The compressor knob should be off, but the EQ knobs should be in the middle. All the way to the left on those isn't "off."Let's get the basic mixer working.
Plug the mic into channel 1.
Gain at around 3:00 o'clock
The next 5 knobs at zero or in the middle.
Then FX should be full left. That's effects send. That's if you wanted to send your voice to a processor you bought as a separate box.
I didn't know they hosted a race or contest. Or is that something the writer does? I really doubt the microphone had anything to do with it. What was your exact message? They usually send along a review or short message.apparently had a better mic.
Once you pass ACX Check legally, you are then judged by Human Quality Control, or perhaps the producer. That's when a person listens to your work for reading style, rhythm, expression and theatrical quality. That's between you and the listener. Audacity has nothing to do with it. That's why it's super important you know exactly why you failed. Not everybody can read for production.
They got the real Chris Pratt to read for Emmet in Lego Movie. It's a cartoon. Anybody could read for it. He's an actor.
You can try whatever soundproofing you like, and everything you do will help, but the idea is get the most bang for the buck and effort.
Those half-round shields are in the exact wrong place to do the most good. The microphone is sensitive on its front and a little sideways. Face the microphone and spread your arms out. That's what you have to soundproof for the best effect. Then work further around the sides.
Top view. You are standing at 0 and the microphone is in the middle. This particular microphone has two dead places on the lower left and right sides. Most of the activity is straight up to you and some left and right, 90 and 270. That's where the most soundproofing should go.
How heavy is it? Real acoustic foam is heavy and like throwing a folded blanket across the room. Packing foam is designed to be light so it doesn't cost a lot when you ship something. Anything you use will do something. I shot some voice work in a storage closet. Boxes of paper contracts make terrific soundproofing.I have this type of foam.
There is a poster who has different techniques and tools for audiobooks and he posted a video. I watched most of it and noted he also found good use for shipping and moving blankets.
This isn't necessarily a recommendation. I just thought he had a different approach. But he did start with a quiet, echo-free room.
With a quiet, echo-free room I can hit ACX with a personal recorder and roll of paper towels.