After your submission makes it through AudioLab, it has to pass Human Quality Control and that’s when a real person finds the p-popping, breath noises, background swishing, pronunciation problems, etc.
Thank you. Tests don’t work well in MP3 because MP3 creates sound distortions and we’re never sure if damage was the MP3 or you.
Someone posted an ACX process which was a series of compressors and limiters. Is that where you got the idea from? There are problems with that technique. As you noted, it makes you sound dense and squashed. It brings up the background noise more each pass, and it’s easy to fall out of compression range by accident. Last two words.
I’m guessing you moved your head a little right there. That also means you can’t do theatrical expression during your read. Any sad/happy/excited volume change is going to drive the compressors nuts.
Yes, that is how the broadcasters do it, but they only use one set of compressor/limiter and that’s only to maintain enough volume stability so you’re not constantly turning your radio up and down.
That’s not how Audacity’s Audiobook Mastering does it.
ACX is clear their goal is someone telling you a story over cups of tea in real life with no distractions.
If you’re having speech volume problems, try oblique positioning of the microphone (B).
You can put the microphone much closer to you (roughly one power fist) and be much louder without mouth wind problems. If you’re using a pop and blast filter (that tennis racket thing if you have one) you can probably stop using it if the microphone is not directly in front of you.