[CQ-Contest] Improving voice recordings for phone contests

Dick Green WC1M wc1m73 at gmail.com
Fri Mar 8 11:51:55 EST 2013

FYI, Win-Test soundcard support has a built-in variable tempo feature. We
discovered that at W2PV @ WW1WW this weekend when our recordings sounded
strangely speeded up. We ended up turning it off because we were able to
muster all the urgency we needed in the original recordings :-)

73, Dick WC1M

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Ktfrog007 at aol.com [mailto:Ktfrog007 at aol.com]
> Sent: Thursday, March 07, 2013 10:02 AM
> To: cq-contest at contesting.com
> Subject: Re: [CQ-Contest] Improving voice recordings for phone contests
> Hi Pete,
> Thank you for this positive and helpful posting.  I'm not  much of a
> phone op and have never used a voice keyer, but I thought it important
> enough to save in my "Hints & Kinks" email folder for future  reference.
> 73,
> Kermit, AB1J
> In a message dated 3/7/2013 13:11:26 Coordinated Universal Time,
> n4zr at contesting.com writes:
> As a  diversion from the debate about which contest is better....
> 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.
> So what I do, for whatever it is worth, is the  following.  This may be
> old hat for the SSB pros, but judging from  what we hear on the air, it
> could be useful for a lot of other  people.
> *make a recording.
> *trim it (in Audacity) so there is no  dead air.
> *amplify (without clipping) in Audacityto set peaks at 0  dB.
> *listen and adjust the tempo (on the same Enhance menu) for the  effect
> I want.  Repeat these 4 steps for each recorded  message.
> *adjust my sound card's microphone gain (I run my microphone  through
> the sound card) so that it produces the same peak level as the
> recordings.
> *adjust my transceiver's TX equalizer, mic gain and  compression to give
> me the sound I want on the air.  It is much  easier to do this with a
> recorded message, so you can really listen to  yourself.  The nice part
> of having done the preceding steps is that  you only have to adjust your
> transceiver controls.
> --
> 73,  Pete N4ZR
> Check out the Reverse Beacon Network  at
> http://reversebeacon.net,
> blog at reversebeacon.blogspot.com.
> For  spots, please go to your favorite
> ARC V6 or VE7CC DX cluster  node.
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