workflow question- can I master and THEN edit

This may sound like I’m trying to cheat…because I totally am. I am recording a book for ACX (This is not my first book, I’ve done a few and never had trouble passing QC). My question is that I am spending a LOT of time editing, and then mastering only to discover extra noises that I didn’t notice before when bringing up the RMS through RMS normalize. Can I master my audio first, then go through and remove weird stuff, do spacing, paste room tone over odd sounds etc? It seems like a no brainer because it would cut down on editing time to have junk already removed. But everyone says- Save Raw, save edited file, and THEN master and save the final file. That way you can correct any mastering issues. I’m trying to understand why I can’t edit after mastering :wink:
Thoughts? Am I over thinking this?

Sidenote- I also produce Voiceovers for an online site and have made quite a bit of money. They don’t allow much in the way of processing, but I do normalize and then edit. That’s where I got the idea- bring the sound up FIRST and THEN edit?

When I talk about “mastering” I just mean the basic ACX RMS normalize, EQ with a low rolloff for speech and the Limiter on a soft limit

Since you are wearing the producer & engineer hats you can do whatever you want! :wink:

But since mastering is supposed to be the last step or the “final touches”, I’d just call it “processing” or “enhancing” or something. Recording engineers, mixing engineers, and mastering engineers often use the same or similar tools, just at different points in the process and maybe for slightly different goals.

Of course, you should run ACX Check and make any “final mastering” changes before you submit.

The main idea behind saving the raw recording is to avoid doing anything irreversible.

the basic ACX RMS normalize, EQ with a low rolloff for speech and the Limiter on a soft limit

I trust you’re not doing them in that order. The equalizer first gets rid of thump and rumble so it doesn’t screw up the other two tools. Then, RMS Normalize gets your presentation loud enough for the Limiter to work.

Off the top of my head, I can’t think of a reason editing post-master wouldn’t work. The whole idea behind Mastering is to make everything come out the same and pass Technical Conformance.

If somewhere in your editing you do something that causes a wave spike over -3dB, the performance will fail and it could take you a a good long while trying to find out what’s wrong.

You absolutely can’t patch sound quality or do vocal timbre matching or anything like that. Mastering produces files only a half dB away from peak overload and that’s before the conversion to MP3.

Don’t forget to export a WAV of raw readings. Computer errors, damage or explosions should never send you all the way back to the microphone and quiet room.


Nope- the order is as you said- I just remembered it wrong- I have it set up in a macro, so I don’t actually have to click each of them each time and just forgot the order.
I do punch and roll recording, so I’m really just fixing spaces, removing the occasional ugly mouth click and breath. If I had to to do anything more complex it would be before I “Mastered” it. It just seems like such a waste of time to go through the whole 5 hours of audio an extra time just to check it all after mastering. If I do it first, then I check everything as I edit. and I read along with the script as I go to check for other errors.

And yes, I always save everything as a raw Wav file first- before I do anything else. I do NOT want to record everything in a chapter again.

I have it set up in a macro

Would you like to post that Macro? There’s an equalization problem where you can’t just call out an equalization curve and have it magically appear. In fuzzy memory, Effect > Equalization is actually broken and appears on a developer repair list.

At least one of the tools has a length restriction and I don’t remember what it is. RMS Normalize?? I can’t go back and look right this second, but I believe there is a show length restriction.

Every time we post a nice tool for production, somebody tries to apply the tool to their 37-hour recording… Some of the tools need to put the show in memory and no, 37 hours is probably not going to fit.

That and Audacity makes a terrible surveillance recorder.