Why do different voices on the radio not all sound the same?

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Offline ianhutt

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ian hutt  asked the Naked Scientists:

All voices are individual with the pitch, accent and other nuances presumably the result of the differing shape and size of the voice box. Vocal chords and mouth etc. However when broadcast over the radio or by a similar means of artificial reproduction speakers are the same shape and size etc irrespective of who is speaking.

I would therefore have expected all voices to appear both artificial and similar but clearly this is not the case and indeed the reproduced voice is clearly very identifiable to the individual to whom it belongs> How is this achieved?

Thank you

The joy of the Naked Scientist is that the more questions are answered the more thoughts and additional questions are stimulated

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Ian Hutt

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Why do different voices on the radio not all sound the same?
« Reply #1 on: 27/09/2008 23:11:31 »
The sound of your voice consists of vibrations in the air. These vibrations can be detected with a microphone as accurately as your wallet can afford. This, individual, pattern of vibrations can be recorded or transmitted and then produced by a loudspeaker to reproduce the sound of your voice as more vibrations as accurately as you care to pay for. The transducers (mic and L/S) should be as 'transparent' as possible, interfering as little as possible with the original sounds.
If you use a Hi Fi system, the reproduction is excellent. If you use a digital mobile telephone then the data rate is so low that voices can be hard to tell apart. You pays yer money and you takes yer pick.