Whole Book or Chapter Mastering?


My first audiobook for ACX has just gone on sale, with another at the QA stage and I’m about to start recording my third.

Since ACX need chapters uploaded separately, I have been editing and mastering each one, putting them though the ACX check and uploading them in turn before recording and processing the next. Incidentally, the Audacity mastering suite has been a godsend in this – my grateful thanks to whoever came up with it.

However, I’ve just watched an interview with 2 people from ACX who clearly thought this was the wrong way to do it and instead recommended recording the whole book, presumably on a single track before mastering it in one pass as it were, to ensure consistency, and only then separating the finished chapters for uploading. This makes sense but does anyone have any views or advice on this before I begin the next book? Or is either way ok?



You are doing it the right way, and since you have to submit separate chapters that means ACX is validating the book chapter-by-chapter. And mastering chapter-by-chapter should reduce the differences between chapters.

and instead recommended recording the whole book, presumably on a single track

I’d say that’s impossible! :wink:

I’ve just watched an interview with 2 people from ACX

Where is this interview?

This makes sense

It seems to make sense, but would only work if you have a perfect, professional reading style and never had any variation, ever, for the weeks it takes to read a book. There was a story about a broadcast presenter who would come to work looking like he’d been rolling in the gutter all night after binge drinking. When the light came on, he would sound absolutely pitch perfect until he finished his script and the light went off again. That’s the kind of work you need if you don’t correct chapter by chapter. There are no bad days.

It also assumes you’re watching the Audacity recording meters out the corner of your eye as you announce. You do that all the time, right?

Most normal people might have variations chapter to chapter (I couldn’t record this week) and those variations should vanish in step two, Loudness Normalization. Nobody can hear two or three dB variation and I expect Mastering to hit it closer than that.

We should also remember that ACX is the company that wants you to build a double-glazed, muffled, fully soundproofed recording studio in your apartment.

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In my opinion, if you have something working, hang onto it with white knuckles. And never change anything in the middle of a book.


Thank you both

That is very reassuring; I shall carry on as before. The interview was in a webinar on ‘Gravy for the Brain’