I am an utter newbie and am trying to set up Audacity so I can self-narrate a book to ACX.
As such, I understand that I need to download and install the LAME plug-in so I can convert Audacity’s AUP files to MP3 files.
I think I have done everything I am supposed to do to download and install this LAME plug in (downloaded both the installer and zip file, extracted the zip file, moved it to my own folder, told Audacity where to locate it). However, when I look in Effect > Add/Remove Plug-Ins, I don’t see any plug in marked LAME. Maybe it is under a different name? Maybe I have to actually tell Audacity I want to export a file as an MP3 file before it will show up?
So my question is, why isn’t this LAME plug in showing up on this Plug-in List, and, if it’s because I have done something wrong, what should I do?
I understand that I need to download and install the LAME plug-in so I can convert Audacity’s AUP files to MP3 files.
Audacity can create a number of different products after you get done performing. It can Save a Project which will retain many of the timeline characteristics and may be particularly handy if you have multiple tracks in your show and want to stop and pick it up later. It makes an AUP project manager file and a _DATA folder which has the actual sound in it. Audacity will not save a simple sound file and projects do not save UNDO. This is a Project.
From the same performance, you can File > Export many different common, stand-alone sound files. An important one is WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit. That’s the perfect quality, common sound format that you should use to save a raw reading before you start to edit it, and then another WAV of the final edit before you Export to MP3 for submission to ACX.
Only then do you Export an MP3 according to the ACX rules.
Lame is not a Plugin like effects and filters. If you followed all the instructions, you should be able to read a simple sentence, stop and File > Export an MP3 file. It should start asking you for file locations and the sound quality value.
ACX recommends mono submission (one blue wave) at MP3 constant bitrate, 192 quality. Unless you changed something, the work should default to 44100 digital sample rate.
I think I have done everything I am supposed to do to download and install this LAME plug in (downloaded both the installer and zip file, extracted the zip file, moved it to my own folder, told Audacity where to locate it).
The idea is to perform so your voice is in the ballpark, not too quiet and not too loud, and then use the Audacity tools to correct the performance so it meets ACX audiobook standards.
As a fuzzy rule, you announce so the bouncing sound meter occasionally jumps up to -6 to -10 (yellow range) and the blue wave timeline peaks occasionally reach up to 50% (0.5).
After you complete the work, Stop, Export a safety WAV copy and then apply the Audiobook Mastering Suite of tools. That sounds grand; there’s only three. If you record in a quiet room with no echoes, you’re done.
If you record in a quiet room with no echoes, you’re done.
You’re done with the technical standards. That’s the first thing that ACX checks when you submit to them. It has to be loud enough with no distortion and no distracting noises. That’s basically their three standards in English.
But then your submission goes on to Human Quality Control. That’s the one where you have to know how to actually read out loud. That’s the step where they catch you out if you created a bad reading and then tried to patch it together by applying heavy effects and filtering.
The failure is “Overprocessing.” Your show can’t sound like a bad cellphone or talking into a pickle jug. You can create really bad sound that passes technical standards. But it won’t pass the human inspector.
The ACX model/goal is someone telling you a fascinating story over cups of hot tea. So natural sound with all the chapters matching each other. That’s one reason once you find a technique that works, you have to use the same one through the whole book. No, you shouldn’t hand tune each chapter, and you shouldn’t apply long lists of corrections. The bookkeeping alone will kill you.
That’s not to say you have to be a Hollywood Actor. One of my favorite audiobook performers is Sarah Vowell. She has an odd, quirky voice I can listen to for hours. And I have.
That’s from “Assassination Vacation” also in paper form.