Hack 26. Sound Like a Pro Announcer
Do you want to have a deep, commercial-sounding voice on your greeting messages? Here's how.
You might think it takes a ton of natural talent to sound like one of those professional, deep-voiced commercial announcers that you hear in the on-hold messages of big companies. But all it really takes is adherence to a few simple guidelines for clear speech…and maybe a little hacking talent.
First, the speech guidelines. Commercial announcers usually speak much more slowly and concisely than would be appropriate for normal conversation. As a result, they are very easy to understand and follow. Radio announcers often place almost lopsided stress on the words they want to emphasize, too. So, if your recorded announcements are sales pitches, you'll want to speak concisely, slightly more slowly than normal, and with great stress on the words you'd like to emphasize. You'll also want to smile while you record yourself. It seems odd at first, but a smiling announcer conveys a different attitude than a blank-faced one. A high school or college speech textbook might be a good source if you really want to hack your speaking ability!
Now, on to the hack. By now, you've probably used SoX to convert files from one format to another, but did you know SoX can deepen your voice like a pro announcer? To do this, you'll need to use SoX's shift (pitch) effect, which takes a positive or negative integer as an argument. If positive, the integer will increase the pitch of the sound by the number of steps specified. The higher the number, the higher the pitch will be. The lower the number, the lower the pitch will be. In this case, we're going for pro announcer, not chipmunk, so start with a value of -2 and work your way down until it's deep, but not artificial-sounding:
$ sox announce.gsm announce_lower.gsm pitch -2