Please advise on best order of applying effects

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
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Theresse
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Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by Theresse » Sat Mar 09, 2019 10:53 am

Hello -

I did several searches and was surprised to find no previous threads on this topic. That seems nuts to me - maybe I wasn't searching correctly!

Let's see... so we:

- record room tone at the beginning
- record text (using some sort of marker when we make a mistake - I only know of clapping or snapping)
- do any editing as in cutting and pasting editing (other words for this, or is it just called editing?)
- save a copy before applying effects, yes? Any particular best way of saving or storing etc?
- apply any effects needed including noise reduction

That last one is where I get the most lost re. order of things (and if I'm not careful I'll screw up the sound horribly - I still don't know what that's all about). I'd love a bare minimum list of suggestions, in order, for less processing, and a more typical list in order with maybe 4 to 6 effects including noise reduction. If any of this depends on equipment, I use a Macbook Pro, Sennheiser HD280 Pro headphones, a Zoom H4N as audio interface, a Rode NT1-A mic and a pop filter. I don't have a proper space yet because am still practicing but will probably use a closet like so many others. Meanwhile I'm using a carpeted bedroom during quiet times of the day and it sounds good enough for these learning purposes.

I read in some other thread that some people think you should do the cutting/pasting part of editing AFTER effects but that doesn't make sense to me because that's the time people are most likely to realize they need to do something over (e.g. if they missed something). Isn't it true that if you've already added all your effects, any last minute recordings to be inserted won't match the sound of the rest of it?

Thank you!

kozikowski
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Sat Mar 09, 2019 9:35 pm

Actually, there is a suggested application process. I need to go back and look for it.

The concept of recording (audiobooks??) is massively more complex than it seems. The microphone makers assure us we need to buy their microphone, sit down at the kitchen table and crank out audiobooks.

Quite a number of posters arrive on the forum after having that process fail.

And the many failures are different, so there is no "push this button and get out of jail."

Further complicating this is your assumption that Noise Reduction needs to be part of the process. ACX Audiobook doesn't agree and they will bounce you if they catch you at it.

I need to go play real life for a bit.

Koz

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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:56 am

This is the single message part of a larger posting.


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Which is here.

viewtopic.php?p=365352

Ordinary Normalize is just a volume booster and should be applied with the Remove DC option selected. That boosts your work to (default) maximum so you can see the blue waves while you're trying to edit them. It has no processing other than that. DC Removal guards against hardware problems of your microphone, mixer or interface, inaudible, but can cause editing problems.

Following that is EQ or Effect > Equalization, and not just any Equalization. Use Low Rolloff for Speech at about 5000 length. This gets rid of more acoustic rumble and sub-sonic trash.

We part company on Noise Reduction next mostly because until you get closer to the end, you have no idea how much Noise Reduction you will need...if any. Too much Noise Reduction is audible.

This is where you edit your brains out, cutting out fluffs, deleting bad passages and sentences.

DeClicker and DeEsser are used, in general, when you have a home-style microphone trying to be "professional" by boosting the crispness of your presentation. This also has the effect of making every single little mouth imperfection, smack and tick immediately obvious and disturbing. There was a recent ACX recommendation to please stop using home style Condenser Microphones so submission sound will stop doing that. Dynamics are good.

The next two, RMS Normalize and Limiter, are the final steps in the regular ACX Audiobook Mastering found here.

https://wiki.audacityteam.org/wiki/Audiobook_Mastering

Those guarantee RMS and Peak, two of the three audioboopk specifications.

If you read at good volume with a well-behaved microphone in a quiet room, you can read, edit and skip directly to Audiobook Mastering. If you really did a good job, you won't need noise reduction at all, or any of those other tools.

This is part of a much larger Recommended Practices and AudioBook Mastering book I'm going to wrote .... one of these days.

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:07 am

This is part of a much larger Recommended Practices and AudioBook Mastering book I'm going to wrote .... one of these days.
One of the reasons I haven't written anything significant yet is the Audience. There isn't any. Nobody wants the college level course. Everybody wants to read into a simple microphone in the kitchen, submit audiobooks, become famous and retire to a nice villa on Majorca.


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It will be a vanity project.

Anyway, if you're set up for reading, produce a 20 second voice test according to this recipe.

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

With your equipment list, you may not need any of this advanced processing craziness.

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:13 am

I (or someone) will hit the rest of your question list as we go. We have to start somewhere.

We are warned that the forum generally only addresses technical problems. ACX tests for that and also has Human Quality Control which is where you go to die if you stutter or just can't read out loud—or overused Noise Reduction.

Koz

steve
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by steve » Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:27 am

kozikowski wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:56 am
We part company on Noise Reduction next mostly because until you get closer to the end, you have no idea how much Noise Reduction you will need...if any. Too much Noise Reduction is audible.
Noise Reduction must be done before "dynamics processing" (compression / limiting), but the steps that you quote assume that the raw recording is in the right ballpark.

The reason that Noise Reduction must be before dynamics processing, is that we are looking to reduce low level, constant noise. Because dynamics processing applies different amounts of gain to different parts of the audio, the noise floor is no longer constant, but goes up and down according to the amount of gain that the compressor / limiter has applied.

If you need to apply a lot of any of the effects, you are doing something wrong.
9/10 questions are answered in the FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ)

Theresse
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by Theresse » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:35 am

Wow thanks Koz, for the info and links! That's a lot more than I want to do - I hope it won't come down to all that. : -/

Yes for audiobooks, and I just make sure to use the quality standards ACX says we need to use.

I want to make sure I understand what you're saying about noise reduction. What I mean by it is that I quietly record room tone and then if I want to replace sounds I make between sentences e.g. a big breath, I can do so with that recorded room tone thereby matching the same white noise sound that can be heard between all words even without room tone. This, as opposed to replacing the bad stuff with true silence which would sound horrible. You have to use the noise reduction option to do that which is why I used the term. Do I have this correct, or no?

I'd love to see your book on all this, although I wonder how much I'll really understand. I'm technologically challenged to an annoying degree. That said, I don't see myself as this version you have of so many who just want to sit in their kitchens with cheap mics than fly off to a gorgeous island. ;) I'm willing to use the right equipment and to learn at least the basics. Any more than that - too soon - and I'm at risk of getting overwhelmed haha. In fact, though I'm practicing and recording from my bedroom for now, my next baby step goal is to simply record an audition from home (fiction this time), remove the "bloopers," get the spacing between sentences to my liking (not overly consistent), then send it over to the affordable sound engineer down the street who both recorded and edited the one book I've done so far. So this next time he'd only need to do the effects stuff, if I can get myself up to that point (geez I'd hope so!).

Also, is there a thread here somehwere where newbies can post their samples to get feedback? I've never let anyone who knows their stuff listen to the non-fiction book I narrated and nervous as it makes me, I could really use the feedback. I'll preface by saying that the author from India strictly wanted me to speak slowly and to very strongly enunciate each word, so that aspect of it sounds not-so-great to my own ears. He also wanted an odd, inconsistent fade-in/out version of a sample. Beyond those issues is where I'd love to know what I need to work on based on how I sound and read. I seem to be a lot better at fiction based on my practices and what seems to come most naturally, and so far my biggest challenge (beyond the software!) is to get the tiny bit of accidental fry out of my voice. I've always had a little - especially if tired or talking too much (common enough I'm guessing) and can usually make it mostly go away by staying conscious of it and drinking water or water with lemon. Here's the book on Audible (why does sharing with strangers make me so nervous)...
https://www.audible.com/pd/Buddhism-for ... 2GVMX2TG2S&

Thanks!
kozikowski wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:13 am
I (or someone) will hit the rest of your question list as we go. We have to start somewhere.

We are warned that the forum generally only addresses technical problems. ACX tests for that and also has Human Quality Control which is where you go to die if you stutter or just can't read out loud—or overused Noise Reduction.

Koz

Theresse
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by Theresse » Mon Mar 11, 2019 2:36 am

Steve, ohhhh that makes sense! Thank you!
steve wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 11:27 am
kozikowski wrote:
Sun Mar 10, 2019 3:56 am
We part company on Noise Reduction next mostly because until you get closer to the end, you have no idea how much Noise Reduction you will need...if any. Too much Noise Reduction is audible.
Noise Reduction must be done before "dynamics processing" (compression / limiting), but the steps that you quote assume that the raw recording is in the right ballpark.

The reason that Noise Reduction must be before dynamics processing, is that we are looking to reduce low level, constant noise. Because dynamics processing applies different amounts of gain to different parts of the audio, the noise floor is no longer constant, but goes up and down according to the amount of gain that the compressor / limiter has applied.

If you need to apply a lot of any of the effects, you are doing something wrong.

kozikowski
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:34 am

I'd love to see your book on all this, although I wonder how much I'll really understand.
That's half the fun, isn't it? Trying to write something that the most number of people will understand. I've been known to sidestep some complex processes by saying "If you get stuck, post a question on the forum."

One thing I can do on-line that I can't do in a paper book. Post links.

This is the post on how to record a forum test sound clip. Note all the blue text. Those links point to explanations and more details.

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

In a paper book, that would be a mess.
don't see myself as this version you have of so many who just want to sit in their kitchens with cheap mics than fly off to a gorgeous island.
Doesn't have to be Majorca. It can be the lovely French Riviera towns of Coq Au Vin or Mal d'Mere.

There was one variation on that. We had a poster from North Carolina. For her I recommended a nice beach cottage on Kill Devil Hills. I've been there. Terrific place.

Half support is pointing to stuff I already have and old-news problems that Everybody Has. But the other half is odd duck problems that have to be teased out over several posts. And then a tiny group of posters with problems nobody has never seen before. Oh, and nobody is speaking the same words.

Hard to put that in a book.

I have a soundproofed tiny third bedroom. I lock the ticking Ikea wall clock in the bathroom and I can get floor-sweepings microphones to work in there. Pass ACX, too with simple processing. Contrast that with people who arrive on the forum from a fashionably bare room, reasonable microphone and a laundry list of effects, filters, processing and corrections and still can't pass ACX while sounding human at the same time.


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Looks grand doesn't it? That is an audio hell-hole. You can clap once in that room and the clap will still be bouncing around the room two hours later. We can't take that kind of noise out. There's no filter for that.

Is that a sample of work in your last post? I need to listen.

Koz

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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Wed Mar 13, 2019 3:40 am

...Buddhism-for-fun-and-Profit..
That's terrific. That's the one you recorded in the studio, right?

When you get that far, post a 20 second test clip according to the above instructions.

Koz

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