SO, knowing nothing of audio editing and voice recording, I made an account on ACX and BOOM! 5 auditions, 5 contracts… Sweet, I think this should be fun.
I record all the books, exceeding 20 hours in my booth and go to submit my first book.
Denied. Cool…this can’t end well.
So after watching, reading and attempting to fix my files, I mange to do so on 2 of the books. I wonder now, why I can’t on the others. I then realize I somehow recorded several of the books using the built in microphone on my laptop…
I have spent hours attempting to normalize, RMS normalize, limit, compress, High pass, low pass, magic tricks and making a deal with satan. Nada, nothing get these files to pass the ACX check.
If anyone can help me…
Attached is a clip of the file with the highest peak in audio.
If this was ACX, they almost always post comments and suggestions along with the rejection. What were they?
Just from first pass of your test clip, it has compression distortion from the laptop built-in Noise Reduction and Echo Cancellation. That gives you cellphone voice and may cause your submission to be rejected for Voice Quality issues, not Technical Quality. That kind of distortion is permanent.
Nobody wrote you can’t have both problems.
I’m going to do more testing, but you should think seriously about recording again.
I can force the clip to pass ACX Technical Conformance, but it still sounds like talking into a wine glass; harsh, piercing sibilance and pumping background noise. All typical of a normal laptop microphone.
That can also happen if the clip we have is mastered badly. So we need to know that.
Of course it’s worse than that. ACX likes all your chapters and segments to match. They hate anything disruptive or that takes your attention away from the story such as separately processing each chapter or changing the microphone.
One of the reasons we got your submission to pass technical so easily was the microphone’s automatic processing. Unfortunately, that also give you pumping noise and cellphone voice.
That is not going to match the segments you recorded with the good microphone.
You might make it past Human Quality Control by accident. Nobody listens to the whole book. They spot check, and they might miss your quality changes.
The question is do you really want to put it up for sale like that?
Do Not use MP3 anywhere but the ACX Submission, and then strictly follow the recommendations.
Export WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit:
Export each chapter reading or logical stopping point as its own WAV. This prevents you from reading it all again if Audacity or the computer goes into the mud during editing.
You can Save unique Projects or Export WAV periodically as you crank through a chapter. That one’s optional.
Export a finished, mastered chapter as WAV, and only then make the MP3 for ACX. Your WAV finals are your valuable archive. After submission, the MP3 is a throw-away.
This may be a shock if you’re running out of drive space. Perfect Quality WAV files take up room. This is the first place to look if your recordings start to skip, tick or pop.
Every time you edit an MP3, the compression distortion and sound damage gets worse. Maybe you can’t hear it the first pass and you might hear it the second, but everybody is going to hear it the third pass and ACX management is going to soak up one of those passes, possibly two.
If this is your first reading ever, there’s yet another reason to consider reading again. New Readers frequently find that their final chapters, when they have become more experienced and better quality presenters don’t at all match the first few chapters. This violates the “everything must match” thing that ACX insists on.
I’m not totally recommending reading the whole book again. I am recommending reading a 20 second test with everything working perfectly and post it to the forum. We’ll beat it up and tell you if you’re likely to run into more normal problems as you get further into the book.
Is all your original work in MP3? That’s a serious problem. ACX is almost certainly going to make new MP3 products from your submission. That will bring you up to or past the third MP3 encoding and noticeable sound quality damage.