Total Audacity noob here

Welp, here it is. I recorded this in my living room, not in front of my PC as with previous samples. No electric lights, TV, or any other electrical power sources within 6’. Living room is bare walls. Sliding-glass patio door 1’ to my left, with hanging blinds. Sitting leaning forward overtop the unit on my couch.

I cut off the first second, where I pressed the record button and set the unit down on the towel on my coffee table. Mics set at standard 90 degrees.

Rip it apart! :smiley:

Sounding pretty good to me


I agree. There’s a little living room echo in there, but otherwise, we’re good.

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Aaaaand. We’re done. I applied ACX AudioBook Mastering 4 and very gentle Noise Reduction of the beast (6, 6, 6). It passes ACX Technical Conformance, has no distortion and sounds exactly like you.

Let us know if you have any trouble with either Mastering or Noise Reduction.

This is straight down your alley:

Mark Twain on the First Woman in Nevada

Old inhabitants tell how, in a certain Nevada camp, the news went abroad early in the morning that a woman was come! The miners had seen a calico dress hanging out of a wagon down at the camping ground—sign of emigrants from over the great plains. Everybody went down there, and a shout went up when an actual bona fide dress was discovered fluttering in the wind! The male emigrant was visible. The miners said:

“Fetch her out!”

He said: “It’s my wife, gentlemen—she is sick—we have been robbed of money, provisions, everything, by the Indians—we want to rest.”

“Fetch her out! We’ve got to see her!”

“But gentlemen, the poor thing, she—“


He “fetched her out,” and they swung their hats and sent up three rousing cheers, and they crowded around and gazed at her, and touched her dress, and listened to her voice with the look of men who listened to a memory rather than a present reality—and then they collected twenty-five hundreds dollars in gold and gave it to the man, and swung their hats again, and gave three more cheers, and went home satisfied.


Thanks gents, but I got this, when I ran ACX-Check on the raw file:
(Maybe because I hadn’t done any post-processing? Or also I think I might have been a little too far away from the mics when I recorded; plus I had set recording level down to 75 from the factory default 80; 50-70 were way too low.
Plus I’m a scrub. :slight_smile:

ETA: I’m sure once I do post-processing it’ll pass ACX. I just need to see if my GF can print the Mastering, the NR, and the copy before she leaves today. I much prefer to read from paper. Then I need to get Google Drive working to start hosting my stuff, I suppose. :slight_smile:
ACX 001a.jpg

Sounds very good.

Needs some noise-reduction to get the noise-floor down to below -60dB.

There is some reverberation from the room, (particularly noticeable when you say “pop filter”).
A software-tool called an expander can reduce the reverberation in the quiet gaps between words/phrases, but not during speech.

The real cure for reverb is to treat the room with sound-absorbing materials. egg-cartons will not work : you need something heavy-duty, quilt/duvet, thick blanket/curtain/towels, preferably ruched into pleats, or multiple layers of fabric.

If it’s for public-display, e.g. a demo-reel, SoundCloud is a better option.
It’s also possible to share SoundCloud tracks privately, only visible to the client,
and possible to enable download of the audio from SoundCloud so the client gets the file that way.

Plus I’m a scrub.

The specifications for recording your voice and submission for audiobooks are different. You are almost always going to record (slightly) lower volume than the client wants.

It’s possible to record too high and that can be immediately fatal. Overload damage is obvious and permanent. That’s a bad idea.

AudioBook Mastering 4 is basically three effects, one of them custom you have to download. If you don’t apply some process, you can reach two of the three specifications but rarely all three at the same time. You may have noticed that.

After I got done with Mastering, the background noise was just a little too high (fffffff), so I applied very gentle noise reduction.

And that’s how I did it.

What does it sound like if you read that Mark Twain thing? It takes around 52 seconds to read it. Mix it down to mono (if you need to) and export it MP3, 224 quality. That will fit on the forum. You’ll need to get good at this anyway because this is the process that ACX Audiobooks wants for submission.


There’s going to be a steep learning curve and I need to climb it quickly; the return period is 14 days for sound recorders at Guitar Center.

I’ll do a write-up and an “unboxing” vid when I get a chance if that’s something that would still be useful to this forum.
I will say right away that I’ve noticed three things:

The side-wheel is still a weakness. It doesn’t “roll” smoothly and tends to “select” (i.e. push in or “enter”) when rolling the kinda stiff wheel. This hopefully will attenuate with use.

The manual is tiny and is a Japanese → English translation and so phrasing is a bit awkward. Fortunately, the website has a .pdf manual that prints full-size to A4 standard letter-size paper.

It seems to use a lot of juice. Then again, the latest set of AAs my GF bought were the Best Buy house brand (she got a “good deal” :unamused: ) and they’re a couple of years old. As soon as I burn through this batch it’s back to “Coppertop” alkalines. BTW, I spoke with a Zoom rep yesterday in Hauppage NY and he confirmed that it is most likely battery quality and age (they are alkalines but, again, cheapos.) He said in his 5 years with the company he’d seen 1 return due to a power defect.

I’ve got some more replies to some stuff further down the thread, but I’m gonna try and get that Mark Twain copy read in and submitted today. GF was not able to print it before leaving work yesterday and so I’ll be recording from in front of my PC, reading from the screen. I’ve got a mini-tripod that I’ll place on a quad-folded towel but I still have my PC whirring along 2’ away to my right-front. So we’ll see how that recording environment works out.

More later.

ETA: BTW, Koz, I really like your Audacity GUI setup. Any tips on how to get mine looking like that and if I do mess it up, is there a “return to default” layout command?

toolbars can be repositioned & stretched.gif
If you want meters that go down to -96dB you’ll have to select that in Audacity preferences.

Other color-schemes are available, some are easier on the eye.

Reset toobars.

Thankya sir. :slight_smile:
And yup, I do want the -96dB.

You don’t have to move the meters down. You should be able to just pull sideways (or up and down) and the other windows will move out of the way. As Trebor above, you can pull them longer and taller as needed. I think there’s also a provision to make them go up and down rather than sideways.

There are two different meters. The recommendation for recording is Gradient. That’s where they turn colors as you get louder. Occasional peaks into Yellow.

Playback and editing uses the two-color Peak/RMS. Those are the two specifications for AudioBooks.


Tried recording at my desk in front of my PC monitor. Unit mounted on a cheap mini-tripod (I think we have a better one around here somewhere but haven’t found it yet) and on a folded towel. Had turned my rec level up from 75 to 80. Windscreen didn’t arrive via Amazon yesterday and is supposed to arrive today. Got the Twain copy printed out, though, so I can give that a read/record later. Read it to my GF this morning. Said I sounded good and gave me a tip for one portion of the read.

Looks like the new Coppertop batteries are going to work out fine.

I saw my levels go into the yellow and even red, so I think 80 is too high. Even my tin ear can tell I was coming in too hot and poppy in Audacity and the noise from the PC is going to make this spot untenable. So it’s back to the coffee table. Can’t start building a “studio” just yet. Told my GF about it and she’s like, “You are not going to turn our living room into a recording studio, dude.” So I replied, “Possible $$$,” and she goes, “Where can we find some used moving blankets?” :laughing:

Just for clarification’s sake, it’s cool to read from any material that is in the public domain, yeah?

Any links or pointers to material suited to my voice would be appreciated. :slight_smile:


I saw my levels go into the yellow and even red, so I think 80 is too high.

There is no “80.” The only time you pay attention to the position of the knob is if it’s all the way up or down. All other times you report the bouncing sound meter. If your voice is too crazy and gives peaks into the yellow, orange and red, then it’s too high. Back off. Occasional peaks that just start to turn yellow is good.

As you found, volume too loud is pure evil, noisy and in most cases permanent.

I’ll listen shortly.


There is one other case for paying attention to the knob. You set up for a second show and the knob got bumped from where it was last time. In That Case, knowing where the knob was is valuable. This is obsessive engineer talking.

But in all cases check the sound meters before you shoot anything.


it’s cool to read from any material that is in the public domain, yeah?

You can read whatever you want, you can’t sell it to anybody. That and the forum has some strict rules against marketing and promotion.

There’s a sideletter to that. It’s usually a good idea to do what a forum elf asks. If you sidestep or prevaricate enough times you could get the reputation as a Hostile Poster and find yourself typing into a silent keyboard.

The posted test is too loud, but you knew that going in. The pop at 16 seconds may vanish if you put the foam sock on there. Wind noise and P-Popping are cousins. Then back off the volume until you get light yellow peaks every so often.

Did you try to Export an MP3? Audacity will not make an MP3 without add-on Lame software.

Assuming you’re using Audacity 2.3.0, scroll down to the lame software download.

There’s another little exercise that’s handy. The H4 has a sound meter, yes? Make a constant oooooooo sound and see the difference between the H4 meters and the Audacity bouncing light meters. There may not be any, and yes I know it’s rough to perform and look at the H4 meters at the same time. I expect them to be within about 6dB of each other. Let us know.

Oh, and yes, you’ll be turning the computer off for the show. There’s a fuzzy rule if you can tell the computer is on by listening, turn it off.

“Possible $$$,”

Most of the civilized world is trying to read for audiobooks. The market for computer microphones is very brisk. A lot of new users are trying to make ratty, noisy recordings and patch them up in Audacity. You don’t have that problem. We know how to record your voice.

So get Lame installed and the Mark Twain printed out (it helps to do it in large type), turn off the computer and read through it into the H4. Do Not announce the piece. Read through it like you’re telling a story in real life. I think your voice will fit perfectly.

A WAV sound file that size will not fit on the forum, so you have to File > Export it as MP3. I’m guessing 256 quality. Inspect the sound file afterwords and make sure it’s no bigger than 2MB. If it is, destroy the original MP3 and make a new one at 225 quality of whatever the next step smaller is.

Post it.


I hear you loud and clear.

Done. In the new thread “No Woman, No Cry.” (No Woman, No Cry)