How do you describe the phenomenon of a voice that gets louder, starts vibrating more, and becomes unclear at high volumes?

Do you say something like 'it started trembling' or 'it began to crack'?

  • 3
    We say "TURN IT DOWN!"
    – Hot Licks
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 20:46
  • Would seem ok to use those words to describe the loud speaker (but probably not the sound itself). Though perhaps crackling is a more effective word (and crackly for the voice). Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 20:46
  • 2
    Just so you know a 'loud speaker' has two meanings, 1) a person speaking who is loud, and 2) a set phrase for a large electronics instrument that produces loud sound. Also, to say that either is vibrating is referring to the entire item, not the voice, so it sounds like the whole person or instrument is vibrating. Did you mean 'loud voice'?
    – Mitch
    Commented Aug 23, 2016 at 22:20
  • 3
    I think the edits have materially changed OP’s question. I believe OP is asking about speaker distortion, I.e. driving a speaker with too high of an audio level or signal strength. Not someone’s voice.
    – Jim
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 1:13
  • 1
    Crescendo fits gets louder, vibrato fits starts vibrating, and your suggestion of voice cracking (or breaking) possibly fits becomes unclear. However, I'm not sure there is a word for all those conditions together, particularly since the first two tend to be used positively and the last negatively (well, the second may be used negatively at times). Can you please clarify with an example, perhaps including a link to a sample of what you're referring to?
    – Lawrence
    Commented Aug 24, 2016 at 2:38

4 Answers 4


For the voice, perhaps distorted

to change the natural, normal, or original shape, appearance, or sound of (something) in a way that is usually not attractive or pleasing [Merriam-Webster]


Do you possibly mean "feedback"? That's when the microphone (or the speaker) is turned up too high, and you get a loud ringing sound because one the microphone picks up the speaker audio.

An example would be:"The speaker was turned up so loud that all we could hear was feedback."

Alternative, a loudspeaker that's permanently broken is called "blown-out", as in "The speaker was blown out, so we couldn't understand anything."


The OP's question has me thinking of Hitler's oratorical style which can best be witnessed by looking at old clips of Hitler's Nuremberg addresses to the Nazi-party faithful in the mid to late 1930's, before the outbreak of war in September of '39. To my ear, these accord with the progression of the voice as stated by the OP and for which I would use the word frenzy or frenzied.

"A state or period of uncontrolled or wild excitement" - Frenzy Oxford Dictionary. I think that this could be applied to manner in which Hitler spoke and of his voice


"The speakers are making a buzzing noise"


noun 1. a low, vibrating, humming sound, as of bees, machinery, or people talking.

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