Submitting to ACX?

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
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geillalin
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Submitting to ACX?

Post by geillalin » Thu May 31, 2018 6:58 pm

I am nearing the end of editing my first audiobook (finally! :) and getting ready to submit it to ACX.

On ACX, I need to submit each chapter separately. As I recorded the whole book in one Audacity file, I planned to make a new file for each individual chapter to submit it to ACX.

My question is about ACX check. My understanding is that this measures the average levels of your recording to make sure they meets the submission requirements. So, should I use ACX check on my whole book file, or on each individual file once I split up the chapters? (since the average could potentially be different depending on the section of book i check) How does ACX check that your chapters meet the requirements?

I hope that makes sense! I'd appreciate any advice or tips about this process. Thank you!

kozikowski
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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by kozikowski » Thu May 31, 2018 7:56 pm

ACX Check measures three different things: Peaks, RMS (volume) and Noise. It was written by Flynwill by collecting several already existing tools. ACX Check is the collected works with a pretty face.

It's designed to be very similar to the "robot check" that ACX uses. As a fuzzy rule, nobody is going to listen to your work for theater, expression, tone and metre until you get the basics down.

ACX Check is an add-on but it appears under Analyze, not Effects.

I would check each chapter. If you try to check the whole book, you may run into troubles with maximum allowable show size and length. I'll play Sad Suzy for a minute and say if you fail a full book test, you're going to have to dig through the chapters anyway to find the problems.

Fair warning both ACX and ACX Check need some hold your breath and don't move "Room Tone" somewhere in the performance. ACX Check can't measure background noise if you don't stop talking long enough to find any. We need at least a half-second. I think they need more. You should check their instructions.

http://www.acx.com/help/acx-audio-submi ... /201456300


These are the standards:

ACX Technical limits:
— Peaks no louder than -3dB.
— RMS (performance loudness) between -18dB and -23dB.
— Noise no louder than -60dB.
Those are the top three values in the ACX Check panel

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Let us know how it comes out.

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by kozikowski » Thu May 31, 2018 8:02 pm

I planned to make a new file for each individual chapter to submit it to ACX.
And while you're there, also Export a WAV (Microsoft) 16-bit sound file and save that as your chapter perfect quality protection backup. Copy them to a separate thumb drive, disk or cloud.

If for some reason your Master Project fails to open, you'll need those to put the book back together.

ACX requires submission in MP3. That was a corporate decision. MP3 quality isn't as good as WAV. Did you install the Lame software? Audacity will not create an MP3 by itself.

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by kozikowski » Thu May 31, 2018 10:02 pm

I know I wrote one of these. I couldn't find it.

viewtopic.php?p=297423#p297423

I gotta get organized.

Koz

geillalin
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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by geillalin » Thu May 31, 2018 11:15 pm

Hi Koz, thanks so much for the replies!

When you say check each chapter, do you mean highlight each chapter within the whole recording and ACX Check it, or save each chapter in a separate document and check them then? Does it make a difference? I will also go ahead and ACX Check the whole book, like you suggested.

Thanks for the advice, just wanted to make sure I understand what I should do!

kozikowski
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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by kozikowski » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:44 am

I would Export a WAV copy of each chapter now and then copy them to a Safe Place.

The military would call what you have now a "Single Point Of Failure." Just the right mistake or a computer not feeling well this morning and your book may not open and may not be recoverable. How long did it take you to read it?

Good computer hygiene says you should be able to point to two different places that contain your valuable work.

Then after you do that, choose one chapter and check it for compliance.


Or, as a quick alternative, you can record a simple, short sound test and check that. Do it in your normal reading environment and conditions and see how that comes out. If it fails, post it on the forum and we'll see what's there. Doesn't matter what the words are, read the milk carton, but do it in your normal style.

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

"Hudson Dairy Milk is fortified with Vitamin D for strong bones and teeth..."

Koz

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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by kozikowski » Fri Jun 01, 2018 3:30 am

This is an example. I went into my quiet third bedroom just now with a simple sound recorder and cut this. I'm no performer. I subjected it to the AudioBook Mastering tools and then tested it with ACX Check. It passed.
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I did cheat a little bit. I cut off knocking over the coffee cup and I did it between metrobuses going by.

The FFFF noise just barely passes. If I was going for client production, I would suppress the background noise more and wonder why anybody in their right mind would hire me to do a voice job.

So yes it is possible for a home performer to do this with minimum equipment. I used an Olympus personal recorder at $120 USD. I processed it on a Mac Mini with normal 2.2.2 Audacity.

Koz

RaulY
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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by RaulY » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:30 pm

Since ACX requires you to submit each chapter individually, you should check each chapter file individually. You need to do this *after* your editing and any post production.

I use a Razer chroma keyboard (cheaper than Pro Tools keycaps :-) )and have the 1, 2, and 3 keys mapped for my standard post:

1. Compression,
2. Limiter,
3. ACX Check.

When I have my final edit, I simply tap 1 and accept my preferred default, 2 and accept, then 3 to make sure I'm good. When I sit with my artist for a final review, if there are any snips or tweaks in the submission version, it's just tap 3 again to make sure I didn't break anything.

By the way, I would strongly suggest that you record each chapter as its own Audacity project. Audacity is a great tool - probably my favorite of the several I have available for long format spoken word. However, it's not perfect. It is only a matter of time before you have a project get corrupted. If you find yourself in a position of having to do any sort of re-work, you really only want to have to deal with that single chapter project. All the folk suggesting safety backups are telling you that for a reason.

kozikowski
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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by kozikowski » Sat Jun 02, 2018 5:56 pm

It is only a matter of time before you have a project get corrupted.
What he said.
1. Compression,
2. Limiter,
3. ACX Check.
And you can get away with that if you have a pro microphone system or microphone that doesn't introduce rumble distortion and you're recording in a dead-quiet, echo-free room...and you can read aloud.

Provision for some of those corrections is built into Mastering 4.

viewtopic.php?f=64&t=96103

Koz

RaulY
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Re: Submitting to ACX?

Post by RaulY » Sat Jun 02, 2018 10:27 pm

kozikowski wrote: And you can get away with that if you have a pro microphone system or microphone that doesn't introduce rumble distortion and you're recording in a dead-quiet, echo-free room...and you can read aloud.
Uhh... well. Yes. There is that. Yamaha analog mixer has the EQ. I'm using an ART tube preamp and a Peavey CEL 2 in the insert tuned to the talent for primary compressor/expander. It's one of the most neutral compressors I've found yet. The Mbox is pretty much used only for the digital I/O. Everything is proper gain structured.

For spoken word, I'm using either and AKG c414 or a Superlux r102 ribbon mic. Though, it's not a "booth," the room can be considered a "treated space" - I have control of how much reflections and/or ambient noise gets into the system. It just looks like an office/library. :)

It's "old school" but it gets me pretty good noise floors and minimal post-processing. The talent likes it because yes, they do know how to read, and none of the inflection, dynamics, or nuance is lost or squashed.

That said, if your post production process takes more steps, it's easy to map the key steps in Audacity. I like the "one step at a time," 1-2-...-n approach because it let's me tweak in the odd case that something needs to change for an isolated session.

And if it wasn't clear, do your post on the individual chapters as well as the ACX Check.

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