Am I Doing This Right?

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.

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Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 6:44 pm

I'm using Audacity 2.1.0 to record an audiobook (fiction). I already saw there's an update, so I'll apply that. I just found this forum so I want to run my method by others to see if there's a way to do this better or more efficiently. It takes a ton of time! I'm using a ATR2100-USB Audio-Technica mic plugged into my Asus/Windows 10 laptop and recording in a walk-in closet in the central part of my house, using a cardboard box lined with noise-protecting foam to encase the mic. I have the foam sock over the mic to shield breaths, etc.

1. set recording channels to mono.
2. Set project rate to 44100Hz.
3. After recording, I go through and remove any parts that I repeated due to mistakes, then I take these steps for each track. Select a second of clean, room tone noise and do Effect->Noise Reduction and Get Noise Profile.
4. Then highlight the whole track and do Effect->Noise Reduction and use Noise Reduction 48db Sensitivity 0 db Frequency Smoothing 150 and apply
5. Effect->Compress Dynamics 1.2.6 and Compress Ratio .75 Compression Hardness .6 Floor -24 Noise Gate Falloff 4 Maximum Amplitude .99.
6. Then Analyze->RMS Calculate to ensure it's between -20.1db and -19.4 db. If not, undo the last step and adjust the compression ratio up or down and repeat.
7. Run the hard limiter at -3.
8. Then I grab a second of clean room tone again and go through the track and replace any of the pauses between words or sentences with it, adjusting to go back to the original length after copying over it with the second of clean noise. This part takes forever. It's to remove any remaining breaths, lip smacks, etc. I'd like to be able to reduce this time. I actually repeat this with a much shorter length for very small intervals between words where I can detect any of that excess noise.
9. When that's done, I listen again to make sure it sounds okay, then export as MP3 at 192kbps and upload to ACX.

Any tips as to how to do this better or reduce the long hours it takes, especially for step 8? Any help is appreciated. I'm already most of the way through this book but have two more to do after it.
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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:13 pm

Attaching a sound sample in case anyone can listen and provide feedback. Will I get slaughtered by discerning audiobook listeners? I'm also not sure if I had the foam sock on the mic for this first recording.
Attachments
VigilanteAngelsBook1Intro.mp3
(309.51 KiB) Downloaded 9 times
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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Thu Jul 27, 2017 8:28 pm

I forgot to add that in the well-stuffed walk-in closet, it's just me, the mic, foam mic insulating box, and the ipad that I'm reading from, and my audio-technica over the ears active noise canceling headphones (plugged into the port on the back of my mic). I put the laptop on a stand outside the closed door and run the USB cable to it under the door. Closet is also carpeted and I turn off the house AC and everything else I can find.
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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by Trebor » Thu Jul 27, 2017 10:50 pm

Diver4242 wrote:This part takes forever. It's to remove any remaining breaths, lip smacks, etc.

There's a free DeClicker plugin for Audacity here which will automatically remove lip-smacking ...

Suggested settings to remove mouth clicks.png
Suggested settings to remove mouth clicks.png (20.83 KiB) Viewed 492 times

''VigilanteAngels'' Before-After.flac
After version has had DeClick, Noise Reduction & Noise Gate.
(719.8 KiB) Downloaded 10 times

The noise-reduction is native to Audacity, the noise gate is a plugin from here.
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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:01 am

Any tips as to how to do this better or reduce the long hours it takes, especially for step 8? Any help is appreciated. I'm already most of the way through this book

You may already be partially hosed. Changing the process or sound quality in the middle of a book is highly not recommended. ACX is very clear they want good chapter to chapter matching. No changes to take you out of the story flow.

I'll listen in a minute. You're using a version of the older technique and I wondered why more people didn't use Chris's Compressor to take the volume variations out of the work. But you're right. That's a lot of drudge per minute of performance.

The new recommended mastering suite has custom-written tools and is way shorter and faster, but it does assume you're not going to go in word by word and correct it. Did somebody complain about that, or are you just being compulsive?

Audiobook Mastering Ver 4.
viewtopic.php?f=64&t=96103

If you have a pleasant microphone and good volume, it boils down to three steps: Rumble filter, set RMS (Loudness), beat back any high peaks. Go make tea. Four, including the tea. We can produce an ACX Technical compliant work very quickly. If you have noise, the process goes into extra innings and if you make mouth noises (holding up hand), you may need some of the vocal quality filters.
Noise Reduction 48db Sensitivity 0 db Frequency Smoothing 150

48dB Noise Reduction is stunningly high. The new suite recommends 12 tops, more like 9 or 6.

If you have a half-minute, burn us a forum test voice clip. We want the raw work. No processing.

Record > Stop (cut it down to 20 seconds) > Export.

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

Read the back of the Corn Flakes box, anything, but do it in your normal voice. One poster read the instructions to produce a test clip.

I am not solving your current problem. You may be able to use this newer technique on the second book.

Koz
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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:07 am

I'm using Audacity 2.1.0 to record an audiobook (fiction).


I just saw that. You're stuck again. Audacity 2.1.3 is required for some of the fancier new tools, but I would not change anything in your current reading. Little sign over my desk: "If you find something that works, hold onto it with white knuckles."

Did you submit a test to ACX before you started reading your book?

Just wondered.

Koz
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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:22 am

I could listen to a book in that voice. If you used the sock, you may not need as much correction—or any at all.

Sometimes excessive Noise Reduction causes harsh peaking, essing and sibilance problems. So solving air conditioner fan noise problems turns out to solve voice quality problems down the line. That's what was so darn much fun making the new audiobook suite. Where do you even start?

Koz
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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 12:50 am

Thanks Koz, your contributions here are amazing. I wish I would have found this before I recorded! I'll post a raw voice sample tomorrow. I did submit a sample to ACX but haven't heard back from them in weeks, so I went ahead, regrettably. My process is so tedious, I think I can actually re-record in less time rather than do the rest of the book this way. I've already been reading the threads here about the new tools and installed them, so I'm ready to go. That's what my weekend will consist of! Do you recommend also using the declipping tool mentioned above for lip smacks? I have been able to improve my technique to lessen those (and using lip balm, etc) and breaths.

But what do you do if you are toward the end of a long chapter and suddenly make a mistake in a sentence, say pronounce a word wrong? My previous technique would be to just re-read the sentence, and then when in the edit/review phase just clip out the bad one. Is that still the way to go or just re-start the whole track and chapter from the start if a mistake happens?
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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:25 am

My process is so tedious, I think I can actually re-record in less time rather than do the rest of the book this way.

That's what wearing the Producer's hat is like. Isn't this fun?

Do post the test clip.
re-read the sentence, and then when in the edit/review phase just clip out the bad one.

That's how I do it. You can leave a little of a gap so you have room to cut and still make the sentences sound natural. You can also post a label right there with a keyboard shortcut if you do that in the middle of a long chapter. If you do it quickly like that, you can maintain your theatrical rhythm and expression much better.

Windows would be Control-B to set a label.... I think.

http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/label_tracks.html

Of course, just as I said that, the labels on my machine failed. [email protected]#$%^

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Re: Am I Doing This Right?

Permanent link to this post Posted by Diver4242 » Fri Jul 28, 2017 1:16 pm

Here's my raw sample. I noticed when exporting this that there seems to be a new setting in the mp3 export, a box that says 'force to mono' or something like that. I assume that should be checked going forward? Thanks for all the help, let me know if there are any changes I should make to the environment or settings based on the raw sample attached. I'm looking forward to doing this right! So happy I found this forum.
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VigilanteAngelsRawTest.mp3
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