Can't raise RMS without peaking

Hi friends,
I can’t seem to be able to raise my RMS level effectively. I’ve searched the forum with no luck.
I’m recording on a Mac using Audacity version 3.1.3 with a Rhode NT-1A mic and a Presonus Audiobox USB interface.

Right now, my levels are reading as:
Peak: -3.00 dB
RMS: -25.22
Noise floor: -66.08

I know I can’t control the input level in Audacity while using a USB input, so I’ve just been messing with the input controls on my interface. How to I raise the RMS level to be between -23 to -18 without going over the peak/noise floor threshold? For audiobooks, I need to send in RAW audio to the publishers, is there a way to address this without using normalize/a limiter?

Thank you!

Regular linear volume adjustments will change the RMS, peak, and noise by the same amount. You’ll have to use a limiter. That’s normal with those requirements and MOST commercial music & voice recordings have some dymamic compression and/or limiting.

Run Loudness Normalization, select RMS, and -20dB.

Run the Limiter at -3.5dB (I think the recommendation was “soft limiting”).

Your noise should still be better than -60dB.

I assume this is an audiobook? They killed the Wiki and we seem to have lost the recommended audiobook procedure. :frowning:

I predict, once the mastering software gets done with your processing, the peaks and loudness are going to be perfect, and the background noise is going to be too loud. This is a super-duper common problem for home readers. Nobody’s home is quiet enough for this.

The loundness limit for noise in audiobooks in -60dB. I recommend -65dB as the loudest for regular production.

In English, your background noise must be at least a thousand times quieter than your voice. No that’s not easy.

Are you reading for audiobooks? You never actually said that.