Zoom H2N-noise when recording direct to Audacity thru USB audio interface

I’m stumped why a recording in GarageBand comes in at almost half the background noise that Audacity does. Neither one applies effects, filters, or corrections during recording (that I know of) and they’re both using the identical analog converter (the H2n).

If somebody presented that to me in a movie script, I would tell them to rewrite the scene with more believable symptoms.

There are danger signals.

Screen Shot 2021-04-17 at 4.45.25 PM.png
There’s a difference between squeaking past ACX standards and presenting for publication.

Peak at -3dB is dangerous. The standard is -3dB, but the conversion between your edit master and the MP3 submission isn’t exact. That’s why the Mastering Limiter setting is -3.5dB to soak up any errors rather than -3dB even. The other settings just slide by with a little olive oil applied.

Is the setup current? Can you announce a test?


Use GarageBand. Record it just like that. No editing unless it goes long. The forum has a data limit.


Stay in Audacity 2.4.2. There’s a new Audacity 3 coming out.


I’m on the edge of my seat for that sound test. It’s only ten seconds. Hold your breath for two seconds and announce for eight. Export WAV. Couldn’t be simpler.


Sorry, got a little busy over the weekend. Here’s one through GB, one through Audacity. Both direct USB audio i/f connects to macbook using the H2N.

Good Lord, bit of a fly in that ointment. I just listened back to that and they sound the same-same low rumble noise. That is NOT how they come out when I export a WAV from GB and edit it in Audacity. As soon as I can get to the studio again I’ll re-record and a version of what I’m putting out.

There’s a listening trick. Roll the clip forward and set your voice for pleasant listening volume. Then roll it back and listen to the whole thing without touching anything.

The first analysis is the GB clip just Mastered. Without doing anything but those three gentle effects, you meet ACX no trouble, and with a little elbow room to spare.

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 11.37.47 AM.png
But being professionally obsessive, I applied gentle Noise Reduction of the Beast (6-6-6).

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 11.38.54 AM.png

That should sound exactly like you and easily meet audiobook standards. If you do this under Audacity 3.0 (or whatever it turns into) it’s two steps. I melted Mastering into one Macro step. That may need to wait until they get the new program sorted.

It’s a common mistake to go Diving For Noise. It is not valid to crank your player volume all the way up during the Room Tone segment. Set your voice and listen to everything else at that volume.

As far as I can tell, you could submit that successfully.

I’ll come back with details, but I’m off to play with the Audacity sample.


same low rumble noise.

Mastering takes care of that. The Mastering Suite is a “suite.” A harmonious grouping. You have to use all three tools in order, don’t add any in the middle and don’t leave any out. They clean up after each other.

Don’t go nuts until I’m finished.

That is NOT how they come out when I export a WAV from GB and edit it in Audacity.

Did you pick up the wrong sound files? That never happens to me [cough cough].


Did you pick up the wrong sound files? That never happens to me [cough cough].

I fixed your scrambled quotes.

HA! I got the right ones, I think switching between programs on my jalopy computer, it messed with the audio i/f? I don’t know - that was definitely a first Thank you for all those tips on how to apply effects and master. I’m gonna link the newer takes, but it sounds like it really doesn’t matter. I’ll give the tips a try and see how it all fares for me. I’ve got to go into editing mode for a day or so, but I’ll check back with my experience.

New versions below - there is definitely a difference as one has the low rumble(Aud), the other (GB) sounds totally clean. Believe me I’m of the mindsets: if it ain’t broke…, and the simplest solutions is usually best. Lemme know what you think when you’re able, and as always, thank you for your time and expertise! The forum is telling me the GB one is too large, so here’s a DB link to it along with the direct to Audacity version again.

One more. Are you creating stereo tracks for a reason?

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 1.16.34 PM.png
There’s no good reason to have Left and Right versions of your voice, unless there’s a client who wants it that way. ACX would just as soon you submitted in mono.

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 1.16.52 PM.png
From your stereo track > Drop-Down on the left > Split Stereo to Mono.

[X] delete one track.

As we go.


Aaaaaaand Voice Sample-USB Direct to Audacity.wav failed.

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 1.31.18 PM.png
I just know we’re going to have a really good laugh about this when you figure out what’s going on.


And the DropBox submission passes.

This file wouldn’t fit on the forum because you didn’t stop at ten seconds. It’s over 16 seconds long.


Aha-I had made the mistake early in the process of recording to stereo before realizing I should’ve done it in mono and I saw that ACX says pick one or the other, so I just went with it as is. So far when I’ve submitted things to the site proper in the project tab, they have been accepted. No issues either in the audio analysis tab. I have raw WAVs of each edited chapter and can split them to mono and resubmit before the final full submission if needed. I can also do a Normalize pass at a -3.5 as well to be safe, if needed. Sorry about the file being to long, I did it quickly, but thought I’d cut it to 10 secs. Alas.

We will indeed share a laugh when this is figured out! Away from home now, but I’ll give a look at everything on my computer when I back and make sure I’ve answered all that I can.

To cover this. Record the best way that works for you. Apply the Audiobook Mastering Suite either from here…


Or the short form here.

You will find that the settings stick and you only have to type them all in once. Mind the Loudness Normalization RMS/LUFS display bug

Drag-Select some portion of Room Tone and Effect > Noise Reduction > Profile.

Select the whole performance or chapter > Effect > Noise Reduction > 6, 6, 6 > OK.

Screen Shot 2021-04-18 at 1.56.28 PM.png
I’ll go back later and see if I can sort why the two sound files are so different. Nothing leaps out. That should not be happening.


recording to stereo before realizing I should’ve done it in mono

If you’re recording from an H2n I don’t think you have any choice. It’s a stereo microphone and if you force it to mono during the recording, you may get loudness and clipping damage.

There is another way to “convert” from stereo to mono. Tracks > Mix > Mix Stereo down to Mono. That has the advantage of leaving the voice where it is and reducing microphone hiss noise.

The noise reduction is not quite half. Wouldn’t it be a kick if that was the difference between the two tracks. Garage Band is supplying Two-Track Mono and Audacity is presenting Real Stereo. There would be a significant noise difference between those two, but they would look the same.


As always-sage advice! I will tinker when I’m able. I’ve got three chapters to edit and mix so it may take a bit of work on my part, but I’ll report back. I did find some of these nuggets here on the forum with those mixing settings and the mighty Lucifer-esque 6/6/6 setting when I started, but couldn’t figure out why they didn’t seem to work for my files. It’s been quite the learning curve. Whatever I’ve done, seems to be working so far. But of course, I could be in for a rude awakening if when all is submitted, I find they don’t accept what I’ve done. We’ll see.

I find they don’t accept what I’ve done.

Being loud enough, quiet enough, etc is only the hardware test. Like do you know how to “microphone.” That gets you in the front door. You still have to read in an entertaining manner and not have voice distortions or mouth noises. ACX hates “distractions,” and you are producing a product for sale.

I don’t remember if I mentioned this or not, but your book has to be available on Amazon in paper or eBook and there are forbidden books. Scroll down.


No cookbooks, technical manuals, or yoga chants.