Sound is way off

Exactly correct. But there’s way to not work that hard. We publish Audiobook Mastering which is a one-step tool to automatically apply all three effects.

There is one soft correction. You should not be applying Noise Reduction customized for each chapter. ACX demands all your chapters match. If you do require Noise Reduction (some recording processes don’t) you might see if Noise Reduction of the Beast (6, 6, 6) will do it for you. That’s a nice, gentle reduction and nobody can tell what you did. The fuzzy rule is passing the -60dB noise limit by at least 5. So -65dB.

Unless they changed it, on-line ACX Audio Lab doesn’t check noise. Audacity ACX-Check does.

It’s good to know what your noise is. If it’s gentle, Spring Rain in the Trees (shshshshsh) then that’s normal, although a USB microphone should not fail that right out of the gate.

There are other noises, some of them pure evil. There is a USB error caused by both a cheap, inexpensive computer that doesn’t cost very much and a similar microphone. It causes digital trash to leak between the wires of the USB cable. It sounds like screaming mosquitoes and more importantly, will cause your voice submission to fail Human Testing even though the file passes ACX-Check.