A.E. Heckett 1-Minute Test [OK]

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aeheckett
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Joined: May 13th, 2020, 9:24 am

Post by aeheckett » May 16th, 2020, 11:03 am

Hi everyone, Ash here. I'm brand new to the forum and to LibriVox in general. Here's the link to my 1-Minute Test, in which I read the sample script from the LibriVox Wiki:

https://librivox.org/uploads/tests/test_aeheckett.mp3

I use Audacity ver. 2.2.1, and I'm running Linux Mint 19.3 on a desktop computer I upgraded myself. I know there's some fan noise in the recording (fortunately, my CPU fan is much quieter than the one I had previously), but I do have some things I can do to mitigate it. I'm using a USB Logitech microphone, and I do have a boom mic stand and a pop filter.

Let me know if there's anything I can change or do to make my recordings better, or if I need to make more test recordings! I look forward to your feedback :thumbs:

mightyfelix
LibriVox Admin Team
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Post by mightyfelix » May 16th, 2020, 9:20 pm

Hi Ash, welcome to Librivox! I found your test very nice to listen to. :D

The only issue you have here is your volume. We aim for 89 dB, or within a range of 86-92. This test comes in pretty low, only about 73 dB. It's easy to amplify in Audacity, but I recommend adjusting the input from your mic so that you're already in the correct range and don't need to amplify. (Also, amplifying by more than a few dB tends not to sound that great.) There's a slider bar in Audacity's toolbars with a mic icon next to it. I keep mine turned all the way up. (If you don't see it, go to View>Toolbars>Mixer Toolbar.) I'm assuming you can also adjust your input in your OS's audio settings, but I don't know the first thing about Linux! :lol:

To check your own volume, I recommend getting Checker, a free program that was built specifically for LibriVox readers. It's easy to use and install and will tell you how loud your recording is in dB.

You mentioned that there may be some fan noise. To be honest, I couldn't hear any, even when I amplified, but if you do have background noise in your recording, Audacity comes with a great built-in tool for noise reduction that is very easy to use.

See what you can do to bring your volume up, then upload your new test and post the link here for another check!

aeheckett
Posts: 14
Joined: May 13th, 2020, 9:24 am

Post by aeheckett » May 17th, 2020, 8:45 am

Great, thanks for the feedback! I turned the volume of the mic up in my OS and in Audacity, and I tried both amplifying and normalizing the audio, but was unable to get the proper volume. I think it's my mic, which admittedly is actually for the Wii. It's not picking up my voice from a reasonable distance (I have to get super close, which negates the point of having a pop filter), and even then, it's just not giving me a great volume. I'm going to be getting a new mic on Tuesday, and I'll repost my 1-Minute test after I've configured it. Thanks again!

mightyfelix
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 5485
Joined: August 7th, 2016, 6:39 pm

Post by mightyfelix » May 17th, 2020, 8:55 am

Well, I'm sorry to hear that you're having such issues, but it's good that a solution is already on its way. I'll stay tuned for an update. :)

aeheckett
Posts: 14
Joined: May 13th, 2020, 9:24 am

Post by aeheckett » May 20th, 2020, 2:56 pm

My new mic finally arrived, and I've re-recorded my 1-minute test! I did do some light editing, noise reduction, that sort of thing; mainly to see if I could. If you need the raw file, I can certainly upload that as well :thumbs:

https://librivox.org/uploads/tests/test2_aeheckett.mp3

Thanks for being patient with me!

mightyfelix
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 5485
Joined: August 7th, 2016, 6:39 pm

Post by mightyfelix » May 20th, 2020, 6:15 pm

Nice job, Ash! This is much, much better! In fact, it's actually a bit too loud now! :lol: It's now at 93. You may want to turn your input back down again, just a smidge. Or you could just amplify by -4. (Select your whole recording. Go to Effects>Amplify and enter -4 in the first box, then click OK.) Again, I do recommend using Checker on your files before submitting, at least until you get the hang of finding the right volume. Why don't you give it one more go? I'm sure this time, you'll nail it!

aeheckett
Posts: 14
Joined: May 13th, 2020, 9:24 am

Post by aeheckett » May 20th, 2020, 6:26 pm

:lol: Awesome, I'll upload the new (and hopefully final!) file tomorrow. I tried to get that Checker application to work on my Linux machine, but it had issues with installing the flash file included in the download. Honestly, I'm new to Linux, so I don't feel confident about messing with any of the in-depth system settings to get it working. Is there any other measurement in Audacity that I can use as a frame of reference for maintaining proper volume?

mightyfelix
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 5485
Joined: August 7th, 2016, 6:39 pm

Post by mightyfelix » May 20th, 2020, 6:59 pm

Yes, there is! It's a bit of a hassle to install, which is why I don't usually recommend it to new folks, but it's really handy, once you've got it! It's called ReplayGain. It can measure your volume (it'll tell you how far away you are from th target volume), and it can also automatically amplify your recording to where it ought to be. However, it has no protection against clipping. (This is where the volume gets too loud, and the highest peaks are clipped short, causing distortion.) Personally, I use it just for measuring, and then I'll do my amplifying with the built-in Amplify effect. Good luck with it, it's a good tool!

aeheckett
Posts: 14
Joined: May 13th, 2020, 9:24 am

Post by aeheckett » May 20th, 2020, 7:19 pm

Great, I'll do my best to install it! It seems like a very useful plug-in. If I can't get it installed on my Linux machine (my main comp), I do have an old Windows 7 laptop I can try it on, lol. Thanks for the info!

aeheckett
Posts: 14
Joined: May 13th, 2020, 9:24 am

Post by aeheckett » May 20th, 2020, 10:10 pm

Okay, this should be my final 1 minute test, I hope! The particular version of Audacity I have reportedly has issues with ReplayGain.ny, so I found a work-around by installing MP3Gain through my command line and changing the mp3 volume from there. I would install a newer version of Audacity, but currently 2.2.1 is the only one officially offered through the Linux Software Manager (kind of like the Windows app store). I may consider installing an unofficial package for the most recent version sometime later, but for right now I think MP3Gain worked! Sorry for the long-winded explanation, lol.

https://librivox.org/uploads/tests/test3_aeheckett.mp3

Again, thanks for your patience!

[I will amend my above statement; after posting this, I decided to give installing ReplayGain.ny a try, and lo and behold it worked. Perhaps it has more difficulties with 2.2.1 on Windows machines, because it was completely painless for me on Linux, lol]

mightyfelix
LibriVox Admin Team
Posts: 5485
Joined: August 7th, 2016, 6:39 pm

Post by mightyfelix » May 21st, 2020, 6:14 am

Yes, this one is perfect! You're ready to go! I'm glad you found a solution. I hope you have lots of fun here!

I see that you've already chosen what your first contribution will be. I hope there are many more to follow! :thumbs:

aeheckett
Posts: 14
Joined: May 13th, 2020, 9:24 am

Post by aeheckett » May 21st, 2020, 6:48 am

Awesome, thanks! I'm looking forward to recording many amazing pieces of literature :D

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