I am using an LG C500 laptop [intel core i5 inside] with Windows 7 Home Premium.
I have just finished recording my novel ‘Foundling! - The Remittance Man’s Roots’ - Author: Heaton Craig. Following guideline advice, I divided each chapter into a single track - 52 tracks of WAV & Mp3 files!
I was quite pleased with the result and sent 5 minute samples to various people, most who found the playback quality in Mp3 quite acceptable. But, here is what a gentleman, with sound recording experience, commented:
I copied your file to my MP3 player, and had a listen.
Sorry to be brutal, but it is far from good enough. Far too bassy for a start, and sounds muffled. I found it quite hard to understand what you were saying in parts. There is also some resonance - uncontrolled resonance - from your surroundings, and that makes it harder to hear it clearly; a lot of that resonance affects the bass end of the spectrum. I tried playing with the spectrum analyzer on my MP3 player, but to no avail; I simply couldn’t make it sound significantly clearer.
Another issue is that, whilst you talk with feeling, and obviously think you modulate your voice and all that, it’s different when someone skilled in the art does it. I also think that female speech parts are normally spoken by females, also different voices suitable for every piece of speech, which makes the book come more alive - but it takes precise editing to do that well.
Quite honestly this is why these publishers don’t want amateurs to record their own books. Amateurs simply can’t do it like pros do.
I think my advice to record it analogue first makes sense, because you can adjust how it sounds when you replay it, until it sounds right and clear; then you can digitize it using those settings. Generally speaking, this is where a professional sound studio comes in; they have the right type of microphones and spectrum analyzers to ensure that the end result is as it should be. And if they are experienced in producing e-books, they will immediately know how to do it right. Incidentally, playing it on loudspeakers sounds very different from using earphones - buds or cans - and that’s another thing you have to take into account.
I know it’s hard to be knocked back after all the effort you’ve put in, but saying that it’s fine when it isn’t would be a disservice. With so many things, better to stick to what you know you can do right; and the Kindle and paper versions are technically right.
RIGHT HO! - Here is my reply:
Thanks again for your input. Of course, you are absolutely right! All I used was the ‘Audacity’ programme and the inbuilt mic. on this laptop. Recording it all took absolutely ages - probably more than ten times the time it would take to read the [450 pages] book. This was because of the constant ‘crackle’, which made it necessary to record only a few lines of text at a time, then play it back. The problem with my voice inflection [modulation], was that because of the persistent ‘crackle’ problem, I was unable to record with any continuity. Countless times, I had to re-record the same paragraph, until I was almost at the point of chucking the book, laptop and all out of the bloody window. Anyway, now all I’ve got, it seems, is 52 WAV & Mp3 files of what is clearly sub-standard garbage. Actually, it’s incongruous, because I’ve sent odd samples to friends, who’ve said how clear they thought it is!
It appears that all these companies selling audiobooks require the authors to have had the recording done by the professional recording studios affiliated to them - nothing else is accepted, or will do. Is this really the case, or are there any reputable companies out there who market home-produced books of reasonable sound quality recorded with ‘Audacity’?