No Woman, No Cry

From Mark Twain on the First Woman in Nevada

Took me two takes.


Forgot the ACX Check. This is said & done, final .mp3 cut.
ACX MT Nevada -by James H.jpg

Excellent delivery.

The standout problem with that is reverberation from the room.

Expansion can help reduce reverb, (and push-down the noise-floor).
Expansion makes the quiet bits even quieter, but leaves everything else alone.

A good free expander plugin is “Couture” …

There’s no real post-production fix for reverb.
The only true cure is to treat the room* to deaden reflections.

[ * or closet ]

That’s what I thought. I got no trouble listening to a story in that voice and I don’t think anybody else will, either.

Side issues: Most voice production is in mono, one blue wave and not stereo, two blue waves. When you finish with the reading and push the file over, make a safety copy somewhere. That’s your safety backup sound file if everything goes into the mud and so you don’t have to read it again.

Tracks > Mix > Mix Stereo to Mono. Then apply mastering 4.

I don’t hear any background noise or room echo. Did you find your furniture moving pads? Your room wasn’t all that bad in the first place, so it wouldn’t take much.

You can probably get an even better noise measurement by leaving a little clean background sound at either end of the piece, say 3/4 second. ACX Check needs that. I think that’s one of the ACX audiobook requirements, too. We can check with them.

Is that reading with the muff?

The only theatrical limit I can see is you’re a regional reader. Louis L’Amour would be straight down your alley, but I’d probably stay clear of Shakespeare.

And you can send them a test.


Missed one. When you get your edit master, export that as a WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit sound file. Only then export the MP3 sound file for publication. Yes, MP3 does create very minor sound damage, but that’s the way they want it.


Rather than start with a book, I’d try short jobs first, while you refine your technique.
(you could invest a week reading a book, & editing it, and the only return could be criticism).

If you can create a reverb-free room, your recordings would be technically better than some of the people on Fiverr [sic] who charge $35 for reading 200 words …

[ I don’t think Don did books ]

Thanks, gents, for all of your help getting a scrub doing something he really enjoys! :smiley:

There is no way I could have made it anywhere close to this far without everyone’s help.

I’ve got a lot to go over, obviously, both in this thread and my initial “Total Noob” thread.

Would the Elves prefer I continue discussion/questions/etc. in this thread or the other?

Thanks mucho! :slight_smile:

New posts on either thread will bubble up so we see it.

You have a ways to go to reach the current champion. That would be Ian in Hollywood at 39 forum chapters and about a year.


So. I’ve decided to make a serious run at this. I’m not gonna reach for the brass ring; I’m going for the gold, baby.

Y’all have said my voice and delivery are decent enough (I know I have some sibilance issues but now that I’ve got the muff and know to use Steve’s De-Esser, those should hopefully help attenuate that) and you guys are pros; I trust your judgement. :slight_smile:

I’m working on a game plan, and, again, you have given me some great starting points.

It will probably be that come Christmas, I’ll have a couple hundred bucks of disposable income, so I’ve come up with a list of material things that I might need. Please feel free to shoot any of these down:

Furniture moving blankets/pads for my “studio”
A sturdy tabletop/mini tripod
A clamshell foam-lined, water- and shock-proof, lockable carrying case
A good lanyard or two, one to hang from the wrist and one from the neck (the H4n Pro has a lanyard hole at the bottom)
A protective “walk-around” case, à la a cell-phone case, like the Otterbox I have on my phone. I think Zoom has a nylon one on their site. I’ll try to get it or something like it cheaper on Amazon, etc…

Any other suggestions?

Also, I need more copy to read. I love Louis L’Amour, but the copies I did have were destroyed by water damage from a busted water heater in the storage closet.

So, maybe go to Wikipedia, find some PC, apolitical, non-religious articles and print 'em out?

Thanks as always,

The shipping on those heavy blankets can be many times their cost.

If the budget stretches to a foam-lined case …

https ://www.

The moving blankets don’t travel well. Those are for a fixed install. You did throw a surprise in there. It’s a lot harder to get good recordings when you can’t control the room. It’s another talent. Wander around listening.

Note the H4n doesn’t have vibration suppression. It’s good not to ignore noise coming up through the floor or desk.

If you tap the microphone, it will wobble at you quietly. Those diagonal pieces are rubber bands.

I found a third party that makes a vibration isolator. That’s the white spidery thing.

I made one out of plumbing pipes and postal service rubber bands. There’s no glue. It knocks down for travel.

They’re all a combination of heavy and sloppy. That beings us to the book and towel.

Vibration has a hard time moving the heavy book through the sloppy towel. The book has no sound of its own.

Here’s another portable studio variation.

If you’re good at finding recording locations, you can fit your recorder and support in a bag the size of a shaving kit. Field recording is a talent heavy on experience…


Screen Shot 2018-12-02 at 03.55.29.png
The paper towel roll is not an accident. It does a terrific job of not transmitting desk vibrations to the H4, assisted by the slap and vibration-reducing moving pad. It gets the H4 closer to my face and is available at any Piggly Wiggly, 7-Eleven or Tesco.


+1 on the idea of starting with small projects. Travel and audiobooks don’t go well. ACX puts a lot of stress on your chapters matching. In general they don’t like distractions.

You have good natural rhythm, so you didn’t fall into another New User problem: Every Word is a Gem. I wish I had saved it. There was one poster with such a precise and painful reading style that his presentation qualified as inhumane torture by the Geneva Convention. His work was marketable, but maybe not to the client you expect.


I thought I read a post in here somewhere where some cat travels around with a pallet of 'em in the bed of his pickup. Dude must have the strength of an adult male silverback gorilla, the stamina of a Clydesdale, and the VO2max of an Iditarod sled dog. :wink: But I get your point. :slight_smile:

A guy taught me a trick once: Cupping your hands around and forward of your ears greatly increases one’s hearing and somewhat helps localize direction. Is this kinda what you mean?

I have to concur with you and Trebor on the small projects. I think I need to get my voice out on as many vectors as possible, and reading the collective work of Tolstoy ain’t gonna cut ice.

I do have two possible contacts in the media, though, that might be able to help somewhat: One is a broadcaster for a local FM station with a large listening base. I went to grade- and high school with her, and we’re friends on FB. The other is a personal friend of my brother’s and used to be part of a regular golf foursome with my Dad, my brother, and me. He’s a national TV reporter for one of the Big Three. I’m not sure how to approach them just yet. The TV guy always told me to do something with my voice.

Maybe the “Every Word is a Gem” guy was training for PsyOps warfare? Make your eyes glaze over and roll back into their sockets, did he? :wink:

Maybe not if they are 2 miles away. My GF has a family friend whose ex-BF (still on friendly terms) works for a large moving and storage company. Their main facility is about 4 street turns from where I’m sitting. GF is going to be reaching out to him this week.

The budget might. I understand audio foam ain’t cheap, though.

All good info, as per usual. :slight_smile: I’m trying to gather as much as I can as quickly as I can so as to flatten the learning curve. I have so much to learn, though!

some cat travels around with a pallet of 'em in the bed of his pickup.

I’ve done that [waving hand]. I’ve gone from this (that’s one double-thick wall).

…to a working soundstudio in about an hour.

That was a voice shoot for an animation project. Note there’s a pad on the floor.

That was how the obsessive engineer did it. It’s adjustable in 6" steps to any size pad. You can also do it with Home Store water pipes.

To bring this around. I have almost all the parts to make one of those desktop studios out of 1/2" cold water PVC and a moving blanket.

The foam thing comes up here and again. I think it’s Acoustafoam who makes treated panels to absorb sound. That wedge pattern is important. Sound and packing jobs are different. Packing is light and fluffy. It’s job is to take up space and not cost anything to ship a valuable vase.

Acoustic foam’s job is to be heavy and dense and not move much when sound hits it. Heavy and dense pretty much describes furniture moving pads. Stand by for sticker shock. I bet I can walk away with two or more pads for what a 24" sq. acoustic panel costs.


Auralex. That’s the panel I was looking for. There are several YouTube videos describing how foam panels work and comparing them.

The TV guy always told me to do something with my voice.


Make your eyes glaze over and roll back into their sockets, did he?

Everybody goes into this with misconceptions. The real shockers are the pro readers who just want to start doing it at home. They got the whole performance thing nailed. They just need to get the microphone working. That’s a forum whiplash problem because it’s not obvious from the posting who they are.

Starting from small, simple projects avoids another not-obvious problem. Anyone starting their first job reading a book will almost always get to the end and realize what trash the first few chapters are and read them again.


Cupping your hands around and forward of your ears

Nothing so exciting. Just pay attention. Can you tell your computer is on just by listening? Nobody up to that point was aware that their computer made noise.

Make a recording to discover your refrigerator has noises, and you don’t need the recording if you’re paying attention. Everybody ignores heating and cooling systems until they have to make a quiet recording.

My grandpa had a boarding house in the dead quiet mountains. People came from The Big City and couldn’t sleep without that constant City Noise in the background.

Taking that upside down, I was fascinated the first time I walked into a proper soundproofed room and my ears popped.

The real trick is walking cold into somebody else’s house and quickly make a list of noisemakers and the steps you would need to make a good recording. Those are the people who have been doing this for fifteen years.


I’ve always had pretty good situational/spatial awareness and decent hearing. The hearing part has the cumulative damage of age, listening to high-end audiophile equipment from the age of 12 (with a heavy emphasis on classic rock/heavy metal/classical music), live concerts, and a lot of small-arms fire.

But yeah, I can walk into a house/room and identify noisemakers/reflectors (at least the most obvious ones) fairly easily. But I ain’t got 15 years of professional experience. :wink:

Which brings me to another point. I was really surprised when I started doing recording with the H4 out in the living room. and it was relatively “quiet.”

The GF & I live in a ground floor apartment of a three-story apartment building. I thought I’d have much worse room noise than I do, what with the bare walls, and the patio door next to me, and the pool fountain 50 meters outside of that, and occasionally extremely loud upstairs neighbors. Envision a single mom with a ~12-year old boy, a ~9-year old girl, and the worst ever ~7-year old boy. We call him “Demon Boy.” The kids think their whole apartment is a bounce house/romper room. Sometimes it sounds like they’re dropping bowling balls on their floor. We can feel the vibration through the ceiling and the walls sometimes, plus hear the high-pitched screeching as they play. Plus the mom has sisters & friends that live in the complex, so there have been as many as at least 8 kids up in there at one time. I’ve been up there more than several times to knock on the door and politely ask the mom to have her kids bring it down by 20dB, and a undersized platoon of kids line up behind and around the mom.

The GF is resisting me “decorating” all of the walls with even new padding, but says she’ll go for a more compact situation, such as the one you illustrated with the PVC and the comforters. We are very spatially limited because we have too much stuff for a 1,200 sq. ft. apartment. The two walk-in closets are a no-go at this time. This is our last lease here and we’ll be buying a house next November, assuming (hoping?) that this ridiculously overheated D/FW housing market cools down.

So, I guess, that was all background, and my real question is: Is it okay to set up a “studio” in a corner, or do corners present their own problems, reflection-wise?

ETA: What about these?

or the 65lb./dozen weight?


If you see someone walk into a room that they have not been in before and they clap once an appear to be contemplating for a moment - there’s about a 50% chance that they are a sound engineer and are listening to the reverb :wink:

And the other 50% would be in appreciation for the wonderful decorating job.

I had an office with surgically parallel bare walls. It seemed to have a reverb time of between three and five minutes. The joke was I could break for lunch and the clap would still be going when I got back.

the one you illustrated with the PVC and the comforters

Or the even smaller 2’ square desktop solutions. Your room problems are not that severe. Any help is a good thing.