Yet another total n00b

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
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Ascanlon
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Yet another total n00b

Post by Ascanlon » Sat Mar 14, 2015 1:47 am

So, since my book is selling relatively well, I had this genius idea to create an Audiobook for it. I got a good mic and a pop shield and was ready to roll.

I know I have a bit of background noise on this recording because I was touching my mic, which was picked up. Is there anything else that needs to be fixed in terms of that?

I'll upload the attachment and show you the letter they sent me...I'm such a n00b I don't even know what the heck Mastering or Encoding means (though I think I can figure out the latter, but I am stumped on the former). I basically pathetically need a hand hold (or to be told to abandon ship because I'm hopeless).

My file: http://www.filedropper.com/unravelled1

The email I received:

Recording: The noise floor of this recording is higher than required. Microphone has not been isolated from background noise.

Editing: Audio contains extraneous sounds.


Mastering: Audio does not meet mastering requirements.


Encoding: Audio does not meet encoding requirements


Thank you for taking the time to submit your sample for review! My recommendation would be to work on reducing the amount of noise in your recording. Noise issues come in two types, electrical noise (hiss, hum) within a recording system, and environmental noise within your recording space.

Overall, this is a great start and a good performance. Look over the information above and feel free to submit another sample once you feel you have addressed the noise floor issue.

kozikowski
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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by kozikowski » Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:22 am

There was a recent posting from someone who accepted a job to produce an audiobook and wanted to know where to start.

I said hire a studio to capture his voice and then bring that home for processing, etc. etc. and submission. If, after the second or third book he still wanted to do this, then start investigating home recording. There is another poster who did a live radio show from the studio and then decided to produce it from home. We're still struggling with some of the technical details.

It's just not that easy. ACX compliance is very similar to broadcast specifications, so it's not something you can toss off one day before lunch, although some people luck out. They're looking at the rest of us like we're crazy. Another recent poster had a dead quiet office complex to record in after hours. I couldn't figure out how his clips came out so clean. He basically recorded them in a studio.

I need to listen carefully to the work. ACX compliance is relatively simple to understand, but not to achieve. Noise is rough. There's a list of things that can kill you for noise problems. Are you working from an existing web page or YouTube describing what to do? We do have posters that get very far along and just need a little push to resolve little details; they have the basics nailed.

ACX needs specific submission technical standards which aren't that hard to achieve, but you have to know how. For one thing their file quality standards are higher than you think they should be because they offer story products with lower quality and need the show to not fall apart then they do that.

I attached a sound file I shot that is ACX compliant. I wanted to see if I could do it. Listen to the silent stretch at the beginning. Then listen to yours.

Koz
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noisetest2-patched.wav
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Ascanlon
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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by Ascanlon » Sat Mar 14, 2015 2:40 am

Thank you so much for the reply!

This is confusing to me as I don't hear anything on mine besides me touching the mic, but I hear crinkling in yours?

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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by kozikowski » Sat Mar 14, 2015 3:03 am

I can't make specifications on your clip. By the time I run the tools to push the peaks, loudness, compression,etc around, the voice volume is starting to duck, pump and wander from too much correction.

Even though ACX needs submissions in MP3, you should be working in very high quality WAV format. Your archive of shows should be in WAV and processing, "mastering" etc, should be in WAV. Create a complete, final, polished show and then create a reduced quality MP3 for submission. MP3 always creates some sound damage and you can't stop it. You can't create a new MP3 from an old one without the damage getting worse.

I'm trying to decide which direction to go.

Obviously touching the microphone and messing with the room or desk, etc. during the performance is evil. We had one poster who couldn't sit still and we could hear his pants during the whole test clip. Wear quiet pants.

You need to be louder. The hiss level (fffffff) in the background is a problem, but not if you're much louder than it is.

I published some shortcuts. This is what my Audacity looks like when I record so I can keep an eye on it while I'm reading.
You should include 2 seconds of Room Tone at the top. Hold your breath and stop moving. This will tell us about the room and microphone noise problems. Which microphone is it?

Koz




Recording in Audacity
2015-02-09

This is one recommended setup for live recording in Audacity.

Undock the meters and make them enormously bigger. Click the ribbed control strip on the meter left edge and the control corner in the lower right. Make sure the meters are set for about 60 on the left. I think it will actually read -57 or so. That's the right sound range.

Change the range if needed in Audacity > Edit > Preferences > Interface: Meter dB range: -60dB...

Then, while you're performing, make sure your bouncing red sound meter regularly peaks around -6 and never goes all the way up to 0. Note my blue waves are generally the same size and don't wander up and down by very much.

Yes, you do have to watch the meters and read copy at the same time. The board operator on the other side of the glass in a real studio is adjusting levels and watching the meters as you perform. Now you have to do that. You get used to not being wildly theatrical while you read.
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kozikowski
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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by kozikowski » Sat Mar 14, 2015 3:07 am

There's some actual errors in the reading. That's like wearing mismatched shoes to an audition (although Barbra Streisand managed to pull that off nicely).

Koz

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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by kozikowski » Sat Mar 14, 2015 3:12 am

In case I rained too much, I do like your reading voice. You have a good storyteller presentation. Except for the mistakes.

Can you keep that up for a whole novel?

And the next one?

Koz

Ascanlon
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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by Ascanlon » Sat Mar 14, 2015 3:22 am

kozikowski wrote:In case I rained too much, I do like your reading voice. You have a good storyteller presentation. Except for the mistakes.

Can you keep that up for a whole novel?

And the next one?

Koz
Thanks! I didn't realize I made mistakes. In which part? I'm pretty sure I can keep that up for the whole novel....if I even do this mofo since their specifications seem deceptively simple. This is the mic I'm using http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QJ ... UTF8&psc=1 plus a cover and a pop shield.

Thanks for the advice...I will try doing this on Monday and see what happens.

WTF is mastering? Pardon my bluntness...I just don't even get it.

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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by kozikowski » Sat Mar 14, 2015 3:50 am

their specifications seem deceptively simple.
Don't they? It's actually much worse because everybody who tries this assumes everybody else is successfully cranking out book after book.

They're not.

I think in this context, "Mastering" is conforming to the ACX guidelines and preparing the work theatrically correct, pleasant to listen to and no errors. It's not like Mastering a rock song where you have to load it with effects and loudness tricks. You are simulating reading a story to someone in a comfortable living room. Some posters obsess about breath noises and mouth clicking. They may have, but I've never heard of ACX rejecting a submission for natural reading variations. You are expected to breath just like a human. You are not expected to have a Metrobus in your submission, computer fan noises or data whine.

http://kozco.com/tech/audacity/clips/Fr ... itoes3.wav

Koz

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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by kozikowski » Sat Mar 14, 2015 4:26 am

50/51 sec. Is that a theatrical pause? It sounds like you're searching for a word.
2:28 German's advance.........that morning. You can take the air out of that pause.
2:47 Poles of spit?
4:31 Never do anything like that.......................... But the irony..
12:04 It slid........down her snowy arm.

My impression is you're not reading it. You're playing it back from memory and occasionally, the actual printed word catches you up. "Let's see, what's the next word...Oh, right!" I just get lost in the rhythm of the performance and you miss one. I can hear a friend of mine saying to read slightly slower. I don't know that it would help. You can't unwrite the book.

You can set a label in real time with Audacity so you know where to go back to the fluff after you finish a segment. There's a trick to it. Command-B and then Enter? I need to look it up.

Koz

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Re: Yet another total n00b

Post by kozikowski » Sat Mar 14, 2015 4:38 am

I made an equalization correction (attached). It's a loudness contour to take a little of the edge off the voice.
Koz
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