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Tutorial: Fixing Muffled Audio with Audio Compression

This video tutorial demonstrates how to restore muffled sections of spoken audio using the Multiband Compressor in Adobe Premiere Pro CC or Adobe Audition.

One of the problems I have when producing screen cams is that my voice fades at the end of the day, making the tutorials I create less clear. Fortunately, this is a problem I can easily fix in Adobe Audition or Premiere Pro CC by applying audio compression.

Figure 1 (below) shows the original audio file I’m working with. The levels look reasonably decent in pieces, but around the 5-6 second mark you can see that the levels are pretty low, and that produces a muffled effect that makes the audio a little bit hard to understand, which you can hear around the 0:35 mark of the video tutorial above.

Figure 1. Note the muffled areas of the waveform around the 5-6 second mark. Click the image to see it at full size.

For Adobe Premiere Pro CC Users: Applying the Multiband Compressor Effect

Now one of the nice additions in Adobe Premiere Pro CC is the ability to apply effects that formerly were available only in Audition within the Premiere Pro interface. In the Effects panel, click the disclosure triangle next to Audio Effects, then scroll down and choose the Multiband Compressor. As you can see in the Effect Controls panel in Figure 2 (below), I’ve already applied the Multiband Compressor effect to the clip.

Figure 2. The Multiband Compressor effect in the Effect Controls panel.

Click the fx radio button next to the Multiband Compressor effect in the Effect Controls panel to toggle it on and off. You can hear what my clip sounds like after compression at the 1:04 mark in the video above (and then hear it again without compression immediately thereafter).

So you can hear that there’s a big difference, but you don’t see any change in the waveform (Figure 3, below).

Figure 3. The waveform remains the same, without or without the Multiband Compressor applied. Click the image to see it at full size.

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