Recording and editing audiobooks: choose a programNovember 10, 2022
Just like a graphic designer needs software to type up ads, edit fonts, and draw layouts, you need software that will help you bring your audiobook recording to the desired quality.Naturally, the most important thing is a
Good audio track, recorded on a high-quality microphone in a prepared room with a delivered voice. But do not ignore the subsequent editing of this track either. With the help of an audio editor, you can correct minor flaws in the recording, add gloss to the voice, quality to the entire project as a whole, and bring your project in line with the technical requirements of the customer.
How to choose the right audio editor
An interesting situation has developed with programs for working with sound: there is no clear hierarchy in which there are several favorites and outsiders. All known programs perfectly perform basic and advanced tasks and are provided with a huge library of processing tools. In terms of basic features and sound quality, you won’t be disappointed even with free programs.
Therefore, we advise you to choose according to three criteria.
First, what do you want to do in the program? Is there anything other than basic audio editing that you’re interested in – adding jingle writing, creating sound collages, polyphonic recording, restoring damaged or badly recorded audio tracks to your asset? Although the most advanced tasks can be solved in almost any program, in some of them it is more convenient to do this. If you don’t need anything other than basic retouching of your voice, stop at Audacity. If you want to provide an audiobook with polyphony, effects and musical sketches, take a closer look at the programs used by musicians.2
Second, consider how much money you can spend on software. We do not recommend downloading pirated versions of programs. Among other things, stably and without crashes, distributions hacked by no one knows who will not work.3And
Thirdly, the subjective impression of the program is important. Do you like the interface? Is it comfortable to work in the program for several hours in a row? Is it easy to remember hotkeys? Download demo versions of all programs from the list and try to sit in them and understand the functions. The most understandable for you personally and you should choose
Audacity is freeAudacity is a free editor that will close all the basic tasks of processing your voice. The program has an extremely simple interface and a large set of functions that are found in heavy professional programs: various format converters, multi-track recording and overdub, compressors, equalizers, noise and click removal algorithms. The program is very undemanding to the computer and works on any operating system. If you’re looking for the simplest solution to get you started as quickly as possible, take a look at Audacity.
Adobe Audition is paid, but there is a free version for 7 daysProfessional audio editor from the leaders in design software, part of the proprietary Adobe Creative Cloud suite. To manipulate the sound, the program contains a huge number of tools: filters, effects, equalizers and noise reduction, tempo change algorithms, a spectrum analyzer and much more. The iterations of the project you are working on are automatically stored in the cloud. The interface is thoughtful and convenient, as in other Adobe products. Audition itself is quite expensive, but there is a 30-day trial period during which you can see if this program is right for you. No less active are download FL Studio for Windows professionals who work at large recording studios and write music for famous artists.
Magix Sound Forge paid inexpensiveCompetitor of Audition and Izotope RX 8 with approximately the same powerful functionality. The advantage of Sound Forge is in automatic editing. For example, the auto cut / trim function allows you to quickly remove recognized long pauses or peaks, including on multiple tracks. Audio files are supported in any format. It speeds up the work that you can carry out any conversion and change of parameters, from normalization and compression to renaming with many files at the same time. Take a closer look at the program if you plan to voice in a team and in large volumes.
Izotope RX 8 paidIf you have ever worked in Photoshop or tried your hand at Audition, the program will seem understandable. It also has tools typical of graphic editors in the spirit of lasso and brushes. RX 8 is a highly specialized software that is needed for audio restoration and fine editing of nuances. Despite the fact that there are a lot of different functions for manipulating the audio signal, the interface is thoughtful and not overloaded. Pay attention to the change history section and a very convenient spectrogram mode, in which, after some practice, it is easy to remove various artifacts.Internal noise leveling algorithms allow you to very effectively bring audio to acceptable quality.
Cockos Reaper paidCockos Reaper is a multi-channel recording program popular with professional sound engineers. It is loved for its flexibility, stability, low system requirements and a ridiculous $60 price for the professional segment. Reaper has a lot of built-in effects, various schemes for working with large projects, and there is also support for external plugins. If you have never worked in such software before, Reaper may seem complicated, but we recommend that you pay attention to the program, make a couple of test takes of the recording and try to process them. It is quite possible that this program will open the way to recording projects with many voices.
Ableton Live Lite paid, with free featuresA little hack.If you or one of your friends bought an instrument like a midi keyboard, pay attention to the bundled software. Many keyboards come with a free base distribution of the well-known Ableton Live music creation software. Look for the key to it at home or ask one of your friends.The Lite version has limited functionality compared to the basic version: only eight tracks are available, only the most basic processing tools and a small library of synthesizers. But even Lite is already a full-fledged environment for creating music. Accordingly, there are also functions for editing the audio track. And if you want to take the first steps towards creating musical / noise accompaniment to your voice and applying various effects, then it’s hard to come up with a program more suitable for this.
What and how to learn
All audio editors from the list allow you to work with sound at a professional level. They have a lot of functions, and it is not surprising that the programs can seem complicated. But for the start and the first projects, you need to master a very small amount of knowledge:oneUnderstand what the main work area consists of – where you see audio tracks, signal levels, timecodes and the navigation bar.2Learn how to record a high-quality and smooth audio signal from your microphone, cut, copy, paste and mark parts of the recorded audio track.3Be able to equalize the track by volume and remove artifacts like clicks and background noise with automatic tools built into the program. Work in the spectrum analyzer mode, where you can also remove clicks and harsh noises.fourBe able to process the prepared track with an equalizer, compressor and limiter. You will need an equalizer to remove or emphasize certain frequencies, a compressor to even out the loudest and quietest sounds relative to each other, a limiter to suppress unwanted peak signals.You can learn these basic skills literally overnight. And in-depth knowledge, such as audio restoration or multi-track recording and mixing, you will quickly get later if necessary. First, turn the basic knowledge into a stable skill and try your hand at working on an audiobook. Youtube has a huge number of video tutorials on any aspect of working with sound, so you will not have problems with instructions.