Please check sound and advise

Hello everybody. I and my male partner are recording a demo. Same setup, same distance from the mic, same volume levels. Now, when I apply ACX mastering (lowrolloff, RMS normalise -20,5 db, limiter -3,5 db) and noise gate, my file sounds clean and nice (noepoly.wav), but my partner’s file sounds kind of saturated (in Greek I would say congested) or I do not know how else to describe it, please listen for yourself his before mastering and after mastering file. There is something in my partner’s mastered file (noejim-after.wav) that I cannot explain but I do not like. Also compare his after file (noejim-after.wav) with my after file (noepoly.wav). Can you please advise on that? Thank you in advance!

This is noejim-before after I mastered it and no Noise Gate.

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I think he sounds more natural without the Noise Gate. His background noise is very quiet naturally. If you don’t like his voice quality, you might try recording with a little more space between him and the microphone. Close, tight spacing can give that condensed, taxi-cab-radio voice.

Neither of your after sample files will meet ACX Check. They’re too loud.

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Don’t worry about the noise. ACX Check needs at least 3/4 second to accurately measure noise and your sample file doesn’t have enough. When I mastered Jim, I extended his natural silent portion at the 8 second mark.

I can’t explain your missing mastering other than some problem with Noise Gate. Audiobook Mastering guarantees Peak and RMS.

I don’t think you need the gate. That and microphone spacing might solve all your problems.


Thank you for the tips koz. I thought about a bigger distance to the mic but then I have to max out the mic amplification of my audio interface…
I tried to master it without the noise gate and it sounds a lot better, you were right!

It doesn’t need much. Audiobook Mastering will bring up the volume with little or no sound damage. Again, in my opinion, Jim has a quiet enough background noise that he can back away a little bit with no serious problem. He passes Noise at -76dB. The fuzzy rule is to be able to pass at -65dB and the actual drop-dead limit is -60dB.

What microphone are you using for this work? That high quality is unusual for home readers.

I can listen to a story in either of those voices.


I have to max out the mic amplification

There is one “magic” consideration. It’s not good to operate audio equipment at the extremes, either too far up or too far down. That’s where manufacturing tolerances start to fall apart. In my opinion, I would change nothing but the microphone spacing—and not very much of that.


There’s too much below 200Hz, (relative to the rest of the spectrum) …

Before-after EQ & De-ess.gif
It also needs de-essing, IMO.

If you haven’t got a real-time equalizer plugin to experiment with , see …

TDR Nova | Tokyo Dawn Records *

[ * TDR Nova can De-ess & equalize at the same time ]