AudioBook Mastering version 4

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by steve » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:52 pm

kozikowski wrote:Which way and why?

It may indicate a much lower noise floor than the actual noise floor (it's a bug).
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)
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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sat Sep 30, 2017 2:29 am

@Diver4242
The two provided sound samples will not play (for me) and they download severely damaged or empty.

@steve
It may indicate a much lower noise floor than the actual noise floor (it's a bug).

Right.
Is there a method of cross-checking the work if you encounter an apparent conflict? ACX Check is a formal design of a much larger set of individual tools and processes you had to use to do this check manually in days gone by.

Does Analyze > Contrast give a rational answer, or that's where the bug is hiding?

Is there an "unbug" we can borrow and slide into ACX Check v2?

@Diver4242
I'm on the edge of my seat to read the ACX Rejection comment.

Koz
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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:11 am

kozikowski wrote:@Diver4242
I'm on the edge of my seat to read the ACX Rejection comment.
Koz


It was from a guy named Brendan Solorz:
"I have reviewed the resubmitted files for this title but found that they still contain issues that need to be resolved before this title can be moved forward. The submitted files have noise floors that are higher than required. For more info on noise floor, click here."

Let me relink:
raw wav: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx52wr ... sp=sharing
processed mp3: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bx52wr ... sp=sharing

They shockingly accepted book 3 which I thought might be worse. I did NR 9,6,6 on these from book two and they sound much better. I resubmitted so I'm on the edge of my seat now :-) Still not sure how the noise crept in since I thought everything was the same from last time. that's what I'm really interested in.
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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sat Sep 30, 2017 9:13 pm

I want to inspect and listen to the raw clip when I get home.

Noise is a little magic. That's why I left it to last in the correction suite. Noise has pages of explanation and notes all on its own.

If your work is right on the edge—most home-style microphones work this way—just leaning back during the reading is enough to send you into violation. The grill of the microphone is where the rubber meets the road. The microphone internal noise is usually fixed and it's your job to make your voice 1000 times louder (60dB).

But you can't get too close because the microphone will start to pick up every tick, pop and slobber.

Noise Reduction isn't a gift from the angels, either. High applications tend to boost ticks, pops and slobbers. It is strongly recommended that you do the same thing to each chapter even if some of them seem not to need the corrections. ACX puts a lot of stress on chapter to chapter matching.

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:35 pm

Fascinating.

I processed your submitted raw WAV and converted to MP3 submission standard. That room tone after the introduction came in with multiple different techniques at -73.6dB. Well within standards. No noise reduction.

The same patch on your MP3 posting arrives at -69dB, some 5-1/2 dB louder than mine. 6dB is double. I'm guessing from the text that's with 9, 6, 6 noise reduction? That means you started with -60dB noise.

Where did all that noise come from? Unless I'm missing what you did.

I left all the false starts and tick marks in there. The new mastering suite doesn't care about those unlike the old process.

I'm lost. What processing did you do between the Raw reading and the conversion to MP3?

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:43 pm

There may be a mistake there. I'm juggling too many Audacity windows.

Still, do you apply any filters or equalizers (beside Low Rolloff)?

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:11 am

I didn't do any processing to the raw file as far as effects. I probably chopped off the beginning and ending "setup noises" to get a shorter/cleaner track and I *might* have copied my one second of room tone to the beginning, section between 'chapter name and start of content, and end. That's what I usually do before saving the .wav raw file.

The MP3 only has the EQ, RMS normalize, and Limiter effects (at the recommended values) done. No NR has been done on it.

Anyhoo, I applied the NR to every chapter and it does sound better. I submitted it like that, so let's see. I'm pretty sure I was just leaning back too far this time. Lesson learned!
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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

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

You don't have to guess at it. You can make the Audacity sound meters larger so you can see them as you record (like the recording engineer would be doing).

Image

That's my standard meter setup. Note on the left, it's not -60 or -72, but -96, the full volume range of 16-bit audio. Then I stretched the meter the whole way across the screen so the common recording voice range is visible on the right. -6dB on the meters works out to be 50% on the blue waves, and you can make the blue waves follow you as you record.

The elements of the top of Audacity are all adjustable by clicking, pulling and dragging. Click in the ribbed bar on the left and pull, or some windows will let you click both left and right.

I know someone is going to ask about watching the meters and text as the same time.

Yes. The only other way to do this automatically is AGC or Automatic Gain Control. That can produce weird effects and pumping background noise. It can get you flagged by ACX as Overprocessing.

If your meters are big enough, you an see the bouncing lights start to turn yellow without directly looking at them. That was not a design accident.

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Oct 01, 2017 2:40 am

One happy accident of the mastering suite was the ability of the tools to gracefully adjust for minor variations in voice volume. If you have "golden ears" and are really paying attention, you might be able to find one phrase I voiced a bit louder than the others. But it will probably slide right on by.

It won't compensate for leaning forward and bellowing into the microphone, but it does a dandy job with natural voice variations—without seeming to do anything.

By the way, In My Opinion, I think ACX made a mistake. Every third breathing human on earth has decided to read for audiobooks so their workload must be nuclear. I think they made a fluff and if you submitted the middle book again it would go straight through. You recorded Two and Three with basically the same characteristics and yet only Three made it through.

None of us can figure out what happened, so this is the most likely path solution. Occam's Razor, et al.

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Re: AudioBook Mastering version 4

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Sun Oct 01, 2017 12:38 pm

Great info, Koz. The screen shot is really helpful. One thing is that I've been keeping the laptop just outside the closet door on a stand, so I can't see the meters. But in thinking about it, my laptop (Asus Q552UB) is pretty quiet, I'm not even sure it has a fan, although the hard drive does make low ticking noises sometimes. Maybe next time I'll do an A/B test with it in the closet with me so I can watch the meters.

I also realize that for books 2 & 3 I wasn't recording with the headphones on, I bet that made a difference as far as my voice level.
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