Tools and techniques for narrators

Hi, I’ve been using Audacity since November to produce audiobooks, and rapidly improving my methods to lessen the time it takes to get good quality editing done. Who’d like to swap ideas?

I got some help on other boards (Thanks Steve!) that resulted in a few plug-ins I have found very useful for easy cleaning up and adjusting of the pauses between sentences. I think bad timing can be more distracting than stray smacky mouth noises and fixing it is the first priority in editing.

One of my tools patches noisy pauses with equal lengths room-tone (as easy as ctrl-l to use, but more desirable than silencing), requiring you only to record a few seconds of tone.

And, another tool I wrote for myself that lets me listen to an overlong pause and just stab one key to stop the playback and trim the pause right there. This requires AutoHotKeys for Windows to make it really simple, but even without that, I think it a useful tool that eliminates some need for zooming in and careful selection of what to delete, letting you get the all important pass for editing the timing done quicker. You can really just play it by ear. This tool is new might stand a few tweaks. Who’d like to test drive?

Is any of your work posted where we can get to it? Do you have before and afters?

The only problem I can see with any of that is that it’s six months further along than most of our posters. Have you had to “clean up” any of your works by getting rid of the dog barking, metrobus starting up or “Hawaii Five-O” dialog in the background? That’s more our speed.

From Yesterday:
"Which brand Microphone is suggested "

I think you’re in the sweet spot of tightening up your performance having already realized that it’s loose and having already solved all the basic recording problems. Most people never get that far and if they do, only a teensy portion of them come back for polishing as you did.

So you and Steve are going to have a nice short dialog about room tone management, but what’s really needed is someone to tell people how you got rid of the air conditioner noise from the neighbor upstairs.

Which microphone are you using? I have a soundproofed third bedroom, so can use anything that will plug in, but most people aren’t that lucky. Do you use one of those tiny, personal, semi-circular, echo rejectors?


Oh, you’d be surprised at the amateurishness of my home setup. Or maybe not. I have a little “tent” made of quilts draped over rolling coat racks. And I have to stop and curse the airplanes. And sometimes the crows and mockingbirds.

My mic is a Blue Snowball.

You have no idea how helpful that is.

Everything you see is home made except the laptop stand – including the microphone shock mount.

Do you have any special provision for placing the Blue Snowball? I don’t think the little mic stand is particularly useful because of desk reflection effects (“comb filtering” if you’re Googling it).


I should post a photo of my DIY boom arm and pop filter. Can’t right now. Racing out to work.


Race carefully.

festina lente.