Niquist ACX check nightmare

Hmm Okay…Just one last question I have seen numerous ads on Amazon for dictaphones or voice recorders. Can you plug a condenser Mike into them or use their in built microphone. Are they really noise free? And what ones would you recommend?

Most dictaphones have rubbish sound quality.
Koz may be able to direct you to a couple that are capable of reasonably good sound quality.

There are a number of “portable digital recorders” available that are capable of recording with high quality. These are usually marketed for recording music. Some examples include models from Zoom, Tascam, Boss, Marantz, Roland, and other manufacturers. Prices start from around $150. Most have built-in microphones. Some of the more expensive models support condenser microphones (for example, the Zoom H4n).

Are they really noise free?

I suspect that really means they deliver a noise-free show which, since nobody can actually do that, means they automatically apply noise reduction and noise gating. ACX (if that’s your goal) is looking for those because they can create sound damage if badly applied.

Zoom, Tascam, Boss, Marantz, Roland, and other manufacturers…

That’s pretty much the list. I saw a YouTube shootout between the Zoom H1n and the Tascam DR-05. I couldn’t tell any sound difference, so it’s down to convenience and features. My money would be on the H1n just because of how they arranged the microphones. It’s less likely to make odd stereo errors when used close to your face.

It has a socket for a microphone stand. There are two different standards, so you need to make sure the socket and stand match. My older Zoom H4 and my On-Stage-Stands stand do not match and I would need to get an adapter.

You can also get a clothespin mount and attach many different recorders or microphones to a boom stand which is recommended for voice recording.

A roll of paper towels is not a terrible microphone stand. That and a heavy towel or blanket on the table can be made to work reasonable well.

That dark blue background is a heavy furniture moving pad.

The fuchsia binder clip is from Staples Office Supply.


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Koz

Just to let you know my ACX check has shown a all clear for all my files regarding noise floor, Normalisation etc. Apologies to Nyquist for being such a dick and this forum has proven its worth…
Thank You…

Ok, just another question. I recorded a one hour and twenty minute chapter for my book. The AGX check said that the file is too long for checking and did ask me to do the checks in batches which I have done…Is this normal? Also I pass the check then revisit the checked file without changing anything and fail…Also I failed the test sample I sent in a while ago due to excessive noise reduction tone on my voice…Now to pass the ACX test I have to use voice reduction again to pass the ACX which I now pass easily… I am worried that after 17 hours of work and all been passed by the test my work gets rejected…I dont normalise as all the waveforms are in the same place and still pass the test…Any advise or help??

This is a little scrambled. The test process is not in all one place.

I failed the test sample I sent in a while ago due to excessive noise reduction tone on my voice

That’s very home user. You can’t just beat your voice to death with processing and still pass. That’s what cellphones do and that’s why they sound like cellphones.

You can’t hover around the -60dB noise reading and be stable either. I have a fuzzy rule that you have to pass it by at least -65dB to unconditionally pass. As an example, an Exported sound file will be very slightly noisier than the Audacity Project due to the dithering signal.

There can be a change between WAV export and MP3 export. MP3 feels perfectly justified in shuffling your voice around a little bit if it makes the files smaller. That’s how it works. That can kill you if you’re right up against the edge of passing.

ACX Check needs at least 3/4 second of clean, pure, well-behaved background noise to work right. If it can’t find noise like that in your show, it will measure whatever it can find which can be you breathing, shuffling in your chair, or sorting papers. That will give you a massively high noise reading that isn’t real.

I pass the check then revisit the checked file without changing anything and fail…

That’s magic. Something changed. That’s the kind of thing you can get if you pass by the thickness of tissue paper. What were the three numbers?


And just a note on yes, you can do this, I set up a new Zoom H1n sound recorder on a roll of paper towels in my super quiet third bedroom, shot a short joke, ACX Mastered it in my Mac and it passed ACX conformance with no noise reduction at all.

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I need to do a new picture. That’s not my studio and that’s the wrong recorder, but that is my roll of paper towels and that’s the general setup I used to pass the joke clip.

Koz

I dont normalise as all the waveforms are in the same place and still pass the test…Any advise or help??

Just that the Mastering Suite should be used in order, not in pieces. It is a suite of tools, a harmonious grouping. They clean up after each other.

In general, if a tool isn’t needed, it doesn’t do anything when you apply it.

Koz

Thanks Koz/
The Noise reduction is 12/6/6 as per advise on the forum on this work… The failed sample was 6/6/6…My voice sounds absolutally the same and I cannot find ANY change no matter how loud or hard I try…The dithering makes sense with regard to noise…However I cannot see how I can -65 on my room tone without applying even more noise suppression and making me sound like The Predator…

Dont know Koz, I am tempted to just buy the Zoom recorder and replace my gear and just be secure in the effort that I am putting in as this noise suppression and noise floor issues are just starting to get me jaded…

Have you identified where the noise is coming from?

If it is predominantly computer fan noise, then a fanless portable recorder is likely to be a significant benefit. Moving the computer and / or microphone so that the mic picks up less fan noise could also be a significant (and cheaper) solution.

If the noise is predominantly traffic noise or air conditioning, then buying a portable recorder will provide little or no improvement.

Have you identified where the noise is coming from?

What he said.

Record a short passage and then stop breathing and moving for a couple of seconds. Stop.

Drag-select that two seconds (make sure you only get the silence) and Effect > Amplify > OK. That will boost the background noise as much as it possibly can. Turn the speaker volume down a bit (to avoid blast) and listen to it. What in your world can make noise like that and what does it sound like? Spring rain in the trees (fffffff). Thunder rumble? Frying mosquitos?

12, 6, 6 is right on the border of too much. If you already have other problems, you can get “wine glass” distortions in your voice.

While it’s selected, File > Export Selected Audio and post some of it here. Scroll down from a forum text window > Attachments > Add files.

Koz

If the noise is predominantly traffic noise or air conditioning, then buying a portable recorder will provide little or no improvement.

It only works if you have computer, connection or electronic problems. Those vanish. If you’re trying to record in the approach path of an airport, we can’t help you.

The portable recorder does do one other thing. It allows you to change recording “studios” with almost no effort. You don’t have to lug the computer with you.

One other odd trick. If it is environment, it’s not the worst idea to try a recording in your car. I had someone routinely turn out terrific voice recordings and I wondered how he did it. “My Toyota,” he said.

Koz

Hi Koz.
Just got the sample back, rejected again. The noise is definently electronic. will try and source the noise but if not found shall purchase Zoom…My studio is totally dead sonically speaking so its my gear thats at fault…

Hey Koz. Just another question.If I get the zoom do I record first then put it into Audacity via a flash card attachment thing. Or do I use a USB cable to transfer the file into Audacity.

Best way is to use a flash card reader and copy the recording directly from the flash card to your computer hard drive (or SSD).

Word of warning, don’t modify the contents of the flash card with your computer. The Zoom has it’s own formatting and indexing system, so use the Zoom when you want to delete, rename or otherwise modify the contents of the flash card. If you modify the contents of the flash card with your computer, you run a risk of making the flash card unreadable for the Zoom.

And before you start writing checks, it would be super good to post a sample of the noise so we can hear it. Wouldn’t it be sad if you spent the bux and it turns out to be something easily fixed?

Koz

Best way is to use a flash card reader and copy the recording directly from the flash card to your computer hard drive (or SSD).

However, obsessive engineer would like to point out that in a very long presentation, you will be mounting and unmounting that chip many, many times and I’m not sure the chip socket, particularly because there’s clockwork inside, was built for that kind of use. I have a short USB cable and I can leave it connected to the recorder and just connect and disconnect from the computer as needed. That way, you wear out the cable which is easily replaced and the truly obsessive can buy a short computer extension cable and avoid wearing the computer out, too. You can get extensions in 6 inch (150mm) lengths.

Jury’s out on leaving the whole thing connected forever. The object is to divorce the computer and its problems from the recorder. You can get around that by putting the computer to sleep or shutting it down when not in use. Many people live on their connection, so that probably wouldn’t work for everybody.

That just calls out for a picture, doesn’t it?

As we go.

Koz

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Koz

Hi Koz me again…
OK There is a SSSS noise coming through my headphones which I cancel out using noise reduction… The noise vanishes when I turn down the gain on my Behringer interface. But then I can no longer hear my voice through my headphones and the waveform is tiny with miniscule volume… Now do you need to use headphones whilst recording and also may I then record but then normalise then amplify the small waveform to ACX test level ??l.

I think your microphone system isn’t up to this job. I went back three or four forum chapters and I didn’t see the model numbers of either the interface or the microphone. What are they?

Koz