Audio Sample: Noise Issues. (2.3.2)

You’ve been the best! Thank you. I’ll quit bothering you, turn my audacity input level down until I have no red spikes, and try the cool kid trick of not speaking directly into the mic. And then I’ll start this darn book.

I HAVE LEARNED SO MUCH!!! Thanks again.

Oblique Microphone Placement

If the A position has too many problems, p-popping, frying S’s, try B. Experiment. Make sure your volume doesn’t change when you move the microphone.


Post something from your final environment and settings. There may still be one noise adjustment.


There’s still the matching rule. Whatever you do to one chapter you should do to all of them. There is no individually tuning each chapter. So you gotta get this straight right at the top.

And then I’ll start this darn book.

Then you can start the short ACX acceptance submission.


great graphic! makes sense.

I am traveling through the weekend. i’ll jump back on sunday night or monday when i have the final environment and settings, and i’ll keep the matching rule in mind.

thanks again, and have a good rest of your week.

Koz, I lied :laughing: I am sending another sample, but this is my alternate recording location (I’ll be doing a different book here).

Same equipment. I’m using the “B” angle with the mic from your picture, and I turned down the audacity input level. I don’t see any spikes damaged “too loud” moments in it, and the popping sounds better.

So here’s a sample from this environment.

Also, if I do noise reduction, to keep it the same across all chapters/files,do I use the same noise profile for each, or sample the noise from each and run the noise against that file?

do I use the same noise profile for each, or sample the noise from each and run the noise against that file?

That was an Audacity development discussion a while back. Noise Reduction doesn’t save Profile as a file. It just memorizes it. When you close Audacity, it forgets everything.

The safest thing to do is get a new Profile from the Room Tone at the beginning of each chapter. If you can keep track of it, you can use one single Profile forever as long as you never close Audacity. I totally can’t do that, but you may be able to.

I can’t stop to listen for a while.


The good news is the P-Popping is gone. So whatever you did to make that happen, keep doing it.

Where did the volume go?

It’s not hard to set this. While you’re announcing, the bouncing sound meter should just/occasionally tip into the yellow region.

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 16.55.01.png
When you get done reading, the blue waves tips should occasionally reach up (and down) to 0.5.

Open the barn test. The blue waves aren’t even close to being loud (tall) enough.

As before, your job is to make your voice louder than the noise, which in this case, is mostly coming from the microphone itself. All electronics make a little noise. Higher-end microphones and recording systems promote the quiet operation of their products—usually on the front page.

The barn test will not pass noise without help.

I can hear you complaining, “How do you expect me to look at the screen and record at the same time?” I don’t. I expect the recording engineer to do that. So if you’re wondering what one of their their jobs was, now you know. If you do it yourself, you should establish an environment, spacing and speaking volume, start reading and stick with it over a chapter. AudioBook Mastering will make up some of the difference between chapters, so you don’t have to hit it perfectly forever, but you do have to get close.

I bet you’re also wondering why nobody said a thing about this while they were selling you the microphone.

Behold Ian who holds the record for long forum postings. 39 chapters and over a year. All he wanted to do was read audiobooks from his apartment in Hollywood (the actual city). We did get him rolling and he’s a successful reader (and voice-over artist as I understand it).


We published a thing on how to use the meters.

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 17.18.13.png
Also, I don’t use the standard meter sizes. They’re so important, I stretch them out over the whole Audacity width.

Screen Shot 2019-10-10 at 17.16.54.png
The meters and tools all have drag bars and handles and you can arrange the display however you want. That’s your barn blue waves, by the way. Louder, please.


Oh my Ian wins for persistence. I’m just an author who can’t afford not to have audiobooks but can’t afford to spend $3500 on them either, with a 4-book a year publishing habit and a long backlist…

Ok, I moved audacity sound input up to .50. I’m at 100% on blue yeti gain. Standing at “b” position at the mike. Hovering at around -18 db when I narrate normally. No “red” spikes of clipping. The noise is up. But my fingers are CROSSED (and so are my eyes).

Thanks Koz

My upload failed. I’m also uploading my acx check results after 1. equaliztion/low rolloff for speech at 5001 2. set target rms 3. limiter (#2 and #3 set per specifications by you elsewhere on the forum). Praying.
Screen Shot 2019-10-11 at 8.48.43 AM.png

That will do it. That’s well behaved enough not to need Noise Reduction at all. Tonal balance is good with no p-popping or other odd problems. Volume is perfect.

I bet I can make the noise go down a little more. The Room Tone at the beginning of your clip is supposed to be just the sounds of your room and the microphone system. Yours also has you shuffling in your seat, adjusting your clothing, sorting through some papers and checking your Twitter feed, “Chapter one. Don’t tread on me…”

That room tone segment needs to have you holding your breath and not moving…at all.

Lots of decisions are made from Room Tone and it has to be pure and perfect.

Past that, and if you can keep that quality forever, I don’t see any reason not to submit for approval.


There is a Room Tone trick. If you get a two-second chunk of good, pure tone you really like, you can Copy/Paste edit that into much longer chunks for all the places ACX requires longer times. No, you really don’t have to hold your breath for five seconds at the beginning or end of each chapter.

Don’t forget to adjust the chapter presentation as per the requirements.

You can also Export your prized Room Tone to a WAV file and drop it into the show as needed. Yes, that only works if you change nothing between chapters.

I would not allow the Mac to automatically update. Turn that puppy off. We have a festival of troubles apparently caused by the Catalina update.

“My Mac no longer records from my microphone!!!”


Mac Auto Update

Apple (upper left) > System Preferences > App Store (there may be other pathways).

I get the notifications for updates and patches. I will do the updates, for example, for Safari or any of my apps. But I am not doing the Catalina system update until the problems are straightened out.

The most important thing the setting does is prevent a change in the middle of a job. Finish a job, do a thorough backup and then do updates.


Are you sensing your presentation and relaxed story-telling improving as we do this?

There is one not-so good thing that happens with new readers. They get to the end of the first book and realize how awful the first few chapters were and read them again.

Fortunately, that generally only happens once. Don’t rip your studio apart the instant you read the last chapter. You may not be quite done.


You are so awesome. Seriously. I am grateful beyond belief. This has all been extremely helpful, down to these last few tips. Thank you, Koz!!!

Hi Koz. I am back in my Dallas “studio” (apartment closet). Last week I’d gotten close here, and you’d suggested I send you one more test. The sound here is definitely not as favorable as in our rural barn where the samples I sent you a few days ago were recorded (I am doing different books in each location). Here’s my Dallas sample from last night.

Fingers and toes crossed…

I went ahead and used your tip on recording my best room tone and saving those WAV files and using them at the front of this file, fyi. Otherwise, it’s 20 seconds of unedited audio, using the tips you’ve given so far and with the same settings and configuration I was using last week.

Also, I played with a copy of a full chapter file last night and was able to master it to meet ACX tech specs, but I had to get a little aggressive on noise reduction to get it better than -65 db noise floor (screen shot attached).
Screen Shot 2019-10-14 at 9.04.03 AM.png

I went ahead and used your tip on recording my best room tone and saving those WAV files and using them at the front of this file

I wasn’t emphatic enough about that. That’s your barn room tone. You can use it in the presentations you do in the barn. It’s not a license to use it anywhere you want. Putting fake Room Tone at the beginning of your clips really messes up Noise Reduction because Noise Reduction will be trying to correct for barn noises, not Dallas noises.

You can save Dallas room tone when you get it perfect and well-behaved.

As almost a side issue, ACX is looking for those tricks and your clip clearly has theatrical silences between words that don’t match the room tone at the front. You can’t submit that way.

And yes, just from casual sound analysis, it’s going to be an uphill battle to get these cleaned up. Did we ever figure out where those noises are coming from? Motor, air conditioner, refrigerator??

Without going all the way back to the top of the messages, are you sitting the microphone directly on the table? Try the book and towel technique.

This is where you figure out a way to do all the readings in the barn.


Sadly, it was room tone recorded in the same room as I recorded the Dallas audio sample. It was not barn room tone. But I did it twelve hours after the sample, so something was very different about the room’s tonal quality in the morning versus the night. Because everything under my control was exactly the same. Wait… I am trying to remember if I switched out the cable from the mic to the Air from a longer one to shorter one. The better sound quality came from the shorter one this morning, if so. (Sorry, I have a virus, and my head is spinning, I should remember that, but I am not sure) I had also used the shorter one in the barn.

As for other causes of noise (the eternal question!):

I was using a book and towel under the mic.

Air conditioner in apartment is off.

Refrigerator is about sixty feet away through layers of clothes, blankets, walls, and closed doors.

Can’t do anything about air conditioner in hallway of apartment (although it is also behind clothes, blankets, and walls). We are on the top floor. Possibly it’s something on the roof?

I use a MacBook air, unplugged. In fact, nothing is plugged in that I am using. No fans. iPad to read from. wifi turned off on everything. All other software closed. The Air is about 2.5 feet away from the mic. The iPad is about one foot away. That mimics the setup I used in the barn. The barn is just quieter.

In the end what will be will be, but I am trying to record in Dallas so that I can spend time with my husband, and I will be oh so sad if I can’t record there. I’m willing to try whatever i need to. RATS.

Given that it is POSSIBLE I switched out cables, here’s a sample that I recorded this morning, right after I recorded the room tone. I am feeling a probably misplaced surge of hope that the longer cable I got so i could move the Air farther away may be crap. (fingers and toes crossed)

I did it twelve hours after the sample, so something was very different about the room’s tonal quality in the morning versus the night.

I was just coming around to the same thought. The background sounds in the test before this one do not match. If you can figure out what’s happening between the Room Tone segment (reasonably well-behaved) and the live presentation (hummy), that will go a long way to straightening this out.

It’s not unusual to have time restrictions. Ian has to miss rush hour traffic in Hollywood. I have to miss the Metrobus in front of the house.

Before you get all excited about this, even at its best, that quiet room tone still has a suspicious tone in there. 120Hz (in the US) is typical of noises that lights, dimmers, some motors and some cooling fans make. No, I don’t think the Air is doing that.

What are you using for lights?