Female voice quality - equalisation advice appreciated

Thanks. Obviously, tastes (and sound equipment and a lot of other factors) vary, but listening again this morning I tend to agree. Yesterday I wasn’t so sure: I think I’d heard so many sonic variations on those damn cows that what critical faculties I have had turned to clotted cream.

So, after nine pages of discussion we’ve reached a happy (interim) ending. Many thanks again to you Koz, to Trebor, and to mafg1953. I’ve no idea if anyone else has been following this thread, but if they have, or if anyone reads it at a later date, I hope that something in the chat might prove useful.

I’ll report back as to the eventual fate, good or less so, of my friend’s audiobook.

Bert

If I haven’t posted this yet (it’s a little rough keeping track of which thread gets what) this is the collected wisdom of how to post a short ACX Audition.

ACX-Auditions.txt (1.5 KB)
There was a recent poster that went through the whole “I read the whole book and they rejected everything” business. Don’t do that. They will allow you to record and submit a short piece first they call their Audition.

A production note: It’s not that unusual for a performer to get rejected for putting the wrong number of seconds of silence before or after each chapter. Wouldn’t that be a kick in the head after all that work?

https://www.acx.com/help/acx-audio-submission-requirements/201456300

But, wait. There’s more.

If you do get rejected for a fixable problem, you need to be able to go back to the WAV Edit Master sound files to make corrections and then make a new MP3. You can’t edit an MP3 and make a new one. You will violate the ACX compression quality rule.

Koz

You did in fact post it a few pages back, thanks. Very useful. The advice about the correct length of silences is new and very welcome though.

If you do get rejected for a fixable problem, you need to be able to go back to the WAV Edit Master sound files to make corrections and then make a new MP3…

Again, thanks, but that one I did already appreciate. I keep multiple backups of all files (audio or otherwise) before I start mucking them about.

Bert

Just a quick incidental note: my reader reports this morning that the second laptop, which yesterday was accepting the Rode mic flawlessly, today isn’t recognising it - the same problem as with her other machine. Both are Macs and both are running Quicktime.

She’s switching to Audacity.

today isn’t recognising it

There’s two versions of “recognizing it.” The Mac has to know it’s there.

Apple (upper left) > System Preferences > Sound > Input. There is also a bouncing light sound meter as a check.

Then, if that’s OK, Launch Audacity and see if the microphone appears next to the microphone symbol.

There is a caution here. The Mac will automatically connect to a microphone freshly plugged in, but Audacity won’t. Plug in the microphone First and Then start Audacity. You can also Audacity > Transport > Rescan…

If you have a ratty USB connection or there’s something wrong with the cable, this failure will drive you to a nice quiet resthome somewhere in the country.

“I don’t know where it went. It was there a second ago.”

Koz

That’s a good warning, thanks. Presumably the test will come once the laptop is switched off and on again…

Bert

Presumably the test will come once the laptop is switched off and on again…

Let us know how it goes.

Koz

My friend reports no problems with the Rode mic being recognised.

She sent me a new test, recorded with Audacity. The basic quality is as before but there’s distortion on and after the word “and” (3 seconds from the start). Is she still working too close? I’d be grateful for any thoughts as to the cause.
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Many thanks.

I don’t hear any distortion at “and,” roughly four seconds, but I do hear some odd recording-in-a-box tones. Was this environment or studio changed from the last time? I don’t recall this effect, other than the first samples which had heavy room reverberation.

Is this one of the DeVerb plugins standing in for the padded wall?

Koz

I’ll check, but I doubt it.

Is this one of the DeVerb plugins standing in for the padded wall?

I’m not familiar with the DeVerb plugins and I’d be amazed if my reader has added anything to Audacity, but again, I’ll check.

As you said (several times) the joy of working in isolation…

Bert

I don’t hear “distortion” on the word “and”, but there is certainly something going on - some kind of audio processing. Perhaps your friend could write to us directly and tell us exactly what she is doing because all of the samples that I’ve listened to in this forum topic show clear signs of processing.

Steve, thanks for that. If recordings made using two different programs on two different laptops all show clear signs of processing then something very odd must be happening. Is it possible that I’m introducing it somehow in shortening and converting the clips to mono on Audacity then exporting and saving them before posting them here?

This clip is also edited but not with Audacity: perhaps you and Koz would be kind enough to listen and see if that makes any difference. I’m not sure I trust my own ears any more. Many thanks.
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If this clip also shows clear signs of processing then the cause must definitely lie either in my friend’s equipment or the recording environment and I’ll investigate further.

Bert

Apologies for resurrecting a month-old thread.

Thanks again for all the help and advice previously received. After a long gap, my remote-recording friend has sent a new file: I’m attaching a clip. With (so I’m assured) exactly the same setup as before, the same curious boomy room tone seems to have returned. Possibly it’s emphasised by the very low recording level, but then again possibly not.
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I’m also attaching the same clip after ACX mastering: better but still, to my ears at least, boomy. If anyone has a moment to listen to either or both, I’d value any thoughts.
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As well as getting the level up, I’ll talk her through the same checks and possible fixes that were suggested before and see if things can be improved. But I’m tempted to ask her to try recording either under a duvet or in her car.

Interesting that there have been eight listens to my raw file but nobody has commented on it. Could it be that it does actually sound OK, despite my doubts? Or is it so bad that everyone has been shocked into silence?

Thanks.

Hi Bert,

Not a mod, just one of the 8 jumping in to fill the silence!

The ‘boom’ doesn’t sound egregious to my ear. I suspect it’s part proximity effect, part room echo. I hear a touch of it in my own stuff, using an xlr Rode which I otherwise love. A duvet over the head lessens it but invites other extraneous rustles into the mix, and of course doesn’t exactly encourage a relaxed read.

Applying a low roll-off from around 250Hz to your clip seems to tackle it somewhat, but you may feel it trades off too much of the bottom end. Her level seems fine to me.

Paul L’s DeClicker plugin works wonders on the mouth clicks https://forum.audacityteam.org/t/updated-de-clicker-and-new-de-esser-for-speech/34283/1

G

GDepot, thanks so much for that: I’m very grateful to you, both for filling the silence and for the opinion and reassurance. The truth is, I’ve listened to so many slight variations of sound over the course of this long, long thread that I was beginning not to trust my own ears.

Thanks again.

Bert