New to auditions, lots of testing and can't get the recording right for ACX check

I tested with these instructions:

I recorded 5 of the clips, from mic gain 60 in increments of 10 up to 100. Each fails though they sometimes pass noise but not RMS or vice versa. I am recording from a very quiet room, and I have had a few ACX offers but I am scared to proceed with a full-length recording if I can’t get this right.

Appreciate any help thank you :hugs:

“Very quiet” probably isn’t as quiet as a soundproof recording studio. :wink: There will also be some electronic noise from your preamp/interface but if your equipment is good the room noise is usually the bigger issue.

The [u]Recommended Audiobook Mastering Process[/u] will nail your peak & RMS levels every time. But yes, boosting the volume to hit the RMS target will also boost the noise and often it pushes the noise out of spec.

Your noise is not THAT bad and the mastering page has several suggestions for dealing with noise.

Gotta love those cows, although most of the dairy herds were quite a bit further west. The Hudson valley is concerned with housing New Yorkers. And painters (Hudson School).

Congrats on baby steps. There are quite a few forum posters who ripped through a massive book only to get turned down with unsolvable, permanent sound problems.

You don’t have to guess where the volume control should be. Audacity will tell you. Blue wave tips should hover roughly between 25% and 50%. So Gain 90 is just about right. Many home microphones run most of the way up or all the way up. It doesn’t benefit you at all, but fewer microphones get returned when they do that.

It sounds like you’re recording in your office with bare walls and floor, or kitchen, or bathroom. Echo city. Nobody is going to buy that and there is no way to filter that out. You have to have a quiet, echo-free recording environment. Nobody wants to hear the word “studio,” but that’s what you’re making.

And speaking of quiet. There is quite a bit of noise behind you. I made it worse on purpose.

Is that your computer? If you can tell your computer is on by listening, it’s going to be a long day.

You may be able to get rid of most of that and the echoes with a kitchen table sound studio. If you’re near a Home Depot, they may have all the pipes available from the floor. No cutting. Heavy Moving Blankets are up to you. Harbor Freight had some.

You already discovered the forum test sound file process. ACX has one, too.

This isn’t a web page yet, so text it is.

ACX Audition

Also Known as ACX Test Clip and ACX Sample.

An Audition is a short reading you can submit to ACX to prove your performance quality before you submit a whole book. ACX will review your work and post comments. The work does not have to be produced using Adobe Audition.

Works must be perfect and ‘Retail-Ready’. ACX will not change any work once you submit.

Auditions should be between three and five minutes long.

Auditions should have 0.5 to 1 second of Room Tone at the beginning and 1 to 5 seconds of Room Tone at the end.

Auditions must be in MP3 sound format with constant bitrate of 192, minimum.

Auditions must have sound peaks no louder than -3dB.

Auditions must have a voice RMS (loudness) value between -18dB and -23dB.

Auditions must have Room Tone (natural background room sound without you performing-or moving-or breathing) quieter than -60dB.

You can submit this audition to ACX after filling out a questionnaire.

Don’t worry about the RMS/Peak thing. As DVDDoug above, there is a whole suite of tools to set that. I applied the suite here and it failed noise.

You need to get the basic voice in order.


First thank you so much for the replies, I am considering using my room closet which is already only half-used and a good size. Your link to the Kitchen Table Studio is very appealing, would you set that atop a desk and record as per the pic or was that for demonstration? (I’m thinking that’s the way to go but just being super detailed lol sorry).

I have gotten another offer from the last week of auditions and I am in a bind now to get going, but I realize I should probably return this Blue Yeti Nano and get the whole deal of an interface + proper condenser mic + accessories (arm/stand, filter, etc.). I’ve got the items picked out and am going to get them over next few days as well as get the stuff for the KTS Setup (maybe put that in the closet and that’s my little studio?).

As for my laptop it goes pretty much silent, I have the right settings for no fans or anything going off while recording, can’t hear it at all.

I just realized I have my little humidifier in the room going too, that’s really the only sound but might have been enough to be adding noise

What’s the actual list?

I almost asked you what the KTS Setup was. Duh…

If you already have a closet you only need the moving blankets, not the plastic pipes, although you still need some way to hold the blankets up.

I designed a full-on wooden frame system for a commercial sound shoot. It’s double blankets. My room was quiet, but very bouncy and echoey.

It had to be removable because we were shooting in someone’s film editing room. Note there’s a blanket on the floor.

This is one wall kit.

And this is one wall partially assembled. The ropes are to connect the next wall.

The closet has its own problems. It’s hard to breathe in there and there isn’t always electrical power available.

Which microphone did you choose?

Each setup has its own pros and cons.


I am going with the AT2035 and a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen interface. I found the moving blankets at nearby Home Depot, will pick them up on the weekend.

Would some kind of tape work for the blankets to hang in the closet? Closet seems to make the most sense, I just stood in with the doors closed about 95% (no inside handles though I can put something rudimentary on) and I imagine with the blankets it would work well. For power I have extra surge protectors and an outlet right outside the closet, so the SP could sit at the base of the entry and it should be fine.

So my list is: The AT2035, the Scarlett interface, XLR cables, mic stand, blankets (and some way to hold it them up for closet), and if I wind up doing the KTS instead on my desk, then I need a boom arm thingy with the clamp instead of a stand. I have an adjustable piano bench I will sit the laptop on in the closet, already tested its fit, it’s perfect.

was that for demonstration?

Some of that was a little Hollywood. That’s my Zoom H4 recorder. Last time I used it, it had noise problems, but had I put my H1n in there, that would have worked.

Adjust height as needed. My preferred height is not one Piggly-Wiggle paper towel roll, but three Charmin’s high. I sit tall.

The KTS works different than you think. Outside sound has to go through the walls once and the thicker and heavier the pads, the better. But Echoes have to go through twice. Once from your voice to the wall and then once back from the wall into the microphone. KTS just kills room echoes and gives you a clean, clear, intimate sound.

Post back before you start signing contracts.

There’s one common New User Mistake. Do not go into this planning disaster recovery. “I won’t need to have a good quality shoot because I can always clean it up in post production.”

Kiss Of Death.


I have my little humidifier in the room going

It doesn’t take much. The specification for audiobook background sound is a thousand times quieter than your voice.

I’m not making that up.



The AT2035 is a side-fire microphone. you talk into the company name, not the round end.

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd gen interface.

The 2i2 is a full-on stereo interface. It may not like recording in mono (one blue wave). I would record in Stereo with nothing on the right channel. When you get to the end, use the little pull-down menu to the left of the track and Split Stereo To Mono. Delete the blank track. Many if not most voice delivery is in mono. Check with the client.

You can try to force the interface to record mono right at the beginning, but there are common errors. Make sure the single mono recording isn’t half the volume you’re expecting compared to the same recording in stereo.

Make sure your recording doesn’t have flat spots in the waves and they can never reach 100% no matter how high up you put the volume.

If you have either of those errors, then record in stereo and delete the dead track is the answer.


Do Not get rid of the old microphone. This is a bad place for minimalism. A recent poster upgraded their whole system and it didn’t work right. I told them to use their old system (still working) until we thrashed this out.

They didn’t have their old system any more.

And now they didn’t have a new system, either.

There goes the show.


Okay for the AT2035 is this what you mean:
I spent a few minutes peppering the music store guy on the phone about the AT2035, he has been using one himself for a few years so it was very informative but I didn’t think to ask about that, thank you! Same for the interface, that is another thing I didn’t consider, mono vs. stereo. I’ve listened to audiobooks for years and forgotten they are definitely almost all mono. Seems to be the thing with all this is ya just gotta test and trial and error for quite a chunk of it!

I figure I should have things set by next week between all the parts needed and the time to put it together, then I will test and report here. I’ll have to take a day and record a bunch of tests with the KTS on my desk, then do up the closet and try that to see what works better.

And I also have a Samson G Pro my friend brought over a while ago to record guitar + vocals, nothing serious, and I still have it as a backup. I had purchased the Nano for its light weight and simplicity, but if all goes to hell I have the Samson.

Just curious, what about something like this:

Or any of the similar items like that, not necessarily that specific one. Any good or the KTS setup smashes it? The budget is not a concern necessarily as in total they’re sort of in the same range but thought I’d ask.

Are you sure that’s a good Amazon page?

Screen Shot 2020-06-25 at 19.16.21.png
That AT microphone works like this and this is the approximate recommended lip spacing.

There is a Sampson G-Track. Those are nice.

I got that one on loan while I was setting up the instructions for overdubbing.


ACX recommends posting in mono. Stereo if you really have to but you must be consistent within any one book.

Stereo shows take up twice the storage space and it takes twice as long to post and download them.

“But what about music” someone asked. There is no music. Audiobooks may have very brief introduction stingers and that’s about it. They are somebody reading a book, not radio theater. Further, if you do have music, be prepared to present copyright releases and ownership documents and certifications. This isn’t like posting a bad cover on Youtube. This is a paying business and it’s strongly recommended you follow the rules.

I suspect that copyright thing is one of the prime reasons music isn’t welcome. An important part of the ACX publication process is the dance between the rights-holder, the announcer, and ACX. It’s nice that you read the book out loud, but does the author know you did that and are trying to sell it?

It’s easy to get caught up in the hardware thing, but technical conformance is only the first ACX test. You also have to pass Human Quality Control where they check for sound quality and whether or not you can follow instructions and read out loud.

It’s stupid embarrassing when your chapters get rejected because you didn’t put the right number of seconds of silence at the end.


Dang sorry about the link, this should work: Again not that specific one but that type of product.

Yes, G-Track! I need more sleep, sorry. It is really nice but I found it picks up more background noise, plus it’s quite heavy. Solid to use for recording direct in with one guitar and singing or casually for voice chat.

I found this from Focusrite: Seems like I would just set the track in Audacity to mono?

This is the commercial alternative to the KTS.

This is the model and concept I used. Up until these two, prevailing wisdom was soundproof the whole room or find a closet. There was no middle ground. The KTS was not $200.

Note they both wrap around the microphone and prevent sound from entering at the rear, top and bottom, and both sides. You are in the only remaining opening, and as long as your back is not jammed right up against a wall, echoes, slap and reflections should be, for the most part, gone.

There is one common place for noise to enter and that’s the bottom. Rumble, floor, desk and other building noises can come up from the bottom. Depending on your microphone you can use the book and towel method…

Or, much nicer, the boom and shock mount.

Those things inside the round cage are rubber bands. If you gently thump the microphone, it will sloppy wiggle at you. Here’s another picture.

Make sure the cable is floppy loose. You can get noise that way, too.


There’s not a lot of discussion about needing mono versus stereo, the only real problem is how to get there. If Focusrite provides software to make a stereo 2i2 “look like” a mono microphone, and it doesn’t have the two volume restriction problems I posted, then go for it. It should give you full available volume and be missing the extra step of converting stereo to mono in Audacity.

I have microphones that will mount as either stereo or mono and they’re perfectly happy working either way.



The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 is a two channel audio interface. It will happily work as two mono channels or one stereo channel. The hardware itself makes no distinction.

I have a 2nd Gen. Scarlett 2i2 which isn’t so reliant on software as the 3rd Gen. model. I use it single channel with a R0de NT1 or dual channel with two AKG D5s.