Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Essential Equipment for Audio Book Narrating

Recording gear for narrating audiobooks need not be expensive to have great quality. Here is a list of my most important equipment that I use for vocal recording my talking books.

My Recording Kit
1 My computer with mouse and power cable. Any good computer will do. I have an Advent with Windows 10. Whilst recording, I always plug into the mains rather than relying upon auxiliary power, as you don’t want the power dying halfway through your recording.

2 Good headphones. Use the sort that goes over the ears, not into them. You can then hear all frequencies right down to the base. I use Sennheiser headphones.

3 Rode microphone with dust cover. It’s ok to go a little cheap on the headphones, but not the mic. The Rode is the most sensitive mic in the world and results in a nice, warm and rich sound.

4 XLR cable: The Rode mic is not connected directly to the computer, as the sound card in the typical pc is not up to the job of professional recording. Instead, an XLR cable is connected from the mic to an audio interface (explained next). This powers the mic.

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5 Scarlett Solo Audio Interface: The Rode XLR cable is connected to the Scarlett interface so that sound waves can be converted to digital, a language the computer can understand. The interface itself is connected to the computer via a USB port.

6 Mic stand: (not pictured as it is set up in the sound booth). The Rode studio package does not come with a stand, but I managed to get a stand quite cheaply from my local music shop.

7 Pop filter. The Rode NT1 A comes with its own cable and studio quality pop filter that eliminates plosives. Every narrator should have a pop filter.

8 External memory: I use Seagate one Terabyte. Sound files gobble up space, so I do not store sound files within my computer. I have 2 Seagates, one for backup.

9 The Script: I had my novels printed out on A4 sheets of paper, no smaller than 12pt so that I could read them easily. Some narrators like to read from a screen.

10 Interior light: Not every sound booth has its own interior light. I used a camping lamp when the light got poor in the evenings.

11 Free sound editing software: I use Audacity. You can download it from SourceForge. I also use Lame, which enables me to convert Wave files into MP3.

12 A sound booth. More about that on a separate article.

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