Dungeons & Dragons Online

Almost 100% unnecessary, but if you’re playing online and really, REALLY want to narrate over music, this audio trick will improve your vocal clarity.

Content of the article: "Almost 100% unnecessary, but if you’re playing online and really, REALLY want to narrate over music, this audio trick will improve your vocal clarity."

Hey there, I know a lot of us are still DM-ing via some sort of video chat and some sort of VTT these days. This definitely gives us more opportunity to dramatize our storytelling with things like lighting and music, but it also comes with the necessary drawbacks of less-than-ideal intelligibility due to things like bandwidth and competing sounds all coming out of the same speakers or headphones (rather than being ambient).

I'm an audio engineer, and I DM on the side (lots of DM-ing these days…), and I have a little trick that might help players understand you a little better if you're trying to talk over music, say, in a combat situation or a dramatic soliloquy.

I want to be clear that this is COMPLETE OVERKILL and your time would be better spent working on actual adventure details or creature/NPC stats. But this is super fun to play around with, and it definitely will help maybe.



OK, some background:

Some of the most important frequencies for understanding human speech are between 2000hz and 4000hz on the audible spectrum. That's where we hear a lot of the syllables that our brains use to give meanings to all the vowel sounds (which are generally between 100 and 250hz). All of this is SUPER rough and basic, but it's the general idea.

So what does that matter? What can we do with this information to make our musical D&D sessions less cacophonous?

This is where equalizing comes in! We're going to take a piece of music, load it into the Swiss Army knife that is Audacity (download link), and lower the volume of that track but only the part of it that's between 2kHz and 4kHz. This way, those frequencies in the music won't interfere with those frequencies in your voice, and you can have the music up just that little bit louder, but your voice won't be lost in it! This is actually a huge part of what professional mixing engineers do to almost every single voice and instrument in professionally produced music and movies.

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Let's get started!

After downloading Audacity, open it up and drag whatever music track you want to edit from your file explorer right into the big gray area. As seen here.

Once you see the waveform pop up, you'll need to hit CTRL+A to select all of the audio and then click on "Effect" and then "Equalization."

You'll see an awful looking graph thing come up. It's seriously atrocious, but it gets the job done.

Now you're going to alter the line by drawing in exactly where you want it to lower the volume. Easiest way to do this is just click the line three times – once on the vertical line labeled "2000Hz", once at "3000Hz", and once more at "4000Hz." Then, all you have to do is drag that middle dot you've created down to "-6dB" on the Y-axis (and maybe try to center it a little).

Here's what it should look like!

Don't worry about any of the other stuff there. Way too complicated and changes too radically from song to song. You've already set your meat and potatoes.

So hit "OK" and wait for it to finish applying the effect.

Next, go to "File" and "Export," and you'll see a list of audio formats. Go ahead and pick .WAV as your format, unless you want to go through the tedious process of downloading and installing an external encoder (you don't).

Don't worry about any of the options that come up other than what to name your newly EQ'd track. Something like "Track Name EQd" is good. Your call.

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And that's it! You've just equalized a piece of music to better fit around your beautiful and dramatic DM voice!

PS. "When you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."

Source: reddit.com

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