Listening issues while on the bus

I just wanted to say that in a listening situation which might be quite common for LingQ-ers, some of the French podcasts may not be listenable.

I am having a great time looking through the French content. Let me say that Henry and Steve are easy to listen to multiple times. As a change of pace, the on location podcasts, such as with Lise Anne, the Radio-Canada one, and the one with Marc at Sophia books are great.

One thing that I would like to mention is there is often a lower volume for the guest speaker, especially on location. This not a problem in a normal atmosphere, but, as it happens, I do the bulk of my listening on a bus to and from school. In this case I can’t hear anything or I can hear only Steve’s voice very loudly and the other voice is not very distinct.

I still enjoy the other content and I will stick to that on the bus. It is possible you are quite aware of this already.




If you find some content that is not pleasant to listen to, please let me know and we can pull them out of the library. By the way, I spoke to Marianne, and she and Serge are about to start up their podcasts again. I think that their sound quality is fine. One day we will have a system to allow members to evaluate content for interest and for sound quality.

HI Steve,

Thanks for your quick response.
The library content is great. It is more of a volume level issue with some of the on location
French podcasts when on a bus ((which might be a common area for listening.)

I do a bit of audio and I have a feeling the volume disparity can be resolved by running the sound file through a compressor. It makes the quieter sounds louder (an undesireable effect that is sometimes unavoidable is it also increases the “noise” of the sound, but in general it is a marked improvement). They use this technique on the radio a lot and in songs. I’m not sure if there is a lot (if any) of compression on the audio files.

I’ve put up some re-compressed versions of the french podcasts here. If they make a difference, perhaps you can let me know which ones are bad. I’ll download them and run the compressor through the audio.



Do you plan to do any more podcasts with Henri? They’ve been really good so far. Of course the Marianne and Serge ones have been really interesting, too.

As far as the bus and other noisy environments are concerned, this is where noise-cancelling headphones really come in handy, though you might have to dish out a fair bit of cash to get something really worthwhile, because often you can still hear a fair amount of background noise (this is with earphones in the predictably not very good $20-40 range).

Careful with the volume control in noisy areas or sign language might need to be your next language :frowning:


That does seem to improve the sound quality especially for the podcasts with Marianne and Serge which are done over Skype. If you can work your magic on Marianne and Serge’s podcasts, and send them to us we will replace the files. I also find the volume on Serge’s History of France to be low. Is there anything you can do with those? Is there a way for others to do this too?

Yes its not anything special, I just run a standard “compressor” using a program called Cool Edit Pro (an old version, it’s called something else now)

I run a setting called VocalComp24 and I just fiddle with the built-in 3-band EQ (Hi/Med/Low) usually boosting the high a few db and lowering the lower band a few db, then saving it as a 64kbps mono mp3. thats it.

If people have cool edit, I have placed the file with the settings I used in that folder. Otherwise I don’t mind doing it. I’ll do the same for the history of france.


I’ve done the first 2 of the french history collection and uploaded them to a folder.

If other users wish to noise-reduce / compress their recordings, I recommend audacity. You can download it for free here: Available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux.

I’d recommend normalizing the files; this brings all the audio up to the peak volume level without clipping.


I will try to do some with Henri in the next few days. Thanks for your interest.