ACX Requirements sound horrible

Hello everyone,

I hate to be this person, as I see a lot of these types of posts on here, but I’ve been unable to locate one with my specific problem. And I have search and messed with my settings for the last week.

I will make a recording and it sounds great. Then I change the RMS settings to work with ACX, I run the ACX check and it passes everything. Then I listen to it.

There is static, my voice sounds distorted and the quality is simply awful. Occassionally, there static won’t be as much of as an issue but my voice still has a slight “echo” quality to it (I’m wondering if this is due to not being in an area that is better set up for sound). This primarily happens when I change the “Loudness Normalization.” I have tried listening through various headphones, on different computers, and used different speakers- no matter what, it still sounds awful.

I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, especially considering that it sounds great prior the normalization (but will not fit within ACX specifications without it). I would post a sample, but since I’m recording an audiobook for someone else I’m unsure of the copywrite issues.

Thanks in advance for any help. I’m sorry again to be a newbie asking silly questions that likely have obvious answers!

If you follow the [u]Recommended Audiobook Mastering Procedure[/u] the audio quality/character should not be affected very little.

RMS normalization can push your levels into (potential) clipping (distortion). You can clip your DAC but Audacity itself doesn’t clip. If you’re not clipping, RMS normalization doesn’t change the sound at all/

The next step (limiting) “pushes down” the peaks to prevent clipping and to meet the ACX peak level requirements. Limiting has very little effect on the RMS level and (if the settings are correct) it should have very-little effect on sound quality.

Since normalization usually boosts the levels it also boosts any background noise and that can be a problem.

You can record a ten second voice test according to this.

It’s copyright me.

Don’t do anything to it. Announce it, cut for duration, export it, and post it.

Home recording is fraught with pitfalls. Nobody ever passes Noise, although what usually happens is people bounce back and forth between Peaks and RMS (Loudness). Nobody reads directly into ACX. Our mastering process takes care of that, but Noise is the college course. Can you tell if your computer is on by listening?

When you post back tell us which microphone you’re using and how you have it connected.

If you’re using Audacity 3.0.2, there’s even shortcuts to the mastering process.


Without giving anything away, there are two pre-clearance tests you have to pass before you start reading. Can I buy the work in some form on Amazon right this second?

Is it on this forbidden list (scroll down)?

As a fuzzy rule, you need characters, setting, and plot. No cookbooks. I really liked the Hero’s Journey works where Joseph Campbell talks about other works with character, setting, and plot.


Thank y’all so much for your replies- but I think I FINALLY found the problem. Somehow the normalization setting had gotten changed to some crazy number. I switched it to -3.0 and have made a few test recordings, and they all fall within standards without the distortion issues.

Thank y’all again so much- sorry to have wasted your time for what seems to be an error on my part! (Newbies I guess. Messing with things we shouldn’t huh? :smiley: :smiley: )

they all fall within standards

All three standards? You do have to hit them all and on the whole book.