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Q&A with QA – Encoding and Asset Delivery

In the final part of our three-part Production Roadmap, ACX QA guys Mike and David are here to help you take your project across the finish line.

You’ve prepped. You’ve performed. You’ve post-produced. Before you submit your audio for Rights Holder approval, check in with the QA guys to make sure all your files are up to spec.

Join us for a free live webinar on Thursday, June 20 at 5:30PM ET, where we’ll discuss file encoding and your final audio QC checks. Then we’ll share how you can take your production game to the next level with equipment and performance upgrades. 


Scott Jacobi
David Afonso
Mike Taddeo


  1. Michael Fell

    Technical question: When playing back a recording, I will occasionally hear and see a click in the audio file. It sounds like a small snap and almost always looks like one single line either exclusively above or below the zero crossing. They are extremely brief and often hard to detect if they occur within a word. They are easily repaired by zooming way in and using Audacity’s “Repair” functionality, but I would love to prevent them from getting into the recording in the first place. Is it a cord problem? Like the connection is loose or something? Something else? I’m totally stumped

  2. Michael Fell

    Technical question: When listening to playback I sometimes notice small blips or snaps in the recording. They are unusual because visually they appear as a single line either exclusively above or below the zero crossing on the waveform. They are harder to find when they occur inside of a word for phrase. They are easily repaired by zooming way way in and using Audacity’s “Repair” function, but I would like to prevent them from occurring at all. I feel like it might be an equipment problem? Like a loose connection or something that causes the click? It’s driving me crazy. Thanks for your help!

  3. James Romick

    There is a lot of controversy about using a Noise Gate to lessen and/or eliminate background noise. And in particularly, plugins like Waves NS1. Aren’t these a little dangerous to use in the FX processing chain, especially for the less experienced and non sound engineers?

  4. Annie Einan

    Is there a standard, expected time frame (.5 second, 1 second) of spacing between sentences and paragraphs in the final edit of an audiobook, or does it artistically vary by the story / pacing of the content? Thank you very much!

  5. Suzanne Leblanc

    I’ve read that noise cancelling is not good. So, I presume a low/high pass filter would be better? If so, what settings would I use in Audacity for this?

  6. soliony

    What’s the story about adding music and/or sound effects to an audiobook? Assuming, of course, that I’ve got the necessary permissions and there are no copyright problems. From a technical standpoint, anything special to bear in mind? Thanks.

  7. Andrea Watkins

    Using Audacity, what is proper technique for “normalizing”? What do you do when you have to re-record a section of your final submission (per the rights holder): Normalize that one section or normalize it together with the rest of the audio file? What happens to your audio when you normalize the same thing twice? Usually I see a decrease in audio volume when I normalize, but once when I normalized just a section, it got a lot louder. Why was that?

  8. Carol Caramagna

    How about a half way QC checkpoint. I think I’ve got all the basics covered, but as a newbie what if is all wrong, on an 80,000 word book. Offer maybe just the once, on first books.

  9. Catlin Carey

    I am a new producer, I have just finished up and submitted my audio files for the second time to ACX and QA states again Requirement: a maximum -60dB noise floor not achieved. I am so confused as I saved every track of my audio files to -60dB in Garageband. How can it still not meet the Requirement: a maximum -60dB noise floor? Also I have listened and edited each chapter a number of times. QA states that there is noise at the beginning and end of each file. I don’t hear it and the QA person doesn’t reply back with my question. I need help and have no idea how to resolve these QA issues. Please, please, help!

  10. Catlin Carey

    I am a new producer, I use GarageBand, I save all my audio tracks at -60dB noise floor. Yet I have submitted my audio files twice to QA and each time they state my files do not fit the requirement of a maximum -60dB noise floor. Please help, Thank you!

  11. C

    A couple thoughts / Questions

    1. I am curious as well about adding sound effects and music to my audio files, especially additional audio that appears throughout the whole work. There is the background sound, then the moment to moment sounds, and the mass crowd scenes are happening with a thousand sounds at once. how do you level it all out and keep it from becoming overwhelming. How do you keep the voices above the rest of what is happening and still let it sound natural.

    2. When Encoding / Finalizing tracks is there a gauge to tell what audio quality you have reached by the end. (Sure you might pass all the tests) Sometimes I wish ACX had a rating system that indicated at what level your finished audio is preforming at… gold level, green level, etc. It would be nice to know so you can keep pushing to improve your finished product. (Its nice to know you passed the test, but it would also be nice to know how well.)

  12. Elizabeth

    What is the easiest way to edit an audio file that has either a high or low rms issue? What are rules of thumb in post? For example, with DAW Ableton Live lite I had to add a plug in (Voxengo Elephant) and I’m not sure if I should just lower or turn up the gain and by how much. Id want to be uniform in my adjustments. A producer would have to resubmit all files again hoping to finally pass QA, seeing as how we are not allowed to submit a test file first after a first attempt to fix an audio file with an issue)

  13. Highcroft Communications

    How much “cleanup” is too much in an edit? What are the items authors tend to call out as “I thought you’d edit that out” for producers?
    I may spend too much time editing, which makes me less productive overall, but I want the authors to have a superb product… simply wondering what you consider to be a reasonable amount of time spent editing and mastering a 1 hour audio file (for example)?

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