Wondering Why?

Why do voices sound different on recordings?

Many people have noticed that their voices actually sound quite different when they are being recorded when compared to one’s supposedly normal voice used during speaking or singing, for example.  The most basic reason for this is that one’s normal voice is literally heard from within.  In a simple sense, one may hear his/her own voice differently from the other person’s perspective.  And this fact is even more noticeable when one hears his/her own recorded voice.  Hearing one’s own voice on a recording, for example, takes away the “internal hearing part” and so it would sound much different.

On a scientific standpoint, sound is said to travel by way of two routes.  One route is the external route, and this referred to as air-conducted sound.  The sound for the environment will then be captured through the external auditory canal and reaches the inner parts of the ear. The other route is the internal route, and in this way, sound passes through the auditory channel through the bones and tissues inside the head.  The internal sound route is also referred to as the bone-conducted route.  When one is speaking or singing, his/her voice is heard internally but with some influence from the external environment.  And when one’s voice is recorded, for example, like a music record, it may be perceived as a different sound.  This is because of the fact that the recorded sound of one’s voice takes away the internal route of sound movement.  All that is recorded only captures the external route of sound traveling from the external environment through the inner ear.  Because of this normal occurrence, one may perceive his/her own voice as different from what “one hears” when he/she speaks.  But then again, perception plays a big part in knowing the difference between the sounds of one’s voice when speaking normally and when being recorded.  Some have very sensitive hearing that they can actually point out a major difference in the way they sound on tape versus their normal speaking voice.  Other people, meanwhile, may not notice it that much that their voice sounds different when being recorded.

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