ACX Feedback

Hi all you wonderful Audacity masters!

Finally got my first book uploaded after like… 3 months!!!

Did everything that the Audiobook mastering Suite says but I failed on 1 chapter out of 10:

“1 file has a high RMS and is too loud: 02. Chapter 1.mp3”

I re-ran the ACX check on both the WAV file and the MP3 mastered file and Audacity still passes them both…so I have absolutely no idea what to do next :confused:

I would love to not have to re-record it but understand if I must. Hope it can be fixed!

Thanks in advance for all your help.

Ladina

When you listen to that chapter, and compare with other chapters, is it noticeably louder?


Absolutely :smiley:
Do you have a backup copy of the chapter after editing and before “mastering”? If you do, then you will probably only need to redo the mastering steps with slightly different settings.

When you listen to that chapter, and compare with other chapters, is it noticeably louder?

Yeahhh kinda…

Absolutely > :smiley: >
Do you have a backup copy of the chapter after editing and before “mastering”? If you do, then you will probably only need to redo the mastering steps with slightly different settings.

Yes the unmastered WAV file. But what do I need to change in the settings???

Import that chapter (the mastered MP3) into a new Audacity project.
Select a large section of text, avoiding any long gaps.
Open the “Contrast” tool (Analyze menu), and click the first “Measure selection” button. That will tell you the RMS level of the selection. What does it say?

Try the same on a couple of other chapters. What figures do you get?

As we keep insisting at great length, Audacity won’t cure theater problems. If you got aggressive and crazy in one chapter, all the chapters may match technical specifications, but that one chapter may not match to your ear as you listen. Did you do something like that?

Post the actual complaint panel. Sometimes a reader’s summation of the complaint doesn’t quite hit it.

We should also know that ACX Check is not from ACX. It’s from Audacity based on ACX’s published specifications. From actual, real-life experiences, it works pretty well, but sometimes ACX Human Quality Control (a separate test) will override the readings based on touchy-feely impressions of the presentation. That’s the theater evaluation.

We don’t have any software for that.

Koz

This chapter is only 6.39 minutes so I seledted the whole section and it comes out at -20.74. The last 2 minutes of the section is -21.06.

The other chapters also range from -20.06 to -21.84

That meets the “technical” requirement perfectly.
What is the peak level of that track (just select the entire track, then open the “Amplify” effect, and it will tell you).

This is what I’m kinda confused about… in their feedback at the end they state:

“Please be aware that the ACX QA review is not an end to end review of your production and you should always do a full edit, QC, and mastering pass before submission. This is important because errors in the audiobook could garner negative reviews on Audible, Amazon, or iTunes which could result in fewer sales.”

Which implies that they either don’t do a human check or that this was just a “first” review. Because if I’m honest I appear to have “gotten away with” some other areas that I was concerned about which made me think they actually haven’t listened to it. SO I’m assuming they ran some similar kind of program to what Audacity has and the noted filed (chapter 1) failed on meeting RMS requirements.

How many minutes can I upload for you to listen to?

3.622…

Which is also technically correct, so I guess they must be complaining about something else.

Did they say any more about Chapter 1 other than that?

Did they say any more about Chapter 1 other than that?

Nope nothing. Except their solution:

“Requirement: files measuring between -23dB and -18dB RMS
Solution: Please bring the overall RMS level of each file to within our requirement. For example, if a file’s RMS is -10dB RMS, it must be lowered -8dB to be within our -18dB to -23dB RMS requirement range. If a file’s RMS is -30dB RMS, it must be raised +8dB. Learn Mastering with Alex the Audio Scientist.”

Puzzled puppy looks all around.

There is one other possibility. Audible is a very large, complex, evolving company. Everybody knows people who work in large companies always work at their highest potential and never make mistakes, right? Audible will not respond to questions, you can try if you wish. Everybody with a pulse is trying to read for audiobooks and they don’t have time to banter with you.

This may be an instance of the YouTube Effect. If your postings get rejected by YouTube, there is no recourse. You have to change jobs because that income stream will vanish.

Is that dark enough? I wish I was making that up.

Try this. Run your submission through RMS Normalize and make a tiny change. Normalize to -20.5dB instead of -20dB. That’s still well within the -18dB to -23dB range and is very slightly quieter. Claim you corrected the error.

RMS Normalize is a non-destructive tool. If you do it to the WAV Submission Master or Audacity Lossless Project you made (you did make them, right?) there will be no sound damage.

You can’t do this trick to the submitted MP3. If you try, that will reduce the MP3 sound quality lower than the required 192. MP3 files get worse every time you mess with them and you can’t stop it.

Koz

I think we need to hear this.
Could you post around 30 seconds of the “bad” chapter (in MP3 format), and a similar length of a “good” chapter (in the same format).


They both sound the same loudness to me, and testing with a “loudness meter”, they both measure close to -17 LUFS and close to -20 dB RMS (-20.34 dB and -20.90 dB).

In short, there’s nothing wrong with the loudness of those clips. It seems that they made a mistake. Perhaps they rejected the chapter for some other reason, but put the wrong reason in their feedback to you.

yeahhhh…its really weird. Its beyond me. I guess I’ll try Mr Koz’s advice and see where that takes us…

Thanks a bunch!

Thank you MR Koz I guess I will try this. It could also be something to do with more “passionately expressed” words that went over their limit…

Much appreciated!

Ladina