Recorded English

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gaer

Senior Member
US-English
To all Mods: If this seems like a frivolous topic, delete it. And if it is in the wrong place, please move it.

But I was interested in a discussion we were having about what happens when we record ourselves. I deleted my post because it was ridiculously off-topic in a a thread that no longer had anything to do with the original title.
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It's a fact that the sound of our own voices reverberate through the spaces and bones of our heads, causing us to hear something that is richer and darker than what the rest of the world hears.

Person after person has said, after being recorded, "Oh God, you mean that's what I sound like?" Yet I would probably find your voice fine. It's MINE that I hate. After years of recording, I've gotten used to what I sound like. I recognize that this is my "real voice". But like it? No way!

The most irritating thing I do is that I say "OK" about 10,000 times. Can you imagine finishing a recording, saying, "Okay let's check out the recording," then hearing, after getting to the beginning, "Okay, let's start." <grr>

Now, my reason for starting this: How many of you have been recorded or have recorded yourselves and found yourself shocked by your pronunciation, usage, etc.?

Gaer
 
  • te gato

    Senior Member
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Hey gaer;

    Yes I have recorded my voice..for my grandmother...she could not see to read her 'romance' novels anymore so I read them on tape for her....and after I heard it I rolled on the floor laughing so hard...It sounded so strange...to my ears...
    My usage was ok..
    It it not the same as being on the phone? The odd sound of your voice...
    I played it for some friends..and asked them to pick it apart....they said that my grammar was too perfect..and that I either sounded like a kid..or that I should work for the 1-900 numbers:eek:
    I will admit that I found myself pausing where I should not have been..but I do not tape myself often...
    My grandmother said that they were a big hit with all the little old men...

    te gato;)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    te gato said:
    Hey gaer;

    Yes I have recorded my voice..for my grandmother...she could not see to read her 'romance' novels anymore so I read them on tape for her....and after I heard it I rolled on the floor laughing so hard...It sounded so strange...to my ears...
    My usage was ok..
    It it not the same as being on the phone? The odd sound of your voice...
    I played it for some friends..and asked them to pick it apart....they said that my grammar was too perfect..and that I either sounded like a kid..or that I should work for the 1-900 numbers:eek:
    I will admit that I found myself pausing where I should not have been..but I do not tape myself often...
    My grandmother said that they were a big hit with all the little old men...

    te gato;)
    What amazes me is how well professionals read books. I can't read two paragraphs without stumbling!

    I had no choice but to record myself because many people asked me to record lessons so that they could review what went on, and you can't stop recording everytime you talk. The purpose was to show them how to play.

    But if you were recording a book, it's not the same, because you are thinking about diction. If someone records you having an informal conversation with a friend, for instance, things really change. I start pronouncing things like the words in comic books. :)

    Gaer
     

    aprendista

    Senior Member
    USA, ingles y español
    I think this topic is appropriate.

    One thing I found in recording casual conversations is that I use lots of unnecessary words and phrases (well, hmm, what I was saying is that, you know, ...). Maybe we think faster than we can find words to express our thoughts and these are stalling tactics.

    I think live radio talkshow hosts have a knack for effective oral communication.
     

    ceirun

    Senior Member
    UK / English
    gaer said:
    It's a fact that the sound of our own voices reverberate through the spaces and bones of our heads, causing us to hear something that is richer and darker than what the rest of the world hears.

    Person after person has said, after being recorded, "Oh God, you mean that's what I sound like?" Yet I would probably find your voice fine. It's MINE that I hate. After years of recording, I've gotten used to what I sound like. I recognize that this is my "real voice". But like it? No way!
    I've read that the difference between how you perceive the sound of your own voice and how it actually sounds is not that great. The real difference is between the artificial representation of the human voice (i.e. as a recording) and its true natural sound. The thing is that you only really notice this difference with your own voice, and hence the dreaded "that's not me! :eek: " effect.
    This is my own read-it-on-the-back-of-a-matchbox theory about it, anyway. :)
     

    Meysha

    Member
    Australia, English
    I'm doing some exam recordings for an English class at the moment. I have to read the articles pretty slowly and make sure I pronounce everything very clearly so I've found my accent change. I sound like I'm British on the tapes! It's hilarious.

    But I agree, I hate the sound of my voice recorded. The worst thing, is my sister and I have exactly the same voice when it's recorded, or over the phonelines. So when I talk to her over the phone I know exactly what I sound like.... and Ick! But in real life it's not that bad. So I'd have to agree with ceirun that it's got to do with the recording part of it that makes it strange.
    But I'm used to my recorded voice now so it's not that strange anymore. I think I've changed the way I talk too now, because I've noticed little things I do when I talk, like say OK a lot too!
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    ceirun said:
    I've read that the difference between how you perceive the sound of your own voice and how it actually sounds is not that great. The real difference is between the artificial representation of the human voice (i.e. as a recording) and its true natural sound. The thing is that you only really notice this difference with your own voice, and hence the dreaded "that's not me! :eek: " effect.
    This is my own read-it-on-the-back-of-a-matchbox theory about it, anyway. :)
    I'm afraid it's more complicated than that. Your info does not account for the fact that when a whole group of people is recorded, usually each person thinks that only he/she sounds different. :)

    The fact that the voice echoing in the head distorts things terribly is well-known to singers. There is a slange term known as "vocal-masturbation" (I know, yuck!) that warns vocalists of the trap of falling in love with what THEY hear, something that sounds resonant and impressive to them but that does not project at all. :)

    G
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    Meysha said:
    I'm doing some exam recordings for an English class at the moment. I have to read the articles pretty slowly and make sure I pronounce everything very clearly so I've found my accent change. I sound like I'm British on the tapes! It's hilarious.

    But I agree, I hate the sound of my voice recorded. The worst thing, is my sister and I have exactly the same voice when it's recorded, or over the phonelines. So when I talk to her over the phone I know exactly what I sound like.... and Ick! But in real life it's not that bad. So I'd have to agree with ceirun that it's got to do with the recording part of it that makes it strange.
    But I'm used to my recorded voice now so it's not that strange anymore. I think I've changed the way I talk too now, because I've noticed little things I do when I talk, like say OK a lot too!
    It's true that the voice is terribly distored over the phone.

    But if you listen to a recording of a whole group of people, including you, and the recording is very well made, you will find that the other people sound amazingly life-like. :)

    Gaer
     

    ceirun

    Senior Member
    UK / English
    gaer said:
    I'm afraid it's more complicated than that. Your info does not account for the fact that when a whole group of people is recorded, usually each person thinks that only he/she sounds different. :)
    But that was precisely the point! :)
    I.e: Everybody sounds different when recorded but we only really notice it for our own voice; the process of recording being the principal reason for the difference we hear.


    gaer said:
    The fact that the voice echoing in the head distorts things terribly is well-known to singers. There is a slange term known as "vocal-masturbation" (I know, yuck!) that warns vocalists of the trap of falling in love with what THEY hear, something that sounds resonant and impressive to them but that does not project at all. :)
    Having played in a few bands myself, I'm familiar with VM (terrible thing that it is).
    To be fair to singers though, I think they'd probably say that a similar kind of echoing can also pass through the fingers... hence PM, GM, etc,. ;)
     

    VenusEnvy

    Senior Member
    English, United States
    I, too, find that I sound differently outside of myself (Does that make a bit of sense?!), recorded, that is. I tend to like my voice, and the way I speak as well. But, when I hear my voice recorded on a movie, answering machine, or casette tape, I can't stand it!

    I don't think it's so much that the new sound doesn't appeal to me (although this is true), but it's more that I don't like being deceived. I hope I am not going too far into left field here. Everyday, I am accustomed to the way my voice sounds, to the way I cough, or laugh. But, when I her it recorded, it sounds foreign, alien, unknown, disconnected . . . it's just not that ME that I know. Frankly, it's scary! :eek:
     

    LadyBlakeney

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    This is the reason why I only sing when in the shower. My voice sounds nice to my ears, but I am aware that I screech like a cricket!

    La donna e mobileeeeee.... :p
     

    Thomas1

    Senior Member
    polszczyzna warszawska
    Hello

    I recorded myself as well because I had to prepare presentation in English and I wanted to prepare it well. When I heard myself I was shocked:eek: I sounded like not me and definetly didn't like my voice it sounded realy strange, awkward to be frankly it was scary for me. Even though some people told me that I have very nice voice-I can't believe that. Untill now I thought that it happened only to me but having read your posts I realized that it happens to almost each person. Anyway it is strange because when I talkt to someone I don't sound strange to myself but when I hear my recorded voice I feel like throw away my tape recorder through a window:( .

    The other day a friend of mine recorded our talk when we were hanging out at his place but we didn't know about it and after some time he played the recorded talk and the effect was even worse than that when I recorded myself. For me voices of my friends souned nice but mine was distinguishable in a bad way and not only was the timbre but the fact that I repeated some words unnecessarily-I was shocked again:eek:

    It is strange-we can't stand ourselves :)

    Regards,
    Thomas
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    Meysha said:
    I'm doing some exam recordings for an English class at the moment. I have to read the articles pretty slowly and make sure I pronounce everything very clearly so I've found my accent change. I sound like I'm British on the tapes! It's hilarious [...]

    I think I've changed the way I talk too now, because I've noticed little things I do when I talk, like say OK a lot too!
    Hi Meysha,

    So sounding British is hilarious?! ;) :p -- only kidding. But seriously, there's British and British and British ... Assuming that you have an Oz accent (fair assumption?) and that your efforts at pronouncing slowly and clearly include diminishing your accent, you'll naturally tend towards a more neutral accent. The same would happen with someone from Yorkshire or Essex or Cornwall. So maybe what you're sounding is some sort of 'RP-ish' (Received Pronunciation), or maybe even 'BBC-ish'.

    I also had an 'improve my English' experience from hearing myself recorded, but in French! On playing back voice-mails I noticed I was saying "en tout cas" far too often. Only then did I discover that I also used "anyway" a lot in English voice-mails. Curiously it only happened in recorded messages, not in conversation. So I guess part of the problem of people not recognising themselves on recordings (usually 'one-way' speech) is that they actually are speaking differently.

    ... ummm, maybe

    W :):)
     

    LadyBlakeney

    Senior Member
    Spanish
    Have you noticed how silly we sound when we speak to an answering machine?

    Hello...er...I called to ask you if you're going to the party, but as you aren't in... well, anyway...er... call me back if you hear this... er... now it's three p.m. soj, well, if you don't hear this before eight it's okay, I mean... er...oh, by the way, it's me.. I mean LadyB...er..well, thanks, bye! (the last bit said very quickly). :D
     

    Wordsmyth

    Senior Member
    Native language: English (BrE)
    LadyBlakeney said:
    Have you noticed how silly we sound when we speak to an answering machine?

    Hello...er...I called to ask you if you're going to the party, but as you aren't in... well, anyway...er... call me back if you hear this... er... now it's three p.m. soj, well, if you don't hear this before eight it's okay, I mean... er...oh, by the way, it's me.. I mean LadyB...er..well, thanks, bye! (the last bit said very quickly). :D
    ... or the last bit goes:

    " ... bye! ... oh, forgot to say, if you want a lift to the party, call me before--" beeeeeeeeeeeeep "You have reached the maximum time allowed for a message. If you want to listen to your ... etc, etc"

    Redial: "Hello, it's me again. So what I was saying when I was cut off ........." :D :D

    W :):)
     

    te gato

    Senior Member
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    Wordsmyth said:
    ... or the last bit goes:

    " ... bye! ... oh, forgot to say, if you want a lift to the party, call me before--" beeeeeeeeeeeeep "You have reached the maximum time allowed for a message. If you want to listen to your ... etc, etc"

    Redial: "Hello, it's me again. So what I was saying when I was cut off ........." :D :D

    W :):)
    Yes..and then when they do call you back..you get...'Oh man! was that You?'.:D ..
    The worst..for me...is when I answer the phone..and the person on the other end says..'Is your mommy home?'...

    te gato;)
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    te gato said:
    The worst..for me...is when I answer the phone..and the person on the other end says..'Is your mommy home?'...
    Te Gato, I guess the worst will be reached when you'll be asked: Is your daughter home? :D
     

    Agnès E.

    Senior Member
    France, French
    I'm sure this time will never come, as young minds never get old voices!
    Some people have old voices from their first lifeday, if you see what I mean... I'm quite sure this will never happen to you. ;)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    ceirun said:
    But that was precisely the point! :)
    I.e: Everybody sounds different when recorded but we only really notice it for our own voice; the process of recording being the principal reason for the difference we hear.
    I missed you point, I think. I guess you mean that being recorded allows us to hear what we really sound like? I'm a bit confused. :)

    Piano sound does not change in the same way, although it is true that what you hear on stage is not what is heard in a hall.

    But brass players experience the same thing, sort of in reverse though. Believe it or not, as we play, we get a thinner sound, and when we hear recordings, usually the sound is much bigger and more open. :)

    Gaer
     

    te gato

    Senior Member
    Alberta--TGE (te gato English)
    gaer said:
    I missed you point, I think. I guess you mean that being recorded allows us to hear what we really sound like? I'm a bit confused. :)

    Piano sound does not change in the same way, although it is true that what you hear on stage is not what is heard in a hall.

    But brass players experience the same thing, sort of in reverse though. Believe it or not, as we play, we get a thinner sound, and when we hear recordings, usually the sound is much bigger and more open. :)

    Gaer
    But gaer;
    when we are recorded is that not what we realy sound like?
    Please tell me it is not..I do not want to be known as the voice that should work the 900 numbers..:D
    te gato;)
     

    gaer

    Senior Member
    US-English
    te gato said:
    But gaer;
    when we are recorded is that not what we realy sound like?
    Please tell me it is not..I do not want to be known as the voice that should work the 900 numbers..:D
    te gato;)
    It depends on the quality of the recording device and the playback.

    Strictly speaking, no recording is going to exactly match what is recorded. But I will tell you, from personal experience, that if you have good microphones and use headsets (good ones) to record a group of people, what you hear on playback is so close to what you hear while recording that it is amazing.

    Now, it is ALSO true that when you are recording with headsets, you are hearing the sound processed while recording, so in a way it is already "artificial".

    But I have listened to recordings of my family, for instance, and each person sounds so real, it chokes me up, because some of these people are now dead. Some are not. They all sound incredibly alive, incredibly "there". The one person who sounds wrong to me is—me. Bad grammar, but you get the idea.

    My voice sounds higher, more nasal, etc. I loathe the sound of my voice, yet others have told me that I am pleasant to hear. My experience mirrors that of countless people.

    The thing that tells me that my perception is lying to me is this: I've heard my voice recorded hundreds of times, on all sorts of recording devices. It's consistant. It's "thinner" on cheap recorders, "richer" on better recording devices, but there is always that same weird feeling of "that's not me". And in all circumstances in which the recordings have been of decent quality, other people sound the way they should, to my ears.

    That's as well as I can explain it. If we met, got to know each other well, then recorded a conversation between us, you would think that I sound accurate, but that you do not. I would think the opposite. Again, think about the sound of the voice traveling through the bones and cavities in the head at the same time that the ears hear our voices travel through the ear.

    Gaer
     
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