Mastering

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TJB
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Mastering

Post by TJB » Mon May 10, 2021 4:30 pm

After successfully recording 9 novels, today my mastering is failing. I'm using a Blue Yeti and no matter where I set the Gain control, I get the same effect; i.e., the RMS level is off ( for example " less than ACX -23db min) and/or the Noise Floor is off.

I've played with the Gain control all morning with no avail so you can color me STUMPED ... I've used the same mastering technique for months and today I can't get past this.

I'll start with bass/treble, then filter curve ... and everything LOOKS fine. Next step is RMS monitoring which I have set at -20. Once I hit that, everything spikes red in the sound track and the base line (usually pencil thin) is now about the width of a magic marker.

I then do the Limiter and check ACX and, lo and behold, either the noise is wrong or the RMS is wrong. If I play around with it, I can usually get one of the two to work but then the other won't. I've rebooted hoping this would fix it but no ...

Any suggestions would be appreciated ....................

DVDdoug
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Re: Mastering

Post by DVDdoug » Mon May 10, 2021 4:57 pm

When you adjust the levels linearly (such as RMS normalizing) EVERYTHING is adjusted up or down by the same amount. If you boost by 6dB, the peak, RMS, and noise all go-up by 6dB.

Limiting "pushes down" the peaks and it should have almost no effect on the RMS or noise levels. It should be no problem hitting the RMS & peak requirements if you follow the recommendations.

RMS Normalizing always ends-up requiring boost which always ends-up pushing the peaks out-of-spec (thus the required limiting) and it boosts the noise.

Almost everybody recording at home (not in a soundproof studio with pro equipment) needs to use some noise reduction. If the noise isn't too bad you can usually fix it. If the noise is bad, noise reduction and/or noise gating can create undesirable artifacts/side-effects.
After successfully recording 9 novels, today my mastering is failing. I'm using a Blue Yeti
Same setup as before? Same mic, same computer, same studio? Make sure you haven't changed the microphone settings. It should be set to cardioid. Maybe something in your house is more noisy than before? If you've changed computers, noise can get-into USB-powered mics through the USB power and some computers are noisier than others.

kozikowski
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Re: Mastering

Post by kozikowski » Mon May 10, 2021 5:16 pm

Could be simpler than that. Are you sure you're still using your Yeti? Do the scratch test and include your laptop internal microphone.

https://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/cli ... hTest2.mp3

Have you taken to using Skype or Zoom? They can change your sound settings and they don't ask you. I once did a Skype transmission and the far side could hear me OK, but they complained the clarity wasn't all that good. We finished the presentation, and days later I found Skype had switched to my laptop microphone and away from my professional, perfect microphone.

Koz

TJB
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Re: Mastering

Post by TJB » Mon May 10, 2021 5:45 pm

Koz, I'm not using a laptop ... using my desktop. I opened audacity and did the scratch test. I couldn't hear anything but the sound track showed the scratching on the Yeti

kozikowski
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Re: Mastering

Post by kozikowski » Mon May 10, 2021 6:04 pm

Post some of the noise.

Include a word or two and then five or six seconds of thick line noise. Post it as WAV.

Scroll down from a forum text window > Attachments > Add Files.

Koz

TJB
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Re: Mastering

Post by TJB » Mon May 10, 2021 9:06 pm

Koz here's the attachment (I hope)
audible test.wav
(1.1 MiB) Downloaded 10 times

kozikowski
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Re: Mastering

Post by kozikowski » Mon May 10, 2021 9:54 pm

... here's the attachment (I hope)
It's there. Not only noisy, but the voice seems pretty echoey for someone with 9 books.
either the noise is wrong or the RMS is wrong.
Another out-there symptom. Audiobook Mastering guarantees both Peak and RMS (Loudness). You can put floor sweepings in there and it would pass the first two ACX numbers. Noise is always the wild card.

I can account for these symptoms if Audacity was recording the wrong thing, or recording your Yeti and something else. Do you have a webcam?

Is the Yeti set for cardioid (heart-shaped) on the back? You are adjusting the GAIN knob on the back, right? That's the microphone loudness. The knob on the front is for your headphones.

There is one wacky test you can do. Crank the Yeti all the way up and yell into it. Yelling is OK. Do Not blow into a microphone. Can you make it overload? Can you announce blue waves that go all the way up and sound meters that smash all the way to the right?
successfully recording 9 novels
You left out the magic word: "Published."

Koz

TJB
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Re: Mastering

Post by TJB » Tue May 11, 2021 1:08 am

Koz, the magic word is Published ... and yes, nine times.

Here's my Mastering: Bass/Treble, Filter Curve , RMS (-20db), Limiter, ACX check, noise reduction, ACX check

This has worked like a charm for almost a year ... until today.

When I record, the base line is paper thin, even when I begin Mastering .... but as soon as I go to the RMS master, the whole thing goes wacky; i.e., the sound waves spikes almost all in red and the base line is now thick with a lot of small squiggles,

All day today I tried different settings for the Gain control and all with the same effect. It almost seems like the mike is super sensitive because of the immediate spiking once I apply the RMS master. The Peak values are OK throughout, it's just the RMS. If I go back and re-do the RMS Master, it doesn't do any good. If I clean up the noise floor, the RMS is still out of whack.

Aaaarrrgggghhh

kozikowski
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Re: Mastering

Post by kozikowski » Tue May 11, 2021 1:56 am

All day today I tried different settings for the Gain control
This is the gain control on the back of the Yeti, right? If you can't change that and get predictable changes in your voice, then you're not driving. At least one software program is "helping you." There are two immediate possibilities. Skype, Zoom, Teams Voice, and others all like to reset your sound settings while they're working and you can't stop them. Do Not leave any of those running in the background while you're recording. Sometimes they have strange sound settings behind after they close. Do a clean Windows shutdown. Shift + Shutdown > Wait > Start.

The other one is Windows itself. Go into the Windows Sound Control Panels and make sure there are no "enhancements" selected or running.

https://manual.audacityteam.org/man/faq ... hancements

If you can see Audacity at the same time you announce, watch the blue waves and bouncing sound meter as you change the Yeti volume control while you speak. Do the waves seem to fight you as you change the setting? You set lower and and waves ooze back up again? I understand this is easier if you've been doing this for a while, but I expect you to be able to set volume and it will stay there.

Koz

TJB
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Re: Mastering

Post by TJB » Tue May 11, 2021 4:29 pm

Koz, thanx for all your suggestions but I can't make it work. I've checked the sound controls on Windows and it looks fine and don't see any enhancements ... never used skype, zoom, etc on this computer.

Again, as I record, the base line looks fine and even when I begin mastering ... it remains fine thru Bass/Treble and Filter Curve ... then goes to pot when I hit RMS Normalize. All verbiage then spikes into red and the base line is now thick and pretty solid. And just as you pointed out, the playback makes me sound like I'm in the bottom of a barrel. I've got the gain set at about 10 o\clock but moving it around doesn't seem to make much of a difference.

Could the mic have gone bad somehow ... how would I test for that?

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