Passing RMS on Audacity 2.1.1

The signal on that is way too low.
You need to turn up the mic level,
e.g. see …
( there could also be a level control-knob on your mic ).

You should check you are actually recording from your external (USB) mic,
(rather than the computer’s internal mic),
by gently tapping those items: a recorded tap on the live mic will be louder.

However, with all that, I can make it pass ACX, all of it, with simple Mastering and gentle noise reduction.

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 4.19.24.png

Screen Shot 2019-12-20 at 4.18.57.png
Granted, it doesn’t pass by much. but you could go with that by bumping up Noise Reduction. That and as Trebor above, goose the volume a bit. If that’s good for you, I can post details.


It does have a little room echo in there and yes, that is typical of getting the wrong microphone. Tapping is good or you can try the scratch test. Depending on your Mac, the microphones can be on the left side. Consult your instructions. My older MacBook Pros have the microphone just left of the left-hand shift key. My newer Air has two tiny dots on the left edge.

Start a recording and scratch everything.


I turned the volume up on my external mic, new sample.

I sent you the raw sample, but I got it to pass with Filter Curve (low roll off), RMS normalize and Limiter (in that order). It sounded echo-ey when I added NR. Does it sound better to you and what sequence would you recommend? I installed Couture, but haven’t found the de-ess…


Suggested settings for couture are here …
Couture can only reduce room-reverb a little bit, you may need more sound absorbing treatment in the room.

Steve’s de-ess plugin is quick, but you have to dial-in the sibilance frequency from the white-hot areas above 4kHz in spectrogram view, (in your case it’s about 6600Hz).

Volume is perfect, but you sound like you’re announcing in a small room. Without going back over five forum chapters, what is your studio? The idea behind recording in a closet is to leave the heavy coats and jackets in there with you. If you take everything out, it’s going to sound like you’re recording in a box—which it does.

Echoes—sound bouncing off the walls—is really difficult. There’s no good way to get rid of them in post-production. You have to do it in real life. You are also warned against trying to fine tune your voice quality until you resolve this, because most of the fixes will change the tone of your voice.

Most home blankets for your bed make terrible soundproofing because they’re too light. Same with FedEx or UPS packing material. Packing’s job is to take up space and not weight anything, the opposite of what’s needed. You don’t need expensive sound panels, either, although they do work. Plain furniture moving-to-a-new-house blankets work just fine.

I made two blankets and some plastic pipes into a small sound studio as a test.

It does an OK job on street noises, but it kills room echoes.

You can buy those pads at a large hardware store and hang them from your room walls. Lay one on the floor, too. You can have floor/ceiling echoes. Note there’s one on the floor in this shoot. The heavier the pads the better.

That was a voice sound shoot for a movie. It’s hard to see in that photo, but those walls are double pads.


But wait! There’s more!

Now that your voice is loud enough, you have USB microphone whine sound in the background.

Yours isn’t this bad, but this is the idea.

There is no studio fix. Once you have this sound the only cure is to change the microphone or the computer…or both.

There’s a pre-baked Audacity tool to get rid of it. After that, I Mastered and 9, 6, 6 noise reduced. It sounds exactly like you’re speaking clearly and normally in a small box.

So fix the box, then we’ll deal with the whine and then the noise.

Then we can worry about sibilance, essing and other theater voice quality issues.


I’m using a borrowed microphone, but have ordered my own.

My set-up is essentially a blanket fort built with PVC pipe “walls”. I’m using the heaviest blankets I have for now. I’ve ordered some (hopefully) better ones for this.

It’s frustrating because when I was recording yesterday, although I still had things to work through, I was passing ACX every time (filter curve, RMS Normalize, Limiter). Tonight, I’ve been playing around with some new recordings (same steps) and I’m failing noise every. time. I even turned off my furnace and unplugged the freezer (no worries, I have a timer set to plug it back in…) and still failed. I was passing yesterday not having done either of those things.

Rather than bedding blankets, I used furniture moving blankets.

I bought my really heavy ones from a moving company in East Los Angeles. They’re 17 pounds—two gallons of milk.

I bought these later.

They’re not as heavy, but they do work OK for echoes and reverb in a live room, the exact problem you have.

There is one odd downside to the Audiobook Mastering Suite. It’s a gift from the angels as long as your studio or recorder doesn’t change. If your voice level goes up and down by accident or there’s something wrong with the computer, it will drive you nuts.

Remember the original complaint was you couldn’t meet RMS. Now you do.

I need to go back and read your posts.


Dueling Posts.

Next time you get the urge to spend money, post what you’re going to do on the forum first.

The goal for soundproofing is to be heavy. The Star moving blanket in the Amazon post weighs 3.2 pounds for shipping. That’s what the ordinary blanket on my bed weighs. The moving blanket from Harbor Freight weighs 9 pounds and the one I got from the East LA transportation company weighs 17 pounds—two gallons of milk.

How many did you order? You may need to use both old and new blankets.

You didn’t post a picture of your fort, but keep it away from the walls by six inches to a foot or so. That will force the echoes to go through the blankets twice. Do you have fashionable bare-wood floors and plain ceiling? That’s good for one echo right there. Put something on the floor. I’ve posted before you can dumpster dive behind a carpet store at night and pick up scraps that might work. My local store routinely overloads their dumpster and there are pieces lying around.

I was passing yesterday not having done either of those things.

There is one bookkeeping thing that could be happening. When you pass, write down the three numbers. Write them down again when you fail. Post both sets. ACX Testing is a Go/NoGo thing. It’s dramatic. You either pass or your don’t. The limit is -60dB. You could be announcing at -61dB on one day which would pass and -59dB on the next day which will not. You can get that kind if change by just leaning forward slightly when you talk. Or having too much coffee one day. So it’s good to know those numbers.

Also you never posted about the result of the scratch or tap test. The wrong microphone can pick up noise and echoes.


Are you starting to get a good idea what the recording engineer would be doing?


Do we know which Mac you have? Some of the smaller Macs do have fans that go on and off. We need to know where the microphone is if you have one.


Thanks for the help with the space, I understand how important it is. After reading your post, I added a layer of the heaviest blankets I have and honestly, I can hear a difference inside already. The fort is made of PVC pipe with the blankets slung over. It has a blanket ceiling and carpeted floor. The room it’s built in has painted drywall walls. I tried to upload a photo, but the file was too big. Thank you for the link to the blankets also.

The computer is a 21.5" imac bought new around 2012. The camera is on the top edge of the computer, smack in the middle. I’m attaching the scratch test – found my usb mic. I wasn’t talking into the mic when I did it, BTW :slight_smile:

I got my new microphone and will post samples from the old and new to see how you think they compare.


Ok, here we go. I hate to add in yet another element, but I’m going to have to return “my” mic eventually. Before I do though, Here is the old and the new. If we like to old better, maybe my friend would be willing to let me buy it from her and I could return the new. I think it’s sounding pretty good though. What do you think?

The new mic is much better: a night & day difference …

You’ve also successfully managed to silence the room reverb.

The new mic will pass ACX without any processing to reduce the noise-floor,
but still I’d be tempted to use a hint of couture to take the noise-floor down to -70dB.

Woo! I’m so happy. Thank you. I ran an ACX check with no processing and it passes noise, but not RMS. The mic has volume and sensitivity controls (I have everything set to mid-point). It’s also set to a cardioid pick up pattern (also has bi or Omni directional). Is the cardioid best?

The company I’m doing work for now wants their clips really short - like .1 seconds of room tone before the audio starts. Is there an easier way to set that in Audacity rather than manually clipping each file?

If New Mic is the G-Track, then that may be all you need. I got very low noise level and a passing ACX Check noise of -69dB. No noise reduction.

Screen Shot 2019-12-23 at 18.15.30.png
This is after just the three mastering tools. It took me 20 seconds. Everything passes. No other corrections. Given your recent history, we need to see if you can keep doing that through a whole book or a job.

If you’re just steaming for voice correction, try DeEsser at these settings after mastering.

Screen Shot 2019-12-23 at 18.25.19.png
You’re listening for sharp SS sounds to go away.



Cardioid (heart-shaped) points the sensitive part of the microphone to you. Omni tries to record the whole room—all directions, and bidirectional records you and whoever is behind the mic but not the sides. Speak into the company name.

Is there an easier way to set that in Audacity rather than manually clipping each file?

Nobody can hit that kind of timing without editing. You’re also going to have to suppress the breath you take at the beginning.

“[Gasp] Hudson Valley farms…”

So cut out the gasp and then cut off everything to the left of 0.1 seconds.

I’m guessing you’ll be the voice of a machine or process.

“The eight forty-five from Leominster is now arriving on track 14. Please mind the gap between the train and the platform.”


Yes, it’s work for an education company reading Question stems and answer choices (just like my new samples). I installed the de-esser you posted earlier, but my settings screen looks different from yours…
Screen Shot 2019-12-23 at 9.46.08 PM.png