Keeping Audacity Simple – Don’t Mess With Plugins

Hey, there!

I got a note from the lovely and talented Marlon Braccia about what I do to manipulate my audio with Audacity before submitting – you know, compression, noise reduction etc.

She was talking about all those options on the Effects menu in Audacity.

The truth is, I suggest you keep it really simple.

Here’s what she wrote:

Questions for ya, if you please:
What audacity effects do you utilize most often to polish an audio file before sending it off?
Knock the highs and lows off with “Compressor” effect?
“Noise removal” to eliminate superflous background sounds?
Do both these just about every time? Neither? Just one?
Other pet effects you have??

(Marlon’s an awesome foodie as well as a VO talent and actor – check out her YouTube channel here)

I don’t use anything, except normalization, and only when I do auditions.

I leave the audio I record for audiobooks alone, and let Levelator do its magic without any help from an Audacity plug in.

And I suggest you resist the urge to play with these things, unless all you’re doing is playing.

Noise removal can severely damage your performance with just the slightest slip of the mouse – instead, work to make your recording space quieter.

And the other plugins are mostly for music.

So, keep it simple – just normalize if you need to, but not for audiobooks.

Hope this helps.


5 Responses to Keeping Audacity Simple – Don’t Mess With Plugins

  1. Ellery Truesdell December 18, 2013 at 2:17 pm #

    Hi David.
    You mention normalizing auditions. Shouldn’t we also normalize the finished audio book also? That’s what I’ve been doing.

    • David H. Lawrence XVII December 19, 2013 at 12:58 am #

      No, you shouldn’t, not with the Normalize… function in Audacity. You should let Levelator do all that work.

      The full process of how I record, edit and master for ACX is available in the Recording for ACX With Audacity vClass video course right here on VO2GoGo – and will be covered in a new four-week ACX master class I have set to debut for February 2014. Ping me if you’d like to be added to the list for notification.

      Hope this helps.

  2. Cole Bolchoz December 19, 2013 at 9:26 am #

    Dear Dave,
    Question, do you recommend purchasing RX3 Izotope to use with Audacity?
    Also is there (and this is an insipid question but I am a novice at audio book production)
    is there anyway to preset with Audacity the RMS avg. required by ACX?
    You know -23 and-18 rms, requirement.
    I wanted to thank you for your help. You give many of us new and aspiring narrators hope and help.
    Thank you for being a light in a very dark Audacity sea.

    • David H. Lawrence XVII December 19, 2013 at 10:51 am #

      You wrote:

      [Dear Dave,]

      I hope you don’t mind, but I’d prefer if you called me David. Thanks!

      I don’t recommend spending money on any plugin, including RX3 Izotope. As in my reply to Ellery, I recommend using a separate piece of absolutely free software called Levelator, rather than using any Effect in Audacity. You can see it in action during my Recording for ACX With Audacity vClass video course.

      Thank you for your kind words!


  3. marlon braccia December 20, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

    Thank you, David. I am honored by your attribution!

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