Advantages to Using a Condenser Mike and Interface

Narrating and Producing Audiobooks.

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Advantages to Using a Condenser Mike and Interface

Permanent link to this post Posted by robing34 » Sun Feb 12, 2017 6:15 pm

Thanks to Kozikowski, I may just be able to use an older standalone recorder to record my audio book. However, the nice folks on the ACX sites seem to insist that I use the condenser mike and interface. That's why I bought the mike and interface I have.

What are the advantages to that setup over a standalone recorder? I keep thinking there must be, since that is so strongly encouraged (unless Amazon is hoping you'll buy your equipment through them, which I wouldn't put past them). On the other hand, I'd rather not go out and buy a new laptop to replace the one I've been using. Okay, maybe I wouldn't mind having a new toy, but I do have to justify the expenditure since I am on a rather tight budget and already have plenty of toys. Just nothing quiet enough to record on.
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Re: Advantages to Using a Condenser Mike and Interface

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Sun Feb 12, 2017 11:50 pm

...nice folks on the ACX sites seem to insist that I use the condenser mike and interface.

They also want you to build a sound proof booth in your apartment and use an all-but silent MacBook Pro to do the recording.

http://www.acx.com/help/setup/202008260

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I bet this setup is straight out of reach of most people reading for audiobooks.

A "studio" is certainly desirable. Most people arriving on the forum want us to "clean up" their sound because of reading-at-home problems. I'm going to go back and find it again...one poster is trying to read using a communications microphone (airplane pilot, control tower) to avoid picking up the kids running around the house while he reads.

I am forever grateful to Patrick the kid who lived in the house before me and played drums. They soundproofed the third bedroom for him and so I got a "studio" before I even realized what I had. Now, I know. I, like you, can produce an ACX quality reading just by plunking a microphone on a towel on the desk, put the noisy clock out in the hallway, avoid the MetroBus driving by, and read.

No echoes, no noise.

We are finding condenser microphones have their own problems. Yes, they're "crisp" and "alive," but the crisp turns into scratchy, abrasive harshness the first time you have to apply effects or filters. That leads to even more filters such as the "De-Esser" and equalizer.

I'm finding I can get much of the same eventual sound and good quality with older microphones that don't try to "help me."


It is to ACX's benefit to give you as much of a head-start and off-line training as they possibly can. Past the obvious need to produce a quality product, they also have to mess with you if you fail Quality Control. Mess With You costs them money.


A production note. ACX wants your production in MP3 because they have to pay for storage. MP3 files even though lesser quality are smaller than WAV. You, however, should archive all your works as perfect quality WAV. I save all my original readings, too.

"Say Koz. Remember that promotion performance you recorded in the Main Conference Room? Do you still have that sound file around?"

"Of course."


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Re: Advantages to Using a Condenser Mike and Interface

Permanent link to this post Posted by robing34 » Wed Feb 15, 2017 4:39 pm

We are finding condenser microphones have their own problems. Yes, they're "crisp" and "alive," but the crisp turns into scratchy, abrasive harshness the first time you have to apply effects or filters. That leads to even more filters such as the "De-Esser" and equalizer.

I'm finding I can get much of the same eventual sound and good quality with older microphones that don't try to "help me."


Wow. Looks like you just saved me a couple hundred bucks.

A production note. ACX wants your production in MP3 because they have to pay for storage. MP3 files even though lesser quality are smaller than WAV. You, however, should archive all your works as perfect quality WAV. I save all my original readings, too.


Uh, duh, at least to me. I guess not to everyone. Again, thanks for the good thoughts. I have another question coming after I peruse the ACX site, first.
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Re: Advantages to Using a Condenser Mike and Interface

Permanent link to this post Posted by kozikowski » Thu Feb 16, 2017 5:21 am

I use the condenser mike and interface.

And while they do mention, very briefly, using a Blue Snowball to read, the illustration features a Rode NT-1 analog microphone and Fast Track Solo interface. The combination a mere $400 usd not counting the stand, laptop, external hard drive and cables.

Everybody sees the presentations and recommendations through the gauzy filter of limited budget.

Behold Ian. He has the record of longest posting thread in forum history. 39 chapters. He was trying to record AudioBooks with a Blue Snowball microphone in his apartment in Hollywood. The former record holder was Bruno who was trying to record his acoustic guitar somewhere in Portugal. They both succeeded after months of work.

If you got repeated success with your stand-alone recorder through to acceptance posting, I would hold on to that thing and process with white knuckles. In the case of a particularly successful, useful product, I've been known to buy two.

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