Questions From New Narrator

Here’s the Amazon link to the mic I bought:

I do understand that I have to do my own acting, but I’ve already got contracts for two books and two others that say they will let me know when the book is ready. When these two books are finished, I’ll have a lot better idea whether I’m any good at narrating or not.

At least I can be sure my sound is good!

Test 4.1 Corrected.wav

Almost identical. I did think about this a little when I was designing the suite. In General, if the last two steps aren’t needed, they don’t do anything. So there’s no down side. RMS Normalize may, for example, correct your clip loudness from -20dB to -20dB.

Noise Reduction and DeEsser don’t work that way, they always have some change in the sound which is why ACX wants you to stop correcting if you don’t need correction.

Back to the raw reading for a second. Can you correct that fluff at 9 seconds in post production editing? Experienced readers have personalized techniques for what happens when they make a mistake. Ring a bell, blow a whistle. Just leave a big gap. Anything so you can find your place later when you’re staring at 30 minutes of dense blue waves. You can even set an Audacity Label at that point so you can go back later and fix it.

And by going back later, I don’t mean record a correction later. It is recommended that you stop just after the fluff and record the correction right then in order to maintain your story rhythm, flow and pitch. After you make a couple of those you figure out how far back to go so you don’t kill yourself later in editing. In General, you read that whole sentence again. Don’t back up one word and let fly. It takes some getting used to. See if you can make that one sound natural.

Make another test. Set up as normal with you seated in place. Announce “Room Tone Test.” Sit quietly and breathe normally for nineteen seconds. Post the WAV.

You never told us what the computer was. What is it— and where is it?

Since you’re on Windows, it’s possible you’re announcing through layers of Windows Voice Processing and that may be some of the boom sound.

You don’t have this kind of voice damage, but you should go to those locations and make sure all those services are turned off.

Windows comes out of the box all set up for corporate conferencing and communications with automatic echo cancellation and voice processing. They haven’t been general purpose computers in years.


See? Other people wouldn’t mind you reading to them, either.

I’ll have a lot better idea whether I’m any good at narrating or not.

Oh, it’s so much worse than that. When you get to the end of the first book, you’ll want nothing more than go back and read it all again.

“Goodness, I was really terrible at the beginning of this…”

That doesn’t happen on the second book.


Yes, I’m sure I will be critical of my performance on at least the first book but I’m enjoying the creation process. I think I like the production after the reading most of all.

Are you saying I shouldn’t use noise reduction or the de-esser?

Tomorrow I’ll make the changes you recommend and post that clip for you.


You never told us what the computer was. What is it— and where is it?


Oh yes, it’s not an expensive computer. It’s a Lenovo Ideapad 320 and I have been placing it directly in front of the mic.

Got it. I think your laptop microphones are those two dots up next to the camera on the lid. See if your instructions say anything more about that.
Do a scratch test. Start a recording and announce “Lenovo Microphone” and then scratch it/them. Then “Yeti” and scratch that.


I have been placing it directly in front of the mic

Working from the wall, it’s Lenovo, Yeti and then you?

A cousin to this.


Yes, it looks like that except for the stacks of books that are now on both sides of the mic. Also, my mic is not hanging from a boom. It sits on the table in a holder. I’ll run the Lenovo mic test tomorrow too. I see the dots on my computer.

I see the dots on my computer.

Do the detailed instructions tell you that’s where the microphones are?

The on-line stuff isn’t very helpful. Yes, I know the case colors are pretty. I got that.


The instruction manual says the mic is the one dot to the left of the camera.

Hi Koz,

I’m attaching the Room Tone Test and the Microphone Test below. When I was recording, I could hear (very faintly) what sounded like a commercial in the headphones but I couldn’t hear it without the headphones. Before recording, I turned off everything in the house so I don’t know where that came from. Do you know what’s going on with that?

Also, to answer one of your previous questions about the mistake I made in a sample. Normally, when I make a mistake I clap twice and then repeat the last several words. That makes it easy for me to find the problem. I just didn’t do that on the sample I sent you.

what sounded like a commercial in the headphones

You could be one of those lucky celebrities with one of these towers in the back yard.

I was working in the neighborhood and heard about a movie production shooting literally in the shadow of that tower. Super sensitive Hollywood microphones a block away from a rock-crusher radio station. What could possibly go wrong?

If you’re really lucky, you can get KABC radio Los Angeles on your waffle iron. Did it appear during recording? Does it appear on your recordings?

I’ll pull down your clips shortly. I’m particularly interested in the Room Tone clip. You have Something in the background but it’s not there long enough in a regular performance to identify it.


Just my luck. Oh well, I’m looking forward to finding out what you’re hearing in my room tone clip. Also, I think I figured out what that clicking noise was on one of the first recordings. There was a ceiling fan on in a room across the hall.

OK, this is too good. I can’t quite make out the words, but I suspect anybody who likes rap music would be able to pick it out in an instant.

All I did was make your room tone segment crazy loud.

“something something Call me on the Tele Phone.”

So we’re not joking about the candy-cane striped tower in the back yard any more. This is classic radio station leaking into your performance—unless you have a neighbor that likes rap.

The fact that you remember a commercial pretty well nails it.

Look around the neighborhood. AM radio towers are very tall and tend to be on their own for about a block around. There could be several matched towers or a main and smaller backup as in my illustration.

I’m sure you’re wondering what to do about this.

Probably nothing simple. Try this, do anther room tone test with nothing plugged into the wall. Completely battery power. Don’t just turn off the adapter, unplug it from the wall.

There are people who have to record everything on batteries because their wall power is so ratty it gets into their performance.


Well, this is really annoying. I checked and there is a tower about 8/10 of a mile (as the crow flies) from my house. But it’s not very tall and is close to several 2-3 story buildings I didn’t think it was even in service because the building next to it with the station name on it is ratty and looks abandoned. I do live in a semi-detached house but my neighbor is 84 years old so I don’t think it’s her, but you never know.

Attached is the second Room Tone clip. It sounds like they’re playing a different song if it’s turned way up.

Arggh, I wish there was a way to fix this, other than moving.

Britney Spears, unless I miss my guess.

Was that on battery power with no connection to the wall?

Is the laptop on WiFi for the internet connection, or do you have a network wire?
Screen Shot 2018-04-14 at 21.26.54.png
OK, so now it’s a decision tree. We can continue to troubleshoot. There are sometimes things that can be done once we figure out where it’s coming from. Something in your system is an antenna or has high sensitivity in the presence of radio energy.

Typically, it’s not hazardous. I worked at several transmitter sites and all the workers retire at a ripe old age and take up skiing in the Adirondacks.

The very first place to look is the Yeti. There is a small, very thin piece of foil inside the microphone (to catch your voice) and it’s connected to very high volume boost electronics. That grillwork on top of the Yeti is supposed to be metal and bonded to the case of the microphone to prevent problems like this. That could be expensive, so I wouldn’t be shocked if it was actually plastic with a metal coating.


Wait. One more easy one. Do you have a second USB cable? If you do, swap it with the one on the microphone. Unplug and plug a couple of times at each end. Restart Audacity.

If you have no second cable, unplug and replug both ends of the existing one. Restart Audacity.

How long is the USB cable?

If you can hear the station with your volume turned up, you don’t need to post new clips.

Do you have a nice roll of aluminum foil?


Yes, the computer was entirely on battery power. The internet connection is on a network.

I ran the room tone test again this morning, this time with a different USB cable (3-feet long), unplugging it several times and restarting Audacity. I do not hear the radio station. Yay!

But now when I run the ACX Check it passes peak and noise floor but not RMS. It says that RMS is too low. Is this a problem with where I have the gain set or ???

Yes, I have aluminum foil ???

Do you want to hear the clip from this room tone test that was clear of the radio station?

Yes, I have aluminum foil ???

You only needed that if the other radio station tests failed.
A shorter USB cable was on the list further down.

It says that RMS is too low.

The limits are -18dB to -23dB. Did you miss it by much? -24dB??

If not and you didn’t change anything (the cable should not affect volume), then this is just the normal announcing variation for you—and it’s very common.

I predict (pressing finger tips to forehead) you can apply the Mastering Suite and the test comes out fine. We should remember that ACX Check will give bad noise readings if you don’t have at least a half-second of room tone.


On this morning’s clip the RMS was -60.9, but on another clip that I recorded yesterday (with a regular passage read and the longer USB cord), it was -25.3. I did run the mastering and now it passes except for the noise floor. It says it is -23.7 and exceeds the noise floor.

What do you think? Is this now operator error?