Please evaluate this sample

Made with Audacity 2.1.3
Windows 7
Blue Snowball ICE mic
Voice Meeter interface

I would be grateful for your critique



I’ll listen when I get back home. We like it when the poster includes a goal. “I want to read for AudioBooks.”

Some of the requirements shift depending on what you’re doing.


The sibilance is excessive …

There is a tool to reduce sibilance called a De-Esser .
However the sibilance on your recording is so extreme that tool isn’t sufficient.

I think you’ll have to change the position of the mic so it’s not directly in the air-stream from your mouth.

[There’s also a bit too much noise-reduction].

Is this a “straight off the mic” recording, or have you processed it? If it’s been processed, please post a raw “straight off the mic” sample.

Dear Trebor, Steve and Koz,

You are right: trying to create an audio book of my father’s memoirs which are still selling in both hard copy and ebooks.

Thanks for the help so far. This clip is raw as per instructions. Also, tried using the mic on side rather than direct.

Made with Audacity 2.1.3
Windows 7
Blue Snowball ICE mic
Voice Meeter interface

In process of downloading fish filets de-esser.

Hoping for additional comments.

Thank you


I’m just getting an error message from DropBox …

The folder ‘/iron furnace/Audio Edition’ doesn’t exist.


Sorry for the invconvenience.


I didn’t see any excessive sibilance. I think that’s just the way you sound. But I did run three different programs to get rid of all the background noise. (attached) Then I made it a little louder. See how you like it. Compare it to the one you posted on-line.

Do you have a window fan or air conditioning system? Do you have a desktop PC for recording? We could be listening to the cooling fans in the computer. MMMMMMRumbleRumbleRumble. Microphone suppliers insist that you can crank out the quality work if only you buy their microphone, but it’s a little more involved than that. You do need a quiet room.

Describe the room. Are you recording in your office? I can describe how I did the noise reduction so you can do it, but it’s usually best to eliminate the noise while you’re recording.

The show is probably enough for home and family listening, but I don’t think ACX AudioBook is going to accept it if that’s the goal.


Thank you.

I have been using Audacity’s noise reduction but the request was made for a “raw” file.

When I record, the hvac in the house is off and the mike is on a stand with a pop filter. Behind the mic is a draped blanket to dampen echo.

The PC is on the floor under the desk and I could probably add a blanket to help dampen that.

Did you by any chance add some bass to the raw file…it does sound a heck of a lot better!

If you feel that the sibilance is not as bad as previously, then perhaps by the side speak into the mike (as I do with a headset boom mic for other activities), perhaps I can practice a bit and minimize that problem.

If I were to provide you with a 2-1/2 minute sample which I will clean up, noise reduce, de-ess, etc, would you be able to evaluate that?


There is a trick to throwing a blanket over your computer. DO NOT BLOCK ANY AIR HOLES OR VENTS. Since it’s the air holes and vents making the noise, you can work that out. I’ll watch.

It’s not unusual for people to figure out a way to move the computer out of the room…or use a machine that doesn’t make noise.

you be able to evaluate that…performance

Oddly no. We can certainly tell you if you meet ACX AudioBook technical standards (Volume shall be this and so, etc.) but theatrical quality is entirely between you and ACX. As in the above examples, we all heard something different. (I think an elephant is very like a snake.)

I can tell you what I did if that was helpful.


We have a custom voice filter called LF Rolloff for Speech. It reduces the bass in the presentation in a very precise way. A similar tool is common in field film shoots to get rid of natural rumble and some wind sounds.
Unzip it and install it in the Audacity Equalizer.

Adding Custom Audacity Equalization Curves (LF-rolloff as an example)
– Select something on a timeline.
– Effect > Equalization > Save/Manage Curves > Import
– Select LF_rolloff_for_speech.xml > OK. (it won’t open a ZIP. You have to decompress it)
– LF rolloff for speech now appears in the equalization preset curve list.


That left one of the motor hum tones which I got rid of with a custom tone remover (notch filter).

Select the whole show by clicking just above MUTE. Effect > Notch Filter.
Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 17.58.06.png


Then simple noise reduction.

Drag-select a room-tone only portion of the show and Effect > Noise Reduction: Profile.
Select the whole show by clicking just above MUTE.
Effect > Noise Reduction: 9, 6, 6 > OK.


Then boost the volume a little.

Effect > Normalize…
Screen Shot 2017-04-05 at 18.00.54.png

And you got what I got. So no, it’s not simple noise reduction and most of those steps will probably vanish if you move the computer (hint hint).


Some of that forward honky sound could be cause by the table. Spread a heavy blanket, towel or multiple layers of cloth on the whole table under the microphone. That blue thing is a furniture moving blanket.

The book and orange bath towel are a terrific way to eliminate floor or table vibrations. You need both (it doesn’t have to be Stephen King).


There’s constant mains-hum and and intermittent metallic ringing at ~5Khz.
Those can be removed using this set of notch filters in Audacity’s nyquist prompt

(setf *track* (notch2 *track* 59 5))
(setf *track* (notch2 *track* 119 10))
(setf *track* (notch2 *track* 4780 50))
(setf *track* (notch2 *track* 5050 50))
(highpass8 *track*  20)

what the code looks like in Audacity's nyquist prompt.png

[ Paul-L’s DeClicker plugin for Audacity is here … Updated De-Clicker and new De-esser for speech ]

So now you know what a better quality microphone in a quiet, echo-free room will do for you. Good quality voice recording is not for the easily frightened, even if you’re not reading for audiobooks.


Koz and Trebor,

Thanks for taking the time to provide a full and comprehensive answer.

Will work on things…I now believe that it isn’t the computer fan causing the hum but rather a nearby fridge motor. I will deal with that.

I will try to make some progress on 1 or 2 chapters and then submit them to Audacity to be sure I am on the right track.

Thanks again,