ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

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steve
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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by steve » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:03 pm

Angus Freathy wrote:
Wed Dec 05, 2018 12:47 pm
Wondering whether anyone else using 'ACX-check' has had success or frustration?
"ACX-Check" is quite popular, and I don't recall hearing of others having this problem.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by Angus Freathy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 3:06 pm

Ok - thanks for that.
A

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by kozikowski » Wed Dec 05, 2018 4:50 pm

I don't recall hearing of others having this problem.
I have it on multiple machines, OS's and Audacity versions and never had any trouble.

There is one Mac oddity that might stick you. There's a difference between /Library/Application Support and ~/Library/Application Support. You want the one with the squiggly line (Tilde) in front. That's a Linux shortcut for /user/home and the two are very different. You want the one with the Tilde.


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That's Go > Go To Folder from the top of the screen. So no, you don't have to do it through the Terminal app.


ACX-Check is not perfect. You should know it's possible to fake it out under some conditions.

Peak (tops of the blue waves) and RMS (Loudness) are pretty reliable, but the third one, Noise can give trouble. Noise requires at least 3/4 second of clean Room Tone somewhere in the performance to work right. You, the performer, can't make any noise at all.

This is an instruction panel from a different application (you don't need two seconds for the show).

http://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/Test ... reath.html

If you don't leave 3/4 second, ACX-Check will inspect whatever it can find and most likely be your breathing or something else way louder than the real theatrical value. You can mess this up the other way, too. If you thought it was a good trick to Generate > Silence when needed in the show; it's not. Generate > Silence gives an abnormally quiet noise measurement. It sounds funny during the show (holes in the sound) and it rings bells with the audiobook quality inspection team.

Koz

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by kozikowski » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:02 pm

I don't know that this is obvious anywhere in the instructions, but you can install Audacity inside a folder.


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That last one down is the folder exploded so you can see what's in it. It's probably no mystery what each folder does. Drag one of the Audacity.app's to the dock on the bottom of the screen (if that's where you placed it) and that becomes your shortcut.


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Koz

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by kozikowski » Wed Dec 05, 2018 5:15 pm

use 2.3.0 to 'P&R',
It's not the best idea to use abbreviations in a question (or an answer). Present and Record?
it is almost Midnight here
Nobody's shocked about time zone offsets (he said, from Pacific Standard Time). This is actually a worse problem for Audacity than many other forums. The forum has snappy response and it's not unusual to have two different postings step on each other—dueling postings. Other forums may take days to respond so the offsets aren't that obvious.
using Audacity mainly for audio-book production
Sometimes posters say that when they're opening the plastic wrap on the first computer. How many books have you published?

And more important for us, by what method are you mastering your work? We published one successful method and I'm interested in how other people did it.

Koz

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by Angus Freathy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:08 pm

Koz!
Wow! Thanks for all your inputs. Not sure where to start my unworthy responses .....
Maybe with your 11:50 post - I confess the whole Mac file-naming and storage structure is a mystery to me. I did see that there were more than a dozen apparently identical or near-identical folders called 'Library', so will take your diagrams/screen shots and try to explore the terrain.
ACX-check seems to do the job for me. I naively aim for a peak of -3.05 and average RMS of -20.5 (based on its results) and with a judicious combination of my larynx, my pre-amp board and Audacity's Normaliser and Limiter, it seems to work for ACX. Only ever had one 'knock-back', quite early in my 'career' after I must have inadvertently skipped the 'normalise/limit' steps. Duh!! Now I double-check - see below.
Noise does not seem to be an issue for me - the iMac is quiet, the Aphex pre-amp has a 'gate', and I do leave good chunks of time with only room tone. Fully agree with your comments about Generate > Silence - sounds quite eerie.
Now for 12:02 - I think I may have mentioned somewhere that when I installed 2.3.0, I requested the older version to be retained and saw that the system named 2.3.0 'Audacity 2' - catchy, n'est-ce pas? I now have two short-cuts in the dock, one black (2.2.1 - not 2.2.2, as erroneously mentioned yesterday) and one blue (2.3.0).
And so to 12:15 - sry 4 the abbrev. I found a whole list of marvellous expansions, ranging from 'Park and Ride' (for UK readers) to 'Probation and Rehabilitation' (probably more universal). In my context, 'P & R' is 'Punch and Roll', but U probably knew that anyway?

Sorry for my excessive sensitivity about the hour - I was guessing that you are west of me and wanted to apologise if my response was a bit curt.

The audiobook I have just begun is no. 37, not that anyone except me is counting, but indeed I am 'just out of the wrapper'.

I have, through trial and error and error and error, developed a work flow for mastering that seems to work. Typically, I will narrate the entire book, making each chapter a clip, so I will have let's say a 10-hour Project, divided into 20 chapters/clips.
(Until this latest escapade with P&R - sorry, Punch and Roll :-) - I would generally keep rolling with the recording and deal with the 'fluffs' during editing.)
When I reach the end of the book, I first make a duplicate track of the entire project, then work chapter by chapter.
I run Rx6 Mouth De-click, then Waves' De-Breath. Those two take just over one-sixth of the clip length (a minute plus, for each six minutes).
I then proof and edit in one pass. I am possibly lucky in that I don't need many 're-takes', so most of the editing is cutting the fluffs and shortening cough/spit/drink/swear pauses and taking out ear-pops that Rx6 doesn't catch (really).
I then run ACX-check, dividing long chapters into sections if the Finished Minutes are more than +/- 38, as I get an error if the clip is longer that that.
I aim, as mentioned, for +20.5 RMS, so Normalise the peak (normally up) such as to achieve my target RMS, then run Limiter set to -3.05, which shows as -3 when I run ACX-check again to double-check my levels.
Final step is to 'Export Selected Audio', using a cunningly devised folder structure and file-naming convention to optimise the eventual upload to ACX. Nothing special there, mp3, 44100 and a bit-rate slightly higher than the minimum (no idea why!!).

In terms of time needed, narration is 'real-time' and is eerily, almost always 110% of the Finished Minutes (FM). Editing comes out just under 200% of the FM and the front (de-click/de-breath) and back (mastering) processing about 30% in total. Altogether I therefore need just less than three and a half hours for a Finished Hour of book.
I hope that was what you were asking me!!

Now the very sad part - after a test on a long chapter of my current book, Punch and Roll, as expected, added a significant time to the narration phase, which I did not come close to recovering via shorter editing/proofing time. I narrated using 2.3.0, then opened the project in 2.2.1 for the rest of the way and that methodology worked, but unless I can improve my Punch and Roll technique (it's mostly breathing timing), I will stick with my current approach.
Phew!! Interesting. Thanks.
Angus

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by Angus Freathy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 7:11 pm

Koz - forgot to mention - I would be interested to be pointed towards the mastering methodology you mentioned towards the end of '12:15'.
Thanks,
Angus

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by kozikowski » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:23 pm

viewtopic.php?f=64&t=96103

That's mastering as simple and "bullet resistant" as I could work it out. It's three tools. Low Rolloff (rumble filter), RMS Normalize (loudness) and Limiter (blue wave peaks). If you have a quiet environment, you can post that and it will clear ACX Check and ACX Technical Conformance. It may not clear theatrical testing, but that's not an Audacity problem. That's whether or not you can read.

It appears you may already doing a variation of that, plus mouth noise adjustments and other theatrical patching.

There are some mastering techniques that use compression and dynamic volume altering. If those are working for you, fine, but they they can have problems such as demanding that Noise Reduction and some filtering are applied at the beginning of a piece rather than at the end, and they can really create problems if you have a noisy environment not solved by Noise Reduction. They can also fall apart if you have a low volume reading.


Were you able to get Punch and Roll to work OK? That is a very new part of the Audacity tool kit.

Koz

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by kozikowski » Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:44 pm

Mac file-naming
Since it's not unusual for me to have to ship sound files to Other People, I use filenames that pass all file transfer and operating systems.

Upper case, lower case, numbers -dash- and _underscore_.


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There are reasons to avoid spaces, too.


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Nobody wrote you have to use the Mac file system. I pile everything on the desktop and straighten it out from there.


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Stuff is the leading folder and there are multiple subfolders under that. I found that handy because if I use the Mac folders, sometimes they make messy assumptions about my desires. No, I do not want to mount and open my sound files in iTunes.

That also makes backups more straightforward.

If you do lose something, you can use the magnifying glass in the upper right. After it finds your work you can force it to tell you where it is by Command > Click.

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Re: ACX-check plug-in is 'hidden'

Post by Angus Freathy » Wed Dec 05, 2018 11:07 pm

Thanks for the info on Mac file flexibility - I have been brought up as a not-really-technical Windows person who knows just enough to cause problems, but on a Mac I am a real novice, with no idea of the rules.
Thanks also for the Mastering link/notes. As you say, I think I am killing the cat, albeit in a slightly different way. (Sorry cat-lovers - I am one too, lost ours just a year ago. :( ) The Aphex board does improve things theatrically and also eliminates the compression and most other processing after the fact.

I did get 'Probation and Rehab' to work (!), actually with no problems except that my 'performance' let me wondering - it was not as smooth as my previous method, possibly because of the distraction of having to switch from the Audacity window to the copy window - certainly need more practice, but the BIG BUT is that, for the moment, I am so much more efficient overall using my current method. The editing was a very different process - much smoother than having to chop out the fluffs - but didn't really save me any time, as I was dealing with more breathing / timing issues, so that the overall process in my work-flow (and I must stress that it is totally personal) was slower. I think I mentioned a multiple of almost 4, compared to my current level of just less than 3.5.

Onward and upward!
AF

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