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Post Posted:: October 24th, 2011, 4:27 am 

Joined: April 30th, 2006, 2:17 pm
Posts: 16693
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
You can check your own Technical Specifications!

I've been asked many times how I go about checking the technical specifications for tests. Here is my routine. Please check your specs before uploading. This post is not designed for you to skip the 'approval' by an authority but may cut down on server space and workload for the 'checker'.

Always wait for an [OK] from an admin/seasoned volunteer before embarking on your recording journey.


1. download file to computer. (This is essential - not all proof listeners can download so they stream it). If it is your own, you can skip this step ;)

2. In Windows XP, right click the file, click 'properties', then 'advanced'. Here I can see all the tech specs -128kbps, 44100 Hz, mono.

In Windows Vista, you can use the checker to check the technical specifications. (Use the newest, Experimental version.)

In Mac (10.6) you have to open the file in iTunes, then press cmd+I on the track, and there you have all the info you need (in the "summary" tab)

In Linux Ubuntu right click on the file name, left click on Properties in the menu list, left click on the Audio tab. This shows you the ID3 tag information and the tech specs.

3. Use the Checker program to check volume, DC offset, and background noise, or open in audacity and check volume, DC offset and background noise by sight.

4. play file and listen for background noise, plosives, sibilants etc.

5. attempt to fix any issues I see/hear so I can offer a solution.

6. post reply to test.

A couple of tools to help you are the checker (used to check volume, DC offset and technical specifications) and mp3 gain (use it to measure volume only- we aim for 89db -DO NOT change volume with this tool. If it needs to be increased, either increase your microphone inputs or amplify the file in audacity. Does not work on a mac.)

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Post Posted:: November 7th, 2011, 8:50 pm 

Joined: December 11th, 2010, 10:01 am
Posts: 1460
Location: Texas - where the most beautiful multi-function oven is located. :lol:
OOOooohhhhhhh!!!!! I just tried out the checker, and it looks awesome! I can't wait to use it more! :mrgreen:

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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 4:15 am 

Joined: April 30th, 2006, 2:17 pm
Posts: 16693
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
Glad you found this post helpful. :)

Esther :)

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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 5:35 am 

Joined: February 16th, 2009, 7:19 am
Posts: 2928
Location: Bath, UK
Any advice for Windows 7? (Does the checker work?)

Right Click and Properties, Details gives me MP3 and 128kbps, but I can't see an obvious way of checking for mono and 44100HZ without opening up Audacity.

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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 5:47 am 

Joined: December 11th, 2010, 10:01 am
Posts: 1460
Location: Texas - where the most beautiful multi-function oven is located. :lol:
The checker works as far as I can tell!
As for Windows 7...I'm not exactly sure. I can Google it if you'd like ;) - but the checker checks that stuff. Be aware that it is still in "Alpha" testing, which means that it is in a very early development stage, and hence can, and more likely than not, will contain bugs. I'm happy with it so far, and don't see it as being terribly unstable - it's just in an early stage of development. :)

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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 7:22 am 

Joined: April 30th, 2006, 2:17 pm
Posts: 16693
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
Lucy_k_p wrote:
Right Click and Properties, Details gives me MP3 and 128kbps, but I can't see an obvious way of checking for mono and 44100HZ without opening up Audacity.


There is no way anyone has found yet to check those in Windows 7. The checker should work for all the tech specs though. :)

The checker was developed by our wonderful admin smijin's husband. :mrgreen:

It has been in use by the admin for some time now (October 29, 2008) so is quite stable but do report errors please.

Esther :)

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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 7:58 am 

Joined: February 16th, 2009, 7:19 am
Posts: 2928
Location: Bath, UK
Yes, it works fine. Thanks guys.

I'm just preparing myself for BCing the Weekly Poetry. It's been a while and I don't want to mess up checking newbie's recordings.

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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 8:03 am 

Joined: April 30th, 2006, 2:17 pm
Posts: 16693
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
I'm so glad you found this helpful Lucy! :9:

Maybe we should include a link to the BC instructions?

Esther :)

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"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable
people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress,
therefore, depends on unreasonable people." George Bernard Shaw


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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 8:29 am 

Joined: July 21st, 2009, 3:26 pm
Posts: 1148
Location: Northern California, USA
If you're going to open it in Audacity anyway, why don't you check the specs there and save a step?

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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 8:38 am 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: June 15th, 2008, 10:30 pm
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Location: Toronto, ON (but Minnesotan to age 32)
Depending on the spec, you can't check it in Audacity - you can eyeball volume, but can't measure it. And the bit rate cannot be displayed in Audacity.

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Post Posted:: November 8th, 2011, 12:03 pm 

Joined: February 16th, 2009, 7:19 am
Posts: 2928
Location: Bath, UK
Quote:
If you're going to open it in Audacity anyway, why don't you check the specs there and save a step?

I do. Then I close Audacity and I can't remember if I've checked it or not. Especially If I've been PLing 2 or 3 poems. And then (I used to have XP) it was much quicker to right-click properties to double check, rather than import all the files into Audacity again.

But the checker means I can do all of them at once, and leave the results up till I've posted my reply in the thread.

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Post Posted:: November 9th, 2011, 1:24 pm 

Joined: April 30th, 2006, 2:17 pm
Posts: 16693
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
I'm sure your MC will love you Lucy. :9:

Esther :)

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"Reasonable people adapt themselves to the world. Unreasonable
people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress,
therefore, depends on unreasonable people." George Bernard Shaw


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Post Posted:: November 20th, 2011, 11:50 am 
LibriVox Admin Team

Joined: May 14th, 2007, 7:34 am
Posts: 6417
Location: Ottawa, Canada
Starlite wrote:
The checker was developed by our wonderful admin smijin's husband. :mrgreen:

Hi everyone,
I just found this thread today! I'm sure the "wonderful" adjective is meant to modify "husband" rather than "smijen". :lol:

Anyway, I wanted to let everyone know that, yes, it is pretty stable. There are two main reasons why it's still in alpha.

1. We wanted to tweak some of the language and interface before circulating it more widely. For example, if any specs are wrong, it says the file "Failed." That could be a little disheartening for newbies, and it would be nicer if it said that this is just a technical thing which can be fixed, and you should ask for help in the forum, etc. It should also explain what it can't check; e.g., background noise.

2. Some of the cutoffs for "failure" are pretty arbitrary. For example, the file will fail if it has any amount of DC offset. Really, a miniscule amount is totally fine for LV purposes. So we need some more practical thresholds for some of the pass/fail settings.

All feedback is welcome! I'm collating comments from people, but hubby doesn't have a ton of time to work on this. If you have any questions or suggestions, you can PM me or post here (I'll watch this thread now that I've found it!).

ETA: re
Starlite wrote:
In [b]Windows Vista, you can use the checker to check the technical specifications.
I should add that checker works with all platforms. I think Esther was just suggesting that some operating systems have easy ways to check specs, and some don't.

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Post Posted:: November 20th, 2011, 6:04 pm 

Joined: April 30th, 2006, 2:17 pm
Posts: 16693
Location: Thunder Bay Ontario, Canada
Thanks for clarifying Sarah!

Esther :)

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people attempt to adapt the world to themselves. All progress,
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Post Posted:: November 21st, 2011, 5:17 am 

Joined: February 16th, 2009, 7:19 am
Posts: 2928
Location: Bath, UK
I have a little bit of feedback on volume checking.

When I check with MP3 gain 89db is the ideal and anywhere between 84 and 94 is acceptable.
But a file that was 88.9 got passed with the warning 'This file is a little bit too quiet.' Whereas a file that was 95.7 was passed with no warnings at all.
Obviously I listen to the files, so I'm able to tell if something is too quiet or too loud by ear, but I do double check the checker's pass with MP3 gain.

And please pass on my thanks to your husband smijen, this is a very useful tool.

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