passing ACX

I am new to Audacity and have created three project files,and also saved them to individual WAV files. I hope to merge all three into a chapter, but decided to start with these three smaller projects to see how things work. When finished recording I run ACX check, and all three projects pass the peak and floor requirements but the RMS is off. When I run the Effect - Loudness Normalization function, the RMS is adjusted appropriately but the peaks and/or floors are off. I have read the mastering help and tried to follow the steps, but the Effect - Limiter function does not display in the drop down list. I am using Windows 10 Pro, Audacity 2.4.1 and Yeti Blue mic. Recording in a very quiet location, no echo, 5 inches from mic. Thanks

Results from ACX check (prior to running the Loudness Normalization function)
project 1: -3 dB (peak), -23.46dB (RMS), -66.76dB (floor)
project 2: -4.42dB (peak), -30.07dB (RMS), -62.55dB (floor)
project 3: -5.8dB (peak), -28.59 dB (RMS), -62.55dB (floor)

The Limiter should be in the bottom section. If it’s not showing-up go to effects → Add/Remove Effects and make sure it’s enabled.

When I run the Effect - Loudness Normalization function,

Make sure to select the “RMS” option. (Or use [u]RMS Normalize[/u] which is an optional download.)

the RMS is adjusted appropriately but the peaks and/or floors are off.

It’s normal for the peaks to be too high after RMS Normalize. The Limiter “pushes down” the peaks (with very-little effect on the RMS levels).

And since RMS normalize usually boosts the volume, the noise floor will also be boosted. If the noise is out-of spec you’ll need to use some noise reduction, etc. (Be sure to run the low roll-off filter curve first to remove low-frequency noise.)

Recording in a very quiet location,

The requirements are very strict. -60dB is 1/1000th of 0dB. Most of us don’t have access to a professional soundproof studio and the Yeti will generate some noise.

Do you have to read a chapter in three steps?

ACX puts great value on having all parts of your performance match—or seem to. That’s a lot easier if you read a chapter in one go rather than trying to break it up before and after lunch, for example.

You illustrate the problem in your posted work. The three segments are not going to have the same loudness value and there is going to be a jump when you push them together. ACX doesn’t much like that. That’s a distraction and they just hate that.

When you get done reading your chapter in one pass—even before editing, Export it as a WAV (Mocrosoft) 16-bit perfect quality sound file and move it someplace safe. That’s your lifeboat if something bad happens and destroys the edit.

Mastering is not fluffy, make it up as you go. There are three steps in a suite, a harmonious grouping. You have to apply the steps in order, not add any, or leave any out.

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There’s also a trick to reading. Wear good quality, sealed on the head headphones while you perform and that will help you stay the same volume for a long read.

Home readers may have problems here because you can’t plug headphones into the computer. They have to go in the microphone, sound mixer, or interface in this case.