how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
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daringnovelist
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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by daringnovelist » Fri Feb 13, 2015 5:35 pm

It's the same with jpegs in image production: Don't work in jpeg, work in psd. (Even if your client gives you a jpeg to start -- convert it, work on it as a psd file, and export it back to jpeg only at the end.)

I tend to record in WAV, edit in AUP and at the end, export a mp3 when it's needed.

I notice, by the way, that all the samples at Audible sound pretty crappy. I assumed it was because many of the narrators are working with home equipment, but now I wonder if it's the way Audible processes the files. And if so, I want to do whatever I can to make my own samples come out of the process decently.

Camille

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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by kozikowski » Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:06 pm

I tend to record in WAV, edit in AUP and at the end, export a mp3 when it's needed.
You said a dangerous word there. There is no AUP sound file format. The AUP file is the xml/text instructions that tell Audacity what to do with all that stuff in the_DATA folder. Too many people mail the AUP file to somebody expecting the show to appear. It won't. Like snail-mailing sheet music or the restaurant menu. You can't listen to one or taste the other.

It's in programming/English:

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/aup1.jpg

I assume they want submissions in unreasonably high quality, mono MP3, so they can do that. Is there a paid version at higher quality? Minimum MP3 standard for mono sound is 32. 128 is vast overkill unless you intend to reduce the quality later.

Yes, it's certainly possible that they're swamped with people submitting over-processed, over noise-reduced, compressed, MP3-produced originals.

Koz

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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by kozikowski » Fri Feb 13, 2015 8:15 pm

I have no idea what to do and I am getting really frustrated.
I have a Sony PCM-M10 digital recorder so I can get away from the computer. (Using a Shure SM58 with it.) I always keep the WAV files it creates. I only ditch them if I feel it's something that I'd rather re-record than retrieve the old file.
I was thinking about this over breakfast (Pacific time). The first part of this thread sounds like a panic-stricken, clueless user, flailing about for any solution. Some distance in, you magically turned into a knowledgable user presenting into excellent-quality equipment in a pleasant-sounding manner and turning out ACX-Conforming masters.

I assume the original daringnovelist is tied up behind the garage, right?

Koz

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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by daringnovelist » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:01 pm

That person who had no idea what to do -- the OP -- is a different person: "jadeseef."

I came in partway through because the overall question is one I needed info on. I'm what you might call a sophomore -- a "wise fool" who has picked up a lot of knowledge over the years, but also who has major holes in knowledge. I have learned SO much in the course of reading this thread.

I learned about audio back in the 1970s in film school -- so I know stuff, but my editing experience involved a pair of scissors and scotch tape, and really inexact tools for measuring levels. (I could never follow that needle as it bounced around. It's supposed to go into the red sometimes? But how much? Not too much, but not too little? Ahhhh!) On the other hand, I took to Audacity right away because it "feels" like a moviola.

I was a "teaching tech" supporting art and photo and some video students for 25 years, so I've got a lot of tech background. I understand the concept of keeping your original files, and not editing in lossy formats, etc., because that's universal to image as well as sound. What has me floundering is that I don't know the equivalent tools to measure what's going on.

I would love it if there was a tool for compression that worked like Photoshop's levels or curves: where you could just raise the gamma. (I.e. the mid point, compressing all above, and extending all below.) I've found the equivalent of a histogram in Audacity, but I don't have the experience to know what it means when I look at it.

So yeah, I'll be jumping in on beginner topics with a lot of knowledge, and yet no clue on how to change or read that widgety thingy.

Camille

daringnovelist
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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by daringnovelist » Fri Feb 13, 2015 11:14 pm

Ah, and I just realized that I had been silently reading this thread, and had talked on another thread somewhere. I had thought I was following up, but in actuality, I just jumped in.

Sorry for the confusion!

Camille

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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by kozikowski » Sat Feb 14, 2015 8:20 pm

Sorry for the confusion!
The forum elves develop a feel for the poster based on the complaint or question. We have to in order to make a valuable contribution in the face of little or no helpful information. The "Audacity Doesn't Work!!" posting.

One person was unlikely to have authored that whole thread.

You must be in the US. "Occasional peaks into the red" is one of ours. That's the ANSI C16.5 / IEC-268-17 meter. Aren't those fun? The PPM worked much better (stay away from 7!), but had the unforgivable requirement that you listen to the work while you were recording.

Didn't the Nagras have their own metering system? Modulometer! That's it. I never had to actually use one of those things, other than to make a video compliant Nagra tape.

Koz

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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by daringnovelist » Sat Feb 14, 2015 11:39 pm

I don't know what the Nagra's metering system was called, I just know that you watched the little needle bounce up and down, and there was a red part at the top of scale. (Which, frankly, all tape recorders I've used had something similar -- I think even my little cassette recorder had one that bounced back and forth sideways.)

I was just glad to learn, in that other thread that had a name similar to this one, that I could extend the meter window to include measurements below -60.

Camille

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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by kozikowski » Sun Feb 15, 2015 1:18 am

Yes, the -96 setting can be useful for measurements below 60 such as noises. However, it makes hitting -6 during a live performance more difficult. The -60 setting is better for that.
I think even my little cassette recorder had one that bounced back and forth sideways
The ones on your cassette recorder were creative artist representations of a VU meter. The modulometer was supposed to address VU shortcomings (VU wouldn't measure drums). I don't know if it ever actually did that.

Koz

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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by daringnovelist » Sun Feb 15, 2015 2:14 am

kozikowski wrote:Yes, the -96 setting can be useful for measurements below 60 such as noises. However, it makes hitting -6 during a live performance more difficult. The -60 setting is better for that.
Good to know. I'll keep that better in mind if I decide to start recording directly into Audacity.

Camille

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Re: how to get it between -23db and -18db for ACX standard

Post by kozikowski » Sun Feb 15, 2015 4:01 am

There are some handy tricks if you're never going to record in Audacity. The -96dB meter is one, and turning off Auto Update is another.

Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Tracks > [_] Update... (de-select).

It's convenient for Audacity to continually update the screen as you record to keep the current blue waves in front of you at all times. However, that same tool in playback flips your edit screen left or right if the cursor gets too close to either edge. So if you forget and press play on a tight-zoomed edit screen, the display could flip many multiple screens away from your action point before you realize what happened.

I regularly only use three zooms.

http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/zooming.html

Drag-Select and Zoom In to the SElection. Control-E (on Windows)
Oops, I went in a little too far and need to zoom out slightly. Control-3.
Let me see the Full show. Control-F.

That's it.

Koz

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