ACX check can't see code

You hit the jackpot of having two difficulties, so you need two corrections in addition to plain, ordinary audiobook mastering.

I elected to use Mordrid2 equalization correction instead of DeEsser because Mordrid2 is not volume dependent whereas DeEsser is.

DeEsser may give you different correction depending on how loud you are.

You are right on the edge of having a too-noisy microphone. That hissing, air-escaping (ffffff) sound in the first two seconds is probably coming from the microphone system itself. In general, that’s perfectly normal. The correction of 9, 6, 6 is “medium.”

Lots of people benefit from “noise reduction of the beast” (6, 6, 6) which is a more gentle reduction and if you make it all the way up to stiff 12, 6, 6, Noise Reduction can start to affect the quality of your voice and steps must be taken to solve that at the microphone or microphone system.

How you listen is terrifically important. I designed “Mordrid” on a laptop in the field and I overcorrected based on the tiny laptop speakers. Mordrid2 was created listening to the large music entertainment office system and is probably more accurate. Other posters may have different sound quality ideas.

There is a difference between technical mastering and sound quality. If you have a reasonable recording done in a quiet room, it’s possible to apply Mastering 4 and go home.

You will pass ACX Peak, RMS and Noise and you can do that again and again through a whole book.

Sorry the process for you seems to be a college-level course in technical management. Sometimes home microphone systems do that. We do have a reasonable track record for getting people published, and you have a good reading style.