Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
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gracielynn
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Joined: Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:55 am
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Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by gracielynn » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:08 am

Hi, I am extremely anxious reaching out here, but, I need the help. I am at a loss right now. I have worked really hard to build my "whisper" room (yes, I know it will never quite be a whisper room, but close enough). It has taken us a long time in the making, almost 9 months. I will tell you how we built it and the set up I am using and then the help I am needing. I have several auditions I am waiting to do, one I have submitted. That I know I will now be rejected as it will not pass the sound level. The checks show I will pass, according to the ACX checker. Anyway, here goes:

We used 2x4 wood to frame the structure followed with ¾ MDF board inside and out to frame the room, with Owens Corning Rockwell 703 Acoustic insulation between. We used Acoustic Green glue in and over all cracks/crevasses and screw holes. I put up 1” Acoustic Foam all around the room as well as the Acoustic Wedges in the corners. I used padded carpet for the flooring. At this time, I do not have a ventilation system, that will come in the future. For power, we cut a hole under the constructed table (that is also padded with carpet) and the hole is filled with the Rockwell insulation and I covered the hole with the acoustic foam. For lighting I am using LED lights surrounding the top of the room. The door has 2 expanded foam seals as well as the Rockwell between the ¾ MDF boards and matched framing of 2x4 constructed frame. Total dimensions outside of the room is 5x6x7 and inside is 3’8” x 4’9” x 5’10”.

I am using a Samsung laptop, 64 bit, Windows 10, with a cord ran inside my room connected to a 32in flat screen TV, wireless mouse and keyboard. I am using the Focusrite Scarlett Solo 3rd Generation USB Audio interface with Audio-Technica AT2035 Cardioid Condenser Microphone in the shock mount and a boom arm as well as Audio-Technica closed-back head phones. I also have a 4T external hard-drive that I am directing all of my audio work to (it is also safely stored, outside of my room).

My noise floor is great. I think. I have provided a sample of one of the readings I just did, that did not pass the sound test. I am reading everything I can on how to be a narrator (and have been for over a year now) and I guess I am just overwhelmed with it all right now in the practical terms. Maybe I am doing things in the wrong sequence? Or I do not have the right settings?

I know I have a lot of ss (pun intended in my heading) but I thought that ACX did not want producers/narrators to use the de-esser? I also was reading that ACX did not want us to use the Noise Reducer?? I am so confused... Anyway, I really need help with the sound piece, I will work through the other technical issues later. I have come too far to give up now. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I apologize for the long thread here.
I just provided a small sample of the reading. I watched my meter to make sure I did not go into the "red" zone and sometimes I would just barely get there and other times, I would not. I also provided a small sample of my room, unedited. Have at it and let me know please... Thank you soooo much!
02192021_room_noise.mp3
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TS Test.mp3
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kozikowski
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by kozikowski » Sun Feb 21, 2021 11:36 am

In fuzzy general terms, you should shoot for blue sound peaks about half-way up, 50%, or -6dB to -10 dB on the sound meters. That should allow you to be loud enough to override the background noise yet not so loud that you create overload or clipping distortion.

Image

In your examples, you missed an important one. Announce normally, don't do anything to it, and post it on the forum as WAV. We can't take effects and corrections out of a presentation, so we can't tell where you started from and what mistakes you may have made.

https://www.kozco.com/tech/audacity/Tes ... _Clip.html

MP3 creates sound distortions, so as a rule, never do production in MP3.

Yes, ACX requires submission as MP3, but you'll note it's a very high quality MP3, not normal. That's a business decision, not an audio production one.


Essing or sibilance is a "feature" of many modern microphones because it sounds "professional." It makes my ears bleed. We can figure out the best way to deal with that when we hear your sample.


ACX's goal is someone telling you a story over cups of tea in a natural voice. Anything other than that is to be avoided. They have a failure called "Overprocessing" and they hate distractions.

The Audacity Audiobook Mastering Suite of tools is chosen because it automatically produces two of the three ACX technical standards, Loudness (RMS) and Peak, and you can't hear it working. If you have a quiet, echo-free studio, that may be all you need for basic recording.

ACX has changed some of their submission requirements. They no longer (as far as I know) allow you to submit a short chapter for testing. We're hoping they change that back sometime soon. They used to allow that and it was insanely handy. I suspect they join the long list of companies that ran out of people to do the work. After you pass the technical requirements, loudness, etc, you have to make it through Human Quality Control where they judge your theater presentation. That's the test that takes a person.

I need to buy your book on Amazon before you submit.

They publish a list of undesirable book types. Scroll down. No, you can't submit a tech manual, travel guide, or cookbook.

https://www.acx.com/help/200878270

Koz

rachalmers
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by rachalmers » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:41 pm

I stand amazed at the lengths you have gone to, to construct a silent room. And your equipment. Let me mention a few things I do here that allows me to record with no problems. Things you should be aware of, and things that may help. I too am working on ACX material, a novel specifically.After a lot of messing about I have no special setup.

Shure 55S Mike into a iRig Pre that goes to the Mac Mini Earphone port. Oddly enough the iRig equipment is made for iOS so the mic part is built into the Earphone port as well just like on the iPhone. Anyway, it doesn't use the dummy power supply part.
Focusrite Solo into USB for one mic. Which I don't use for ASX but did.

Either Mic setup works fine.
No special soundproofing as I control the mic. It's sound coming from behind you that does all the damage. Even your own voice echoing from the walls. So a felted partition behind you is really all you need. And a good mic. as I said, my ASX mic is the Suyre 55S Cardioid mic. Read all about it here. http://www.gbaudio.co.uk/data/55s.htm and it's a brilliant mic. Initially I ran it into the Focusrite, but I've changed recently and put it on the iRig Pre.
But it's sound floor is miniscule. Very directional. and no interference from anything.
Now the other mic I use is a B SkynBM-800, BTSKY™BM-800 Condenser Sound Recording Microphone + Mic Shock Mount, Ideal for radio broadcasting studio, voice-over sound studio, recording and so on (Blue) on Amazon. It now runs into the Focusrite with the dummy power on, but turned down so I cant hear the hiss.

But like I say, other than that I work at my normal computer desk, dual monitors, and not much outside noise. Fortunately a quiet neighborhood.
All ASX plugin test parameters pass and I record to WAV files.
I don't use much signal processing to get this, and there is no sss'ing from the mics.
Up to chapter 19 at the moment...
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rachalmers
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by rachalmers » Sun Feb 21, 2021 1:42 pm

... and as someone else said, a lot of Mics are really problems with sss'ing, especially "computer" mics.
I Listened to your TS Test track bit. It sounds very compressed?.. is it supposed to. Like it's been modified quite a bit.

kozikowski
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by kozikowski » Sun Feb 21, 2021 3:34 pm

Like it's been modified quite a bit.
The two samples submitted are noise-only which is of limited value without the accompanying voice and processed MP3 voice which doesn't do us much good without the unprocessed voice. So we await the "clean" test.
Up to chapter 19 at the moment...
@rachalmers
How do you do file management? Do you use Audacity Projects? It makes me nervous to see all the chapter tracks on the screen at the same time.

Koz

rachalmers
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by rachalmers » Sun Feb 21, 2021 4:06 pm

I do track management by exporting each track as a WAV file to a specific backup location. So even if something major happens, I still have the finished WAV file. I also have backups of the project files on the Mac, iCloud automatically, and of course in Timemachine again automatically.
I just started leaving them 'on screen' so I knew where I was up to each time :-)
And it is all in a Project of its own.

gracielynn
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by gracielynn » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:03 pm

Good morning, thank you all so much for the responses thus far. I appreciate you. I apologize, I did not realize I needed to upload in WAV form. I will record the test after I submit this response.

I am speaking off past the mic to help avoid the plosives and harsh t's. I do not know if this is a part of my problem or not. (I also have a pop filter).
I plug the mic directly into the focusrite. I was shooting for the 6-10 mark on the recording meter and was not loud enough? Anyway, I will be vary grateful for al the help so I can fix what I need to and make some great recordings. (yes, I am being optimistic here)

My house has no sound proofing in general. I can hear someone while I am in the basement, cough on the top floor at the opposite end of my house. I did try the moving blankets and a small frame on my desk, but it did not work, I capture all kinds of bird and dog noises while I was talking.

Be back shortly with the "clean" sound

kozikowski
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by kozikowski » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:04 pm

@rachalmers

I wondered [writing that down].

Have you ever had any of the automatic systems interfere with live work?

You on your second or third book?

Koz

kozikowski
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by kozikowski » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:28 pm

I did try the moving blankets and a small frame on my desk
@gracielynn
The Kitchen Table Sound Studio kills echoes and recording-in-the-kitchen effect, but it's only a fair studio for rejecting outside noises. The up side is that it's cheap and inexpensive. Your 2x4s and other materials were probably considerably more expensive and time-consuming (and effective).
6-10 mark on the recording meter
That's about right. Look at @rachalmers tracks. All about half-way up.
I capture all kinds of bird and dog noises while I was talking.
@gracielynn
I have a very quiet bedroom, but it's still good to wait until later. I can hear cars and trucks on the street and experience a M1.6 quake if one of them hits my utility access (manhole) cover. I know when my metrobus goes by [watches ripples in coffee].

Koz

gracielynn
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Re: Starting Narrating Adventure and need HELP!!! Pleassssse

Post by gracielynn » Sun Feb 21, 2021 6:59 pm

Ok here it is. Apparently, I am all wrong. I am not hitting the mark when I need to, like I thought I was. I need all kinds of help. I did several recordings just to get this one loud enough. :( (My mouth was literally on the pop filter, and it was very uncomfortable)
I honestly do not want to keep moving all dials until I know what I need to do exactly. So since I am not sure how to take a picture and upload it on here, let me tell you where my dials are sitting on my focusrite: I have the gain turned 3/4 over the 48v power is on the air button is on and the green light for the monitor button. My recording level for sound is set for 89 as I was told that is what it is supposed to be and I am at a loss for what to set my playback sound to, but at the moment I think it is set for 80? :? :roll:
audacity_test.wav
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