Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.
Forum rules
ImageIf you require help using Audacity, please post on the forum board relevant to your operating system:
Windows
Mac OS X
GNU/Linux and Unix-like
kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41127
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by kozikowski » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:48 am

And as I recall, both eventually succeeded.
Koz

DianeFarr
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:31 am
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by DianeFarr » Tue Nov 15, 2016 1:54 am

kozikowski wrote:This is, without question, the worse possible time to mention that the longest forum thread (39 chapters) was produced by Ian, who 'only' wanted to read audiobooks with a Blue Snowball from his apartment in Hollywood.

Koz
Yes. Yes it is. Although I'm sure to have much better luck doing it from Citrus Heights.

I tried to PM you but I can't tell if it worked. I've never tried to share a file through Dropbox but am willing to try. I guess I need your email address for that. Or is there another way? Do you want a .wav or .aup?

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41127
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by kozikowski » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:24 am

Private Message worked perfectly. You are no longer under moderation, so your juju on the forum is greatly increased, to include sending PMs.

I'm not sure how to respond.

1. I'm digging myself a technological hole here in Los Angeles. I'm a dot-com, or at least I was until the host company started upgrading its servers. I learned quickly not to make changes "up there" until they finish. So I can't accept or post large files that way...for a while.

2. I had a Drop-Box account. It may still be up there somewhere napping. I need to dig in the grown-up computer to find out.

3. If the file doesn't go over 25MB, plain-old email should work to transfer files. I need to do the file size calculations.

4. You could shrink the size of the sound file with MP3 or other file types, but those all cause distortion and we would not be correcting an identical file to yours. MP3 is notorious for causing normally minor blue wave errors. "But," you may well say, "ACX demands submission in MP3."

That's correct. And MP3 occasionally causes submission conformance errors. "How come my reading passes ACX-Check here, but ACX complains it doesn't pass their tests when it arrives there?" If there's any question, we recommend running your final MP3 through ACX-Check before you send it.

If this was easy, anybody could do it.

As we go....

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41127
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by kozikowski » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:34 am

20 min mono WAV clocks in at about 105MB, so no, it's not going to fit in a 25MB email.

No more Drop Box for me and apparently, nobody is offering free 1GB storage any more as a loss-leader.

This is an explanation of Google Cloud:

For example, a 15 GB object that exists in a Multi-Regional Storage bucket for 12 hours will incur a charge of $0.0065 (0.026($/GB/mo.) * 15(GB) * 0.5(days) / 30(days/mo.)) in a month with 30 days -- the charge is slightly lower or higher in a month with more or fewer days

Well.

That's perfectly clear.

I'm out. Anybody else have any ideas?

Koz

DianeFarr
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Nov 05, 2016 5:31 am
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by DianeFarr » Tue Nov 15, 2016 4:58 pm

How about if I send you a chunk instead of the whole thing? I imagine whatever diagnosis you give me I can then apply overall ... whatever fix you prescribe, I can try on the entire chapter. What about compression and/or limiting? Won't that take care of spikes where a character suddenly shouts?

Meanwhile, I'm going to tinker with my Chapter 2 -- the one that gave me the impossible ACX check results -- and see if I did something wrong in following your instructions.

Number400
Posts: 16
Joined: Mon Sep 19, 2016 5:34 pm
Operating System: Windows 10

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by Number400 » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:26 pm

Wow, you have some great help with these guys.

I have been through this teething phase myself recently. Take some time to watch a few of the many Youtube videos, you will not regret it. This series was done well: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p74WWrOgkfo

Some important take-a ways for me were to get the recording level set first. You can do short tests and either run the acx check to get an idea of the direction to go in but I really like doing it with the method listed in the above link. I think that is very important to get straight first then you can dive into the other two main requirements. Someone here said that your levels should be within %10 of where you need to be.

Second, the more I treated my too soft recordings with amplification, equalization, various plug-ins, noise reduction, etc...the more I sounded mechanical, like a robot. The more I cranked up the mic volume, the worse the room tone and outdoor noise and mouth clicks and other junk became more audible. A quiet room and the right levels are critical and you will sound most like you.

I know this is not technical advice but you have that covered from the great posts above. Sounds like you have the performance bit covered, that is the hard part. You will get the mastering down and be a pro.

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41127
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by kozikowski » Tue Nov 15, 2016 7:57 pm

What about compression and/or limiting?
Compression can affect the sound of the performance and mess up chapter to chapter matching. Limiter less so, but limiter has its limits (so to speak), too.
How about if I send you a chunk instead of the whole thing?
There's no guarantee that any "volume event" will be included in the portion you send, and global corrections sent "blind" are just a really bad idea.

Tell you what. Open the raw recording WAV. Control-F to make sure the whole chapter is visible left to right. Take a picture. Now run ACX Check and take a picture of that.

If you're going through Microsoft Paint, isn't there a way to crop out everything that's not useful? Like we don't need to see the whole desktop just to read the ACX-Check panel. Search Paint instructions for "cropping." It's usually something like Edit > Crop > draw a box around the valuable part of the scene > OK. I'm totally making that up, but I wouldn't be surprised if it was something like that.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41127
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by kozikowski » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:04 pm

I'm ripping through my head to figure out how you could have gotten such a wacky result using relatively benign tools.

When you read the chapter, did you leave a second or two silent? I think there is something in the ACX instructions to that effect. If you got a bad profile (Noise Reduction Step One), it can do some really frightening things.

The profile step is where you let the dog sniff the boot of the escaped criminal. Then (in step two) the dog goes charging off matching that smell to the human. If you got the profile step wrong, Noise Reduction is not trying to suppress the FFFFFF and other background noises, but could instead damage your voice or affect the overall volume.

Koz

kozikowski
Forum Staff
Posts: 41127
Joined: Thu Aug 02, 2007 5:57 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by kozikowski » Tue Nov 15, 2016 8:16 pm

And just to cover it. What are the tools you used and in what order? You can use one-word descriptions.

Record
Export a protection WAV file
....then what?

If you make any mistakes anywhere in here, then we could be chasing something that's not broken.

Koz

cyrano
Posts: 1304
Joined: Fri Apr 17, 2015 11:54 pm
Operating System: OS X 10.9 Mavericks

Re: Need help interpreting mastering feedback from ACX

Post by cyrano » Tue Nov 15, 2016 10:40 pm

kozikowski wrote:Anybody else have any ideas?
Mega.co.nz

50 GB free. No software to install, javascript interface in the browser.

Post Reply