks who advocate the use of a gate on *everything*."Hey! I'm with you, brighterside. I'm no audio expert, but every time I have a bit of audio that makes me think, "a noise gate might improve this", I apply it and fiddle with the attack & release settings and just succeed in making my audio sound very artificial.


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farss wrote on 10/9/2011, 4:56 PM
You need a better gate and darned if I can find one.

"That movie" that I'm now done with had major issues with background noise mixed in with the dialog. Of all the things that the post house that did the final mix did fixing that with a gate was the most dramatic.

Yes, I can still hear the noise inside the words but I really have to listen for it. What I do not hear is the typical gate pumping effect that I get with any of the gates that come with Vegas or SF. The gate they've used seems to be spectral as well as level based. In other words is opens both the gain and opens up a bandpass filter at the same time. Whatever it is, it is very impressive and I've noticed it being used in a couple of movies recently. A few years ago I heard lots of really bad sounding gating in movies. Something new has to be available.

Jeff Waters wrote on 10/9/2011, 5:44 PM
Okay, we'll let's say the audio was recorded well, has very little noise (no need filter or gate noise).... what would be your general recipes for fattening up the vocals?

Specifically, what effects and in what order in the chain?

farss wrote on 10/9/2011, 7:14 PM
Gentle compression.

Keep in mind that as audio goes through the various paths to the final listener it gets more compressed so less upfront is a good thing.

PeterDuke wrote on 10/9/2011, 10:02 PM
I agree with the opinion that gating noise off during non-speech can be counter productive. A better approach is to reduce, not eliminate, the noise between speech bursts. Noise can be a real nuisance if you use Automatic Gain Control, so manually set your gain if possible.
PeterDuke wrote on 10/9/2011, 10:07 PM
I would "fatten" by applying a little reverberation, if not noticeable already. Perhaps boost the low frequencies in the vicinity of 100 Hz for male or 200 Hz for female.
seanfl wrote on 10/12/2011, 12:16 PM
I work in audio all day long; one suggestion for a recording that has voice with background noise (and many other sources). Search for a plugin that is an expander, and not a gate. Gates are either on or off. an expander works with ratios, and attack and release settings so you can have the background noise fade away to the extent you want. If set up well, you won't clip words off, and can reduce the background noise 6-12 db without getting nasty artifacts.

I've never found an expander plugin that I love as much as some analog gear I use, but the one built into the waves RChannel has been ok. I've heard the SSL channel strip plugin has a decent expander, but don't have it. Oxford plugin looks nice too:

btw, anyone know of a nice vst expander that doesn't cost a bunch?

After the gate, eq a little to bring out the voice. Try boosting somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5k, add 2-3db gain. Then to fatten it up, go for 3-6 db of gain reduction inside a compressor. Start out with the Sony Vegas compressor plug in that appears on every track. If you want to look at something more advanced, check out some of the tools at Try the voxformer.

Broadcast Voiceovers
RodC wrote on 10/13/2011, 8:05 AM
All good suggestions in this post.

The main issue is normally the initial recording. You want enough sound treatment (NOT egg cartons or foam - yuck) to dampen your room. Just enough - for a pod cast you dont want to sound like you are in a vocal booth. <soapbox> First audio priority, proper sound treatment, not $1K Mic <\soapbox> (BTW I see Ethan Winer here now and again)

Compression is your friend for fat, but keep in mind you are compressing the dynamic range, thus anything that is quiet and in the background is going to get louder.

To address the gate issue, see if your gate has a depth, or a wet dry setting. This will let some of the signal through even when the gate is closed and it wont seem as choppy.

If you havent checked out the Free plugs from reaper you should. They are very lightweight and stack up to many of the expensive ones I own: (They are VST)