Adjusting the iTunes Equalizer for Voice Playback

November 19, 2007 at 8:29 pm | Posted in iTunes, text to speech, Text2Go | 2 Comments

If you find that when you play an audio track using iTunes it sounds different to when played through another player such as MediaPlayer, you’re probably experiencing the effects of iTune’s equalizer. A Text2Go user recently asked why the spoken audio (text to speech) tracks sounded tinny and had a ringing sound to them when played through iTunes but sounded fine when the same text was spoken aloud.

How to view the equalizer in iTunesI had experienced the same effect in the past and had tracked it down to the iTunes equalizer. The equalizer is hidden away as a single item in the iTunes View menu and many people don’t know it exists. 

When you select View-> Show Equalizer, a graphic equalizer will appear. The graphic equalizer comes with a large number of presets suitable for different music types. You can also create and save your own presets or use the manual setting to endlessly tweak the sound levels to your taste.

When I first discovered the equalizer it was set to Manual with the following settings. You can see that the 4K and 8K frequencies have been cranked right up. This produced the tinny, ringing sound as described above.

Manual settings in the iTunes Equalizer

The solution is to adjust these levels down to a more normal range. Equalizer presets in iTunesApple have very thoughtfully included a ‘Spoken Word’ preset in iTunes that is perfect for listening to text to speech tracks. Once this preset has been selected, spoken audio will sound much better and all traces of tinnyness will be gone. Here is the equalizer setting for the ‘Spoken Word’ preset.itunes-spoken-word-equalizer-preset.jpg



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