Regarding Room Tone with Alex the Audio Scientist

Class is back in session! I hope you learned a lot from my previous video, All About Noise Floor. Today, I’ve got a lesson on Room Tone, including a neat trick to save you some valuable time in the editing stage. Watch the video below closely; there will be a quiz afterward, and the first person to get all four questions correct will get an honorable mention (including a link to their ACX profile) in my next post.

Did you get all that? I hope so, because it’s time for that quiz I mentioned. Leave your answers in the comments to show how much you learned.

  1. Audiobook room tone is defined as the _____ sound in your studio, and should be as close to perfect _____ as possible.
  2. Room tone has three uses in your audiobook production:
    1. __________
    2. __________
    3. __________
  3. The most effective way to utilize room tone in an efficient manner is to use your DAW’s _____ or _____ feature.
  4. When using Pro Tools, the paste special feature is _____ on a Mac and _____ on a PC.

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21 responses to “Regarding Room Tone with Alex the Audio Scientist

  1. 1. Audiobook room tone is defined as the RESTING sound in your studio, and should be as close to perfect SILENCE as possible.
    2. Room tone has three uses in your audiobook production:
    1. Replaces noises or breaths in recording
    2. Facilitates pacing
    3. Establishes consistency of sound
    3. The most effective way to utilize room tone in an efficient manner is to use your DAW’s Paste Special or Overwrite feature.
    4. When using Pro Tools, the paste special feature is “Option/Apple/V” on a Mac and “Control/Alt/V” on a PC.

  2. Thank you Alex. I don’t know how else to submit my quiz answers except to paste them here. “Harry The Librarian.”
    1. Audiobook room tone is defined as the _background_ sound in your studio, and should be as close to perfect _silence_ as possible.
    2.Room tone has three uses in your audiobook production: A.to replace noises or breaths; B. to facilitate pacing; C. to establish consistency of sound
    3. The most effective way to utilize room tone in an efficient manner is to use your DAW’s _”Paste Special”_ or _”Overwrite”_ feature.
    4. When using Pro Tools, the paste special feature is _opt + cmd + v_ on a Mac and _ctrl + alt + v_ on a PC.
    PS: my ACX profile is at
    https://www.acx.com/narrator?p=A1264TKKYMPTUZ

  3. Great video!
    Here are my quiz answers:

    1. Audiobook room tone is defined as the background sound in your studio, and should be as close to perfect silence as possible.
    2. Room tone has three uses in your audiobook production:
    – replaces noises and breaths
    – facilitates pacing
    – establishes consistency of sound
    3. The most effective way to utilize room tone in an efficient manner is to use your DAW’s ‘paste special’ or ‘overwrite’ feature.
    4. When using Pro Tools, the paste special feature is option+command+v on a Mac and control+alt+v on a PC.

  4. 1. resting, silence
    2. a) to replace noises or breaths
    b) Facilitates pacing
    c) Establishes consistency of sound
    3. paste special or overwrite
    4. Opt+Command+V, Control+Alt+V

  5. 1. Resting, Silence
    2. A. replace noises or breaths
    B. facilitate pacing
    C. establish consistency of sound
    3. paste special, Overwrite
    4. Mac: opt+cmd+v
    PC: ctrl+alt+V

  6. Helpful! Control key shortcuts – great!
    1.background | silence
    2. noises | pacing | consistency of sound
    3. paste special | overwrite
    4. opt+cmd+v |ctrl+alt+v

  7. Here are my responses to your quiz!
    Audiobook room tone is defined as the resting sound in your studio, and should be as close to perfect silence as possible.
    Room tone has three uses in your audiobook production:
    replace noises or breaths
    facilitates pacing
    establishes consistency of sound
    The most effective way to utilize room tone in an efficient manner is to use your DAW’s paced special or overwrite feature.
    When using Pro Tools, the paste special feature is option command V on a Mac and control/alt/V on a PC.
    Thanks for the tips, Alex!

  8. 1.) a. Resting b. Silence
    2.) a. Replace noises or breaths b. Facilitate pacing c. Establish consistency of sound
    3.) a. Paste special b. Overwrite
    4.) a. Option+CMD+V b. CTRL+ALT+V

  9. These videos are a big help and much appreciated. The one on Noise Floor leaves me a little confused, though. It says studio noise floor should be “as close to perfect silence as possible”. Several months ago, though, ACX QC rejected one of my audiobook narrations because my noise floor was too quiet (I had done no post-processing to make it so). Fortunately, the book was rather short, so I “manufactured” some noise floor, put it behind the audio, and QC passed it. I am not upset about this; just wondering what ACX really wants.

  10. background noise, silence

    replace noises/breaths, facilitates pacing, establishes consistency of sound

    paste special, over write

    opt cmd v, crtl alt V

  11. Thanks for the great article!

    Here are my answers:
    1. Audiobook room tone is defined as the background sound in your studio, and should be as close to perfect silence as possible.
    2. Room tone has three uses in your audiobook production:
    – Replacing noises or breaths
    – Facilitating pacing
    – Establishing consistency of sound
    3. The most effective way to utilize room tone in an efficient manner is to use your DAW’s ‘paste special’ or ‘overwrite’ feature.
    4. When using Pro Tools, the paste special feature is opt+cmd+v on a Mac and ctrl+alt+v on a PC.

  12. Hi Scott – Your messages are always helpful. Keep the videos coming! Now it’s time to go back to watching the Pope at the U. N.

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  13. Am I doing something wrong using a Noise Gate?
    I use Logic 9 on my Mac that removes all room tone whilst not speaking. If I was to add a pre recorded Room Tone to all gaps between speaking, then the editing process would take forever compared to using a noise gate.
    The Noise Gate gives me silence between speaking, is this bad?
    The noise gate removes all of my breath and mouth clicks, should I avoid the Gate?
    I’m about to start recording a book.

    • Your gate is probably set too high if it’s removing *all* of your breaths. It can take a lot of tweaking to get it perfect, but it should be very subtle, and nobody should actually be able to listen to your audio and say, “Oh, he’s using a gate.”

      But yes, even with a very subtly-applied gate, you may still find it removing room tone between words/sentences. In this case, your best option is to run a second track of room tone only (assuming your software lets you use multiple tracks), beneath your entire narration audio. (If your room tone isn’t long enough either loop it or get a longer sample.) Then you don’t have to paste tone all over the place manually.

      • Hi Bill,

        RE: “your best option is to run a second track of room tone only (assuming your software lets you use multiple tracks), beneath your entire narration audio. Then you don’t have to paste tone all over the place manually.”

        Would you mind explaining a little more about how you use this technique? I’ve got quite a bit of room tone I’ve saved and am in the editing stage of an audiobook. It would save serious time if I could figure a way to use the room tone to replace heavy breaths without conducting a thousand cut and paste operations.

        Cheers,
        Allen

  14. In Audacity, the Noise Removal Add-on (Available automatically on PC, not Mac) gives you as low floor as you’d like–almost silence. Takes 5 seconds for the whole chapter to be cleaned up all at once. But it does not remove mouth clicks and artifact clicks…what is a quick way to remove these? I’ve had to go through each chapter and delete them one at a time. Is there a setting to prevent these in the first place? Or, is another DAW necessary?

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  17. do you know if the paste special command is available on pro tools first?

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