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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Updated Audiobook Progress

First, the bad news: I still haven't heard back from ACX about the sample files that I uploaded, but I am reasonably sure they aren't going to meet their technical requirements.

And that's actually good news. This is because I found some tools that helped me to determine with some amount of reasonableness what ACX is looking for, and whether those files meet their criteria or not. And they don't, which means I need to re-record them, but that's actually okay.

It's okay, because I have learned a few things that are streamlining my audiobook recording process.

  • I hadn't been paying as much attention to the exact mic set up as I should have, such as its exact position, distance from my face when speaking, etc. Now, I have a quite precise measurement and arrangement for these, which has made the recordings much more consistent.
  • I found a specific tool for analyzing against ACX's published specifications: the ACX Check plugin for Audacity. As they note in the wiki entry for the plugin, using this is not a guarantee that ACX will accept your audio, but it does provide excellent information about some of the technical requirements (noise floor, peak, and RMS levels specifically). You can find out where you stand. Fixing it, that's another show (sorry, Alton). (I do intend to do a couple of videos on how to use Final Cut Pro X's audio tools, and Audacity, to create ACX-ready audio files.)
  • I have been experimenting with the filters in Final Cut Pro X, Audacity, and Sound Studio, and have come up with a pretty good workflow for that, which I will detail in an upcoming blog entry.
So, all in all, the progress has been good even if the output hasn't yet been validated (and probably won't be until I re-record those portions I'm reasonably sure will not be validated). And, in a couple of days, I'll walk you through my updated workflow.

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