Quality, Assured

Our QA team has been working harder than ever to get your ACX productions on sale quickly, and we’ve got some great news to share from their team.

We’ve cut the amount of time it takes to get your title on sale from 14 business days in 2013 to 7 business days in 2014!

How’d we accomplish that? We’ve got some of the best engineers in the business making sure that your titles meet the high standards of Audible’s listeners, and that your productions can stand shoulder to shoulder with audiobooks from the biggest studios in the business.

Here’s a peek at how we’re getting it done.

We’re combining automated processes – building tools that automatically analyze a title’s audio quality – and a refined focus on tracking and communicating issues that prevent titles from going on sale. Everything we learn is used to further your understanding of how to create audiobooks.

ACX_QA Team-12_SMALL

From L to R: Matt, Brendan, Andrew, and Andrew G of the ACX QA Team

Improved Education.

It’s a fact of life: sometimes we need to flag a title that doesn’t quite meet our standards. But we’ve worked to decrease the amount of back-and-forth needed to fix a title, and help you create titles that pass QA to go on sale. Our team is heavily invested in turning good producers into great producers, which is why this team periodically reaches out to producers whose titles pass QA, but show potential for improvement. If you’ve experienced this one-on-one attention from our QA team, you know first-hand how knowledgeable and helpful they are!

Here are just a few examples of the feedback we’ve received:

I really appreciate all the help that I have received from the quality assurance team. They have been so helpful…my last two books passed QA without any problems at all thanks to them! – Sarah B.

I was very impressed that you guys caught that little audio truncation. Thank you for being so thorough in your review of the audio. I really appreciate ACX as a narrator, I’m getting to live out a dream narrating books. – Dan A.

All of the issues you mentioned have been corrected. I am grateful to the folks at ACX for catching what could have been a very embarrassing blunder. All’s well that ends well. – AJ

How to Make Sure Your Title Passes QA

As knowledgeable and helpful as our QA team is, hopefully you’ll never have to hear from them at all. The best way to do that is to adhere to our Audio Submission Requirements. Pay special attention to the sections covering loudness and spacing, as errors in those areas are cause for many a QA flag. Beyond that, here are five additional ways to ensure your title passes our QA process without a hitch, excerpted from our series here.

1. Don’t Combine Chapters

Each section of the book should be its own file. This will ensure the listener has the best possible experience when playing your book back on their device.

2. Duplicate and/or Missing Chapters

Double check the files you’ve uploaded to ACX before you hit “I’m Done.” You wouldn’t want your title delayed because you skipped chapter 8 by mistake.

3. Outtakes/Dropouts

In general, these types of issues result from poor editing. Give your full title a proper QC pass before uploading it to ACX for rights holder approval.

4. Heavy Noise Reduction

You should be recording in a quiet space, and any extraneous noises should be removed in the editing pass. Don’t rely on noise reduction to fix these issues for you, as a heavy hand can result in a poor sounding audiobook and an email from the QA team.

5. Gating

Used improperly, gating can result in a seriously flawed, choppy sound that detracts from the listening experience. If you’re unsure how to employ a light touch when using a gate, you’re better off not employing it at all.

ACX_QA Team-11_SMALL

ACX QA, hard at work

Shorter processing times and improved user education are just two of the ways ACX is dedicated to helping you produce great sounding audiobooks. We’re working hard to bring you an awesome ACX experience, and we’re excited for you to be a part of the audiobook revolution!

Have you had a great experience with our QA team? Tell us about it!

 

15 responses to “Quality, Assured

  1. The audio team has been a huge help including suggesting a great microphone. Thank you, Matthew! I appreciate the feedback and guidance.

  2. As an author with three audio books on sale and a dozen or so pending, I’ve appreciated the high quality narrations that have garnered favorable feedback from some of my readers. Keep up the good work, please! Thomas Weston http://tomweston.champ.tripod.com.

  3. I think almost all of us agree the quality we get from ACX is very good.
    What we are interest in is a reason why our royalties have been cut. We
    also know that when the original cost of developing a book (which the vast
    percentage of the cost is provided by the author and/or producer) has
    been recouped, the profit is tremendous. And you get 60% of it?.

    Amazing!

  4. The ACX QA team has what it takes to turn producers into ACX team players! Thank you for your patient assistance with the adjustments to my mastering process and your careful attention to detail. You made me a better producer today! And a wee less shy about digging deeper into the mastering process. Isn’t that what good teachers do? Make you curious! Thank you.

    • “(P)atient assistance with the adjustments to my mastering process”?
      What kind of assistance are you getting?
      I am a new producer, working on my first title. I have read the ACX quality standards, yet I have still struggled with the mastering process. So I sent in a sample for review. This is the response I received:

      I have reviewed your submitted sample and ran a statistics plugin which gave me the following values for your file.
      RMS: -27dB RMS
      Maximum Amplitude: -11 dB
      Noise floor: -77dB RMS
      I recommend peak normalizing your file to -3dB. This will bring your peaks up to ACX standards for peak level. You may also want to use EQ to roll off a bit of the low end from your sample.
      I found that your file meets ACX standards. Sounds like you are ready to record!

      Not a bad report card, all things considered, but I would hardly say the QA team was teaching me. How, for instance, does one go about “normalizing to -3dB?” I’m sure I will eventually figure it out, or study something that explains things a little better, but I’m getting no direct assistance from the QA team beyond the said report card. They’ve not even responded to my request to know what plugin they used.

      Simple things are only simple to those who know they’re simple.

      • Good luck getting anything more than that report card – which looks very familiar. Requests for clarification will likely be met with a repetition of all those numbers and no further help. I have that response in my inbox a half dozen times. When I asked if I could actually have someone talk to me while I was looking at my DAW so we could figure out together what needed to be moved or changed and where, I was told the QA guy I was dealing with “didn’t have a phone” ….. must be the last person in the western hemisphere!

  5. bobc4785

    It is clear from the complete lack of response to the hundreds of comments from ACX users and potential users, that no one at ACX or Audible is remotely interested in explaining why they have cut royalties.
    ACX are still “the only game in town” for some of you, and they can do what they like. The evidence shows that they are not willing to comment on it, preferring to use the age old tactic of ignoring their users until such time as they move on and stop whining, or go away and do something else instead of narration.
    And besides, they are too busy going to trade shows and exhibitions, touting their wares and trying to get new authors and narrators to sign up to their 60/40 program.
    I wonder how they would feel if you put your time and money where your mouth is and picketed outside the upcoming APAC conference in Philly?
    How much does the above issue really matter to you?
    That’s what ACX are really counting on. People just want to whine. They won’t actually do something about it!

    • When someone kicks you in the teeth, there is a tendency to react. Fortunately, I don’t need ACX to furnish my next meal. As far as
      protesting at a trade show, I’m smart enough (I hope) to know it’s a
      waste of time, energy and money. Don’t you think so?

  6. QA is a complete back and forth as far as I’m concerned, with very little help being offered. Despite having many many books successfully completed and on the market, all of a sudden my work isn’t meeting the standards and I get little to no guidance on why, let alone how to address the problems. That this new obstacle making comes at the same time as the new royalty structure makes this situation particularly heinous. Or, perhaps it is NOT coincidental that I have been actively protesting the new royalty structure, and all of a sudden my books are no longer acceptable???? Paranoia or……..

  7. Pingback: How to Succeed at Audiobook Production: Part 1 | Audiobook Creation Exchange Blog (ACX)

  8. I got my report card, made corrections on a book submitted, and now have been waiting almost a month for word on if ACX QA will accept it. Can anyone tell me why?

  9. Same problem as others who have, in the past successfully narrated and published until this past fall (2014) and spring of this year (2015).

    Suddenly the carefully saved settings from books cleared for sale in 2014 are now no good for a book done and submitted this year (2015).

    Yes, there has been a different tech each time. Yes, each tech points out problems that were not there in the last group of settings which passed muster.

    This last and final time, after remastering and editing 3 different times plus talking to the DAW suppliers techs about adjustments that ACX required, my third submission of this one book was still rejected.

    There is no more I can do. Or will do with ACX. There are other places to ply the craft.

  10. “Other places” – do tell. ACX’s monopoly seems pretty tight.

  11. I have been trying to upload the first 15 minutes for a new project for several hours now, only to have ACX tell me that it is a “bad file.” This is odd to me, as the settings and audio formatting meet the requirements of ACX, nor have I ever had this problem in the past with other audio works. Anyone else having, or had, this issue? If so, how was it resolved?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s