"Too bassy"

I’ve now completed 16 novels for ACX and always had a new contract in the wings … until recently ! All my equipment is the same, yet everything I audition for ‘bombs’

I asked a good friend who is a musician and a capable sound engineer to listen to an audition and give me his thoughts. His reply follows: Hey Tom. I listened to the audition “Elnora”. But just going off of what I heard on Elnora nothing sounds too terribly off on it to where I would think it would disqualify you from any contracts. If I was to be overly critical, I’d say it was just a bit bassy, which could easily be EQ’ed to fix that. It also seems to be a bit breathy which is also a fairly easy fix with a pop filter if you don’t already have one. If you do have one, maybe this issue could also be fixed with some EQ’ing. A pop filter can easily be found by searching for one with the type of microphone that you use. Overall, I wouldn’t think either of these issues are difficult fixes.

I took a look at my settings on Bass and Treble on Audacity, and they’re set as Bass 6.0, Treble 4.0 and Volume 3.0

The link to the Elnora audition to which he refers is at: https://www.dropbox.com/s/c19csvjw0l1ug49/Audition%20%20ELNORA'S%20EYES.mp3?dl=0

Sooooo, any ideas as to what might be amiss???

There is reverb from the room, mostly in bass frequencies, which makes it a bit too bassy.
But IMO the worst thing is the talking-down-a-tube (comb) effect.
It shows up on the spectrogram as a stripe pattern, visibly most obvious when you are not speaking.
''Audition ELNORA'S EYES'' before-after.png
Headphone-bleed could cause that: sound leaking from headphones reaching the microphone.
possible cures for headphone-bleed:
turn down headphone volume when recording,
different headphone (or replacement ear pads) to stop the sound leaking out.

Low budget ?, see … https://youtu.be/1Gd0AsPNqMo?t=210

Thanx, Trebor … I’m using a Blue Yeti and no headphones. What do you suggest?

Just occurred to me that “Elnora audition” is not a raw recording :man_facepalming:

Another way to create the unwanted comb-effect is noise-reduction dialled-up too high.

acoustic treatment for your recording space is the best way to kill the reverb(eration), rather than de-reverb plugin$ which can make the audio sound computery.

Trebor, thanx for your help. My work flow is Filter Curve EQ, RMS Normalize, Limiter, Hum Removal and then Noise Reduction. This always lands me in the 73-76 range on Noisefloor. If I don’t apply the Noise Reduction, the Noisefloor is usually in the high 60’s.

If the Noisefloor is 73-76, is that bad and would it be better in the high 60’s?

Hum removal is even better than Noise Reduction at creating the unwanted comb-effect.
Should always err on the side of less rather than more with noise/hum reduction effects.

The free version of Couture plugin can bring down the noise-floor by about ~9dB without any telltale signs,
& has the beneficial side-effect of reducing room-reverb a little.
couture suggested settings.gif

Trebor, many thanx for all of y our input …

I have a couple of questions:

  1. You wrote “Hum removal is even better than Noise Reduction at creating the unwanted comb-effect.
    Should always err on the side of less rather than more with noise/hum reduction effects.” Does that mean that I should not use the hum removal? And, because this is all rather confusing to me, as for Noisefloor, is 76 better than, say, 69. Probably a stupid question, but nevertheless I’m confused
  2. If I wanted to change the bass (now allegedly too deep), how best could I do that? For instance, right now I’ve got the Bass and Treble set as follows:
    Bass 6.0
    Treble 4.0
    Volume 3.0
    Should I reduce the bass … or increase the treble … yadda, yadda, yadda
    Thanx again for your help

IMO you need to use less, or no, hum-removal. The comb-effect it has created in your audition is too conspicuous.

The bigger the negative number, the lower the noise-floor. -70dB is good enough for talking books.
The couture plugin mainly acts when you are not speaking, and can drop the noise-floor by about -9dB without anyone noticing you have processed the audio.

Cut the bass. There is bassy reverb from your recording room, that’s what’s making it too bassy.
To absorb bass needs thick sound-absorbing materials, (egg crates are not going to work).
A tent made of heavy-duty moving-blankets could be the answer … https://youtu.be/C2-HLjMwKWY?t=452
[hanging up a quilt or duvet may suffice].