Reproducing "telephone" voice

Discussion in 'Production' started by mercurix, Oct 9, 2006.

  1. mercurix

    mercurix Active Member

    hey guys, whats up? I wanted to know how to recreate 2 things: a "telephone" voice and a "movie-trailer-voice"....what are the predominant effects? Thanks.
  2. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Silicon Valley
    While there are may ways to get the phone voice effects, I often just just use the preset on one of my Eventide's.

    The trailer voice is all about the source of the voice and very little effects or processing is going to make up for not having the right source voice.
  3. mercurix

    mercurix Active Member


    Ok, I know...but say you have the source voice, how do you make it sound deep like a radio announcer? Overcompress it?

    and also, what are the ways to get to the 'telephone' voice, without using a preset?

  4. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Silicon Valley
    No shortcuts. In the real world, the end result of a deep voice like a radio announcer is by having the voice of a radio annoucener as the source. If you don't have that voice, then you don't have that voice. You can't create what is not there to begin with. While you can process anyting to be more like you want something to be, no amount of compression, effects or tubes is going to make you sound like a radio voice other than a genuine voice that already has the specialized voice characteristics of a really good voice over talent or radio jock.

    As far as the telephone effect, you can cheat and find it if you search for it. I won't spoil your chance at learning real engineering skills so I would suggeset you do real work. Use Eq and listen. Ok, here is a clue: What is it about the phone freq response that is different from the full freq reponse you hear from most headphone or speakers? Think about that and then try to duplicate what you hear. DON'Y BE LAZY!
  5. dementedchord

    dementedchord Well-Known Member

    as already alluded to telephone voice is about band limiting...
    as an experiment... i wonder what a sub bass harmonizer would do for your trailer effect???
  6. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Member

    Ruin it!!!

    Even Don LaFontaine gets an 80Hz HPF.
    Voice overs DO NOT go to the LFE/Sub

    Its the voice............
  7. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Member

    Re: ..

    You previously asked about a "movie trailer voice" now you ask about a
    "Radio announcer" they are 2 different animals.

    I cant comment on radio announcer compression, but movie trailer voices barely need any compression. Thats why they cast them for the trailers.
  8. pandamonkey

    pandamonkey Active Member

    I thought that I might pipe in here about the whole concept of the radio voice.. I have worked with a few guys and gals who were born with really cool voices, one guy just had a velvity deep sound that pair with the Neuman U47 (I think that was the one we were using at the time) sounded like freaking butter! He was hired at a local station and after about a year, let go. Why? Probably because in radio, your voice will only get you so far. 2 things that are strongly emphasized at this time in radio are, performance and just sounding natural, genuine and like the listener's buddy. Get those things and you can really nail the whole radio voice thing. Don't get me wrong, some things require a guy who sounds like hes 8' tall but not everything does either but quite often, that guy doesn't sound very believable.
    My approach is to voice ads tring to sound like your best friend. No fancy audio engineering just getting it into the mic the right way first.

    Some ideas,
    Pitch shift a voice down 1 semitone but any more than that (especially if you're using audio-suite pitch shift in Protools) and it can start to sound off.

    Trying doubling up a vocal onto 2 mono tracks, pan one hard left, one hard right then delay one by a few milliseconds, the more, the crazier sounding.

    Make 2 dialogue tracks again and just pitch shift one up or down a few cents (I find 3 works well) and play them together for a little effect.

    If you have access to the Wave's doubler plug, try sitting that on your voice, have a go at playing with the delays and eq, I often get good results with that one.

    Play with a high-pass filter as an insert, that alone can create all kinds of different results... Telephone like sounding voice included

  9. cusebassman

    cusebassman Active Member

    One of the characteristics of the sounds you get from talking over the telephone is the quality, along side the frequency range. Of course there is very little bass-response over a phone line, but one trick to get the telephone sound is to take the sample of the voice you want to change, and lower the sample rate. If you were to open even sound recorder in Windows, and record something at 22.2khz or 44.4khz, and then change the sample rate of the recorded track down to a much lower setting, say, 8,000 hz, at 16-bit, it sounds distorted and crackly, much like a voice over a telephone.

    Here's an example I did using Sound Recorder pretty quick, by using the File -> Properties menu to lower the sample rate:

    It took about 3 minutes, using a sample from a South Park episode I was watching at the time, so I didn't make a grand effort to make it perfect... well - close to telephone audio quality.

    This is a pretty bad hack for getting such an effect, but you need to experiment and try different things to get what you are looking for... no two people will always do the same thing!
  10. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Member

    The term to tweak a voice coming through a small speaker is called futzing.

    A trick that was implemented before digital recording was to play the audio back through the speaker in question, mic the speaker and record it.
    Ala Walter Murch, (look up American Grafitti articles)
    I still do this today. You cant beat this method with any plugin.
  11. cusebassman

    cusebassman Active Member

    I know this is a redundant post, but that makes perfect sense, and is also pretty much recreating the telephone sound in the exact way the telephone does (the telephone uses a low-quality little speaker - use a low-quality little speaker!)... I think I was overthinking this.
  12. zemlin

    zemlin Well-Known Member

    Indianapolis, IN
    Home Page:
    Yeah - I was just going to add my two bits ... in line with the last two posts, if I wanted a telephone sound, the first thing I'd try would be a telephone.
  13. shredz

    shredz Active Member

    Home Page:
    also the phone freq is has a bandwidth of 4KHz...simple eqing will do it for u...
  14. pandamonkey

    pandamonkey Active Member

    Now we're really beating a dead horse here with the whole "telephone voice" thingy!! I have a general question of opinion.. If you're going to broadcast someone who's supposed to sound like they're on the phone, would recording their voice physically coming out of a small speaker or phone create a dirtier signal? And, if it does, would one want to simplify the process and EQ, just to keep it cleaner overall? Most of the time, when I do that effect, it's only for seconds anyway.
  15. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I've used a pair of Horrortones driven by an old Philips amp that's driven by an old Ashley SC66 parametric. Then I mic it all up with an E-V 666...Thin and I like my women!
    BTW, when was the last time "one" used a phone that was "clean"?
  16. rudedogg

    rudedogg Guest

    a simple way i have done this before is adding some distortion to the track with typical sans amp or waves audiotrack plugins and then eq it with the waves q10 eq or sony oxford eq slightly modifying the am radio or telephone presets from the q10 and then compressing it really hard with either the sony oxford dynamics or the digidesign compressor or whatever is available.


  17. CharlesDayton

    CharlesDayton Active Member

    For film trailers, I always use the "Don LaFontaine" Plug in. The only problem is that nomatter what the script says, it always comes out..."In a world...." :D
  18. UncleBob58

    UncleBob58 Active Member

    Fairfield County, CT
    Home Page:
    It's really nice to be able to use a real phone, etc., etc., but most of my sessions have to be FAST due to clients with very limited budgets. I've found that the Phone Filter plug-in from Pluggo works very nicely when I have to do things in a big hurry. However, there's nothing like the crappy little Radio Shack speaker I use when I have the time.
  19. mercurix

    mercurix Active Member


    ok, lots of responses....thanks guys. What I meant about getting the radio announcer voice was that if you listen to someone like Al Franken or Howard Stern and they have deep voices...but when you hear them on their shows, it sounds deeper, more breathy....I was asking about the effects being used in those cases. I wasn't trying to recreate a deep voice from a thin, high voice, hehe. My guess was that they used significant compression and a noise gate to cut the mic.
  20. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Member

    I've done plenty of commercials that required a telephone voice effect. You simply need a high pass and low pass filter that's at least capable of 18 DB per octave. Telephone frequency response is 300 to 3000 cycles per second. If you want to you can further augment the effect by providing a small bump at 1kHz. That's while using a Neumann U87 and API microphone preamp.

    In software it's easy to use an FFT filter with very sharp cutoffs between 300 and 3000.

    Please deposit another $.25.
    Ms. Remy Ann David

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