Recording a professional company phone message

I posted last year about how to get the best quality out of a recording for a phone message. I currently use Nextiva, that uses a VoIP phone system. Their requirements for their upload messages are

  • .wav file
  • PCM Uncompressed (sometimes called u-Law)
  • 8 or 16 Bit
  • 8000 HZ
  • Mono

Being a complete novice at this whole thing, not matter what I do to tweak a recording in Sonar or Reaper, when it is converted to that spec, it sounds like an AM radio underwater. Does anyone know how bigger companies have their phones set up to sound professional? Or is there a way to get that sound on your own somehow?

Many thanks

This one doesn’t make much sense to me. Do you have a link to these specs? What exact conversion criteria are you using?

Personally, I think a lot of them sound like crap. I don’t know if they use old technology or what, but the audio quality is frequently horrible, the hold music often is way too loud and distorted, and the voice messages are usually not that great either. I’d be delighted to come across one that actually sounds good.

I copied and pasted the criteria right off of the Nextiva upload info, that is all that it says. I recorded the message in Sonar x3 and then I used Goldwave to convert it to what they called for. I do think most of the phone systems are horrible. I am thinking about switching over to Freedomvoice for phone service as they claim you can use an Mp3 or a wave file. My thought is that the Mp3 has to be a better quality, right?

This looks like the page:

I really don’t know what they’re taking about with 8000 Hz. It’s possible they mean “sample rate”. For example, if we say 44,100 Hz that is a specification for sample rate per the Nyquist Theorem that is roughly double the highest frequency humans can hear. Nobody uses anything lower than that these days.

Since PCM and .wav are not compressed, and MP3 is compressed and “lossy compression”, usually MP3 is not as good of quality as .wav, but that wonky spec for .wav that Nextiva seems to be using could be quite inferior to an MP3 with a decent bit rate, such as 192 kpbs up to 320 kbps. So in this case a good quality MP3 would work well I’m sure.

The Goldwave program has a preset for attributes and it is “u-law, 8000 kz, 64 kbps, mono”. I just clicked on it and chose that one. It is the only one that would upload. I tried better quality presets but they would not load onto Nextiva. I hear you on the mp3 thing, I guess what I should of said is that I am hoping that being that you have an option of an mp3 or a wave, that maybe somehow the mp3 is a better sound in the end than a converted wave. I wish I knew more about all this to find a way to get a really great sounding "on hold’ message. The music you get is too loud and it is a loop, so you hear the same jingle every 10 seconds, cheesy.

The whole idea of having a voice prompting for when someone calls is that I get about 8 robo calls a day and I am tired of running to the phone here at work to get the same stupid recording about my “student loan”. I would like to just answer the business phone as a live person but I can’t take robo calls. I am going to try using an 800 number as a business line to see if that reduces the amount of calls.

Yeah, that sounds like a really low/bad/old spec. Phone services just don’t seem to have kept up with technology in audio, despite advancing with VoIP computer technology.

Did you know that the FTC just passed some legislation or ruling that phone companies can now block robocalls? Check with your phone company/service provider and see if they can do this. There may be an extra charge, it’s at the discretion of the phone service.

Just like you, so competitive :laughing:

I went with Nextiva because they were VoIP and I figured they would have a better quality because of that. I was wrong.

Yes, I have read that in the news and I can give that a try but I don’t think Nextiva is really able to do anything right. After 2 years of calling their tech line, I see the screening out the customers and letting the robo calls come though.

The guy on tech support said the same thing Friday. He works there and he said he wonders why they don’t have better technology. I think one of the reasons I thought to post on here was to see if anyone had any idea why phone message recordings are not up to speed.

Phone is designed for intelligibility only, using the lowest amount of possible data. Anything above 4kHz is a waste of space for intelligibility. It’s not designed to play music. In fact, a lot of the time it’s sending the sound through a vocoder to cut down on data even more before sending it along.

If you are making the music for the format, it might be better to mix in that format. Mix at 8kHz mono so that you are making EQ and compression decisions based on the final format.

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Excellent point. It’s not really the music, so much as a clearer voice message. I will try your mix suggestion and see what it sound like. Thanks Boz.

Gad, that all sounds very specific. We use Skype For Business (online) and just recorded the voice greetings on an iPhone then saved as .mp3. I de-hissed and boosted the recordings a little bit, but still they were in pretty good shape anyway.

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