Audacity forum test clip

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Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by mangosteen » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:30 am

Hi all,

Been lurking on the boards for a bit, and finally set up my closet recording studio with some blankets and acoustic foam. Using an Audio-Technica AT2020USB if that is relevant.

I can pass ACX check for noise floor if I have my microphone volume low, but then I don't pass for RMS. If I raise the volume, I have the opposite problem. Will I just have to choose one to alter in post?

I have turned off all appliances that I can, closed windows, etc.

I appreciate any insight and any other tips you may have to improve the quality.

Thanks!
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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Mon Jul 24, 2017 11:57 am

Do you have an air conditioner running? I show a background roaring sound like a fan or air handler. It could also be your computer fans.

I got your clip to pass ACX Conformance in Audacity 2.1.3.

Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 4.36.20 AM.png
Screen Shot 2017-07-24 at 4.36.20 AM.png (51.63 KiB) Viewed 249 times


I followed the basic ACX Mastering Suite, version 4.

viewtopic.php?f=64&t=96103

But I had to follow it with noise reduction of the beast (6, 6, 6).

The two seconds of silent room tone is harder than it looks. I show shuffling or maybe furniture sounds in about the 0.6 second mark and a gasp for air at 1.7 seconds. That's important because Effect > Noise Reduction needs that pure room tone to work and so does ACX. They have requirements for room tone in their submissions.


In my opinion, your voice is a little too sharp and harsh. Your real voice is probably fine, but the system is pushing it to be too bright. That would indicate Effect > De-Esser, but let's get the basic recording to work first.

Your basic reading is fine. You have a problem I had recently. Trying to read something too long for one breath. Extended exposition and digressions are not welcome when you're trying to read out loud.

Koz
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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Mon Jul 24, 2017 12:13 pm

One more. Adjust the system so you have very occasional peaks to about -6dB on the sound meters. That's a fuzzy goal. The peaks on your submission are nearly -20dB which is too low for good production.

Image

The illustration is stereo (two blue waves) but ACX recommends mono (one wave). I have one system that likes to record stereo, so I let it.

Also recommended is change the sound meter range to -96dB (Preferences > Interface > Meter Range) and pull the meter so it's the full width of the window.

Koz
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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Mon Jul 24, 2017 4:19 pm

You can make the 2020 tell you where the noise is. Start a recording and aim the microphone around the room announcing as you go. The 2020 likes to record on the side with the company name.

"This is the computer." "This is the air conditioner." "This is the window."

I expect it to get really loud when you aim it at the computer.

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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Mon Jul 24, 2017 9:45 pm

Don't let me scare you off. Remember, I got your test clip to pass technical conformance with normal tools and light noise reduction. You could just go with that. I'm just being obsessive.

Fair warning,though. Once you start reading, do not change your system! ACX needs all your chapters to match.

If you do change something, do it between books.

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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by mangosteen » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:45 am

Wow, so much great feedback here, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!

I've given it a second pass.

I turned off the fridge in the next room, all air con units throughout the home, and moved my laptop away from next to the microphone, but there's still too high of a noise floor. I live in an apartment, so the extra hum may just be neighbor noises I can't do anything about. Is there any acoustic treatment I can try doing to my recording area, or is the only way to eliminate the noise in the first place?

Adjusting the sound meters was extremely helpful, thank you for that tip. It seems my peaks are now too high (exceeding -3db) so I will aim for a bit lower than this test clip next time, but it was much higher than last.

I can't believe I haven't seen the ACX Mastering Suite post before, that is a wealth of information. However, I can't seem to get the RMS Normalize plugin to show in my Audacity menus. I installed ACX Check and a few others, so I'm familiar with the process. Not sure why it's not showing this time, any ideas?

Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 4.27.38 PM.png
RMS Normalize nowhere to be found
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I think I still have the gasp for air in there, as it is taken before I begin to read. Do I turn away from the mic, or just...not breathe...before starting?

Thanks again for all the help!
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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by Mack Caster » Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:13 pm

mangosteen wrote:Wow, so much great feedback here, I can't tell you how much I appreciate it! I've given it a second pass. I turned off the fridge in the next room, all air con units throughout the home, and moved my laptop away from next to the microphone, but there's still too high of a noise floor. I live in an apartment, so the extra hum may just be neighbor noises I can't do anything about. Is there any acoustic treatment I can try doing to my recording area, or is the only way to eliminate the noise in the first place? I think I still have the gasp for air in there, as it is taken before I begin to read. Do I turn away from the mic, or just...not breathe...before starting? Thanks again for all the help!


Good morning. I just looked at your 2nd audio clip. The first thing that caught my eye is your noise floor level at the beginning of your clip. I am working on a video now to go over what I think are the three hot spots for recording audio books using Audacity. 1. Recording area. 2. Mic choice, dynamic or condenser. 3. Mic placement. How far you stand off from your mic.

After doing over 50 takes, this is what I found. Your mic input level needs to be between a -6 and -12dbs WHILE being able to keep your noise floor as close to a -60db or softer. The picture below shows your noise floor. The gif shows how you can use the noise reduction tool to bring your clip into compliance. My goal is to get these numbers as close as possible to remove the need for noise reduction if possible. p.s. You have a GREAT VOICE!
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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:50 pm

You have a GREAT VOICE!

I agree.
RMS Normalize plugin

That's concerning. You need all the tools mounted and running to make this work. We reduced the mastering process to the simplest possible, but you can't fudge anything any more or make it up as you go. You have to follow the recipe.

Do you have Windows set to show you filename extensions? Does the plugin show up as rms-normalize.ny or rms-normalize? Windows hiding filename extensions is handy until Something Goes Wrong.

This is where I'm going to get myself in hot water. I know next to nothing about the Windows service.

Does this help?

http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/inst ... ndows.html

I cheat a little and tell Audacity Add-Remove system to load everything.

Effect > Add/Remove Plugins > Show: All > Select: All > Enable > OK. You might try that if you have one that refuses to appear.

RMS Normalize is one of the key processes to making AudioBooks work. Without that, the process goes into several pages of detailed, painful instructions.

====================

Did you do that thing where you wave the microphone around to find the noise? Shotgunning this is nice, but as Mack Caster points out, once you get close to good noise level, it gets really hard to maker it better.

And there is one other thing that new performers users do which may not be helpful. Remember I said that we could get you into technical conformance with just the normal tools and a touch of Noise Reduction? If that result is a little too hissy for you, you can boost the Noise Reduction to 9, 6, 6 and reduce the noise a bit more. Listen for personal quality control and then submit a test for a reading. You can chase this forever and never quite get around to submitting work.

This is usually a guy thing. "Maybe if I moved the microphone just a little bit more and changed the color of the ink on my script."

I hope nobody tells on me, but we had more than one reader posting they were prepared to patch and correct their readings word by word. How close are you to retirement? You'll be doing this for years.

Koz
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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:01 pm

I'm going to avoid theatrical quality control until you get one clip all the way through the system. The tools interact and we could be solving problems that a normal process doesn't have.

A note:
Overload is fatal. If you have blue waves that go all the way up or down, that may be permanent damage to your work. Better that you back away from the microphone or reduce the volume slightly.
Your mic input level needs to be between a -6 and -12db

Exactly correct. The -6dB thing is a fuzzy goal. Around there without having the Audacity sound meters turn red.

Nobody ever explains this, but -6dB on the sound meters works out to 0.5 (50%) on the blue waves. That's why this graphic is juuuust about right.

Image

Koz
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Re: Audacity forum test clip

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Tue Jul 25, 2017 9:07 pm

See if you can figure out how to install RMS-Normalize. Some of your noise problems are cured with the Mastering tools. It's easy to go off in all directions.

Koz
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