How to Apply Special Effects with Audacity or a Mixer – TAP034

Make your voice or music sound crazy with these special effects that you can apply post-process (after recording) or in real-time with a mixer.

Happy April Fool's Day!

Rob Robideau, from the Personal Armament Podcast and a clients for my Subscribe & Follow widget, placed the idea for this April Fool's Day topic in my mind back in August.

I was wondering if you can recommend a piece of hardware or software to warp voices.  I would like to do some comedy “pretend interviews” for my podcast and I have no idea where to start. …

I'm not really looking to impersonate a specific voice.  I want to do some satire.  An interview with a pro-wrestler about self-defense.  An overzealous gun shop salesman.  Something that makes my voice still sound human, just not like my voice.  It doesn't have to be perfect, people will know it's humor.  I just recently purchased a Behringer 2442FX if that helps with anything.

Special effects in Audacity

Audacity: Free Sound Editor and Recording Software

Included under the Effects menu

  • Phaser
  • Wah Wah
  • Reverse
  • Change speed
  • Change pitch
  • Change tempo
  • Sliding Time Scale/Pitch Shift

Extra plugins and program

Real-time effects with a mixer

Behringer X1832USB FX panel

I demonstrate 16 different effects that my Behringer Xenyx X1832USB ($305.99, Musician's Friend, Music123) has built-in

  • Reverb: Hall, Room, Plate, Gated, Reverse
  • Ambience/Delay: Early Reflections, Ambience, Delay, Echo
  • Modulation: Chorus, Flanger, Phaser
  • Detune/Pitch: Detune, Pitch shifter
  • Combination effects: Delay + reverb, Chorus + reverb

Here are a variety of smaller mixers with similar effects processing.

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About the Author
As an award-winning podcaster, Daniel J. Lewis gives you the guts and teaches you the tools to launch and improve your own podcasts for sharing your passions and finding success. Daniel creates resources for podcasters, such as the SEO for Podcasters and Zoom H6 for Podcasters courses, the Social Subscribe & Follow Icons plugin for WordPress, the My Podcast Reviews global-review aggregator, and the Podcasters' Society membership for podcasters. As a recognized authority and influencer in the podcasting industry, Daniel speaks on podcasting and hosts his own podcast about how to podcast. Daniel's other podcasts, a clean-comedy podcast, and the #1 unofficial podcast for ABC's hit drama Once Upon a Time, have also been nominated for multiple awards. Daniel and his son live near Cincinnati.

7 comments on “How to Apply Special Effects with Audacity or a Mixer – TAP034

  1. Bruce Turner says:

    Thanks… been looking forward to you posting this episode. Still enjoying your "secret sauce." ;>)

    1. You're welcome, Bruce! I need to update my sauce to the latest version, but just haven't remember to try it. :/

  2. You're welcome! It's always fun to be a kid again with Audacity. 🙂

  3. Never mind the irritation factor of "Friday"–do you have permission to play it? See… for help keeping out of trouble on this score.

    Also, unless you have evidence that your listeners are all in their 20s, you might re-think the jokes about great-grandparents and history museums. Statistics (and attending any conference) show that most podcasters and hard-core social media types are middle aged. We remember cassette tapes and turntables perfectly well, though I for one don't miss them.

    1. Hi, Sallie!

      The "fair use" clause of copyright law and the digital millennium copyright act (DMCA) allow me to play up to thirty seconds of copyrighted material as long as I comment on it, especially for educational purposes.

  4. Alex says:

    hey so when you do the chipmunk / devil voice, the listener can still hear your original voice tone overlapping with slight delay even. is there an easy way to cut that out so that the effect is the one recorded / heard not the original voice too? Does this effect get applied to all the mic channels? like if I wanted to only do it to my voice not the cohost’s… Thanks so much for this!

    1. What you have to do on most mixers is mute the original channel so it doesn’t come through while the FX are processed and sent back through.

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