Audiobook Experiment - Step One: Set-up

I am taking a break from writing to try tackling a whole new aspect of the book world: narrating! I will be narrating (or at least making a good ol' college try) my alter-ego, Natalie Falkenwrath's latest book: Envy and the Geek. When working on other books, I'd recorded myself reading them, making little amateur audiobooks I'd shared with my partners. So I knew I didn't TOTALLY suck at narration. So I decided to go for it for real. And I thought it would be fun to document and share my progress as I stumble my way through the audiobook world from a new perspective. 

The first step was to create a good set-up for making decent recordings. This means the right software, hardware, and location to make a quality audio file. Luckily I have a background in audio editing from my previous life as an academic technologist, so I had a sense of what I wanted/needed. For my birthday I asked for a Yeti USB mic and my family obliged. I love this thing. I used it a lot at my old job and was giddy as a schoolgirl to finally have one of my own. I already had a decent Mac laptop so hardware = CHECK!

For software, I could have rolled with Audacity. I'm quite familiar with it from the old days. It is free and pretty fucking powerful. But my spoiled butt also got to expand my Adobe license (another birthday gift), so I now also have Audition. I'd never used Audition before, but because I know other audio and video editing software, including Adobe Premiere, it felt slick and intuitive right off the bat. And digging into it has been fun and full of nostalgia for my old career. Software, BOOM.

Now location. My house is challenging in a few ways. We have lots of wide-open spaces with hardwood floors, which is lovely but also the ass-opposite of what you want for good sound recording. And we live in the flight path of a small airport, which makes being near any window iffy at best (especially those on the top floor where my room and my partner's office are). The one room in the house with no windows is RIGHT next to the furnace/AC/etc, so that was quickly eliminated. I know a lot of folks use their closets, but I don't have a walk-in closet so that was out. This left me with the choice of settling for the best of bad options or building a sound booth. Ethan was happy to jump in and help, and in a few short hours, I had a PVC-framed, quilt-walled sound booth that fits perfectly in a back basement hallway nook between the kids' books and art supplies.  The sound is nice and dead inside. And it's cozy. Location achieved!

microphone and computer in a dark room
Sound booth Interior
("It's fuckin' dark in here.")

soundbooth exterior
Sound booth Exterior

So now I'm all set up. Tune in next episode for Step 2: Proof of Concept!

No comments:

Post a Comment