AudioBook Mastering version 4

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:10 pm

I've been keeping the laptop just outside the closet door on a stand

That's one of the home recording conflicts. Keep the noisy computer out of your recording room and watch the screen and don't put the computer more than one USB cable away from the microphone. It's not an accident that quiet Macs show up in successful studios.

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I wasn't recording with the headphones on

If you have a recording system that allows real-time monitoring with headphones, that can make a big difference in self-correcting voice volume.

Classic telephones (remember telephones?) had "sidetone" where a little of your own voice was fed back to your ear as an aid in self-correcting. Cellphones can't do that because of digital delays. There was about a year or so where people got used to talking into a dead piece of plastic.

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:26 pm

In the picture, I think that's a pre-amp on the left (black device). Any recommendations there? What's the orange thing to the right?
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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Oct 01, 2017 5:04 pm

Correct. That's a Behringer UM2 preamp. It adapts a full-on XLR analog microphone to USB. It supplies 48 volt phantom power (if needed) and may be used for monitoring as well as "Perfect Overdubbing" with a built-in headphone mixer. It natively mounts mono which is perfect for Voice-Over and Overdubbing. No post-production conversions.

The orange thing is an external USB hard drive. You should be able to point to two different devices or locations containing your valuable work. If your internal hard drive clicked a couple of times, choked and caught fire right now, where is your work?

I have a significant difference of opinion with the ACX demo people. They insist it's a terrific idea to record directly to the external drive. I don't agree. My history in video services proved repeatedly and painfully that's an awful idea. Record to your internal drives(s) and then make copies to the external.


The Behringer isn't the only one in this class. There is a Focus Scarlett Solo which does pretty much the same thing.

There is an odd problem with these devices. The upper-end stereo devices (Scarlett 2i2) won't gracefully handle a single microphone. They are not mixers and they insist on recording a stereo show with your single microphone on the Left (or Right depending on where you plugged it in).

You can sometimes force a mono recording, but you're subject to overload, undervolume, noise or mix problems if you do.


I generally use the next step up from even this for commercial recording. Same analog-type microphone, but plugged into a small field sound mixer and then on to either a USB converter or a computer with a top quality Stereo In. This is a broadcast sound shoot I did.

Image

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by cmsleaps » Fri Dec 01, 2017 11:24 pm

Hi Koz & friends,

Newbie here, who has been looking around for answers. I've found most of what I needed, but am still unfortunately failing the noise floor requirements from ACX Check. Not sure what I can do at this point. I use an Audio Technica AT2020 USB (I know, not ideal) and a pop filter, and I am in a very quiet room, I think. I've read that using Noise Reduction isn't recommended, but when I DO try it, based on the specifications you list in this thread (the 666 and the 966), then THIS clip passes, but other sections of my recording fail. Any help is much appreciated.
Attachments
Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 6.04.00 PM.png
ACX-Check Fail
Screen Shot 2017-12-01 at 6.04.00 PM.png (94.95 KiB) Viewed 160 times
sample_edited.wav
(1.84 MiB) Downloaded 15 times
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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:24 am

Post a 20 second sound test on the forum according to this formula. Try to hit it around 18 to 20 seconds. Some posters recorded just "Hello" and stopped. That's not long enough for us to tell what's going on.

http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/Test ... _Clip.html

Do Not Change Anything. Record it, Export a WAV and send it. If you're counting, the file size should be under 2MB.

Everybody fails noise. Most people live in crazy-loud environments and they just don't notice it until they record and have to listen to it played back. "Is that what my apartment really sounds like?"

Some of the noises are just not your fault and many of them can be helped, not always with Noise Reduction.

You need to be on Audacity 2.1.3 or higher. That's not optional. Some of the tools fail on earlier Audacity versions.

I don't think there's anything wrong with the microphone, but I would have bought the analog version and then plug it into a Behringer UM2, UMC22 or Focusrite Scareltt Solo for the USB connection.

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Dec 03, 2017 2:42 am

THIS clip passes, but other sections of my recording fail.

One of Human Quality Control's requirements is that voice quality of all your chapters and segments match. Once you apply a correction anywhere (Noise Reduction), you need to apply it to each chapter forever.

This is why people go to some effort to make sure the voice is recorded pure and clean at the beginning. Yes, it's possible to force some microphones to work when they don't really want to, but then you have to force each chapter for the whole book or publication. You can do that if you want. I'll record with a good microphone in a quiet room.

We'll need to see what the problem is.

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by cmsleaps » Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:08 pm

Hi Koz and all, Here's a raw, unedited sample following the instructions you posted. This time, I added more padding to the room (a walk-in closet). The computer was a few feet away from the USB mic and I also turned the lights off. Typically, I would read the manuscript or text off of an iPad, but I didn't bring the iPad in for the sample. Sorry for the short clip ... this was under 2 MB.
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