[CQ-Contest] Improving voice recordings for phone contests

Cqtestk4xs at aol.com Cqtestk4xs at aol.com
Fri Mar 8 08:57:58 EST 2013

Do NOT use a different voice for the exchange!!!  It really screws up  the 
op on the other end, especially when there is QRM or you don't have a big  
signal.  The guy on the other end is expecting a voice similar to the one  
that CQed or called him.  If you don't hear that in less than optimal  
conditions you think the guy QSYed.
As an SSB contester I've had this happen to me a few times and it is a  
Bill K4XS
In a message dated 3/8/2013 1:35:36 P.M. Coordinated Universal Time,  
r_bakalov at yahoo.com writes:

Have you  guys tried using AT&T Labs' text to speech site? See  
http://www2.research.att.com/~ttsweb/tts/demo.php  You won't be using  your own voice, 
but at the very least the voice will be consistent. I am not a  SSB fan, but 
do want to get into SSB contests and have been toying with the  idea of 
recording it all with a text-to-speech tools. For call signs, my  thought is to 
make them sound more natural by identifying the top unique  prefixes and 
recording dedicated files for them (e.g., W1, DL5, S50,  etc.).

Rudy  N2WQ

From: Björn SM0MDG  <bjorn at sm0mdg.com>
To: CQ Contest <cq-contest at contesting.com>  
Sent: Friday, March 8, 2013 5:05 AM
Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Improving  voice recordings for phone contests

On 7 mar 2013, at 13:30, Pete Smith  N4ZR <n4zr at contesting.com> wrote:

> Before last weekend's  contest, I had a chance to experiment a bit with 
my voice recordings.   One of the problems I have always had is that when I 
try to enunciate clearly  I always slow down, and the resulting recording 
lacks the urgency you expect  in a contest situation. I also always notice 
stations whose recorded and live  audio don't sound anything alike, and wanted 
to minimize that as much as  possible.
> I use Audacity, excellent freeware recording  software, but this time 
around I "discovered" its "Change Tempo" function,  which speeds up speech 
without changing the pitch or timbre.  The results  are wonderful - you can 
speed up any recording 10 or 20 percent at a time, and  it sounds completely 
natural, just faster.
> *listen and adjust  the tempo (on the same Enhance menu) for the effect I 
want.  Repeat these  4 steps for each recorded message.

I used the same methodology for the  recordings I made for CQ160 SSB where 
I had to go "silent". I voiced in normal  speed (or slightly below normal), 
articulating clearly and used about 20-30%  tempo increase. I would be 
interested to hear others "best practice" on the  amount of speed increase.

A sample exchange of mine is posted on the  SE0X blog, go to www.se0x.info 
in the CQ160 SSB update and listen to the audio  file.

Another benefit of voicing all prompts is that exchanges are kept  to the 
essentials keeping the rate high. Of course this can only happen if  voice 
prompts are clear and easy to receive by the other station. The benefit  is 
probably higher in a contest with a predictable exchange leaving only the  
call to constructed on the fly by N1MM.

73 de  Björn,

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