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I am trying to replicate a radio sound effect, however, I have been struggling for a few hours and I wasn't able to do it just right.

I am trying to replicate the "all by myself" section of this video. I am working in Audacity.

My plan was to use equalizer to cut out some frequencies and then use hard limiter to add a crackling sound to the song. However, I'm stuck at equalizing as I can't get it right. I can't explain it with words but it doesn't sound right to me...

Edit: When I try to replicate it, it feels like it has to much chorus and when i try to remove that, it feels like there is too much treble (it crackles).

I would appreciate any help. If you need to hear what I am doing, please tell me how to upload a sound.

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    Hi can you turn your title into a question ? Thks in advance Cosinux. – JSmith Aug 10 '16 at 6:04
  • Possible duplicate: sound.stackexchange.com/questions/24082/… (AM/FM...) – Marc W Aug 13 '16 at 3:34
  • Wouldn't say... I'm trying to replicate a sound not just add an effect... – Cosinux Aug 13 '16 at 5:39
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If I would approach it, I would go and try the following:

First of all, FM radio broadcasting has an upper limit of 15 KHz, and lower limit of 30 Hz. So cut all frequencies outside that scope to start with a very steep filter.

Then a "little desktop / clock radio" would use a very small speaker which would not reproduce any sound lower than 200 Hz, so roll off frequencies under 200 Hz. Experiment here on how much to roll off, and from what frequency, possibly up-to 400 Hz.

The same goes for high frequencies, the clock radio would not be reproducing 5-10 KHz and higher very efficiently, again start rolling off (with steep LP filter on 15 KHz). Experimentation is needed.

Lastly I would experiment with boosting some Low mid, 400-1000 Hz, and ensure the mix is mono.

Once that is done, you can add crackling all you like, or mix in some white noise very faint in background, fade in/out at various timings. (careful you don't want too much of this)

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My approach (fast version) would be to use an amp-simulation-VST like Voxengo Boogex (which is a great free plugin) & to use the internal EQ settings (cutting the frequencies outside that well described scope above :) ).

https://www.voxengo.com/product/boogex/

I also like it to turn up the "pre-gain" settings while keeping the post-gain down (experimenting with the different microphone-type-presets in the plugin). Comparable to an "real" guitar-amp and the approach to get a distorted sound.

Maybe use some recorded radio static very subtle in the background & let the volume only go up with the signal - think percussive. :)

Another approach would be to check your local garage sale for old small pocket radios with aux-inputs(or just old 4" speaker cones).Then just put your signal through it (if you want to experiment with a high input volume/ radio on full volume etc.) and re-record it. I had good results with the classic guitar mics like the Shure SM57 or the Sennheiser MD 421.

Those small leftover speaker cones are usually dirt cheap so consider to experiment with them ( a few small coins for example).

It's unquestionably more work but I think it's worth it because the sound actually feels analog. :)

I also bought a Grundig C200 (which is a vintage casette recorder from 1969) for a few euros & used it a lot in music-production. Mostly to give VST-drum machine-tracks (which I recorded on old tapes & then back "into" the DAW) a more analog sound.

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One piece of advice wich is always relevant in this type of situation is to take a break for half an hour or so(the longer the better I find), come back with a fresh ear. You may find that what sounded "worng" now sounds right, or better at least. A fresh listen can also refresh your analysis and you may be able to realize the next step to getting the sound you want. I find that on a project like this, I'll come back after a break and find it sounds a lot better than I thought before the break.

  • Well, I still can't get it right, however Edwin's answer gave me the best result. It's not necessary for me to do it, however I am irritated by not being able to replicate what I am hearing. I agree with your advice however it did not help me. All my tries ended with a result for which I felt had too much chorus. In the original video, sound is much more "soft" and voice is more isolated from other sounds... – Cosinux Aug 10 '16 at 18:49
  • sound is much more "soft" you may try some compression on your mix, to remove some of the "dynamics" – Edwin van Mierlo Aug 11 '16 at 8:27
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A clock radio definitely adds hard compression, distortion/saturation (mostly from the speaker), noise and a boxy EQ curve, with a midrange boost.

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