[CQ-Contest] Improving voice recordings for phone contests

Pete Smith N4ZR n4zr at contesting.com
Fri Mar 8 10:34:00 EST 2013

I think one problem with this is that we tend to end an utterance on a 
downward intonation.  I wonder if the voicing might be improved to 
include initial, mid-phrase and end intonations.  Short of that the only 
thing I can suggest is to trim your letters and numbers really closely.  
Audacity lets you zoom in and get the last millisecond of dead air.

73, Pete N4ZR
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On 3/8/2013 8:41 AM, Joe wrote:
> Sounds pretty good.
> The clarity and speed sound good.
> I wonder what is still missing tho to sound better ummm like flow 
> wise, where it has a better "Flow" and less choppy sounding? I wonder 
> what would need to be done to get it to be more natural? each letter 
> sounds good, now to get it to sound better flow wise ya know?
> I wonder like the CW equivalent of shaping? Where the very beginning 
> and end of the file has a fade in and out? very steep yes, but it is 
> on CW too right? I wonder if that would help?
> Joe WB9SBD
> Sig
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> On 3/8/2013 4:05 AM, Björn SM0MDG wrote:
>> 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,
>> V21BM
>> SE0X
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