ART USB Dual Pre digital artifact

It seems to be missing electrical noises. I got it to pass AudioBook Technical Standards, but it still sounds like you’re trying to present from an airplane. Breath noises and P popping.
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The kids in the background are still there and I can’t get rid of them with Noise Reduction. Because of the way noise sampling works, the best I can do is make them sound like Donald Duck, but quieter. If I crank it up any further, I’m going to start making your voice sound funny.

This may be the best you can do without a “studio.”

Is there such a thing as not putting the microphone straight in front of your lips? Like just off to one side? That may help with the P Popping.

This clip has all the tools: SetRMS, Limiter, Stiff Noise Reduction and LF-Rolloff for Speech. SetRMS and LF-Rolloff are custom tools and have to be installed.

We warn people that having to apply a suite of corrections and tools for every recording gets tired really fast. Also, if you change anything, you have to make sure all your tools and settings follow you.

Let me know.


Thanks for your help, again. To boost RMS, is it better to use the compressor, the leveler or the limiter? I noticed the leveler yields a lower noise floor, but at what cost?

To answer your question, moving the lip mic away from your mouth makes you lose gain. You need to crank up the preamp, which means cranking up noise. The way the mic limits ambiant noise is by only capturing sounds directly in front of it. As soon as you move away, the volume lowers drastically. It has to stay in exactly the same position all the time, which is why it has a horizontal bar that rests on the upper lip. That’s why they’re rarely used on television, because they hide the speaker’s mouth.

The Fethead (or an equivalent like the Cloudlifter or McBoost) is an absolute necessity with this mic. Any mic would benefit greatly from this type of device because it allows you to turn down noisy preamps. What’s nice about the Fethead compared to its competitors is its small form, which makes it totally unobtrusive, and its lower price (about a hundred bucks).

the lip mic away from your mouth

That’s not what I said. I understand you can’t move it away. I want you to move it slightly to the left or right. Most of the popping sound comes from straight in front.

SetRMS and Limiter do a bang-up job of setting RMS (loudness) and Peak with no other help.

I need to drop out for a second.


If you change the angle or move to the right or to the left, it has the same effect as moving it “away.” It is very directional. It’s actually quite impressive to hear how little it picks up when you speak directly into the side of the mic. This is a “feature” vaunted by Coles which allows two commentators to speak side-to-side without picking up each others’ voice.

Using the compressors and other tools is doing it “the old way.” We never had a way to set RMS directly…until Steve wrote one.

That’s SetRMS. It’s a custom program you copy and paste into Effect > Nyquist.

SetRMS pushes the volume of your presentation louder and louder until the RMS (Loudness) meets ACX AudioBook standards. Then you run Effect > Limiter to push the tips of the blue waves down until they meet “Peak” ACX. If your noise is OK, you’re done. Your presentation should meet AudioBook Technical standards…and more importantly, should sound exactly like you.

Go for coffee.

I wrote that AudioBook Mastering thing with those tools in mind. That’s where to find the tools and basically how to use them.

The second text block (scroll down) is where to find the tools and how to install them. The third block first three sentences is normally all you need. In your case, I also applied Noise Reduction with the values 12,6,6. I think that has instructions in there as well. And it helps to also apply LF Rolloff for Speech. It helps with the popping.

I think it says in the notes that SetRMS doesn’t work without the Limiter step. SetRMS intentionally creates sound damage and depends on Limiter to clean it up. That’s not evil. Audacity is designed to allow that kind of magic.

I bet you’re wondering why this is so complicated. Because you have an aggressively hostile recording environment. If you had a quiet, echo-free room, you could use a normal microphone, announce a chapter, change the volume once and go home.

Your show is constantly running in Disaster Recovery mode.

There are ways to suppress popping and sibilance, too. That’s more complicated.


It’s actually quite impressive to hear how little it picks up when you speak directly into the side

I believe you. However, I could still hear a kid yelling in the background of your test clip.


Thanks so much for making these resources available.

Is there any reason why the SetRMS code isn’t packaged as a plugin? It seems to work fine for me… see attachment.
SetRMS.ny (1.03 KB)

The main reason is that I’m expecting there will be a much better version when Audacity 2.1.4 comes out.

Smashing SetRMS and Limiter together? Those are relatively fixed tools and they’re always used together and exactly the same way. Then all you have to worry about is noise.

I’m betting Noise can’t be automated. AutoNoise isn’t a simple plugin. It’s an interactive career move.


when Audacity 2.1.4 comes out.

Add polished and packages tools and subtract the Legacy file system. Everybody wins!