Please advise on best order of applying effects

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

Post by Theresse » Wed Mar 13, 2019 8:07 pm

I haven’t set up a place in my house yet, and my house is old enough that there are almost no closets and all bedrooms are used by my family/kids. The basement’s unfinished but sits alongside a neighbor’s driveway and they have renters so there are always car or house doors opening and closing.

I feel this ridiculous, discouraging feeling like some force is trying to stop me from narrating lol. There are all these little things that keep going wrong or that I’m not naturally good at, e.g. software or equipment challenges (got the latter down but it took a while), but more importantly I seem to be having quite the difficult time creating a makeshift recording space. I don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars (I’d already had my recording equipment from music hobbies) if this isn’t something I’m meant to do. It’s torture cause speaking of traveling, that’s one of the reasons I want to do this (some side income to allow for some traveling!). So, I keep looking on Craigslist and the like for sound-dampening materials like quilts with grommets to hang in the one closet-hallway area that would work...or even less expensive used booths but then stuff happens that drives me batty. There’s a guy selling a bunch of those now for a good price and yet he simply won’t get back to me which is torture cause I see the add’s still up! 😢 I’ve written him 4x now. It just seems like there are SO many things slowing me down or “trying” to stop me. But on the other hand, I really love it; have always loved reading out loud to people and love the challenge that comes from all the mental multi-tasking involved while recording: sit up, drink water, clear throat, exercise mouth/throat, find sweet spot between “over and under” or too much vs too little (over enunciating - which I had to do in that recording you heard - and mumbling; over-acting or over newscasting voice vs more straight forward; too fast vs too slow; too much vocal fry (there is no too little actually - vocal fry sucks unless it’s some sex novel haha); or voice too high or too low (I can speak in a somewhat higher voice to compensate for being naturally kinda alto, but then I have to work a bit to find that happier, teenage girl sound if I’m coming back to it after walking away).

Also, it’s very likely that if I could get good enough at this, I could take advantage of knowing authors through my mom’s business which has a lot to do with literature (not a bookstore or publishing co but a business that attracts writers/authors, some w/whom she’s become close (and me too in some of their cases, through her). I only recently realized it’s possible I could ask to audition for a few of them or even ask that they consider having their books narrated at all. How awesome would that be?! But not until (if) I ever get good enough at this, would I ever dare to be so opportunistic.

Sorry - I keep writing so much! Thanks for the positive feedback on the book. That’s the only book I’ve done so far other than samples, and yes I used a sound engineer’s studio but not his soundproof booth. I recorded in his unfinished basement that has either acoustic blankets or foam tiles over most of his walls and windows. So it was sound-deadened, more accurately. And I sat there reading straight off my laptop which probably had a slight fan noise going but that didn’t seem to show up in the recording. So that experience made me realize I could probably just sound-deaden a closet-ish space for similar results, knock on wood (I mean, knock on quilt!). I’ll have him do the post-processing only, most likely for the next book, then from there if I keep this up I’ll start doing my my own pp.

Do you have any constructive criticism for me re. that recording though? I can take it - I need to know what to work on. I mean besides the fact that the author asked me to over-enunciate and read slowly (so I had to)? Overall I noticed it a embarrassing for me to listen to. I wonder why that is?! Thanks again.

kozikowski
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:01 pm

I recorded in his unfinished basement that has either acoustic blankets or foam tiles over most of his walls and windows. So it was sound-deadened, more accurately.
That's how I do it. I still have to record late because just enough traffic leaks through the window to make things difficult. But it's mostly quiet and has no echoes.
And I sat there reading straight off my laptop which probably had a slight fan noise going but that didn’t seem to show up in the recording... I’ll have him do the post-processing only...
I bet his processing is where the computer fan noise went. It's almost certain if you could hear the computer fan, it was in the original recording. You kept the original recording, right? Suppose he got hit by a meteor and wiped out your job? Would you just open the backup sound files and keep going, or get a glass of water and start reading it again?

You are the poster child for studio recording. Most homes/apartments don't lend themselves to sound recording. They are insanely noisy and echoey and it's rough to work around that. Homes dense with people and close neighbors are almost impossible.

One poster broke into her open-plan office after hours, when they turned the air conditioner off, and recorded in there. It wasn't soundproofed, but the room was so big the echoes were tired by the time they came round trip. That's the metaphor version, but it's not that far from what's actually happening. I've done that myself. She eventually gave up because of logistics problems, but it sounded fabulous.

There is a recommendation to not use your computer to record. Whole swaths of recording problems vanish when the computer goes away. A recent poster is using a Zoom H2n recorder. Another an H4n. I have an older H4.


That's Josh's classic H2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An-PQEAxsF8

Also see:


HudsonValleyH4-2.jpg
HudsonValleyH4-2.jpg (80.46 KiB) Viewed 850 times

The coffee is from Cafe Milan, the clip is from Staples (Medium-Fucsia) and the paper towels are from Piggly-Wiggly. The navy blue furniture moving blanket you already know about. The only serious restriction with a studio like that is the need to record a whole book exactly the same way. ACX expects your chapters to match.

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:15 am

I put the hooks in so I could hang a moving pad over the window. Now I can record any time.

This is a sound sample from the Zoom H4.

MaxwellsCafe.mp3
(1.57 MiB) Downloaded 49 times

I started it, set it on top of the paper towel roll in my quiet room and recorded the piece. I read from paper just like you see it in the illustration. I pulled it into Audacity, cut it, trimmed it, applied ACX Mastering and it passes. No Noise Reduction.

Yes, I'm perfectly clear I have lip smacks and you can hear me breathing. I think the breathing is normal and should go through. Jury's out on the smacks.

That and I'm not a performer.

Koz

waxcylinder
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by waxcylinder » Thu Mar 14, 2019 11:22 am

kozikowski wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:15 am
Yes, I'm perfectly clear I have lip smacks and you can hear me breathing. I think the breathing is normal and should go through. Jury's out on the smacks.
Sounds fine to me 8-)

Peter
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kozikowski
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by kozikowski » Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:37 pm

Sounds fine to me
Thank you.

The goal is to sound ordinary. That's my silly joke about telling stories over cups of tea in the kitchen (although I wouldn't actually record in a kitchen).

ACX is very clear that distractions are not welcome. Processing errors, tonal oddities, volume problems and background noises will all get you bounced from ACX Acceptance. No, you can't submit bad cellphone sound.

It is a little odd that recording on the computer is getting to be such a pain in the neck. Scanning over past postings, at least half of the problems would vanish if the computer went away. Maybe more than half.


Thinking about this a bit more, there is a way to "record in a kitchen." You can throw Hollywood at it. It looks like you're recording in a kitchen, but the other three walls behind the camera are a soundstage.

Image

That does work. But might be beyond the home user.

Koz

Theresse
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by Theresse » Mon Mar 18, 2019 12:15 am

The book I narrated is not called Buddhism for Fun and Profit. It’s this one:

https://www.audible.com/pd/Buddhism-for ... B07HB99699
kozikowski wrote:
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

Theresse
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by Theresse » Mon Mar 18, 2019 2:59 am

At a restaurant and just saw I’d missed your messages from earlier. Will get back to you soon, thanks!
kozikowski wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 3:37 pm
Sounds fine to me
Thank you.

The goal is to sound ordinary. That's my silly joke about telling stories over cups of tea in the kitchen (although I wouldn't actually record in a kitchen).

ACX is very clear that distractions are not welcome. Processing errors, tonal oddities, volume problems and background noises will all get you bounced from ACX Acceptance. No, you can't submit bad cellphone sound.

It is a little odd that recording on the computer is getting to be such a pain in the neck. Scanning over past postings, at least half of the problems would vanish if the computer went away. Maybe more than half.


Thinking about this a bit more, there is a way to "record in a kitchen." You can throw Hollywood at it. It looks like you're recording in a kitchen, but the other three walls behind the camera are a soundstage.

Image

That does work. But might be beyond the home user.

Koz

Theresse
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:04 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.15 Catalina or later

Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by Theresse » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:34 am

I doubt my engineer did much to cover up the laptop noise in PP because he’s not big into heavy processing and he doesn’t want natural room tone to be covered over with pure silence because of how bad that sounds. The only noise “cancelation” he would have done would have been to fill room tone in (which would include any subtle sounds such as laptop humming in the distance) between sentences/over heavy breathing and mistakes. The recording room was pretty big though so that might be why the computer noise wasn’t audible (or because it’s an Apple).

I’m not sure if he kept the original recording or just the finished version. Why do you ask? Before it was finished he’d kept both. Not sure how long he keeps copies for his customers (might still). His setup is the same so I could come back years later and recreate the same sound if I had to. I have a copy of the finished version.

You mean I’m a poster child for a pro’s studio because I have an older house with hardwood floors, kids and not enough closets? :D I live in a quiet neighborhood which is good - no busy streets too close - but not a whole lot of space between the houses and yeah rooms aren’t carpeted - just large or smaller throw rugs. The attic is wall to wall carpeted and has modern aka more efficient windows however it has a high peaked ceiling which isn’t ideal. The main floor’s hybrid hallway-slash-closet once closed off seems to be the best space cause it’s surrounded by either plaster or old hardwood doors and once I put a thick carpet remnant on the floor and quilts or wrapped insulation on the walls and ceiling it’ll be the quietest room in the house I THINK (knock on wood er insulation). Will have to stick on weather stripping around the doors, leaving a small space for cords to come in underneath, but oh well! This way I can ask the rest of the family to hang out in the attic while I record two
floors beneath them which should be doable when/if they're home.

Thanks for the tip about not using the computer. I’m looking into it. If I were to do that would I transfer it over to the computer every chapter or so, then donthe editing for that chapter then start recording the next chapter and so on?

I’ll go check out the links you provided now, thanks!
kozikowski wrote:
Wed Mar 13, 2019 9:01 pm
I recorded in his unfinished basement that has either acoustic blankets or foam tiles over most of his walls and windows. So it was sound-deadened, more accurately.
That's how I do it. I still have to record late because just enough traffic leaks through the window to make things difficult. But it's mostly quiet and has no echoes.
And I sat there reading straight off my laptop which probably had a slight fan noise going but that didn’t seem to show up in the recording... I’ll have him do the post-processing only...
I bet his processing is where the computer fan noise went. It's almost certain if you could hear the computer fan, it was in the original recording. You kept the original recording, right? Suppose he got hit by a meteor and wiped out your job? Would you just open the backup sound files and keep going, or get a glass of water and start reading it again?

You are the poster child for studio recording. Most homes/apartments don't lend themselves to sound recording. They are insanely noisy and echoey and it's rough to work around that. Homes dense with people and close neighbors are almost impossible.

One poster broke into her open-plan office after hours, when they turned the air conditioner off, and recorded in there. It wasn't soundproofed, but the room was so big the echoes were tired by the time they came round trip. That's the metaphor version, but it's not that far from what's actually happening. I've done that myself. She eventually gave up because of logistics problems, but it sounded fabulous.

There is a recommendation to not use your computer to record. Whole swaths of recording problems vanish when the computer goes away. A recent poster is using a Zoom H2n recorder. Another an H4n. I have an older H4.


That's Josh's classic H2.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An-PQEAxsF8

Also see:



HudsonValleyH4-2.jpg


The coffee is from Cafe Milan, the clip is from Staples (Medium-Fucsia) and the paper towels are from Piggly-Wiggly. The navy blue furniture moving blanket you already know about. The only serious restriction with a studio like that is the need to record a whole book exactly the same way. ACX expects your chapters to match.

Koz

Theresse
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Apr 28, 2018 8:04 pm
Operating System: macOS 10.15 Catalina or later

Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by Theresse » Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:37 am

The sound sample you provided can’t be played. Any idea why? I wonder if anyone’s done a
sound comparison between the Zoom and mic alone vs. the same but with attached laptop...
kozikowski wrote:
Thu Mar 14, 2019 12:15 am
I put the hooks in so I could hang a moving pad over the window. Now I can record any time.

This is a sound sample from the Zoom H4.


MaxwellsCafe.mp3


I started it, set it on top of the paper towel roll in my quiet room and recorded the piece. I read from paper just like you see it in the illustration. I pulled it into Audacity, cut it, trimmed it, applied ACX Mastering and it passes. No Noise Reduction.

Yes, I'm perfectly clear I have lip smacks and you can hear me breathing. I think the breathing is normal and should go through. Jury's out on the smacks.

That and I'm not a performer.

Koz

steve
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Re: Please advise on best order of applying effects

Post by steve » Mon Mar 18, 2019 8:05 am

Theresse wrote:
Mon Mar 18, 2019 5:37 am
I wonder if anyone’s done a
sound comparison between the Zoom and mic alone vs. the same but with attached laptop...
I have with the Zoom H2. The difference was unsurprising - when used standalone, it didn't pick up any fan noise.
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