Keeping Audacity Simple – Don’t Mess With Plugins

Hey, there!

I got a note from the lovely and talented Marlon Braccia about what I do to manipulate my audio with Audacity before submitting – you know, compression, noise reduction etc.

She was talking about all those options on the Effects menu in Audacity.

The truth is, I suggest you keep it really simple.

Here’s what she wrote:

Questions for ya, if you please:
What audacity effects do you utilize most often to polish an audio file before sending it off?
Knock the highs and lows off with “Compressor” effect?
“Noise removal” to eliminate superflous background sounds?
Do both these just about every time? Neither? Just one?
Other pet effects you have??

(Marlon’s an awesome foodie as well as a VO talent and actor – check out her YouTube channel here)

I don’t use anything, except normalization, and only when I do auditions.

I leave the raw WAV audio I record for audiobooks alone, and let Levelator do its magic without any help from an Audacity plug in. Then, I bring that Levelated audio back in to Audacity, and normalize to -3.0 before exporting to MP3.

But that’s it.

And I suggest you resist the urge to play with these things, unless all you’re doing is playing.

Noise removal can severely damage your performance with just the slightest slip of the mouse – instead, work to make your recording space quieter.

And the other plugins are mostly for music.

So, keep it simple – just normalize if you need to, but not for audiobooks, until you’ve used Levelator.

Hope this helps.


9 Responses to 6 Steps to a Perfect VO Demo

  1. Kelli August 18, 2011 at 2:58 am #

    I feel really good about my demo. It is a quick and fun process, even for someone like me who gets very self concious. :)

  2. David Britz September 5, 2011 at 11:25 pm #

    The demos are great. Superb quality. Why go anywhere else?

  3. David Britz October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm #

    Can’t wait to record my Narration VO Demo!! :))

  4. Mike Brang December 31, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    Having a well-produced demo is one of the most important things in the VO business. I had a number of demos made from other producers in the past and they all had one thing in common — that manufactured, cookie cutter sound!
    What sets David apart from the rest, besides his affordable price and tremendously fast turn around time, is that all of the clips you record with him sound unique. Each spot sounds like an actual commercial you recorded for a job.
    My agent loved the quality and even asked who produced it to refer his other talent there!

    Thanks again, David for producing such a great, high quality demo for me. You made the process relaxing and enjoyable. I urge anyone reading this unsolicited reply to listen to David’s student demos to hear the difference for yourself. Anyone would be lucky to work with him

  5. Kristy Liles February 9, 2017 at 7:04 pm #

    I can not thank you enough. I worked so hard on 15 page IVR project, one day I cryed, look for answers, pull my hear (not really) but I was about until another VO send me this great tool. Thanks!

  6. Frank June 11, 2017 at 9:51 pm #


    When v123 indicates the audition is for a student/ nonprofit are we to assume it is for $0. If so, why does the audition ask for an amount to be entered?

  7. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:58 pm #

    I did get this scam through Voice 123. In our discourse, they offered me the gig and they gave me the name of a legit local place to record and the same runaround with the money. I didn’t send anything, but instead, I called the studio to make sure the booking was for the day we set up, and lo and behold, the people there had no idea what I was talking about. I then tried to call back my “contact person” who was setting this up and there was a fax machine beep on the other end. I immediately contacted Voice 123 and told them what had happened. You know what they say…if it sounds togaed to be true, it probably is. Thanks for the reminder!

  8. shirley jordan June 12, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

    …too good…not togaed.
    The one time spell check didn’t work!

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