Hi all, I’m looking for your professional opinions on my mastering chain so I can make sure I’m producing for ACX to the best of my ability. I’ve been lurking on these boards for ages and regularly trawling through YouTube and Facebook groups to learn the basics and I think I’ve got an ok grasp and a pretty ok product now, but am not sure if my mastering chain is as efficient (or giving the best sound) as I’d like it to be.
Firstly, the basics. I’m operating in an sound insulated DIY booth and my general noise floor is around -80db. My windows 10 laptop sits outside the booth and cables for my monitor, keyboard, mouse and pre-amp run through a tiny (and insulated) hole through the bottom of one wall to reduce the chance for any fan noise. My recording chain looks like this; Samson CO1 studio condenser into a Focusrite Scarlet Solo pre-amp, then into the laptop USB. I record using both a pop filter and a mudder on the mic itself because I can have issues with plosives (that I’m working on through proper technique!). I’m using Audacity 2.1.2.
Besides plosives, I also struggle with the dreaded mouth clicks which I have managed to reduce and still have some technique work to do there. To give you an idea of my raw sound, I have attached a wav clip with a few seconds of room tone at the beginning. You can hear the mouth clicks etc which I will normally correct either through a combination of spectral editor and the “draw” tool, or if it is in a spot I can’t quite get to, I leave it for my mastering chain to resolve.
My mastering chain flows as such:
1. EQ “LF Rolloff for Speech” (this has the added bonus of reducing the sound of plosives in my voice)
2. Paul Licamelli’s De-clicker with a few minor adjustments on the settings
3. Compressor (2:1 w/threshold at -30db & -NF at -40db)
4. Normalise (to -3.1db and remove dc offset ticked)
When finished, this normally raises my noise floor to around -62db so I use the noise reduction tool with the 6/6/6 setting to try and get it down to -75 or less. Sometimes I need to do an additional pass with the noise reduction using 3/6/6 before it gets there. Then I run ACX check to confirm it’s ok, and export to MP3. I’ve attached a wav of what the same file sounds like after running my mastering chain and noise reduction.
So my very humble request is to get your opinion on whether this workflow is best for my voice / set up and whether there is anything I can do to further improve my sound for future projects?
Thank you in advance guys, I am beyond grateful for this forum!
Clip samples:https://soundcloud.com/tj-richards-9346 ... ip-samples