Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
Forum rules
ImageIf you require help using Audacity, please post on the forum board relevant to your operating system:
Windows
Mac OS X
GNU/Linux and Unix-like
kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41541
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by kozikowski » Sat Sep 15, 2018 9:26 am

a humble actor with a marketable voice.
I wondered. I spent a long time in Washington, DC and when Dulles airport went on line, they had the Tannoy/PA System announcements in your voice. "American Airlines flight 45 now boarding, gate 5." It was glorious while it lasted.

As I get closer to actual experience with DeEsser, I found I can watch the filter working. DeEsser, when launched and set, produces a progress panel on the screen and if you can watch the blue waves in your timeline, tiny portions of each blue word-blob vanish or decrease in volume.

I worried that such a waveform change could affect ACX conformance, but it didn't seem to. DeEsser certainly helps with the "ice pick in the ear" sound of harsh sibilance. This is such a wide-spread problem I'm learning how to spell "sibilance" without looking it up each time.

I found the best way to test for effectiveness is not so much flipping back and forth between two different timelines, but use one line and only correct half. Critically listen at the switch point and it's possible to more clearly hear the cutting edge of each S sound vanish.

You might try the correction on a freshly mastered clip and overdo it with the -30dB setting just to hear the "cartoon" effect.
every presenter under forty seems to lisp these days; but that's actually a trick of the microphones, eh?
It's a bad trick. One producer claimed on the forum he DeEsses everybody and produces desirable results almost always. It's visible. You can Analyze > Plot Spectrum and see a little "haystack" caused by the boosting of certain vocal tones. This led to analyzing the tones and writing a custom Effect > Equalization setting to suppress it. That's effective, too, but it has to be done for each presenter/microphone. DeEsser has analysis and detection built-in.


What did you decide for theater corrections: breaths, tongue-ticking, and wet mouth noises? My Opinion is ignore the breathing unless you're clinically asthmatic like one reader and concentrate on ticks and clicks.

And there our story turns to christianw and his vimeo presentation. I believe he addresses those corrections.

Making an Audiobook with Audacity
https://vimeo.com/287374350

Note he uses other Mastering processes. We both get there using very different techniques. Theater corrections are addressed after that.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41541
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by kozikowski » Sun Sep 16, 2018 2:59 am

I'm going to vanish in about two hours. If you have any testing you want, you should hit it before then, or wait until tomorrow.

Koz

EricMC
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:46 am
Operating System: Please select

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by EricMC » Sun Sep 16, 2018 9:53 pm

Oops. Sorry. Just spotted that.

Thanks again. It should be a small matter, then, to de-ess the chapters I have already edited.

I am into work for an early call this morning.

I realised that, on a Sunday, there is not so much background traffic - so decided best to leave it until this afternoon or tomorrow morning (my Tuesday), when there will be the usual heavy trucks through the day.

I'm thinking perhaps I should send a 20sec sample of one of my finished chapters — to check that it's not going to sound too processed for ACX.

All the best,


E

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41541
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by kozikowski » Mon Sep 17, 2018 1:15 am

If your problem is low pitch rumble and walls shaking, most of that is going to vanish in the First Step : Equalization. That's one of its jobs. If you can actually hear clashing of gears (does anybody clash gears any more?) then yes, that may be audible. Honking is pretty obvious.

I don't remember mentioning I have a bad pavement patch in front of the house. If the Metrobus hits it just right, I get a 1.8 Richter in the front room, but I've never heard it in any recording. Fair warning if the rumble and vibration are enough to cause stuff in the house to vibrate, then the stuff may make it into the show.

There's a Hollywood joke about the wine glass. You can't photograph an earthquake, so you are required to show wine in a glass making rings. If it's bad enough, the glass falls over.

Yes, post a finished clip.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41541
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by kozikowski » Mon Sep 17, 2018 9:33 pm

I'm thinking perhaps I should send a 20sec sample of one of my finished chapters — to check that it's not going to sound too processed for ACX.
It will be our opinion, but yes. We're on the edge of our seats.

Koz

EricMC
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:46 am
Operating System: Please select

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by EricMC » Mon Sep 17, 2018 10:17 pm

Great advice. Thank you very much.

Yes, I live in a port town at present and there are trucks rumbling by all the time. The lorry gears do whine as they accelerate - and, when they trundle over a certain section of bridge there can be bangs and thumps. Though that wine glass would not register a ripple. My friend, who is a video editor, went over a couple of chapters for me and said I was worrying too much about what I overheard through the mic monitor — that the truck sounds were barely audible to him.

Unfortunately, I just learned that Osaka is on a three day bank holiday — so I won't get normal daytime traffic until Thursday.

Instead, I will attach two samples, if that's OK: the raw recording; and one I have just started to process (with LF Rolloff, Noise Gate, RMS Normalize to -23, and some de-clicking* — mostly only between spoken bits*). I experimented with making the LF Rolloff a little less steep, so as to preserve more lower harmonics.

I have not limited yet. I was wondering whether to use what had become my usual (Chris's Compress Dynamics) or switch to your formula (Effect > Limiter: Soft Limit, 0, 0, -3.5dB, 10, No > OK). It also occurred to me that it might be OK just to run the limiter once at the end, after the theatrical edit?

[*De-clicking. I am restraining my usual urge carefully to remove every last pop, smack and mic "nit", because I'd love an opinion as to what ACX finds passable. My edits take four times too long as I obsessively clean the spoken audio — eg., applying declicker only between plosives so as not to muffle 't's and 'd's. I need to streamline my approach, or hand the audio master to someone else]
Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 06.00.33.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 06.00.33.png (86.63 KiB) Viewed 163 times
Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 05.45.46.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 05.45.46.png (45.1 KiB) Viewed 163 times
Initial recording.wav
(1.88 MiB) Downloaded 6 times
Partial edit.wav
(1.93 MiB) Downloaded 6 times

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41541
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by kozikowski » Mon Sep 17, 2018 11:13 pm

Don't change Low Rolloff for Speech point by point. that way lies insanity. Instead, change the "Length" slider to the left. From the original recipe, the length slider should be about 5000 for mastering. The filter will be less strict with a lower number. And yes, you would one of the victims of that filter affecting men's announcing voices. If you have been using that filter with a 7177 length as in that illustration, just returning it to the recommended 5000 or slightly less might be enough.

Failing to use a filter is not recommended because of digital microphone oddities.

Here's how to find out.

Select a goodly chunk of Room Tone (see how handy Room Tone is?) > Analyze > Plot Spectrum.

You can grab one corner of the display and make it wider to reveal more information. This is what the bottom of mine looks like.



Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.34.23.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.34.23.png (22.73 KiB) Viewed 162 times


Those are the settings. It will tell you if you didn't select enough Room Tone.


I found an "evil" clip to use as a sample.

The display is low pitch sound on the left, high on the right. Louder is up. It looks at the whole clip you selected at once. It can't tell time. In a perfectly recorded analog microphone system, there would be little or no activity to the left of 20Hz. Digital systems, in contrast have no real world restrictions.



Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.39.57.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.39.57.png (41.03 KiB) Viewed 162 times


Here's a bad one. Note that there's activity at 2Hz (reading on the bottom). Not only is that not audible, it's not even sound. That's an earthquake.

This is Plot Spectrum after Low Rolloff.

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.46.56.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.46.56.png (34.98 KiB) Viewed 162 times
It starts the affect at 100Hz and suppresses everything below that. That number was picked as a trade-off between damaging your voice and getting of rid as much rumble as possible. Everybody knows what the 100Hz filter does. It actually appears as a switch on the sides of some microphones.

Instead of Effect > Equalizer, you might try a custom setting of one of the other tools.

Try Effect > High Pass Filter, 40Hz, 24dB.


Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.55.35.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 15.55.35.png (26.04 KiB) Viewed 162 times
Listen to what it did. Write it down if you like it and use it as the first step instead of Low Rolloff.

~~

If you're happy with the Chris process you should stick with it. Limiter directly affects passing ACX Peak. If you pass that now, you don't need Limiter.

You should try and avoid mixing and matching suites. Mastering 4 is a series of tools that produce predictable affects and then clean up after each other. If you use them out of order.........
I obsessively clean the spoken audio
Yup. That's a problem. It's not a good idea to crank up your headset volume to "dive for noise." You will be doing that one book for the rest of your life.

There is a technique to submit a test to ACX

viewtopic.php?f=64&t=100504

Koz

EricMC
Posts: 24
Joined: Fri Jun 21, 2013 9:46 am
Operating System: Please select

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by EricMC » Tue Sep 18, 2018 12:03 am

This is terrific. Thank you.

It's now nearly nine am here, and I have noticed that many truckers are not observing the bank holiday — so I did take a couple of samples of traffic at it's worst.

Nb. I would usually close my blackout curtains — and my air vents — to keep the worst of it at bay.
To show the contrast, this is morning traffic with them all open:
Morning traffic.wav
(1.56 MiB) Downloaded 6 times

And here is the same time of day with everything sealed:
Curtains drawn.wav
(1.69 MiB) Downloaded 7 times

This is an analysis of the heavy traffic room tone:
Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 08.49.22.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-18 at 08.49.22.png (84.39 KiB) Viewed 161 times

So, if I understand correctly, there is really no sound beneath 35Hz - and that bactrian camel hump is just an artefact of the mic?
Well worth removing.

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41541
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by kozikowski » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:27 am

to keep the worst of it at bay.
You could record that way, but I probably wouldn't. Attached is the last clip with Mastering 4, Noise Reduction and DeEssing.

CurtainsDrawnMastered-NR-DeEsser.wav
(644.72 KiB) Downloaded 7 times

Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 20.02.49.png
Screen Shot 2018-09-17 at 20.02.49.png (40.68 KiB) Viewed 157 times

Note the noise is -62.5dB. That means even with noise reduction, you're still within spittin' distance of failing noise (-60dB). The next more powerful noise reduction is the last one before you start to experience voice distortion.

So now several unpleasant options present themselves. ACX puts great stock in matching chapters. So:

-- Arrange to record with roughly the same traffic sound through a whole book.

-- Record everything at night.

-- Mix and Match times with stiffer Noise Reduction, hope nobody notices and be sure to apply the same corrections to everything whether the chapter needs it or not.

-- Mess with the other technique and hope Noise Gate can pull you through. Remember, noise accommodation is very different between the two techniques. In Chris's Technique, it must go at the front.

-- Add physical noise suppression. That would be my first stop. One of the other posters who hasn't checked back yet is trying a "portable studio" that shows promise.

I need to drop out and search for the posting.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41541
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Advice on Chris's Dynamic Compression: use INSTEAD of RMS Normalize? When to do the De-Noise?

Post by kozikowski » Tue Sep 18, 2018 3:50 am

Got it. I was afraid I hadn't saved the link.

https://voiceoveressentials.com/product ... booth-plus

Or its big brother

https://voiceoveressentials.com/product/porta-booth-pro

Note in both of these it's not desirable to back yourself up against a plain, hard wall, or if you have no choice, cover the wall with what is turning out to be the traditional furniture moving blanket. The most sensitive part of the microphone is pointed at your face and parts of the wall behind you.

And in all of these solutions, give a thought to how you're going to hold everything up and where you're going to put your script.

If you go that route, post back how it went.

Koz

Post Reply