Tag Archive: #audio




Happy New Year everyone! Yes, I know it was a couple of days ago, but I’m still wishing you all the best for this new year. 


Like most people, I’m taking a look back at 2020 and what I managed to accomplish in spite of all the chaos we’ve experienced with this Pandemic. Helen and I have been extremely cautious to avoid getting it since both of us have conditions which would likely land us in the hospital if we were to catch Covid – 19. And here in California where we are, the ICU’s are currently filled and overflowing. 


Mind you, I’ve been working full-time for the county in spite of the situation. So I haven’t had extra time to work on personal projects as much as one might expect. Still, I did manage to get a number of projects completed in 2020. 


For starts, I managed to get my first audiobook narration out on Audible

Amazon Link: Forever’s Too Long (Audible)I also created my 2nd and 3rd book trailers (both for Helen’s “Forever Detective Series”),

Link: Forever Haunted TrailerLink: Forever In Deep TrailerI painted the cover for her book “Forever In Deep”

Amazon Link: Forever In Deep

On another front, my high school friend Richard Caminiti and I completed the first draft of our long-distance collaborative novel, “The Pass. This dark fantasy piece, that takes place during the Civil War will hopefully be available for sale later this year in either late September, or early October.

I also managed to finish recording Helen’s second solo novel “Forever Haunted”.

 I am currently completing final edits of the recordings, and will be submitting them to Audacity for review. Once approved, it will be available on Audible, so stay tuned.

Finally, I got myself an account on Instagram. My goals are to network and entertain, as well as help promote our books and projects. If you’d like to follow me over there, here’s my link:

https://www.instagram.com/allankrummenacker/

So what are my plans for 2021?

Well, for starters, finishing the final edits and getting the audio files for “Forever Haunted” submitted to ACX for approval of course. I’ve re-edited nine of the 18 chapters, as well as the opening and closing credits.

Once I’ve got those out of the way, I’ll start recording “Forever In Deep”.I would also like to complete the 2nd draft of “The Pass” no later than February 28th, so we can get it sent out to the beta-readers Rich has already lined up. After we hear back from everyone, then we can get the final draft set up as well as add the pen and ink art that our wonderful Illustrator Gabrielle Callan has been putting together for the book.

As the year progresses, I’d also like to finish recording the remaining chapters of  my “A Christmas Carol” project for release on YouTube in December. I still have to edit the current files, as well as add more soundtrack layers for sound effects and other touches, as well as locate more public domain, and non-copyrighted images for the video.

I of course wish to have completed 1st drafts of “The Door” (the direct sequel to “The Bridge”) as well as “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” (which is a direct sequel to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home).

There will also be book cover art that will require my attention for Helen’s 4th solo novel “Forever Festive”, “The Door”,  and “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties”

Helen and I are also considering trying our hands at some podcasting, focusing mostly on writing, recording audios at home, and other creative endeavors.

I have dozens of other ideas, but I’m trying to keep things within the realm of actually getting done this year, without killing myself. I’m still working full-time at the county. Currently I’m alternating one week in the office with the public (which is nerve-wracking because of the pandemic) and then one week home telecommuting. So, trying to keep a balance of what’s doable as opposed to moaning about what I can’t get to, is really tricky at times.

And of course, I will be posting more here about my audio adventures, including more bloopers, as well as sharing thoughts on writing.

There’s a lot on the agenda as you can see, so we hope you’ll stick with us. And as always, keeping writing everyone.


 Greetings one and all.  Sorry for the silence, but as you can guess I’ve been really busy on audio and writing projects.  Sadly, one of those projects will not come to light until this time next year. This would be the one I last posted about, namely “A Christmas Carol”. Between trying to get the audiobook version of “Forever Haunted” completed, as well as a lengthy short story (I know that sounds weird, a short story being lengthy) over on our other blog “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”, as well as trying to deal with work and prepping for the holidays, time has not been very available for me. 

So I’m planning on releasing my reading/performance of Mr. Dicken’s classic for December 2021. It will be complete with voices and sound effects, along with royalty-free and public domain imagery from the internet. At the moment it seems to be coming in at a length of 5+ hours which is why I will be releasing it in staves (chapters) as Mr. Dickens wrote it. In addition, I may produce a complete audio of the performance to be made available on CD or as an MP3 download. But that’s all next year.

For now, I’m dealing with new shutdowns here in Santa Cruz, California (due to Covid – 19) which has hampered a number of other efforts Helen and I had planned. As well as other work related issues which have left us both rather tired at times. 

Helen also had to scale back on releasing her 4th novel in her “Forever Detective Series”, to next year as well, since it too is Christmas related. However, she did complete a short story that will be posted soon over on her blog theforeverdetective.com. We intend to also create an audio for that story which will also be published shortly for your enjoyment.

I’ll be sharing some new audio recording experiences here on this blog, starting in January. I’ll be focusing on editing and more recording techniques, so you know what to keep an eye out for.

I’ll post here again as soon as I have something to say, or just to wish you all Happy Holidays.

In the meantime, if you want a ghost story set around Christmas here is a link to the one I’ve created over on “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”. To date there are two installments with more to come. I’ll leave the links for those right here and hopefully you’ll get a chance to check it out. Enjoy… and until next time, keep writing my friends.

LINKS FOR “Lisa’s Private Thoughts – December 24th 2017, My Christmas Ghost Story”

Part I: https://thevampyreblogs.blog/2020/11/28/lisas-private-thoughts-december-24th-2017-my-christmas-ghost-story-part-i/

Part II: https://thevampyreblogs.blog/2020/12/04/lisas-private-thoughts-december-24th-2017-my-christmas-ghost-story-part-ii/


It’s been a busy month for me, which is why I haven’t been posting anything lately. Between editing “The Pass”, my long-distance collaboration with my old friend Rich Caminiti and recording and editing Helen’s 2nd book in her “Forever Detective Series”, it’s been hectic for me. On top of all that, I have been working on a new short story for our other site:

“The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” (link: https://www.thevampyreblogs.com/)

The story will be a Christmas ghost story (an old English tradition), which I hope you will decide to check out when it is posted. (I promise to let you all know when that happens).

Finally, as the title of this entry indicates, I’ve also started a new audio project that I hope to post on YouTube in December. What is it? Well, I’ll be reading Charles Dickens “A Christmas Carol”. 

Now I suspect some of you are already thinking “Oh great… ANOTHER production of that old story.” So why am I doing it? Simple, there have been many movies and animations done of course, but not a single one has ever been a complete rendition of the story. I always thought I knew the story myself for a very long time, until I actually got a copy of the book. There are many passages and even scenes that have been left out of a number of the incarnations that have been produced. If you mainly know the story from movies and animations, you’ll no doubt have noticed certain versions include or leave out certain scenes between such as one old animation from 1970 has a horse-drawn hearse driving up the stairs inside Scrooge’s home itself freaking him out. That always puzzled me until I read the story myself and found that it does happen. 

There are also some impressive speeches by both Marley’s ghost as well as the Ghost of Christmas Present that almost always get left out. Why does this happen? Well, we’re talking television or the big screen where there are always time constraints so a number of things get left out or are filmed and then wind up on the cutting room floor.

So, I decided to take it upon myself to create an “unabridged” version for people to enjoy for free. Mind you it will not just be an audio, I am gathering Public Domain images to accompany the tale, along with an opening and closings for each chapter or “Stave” as Mr. Dickens called them. 

Why he used that term instead of calling them chapters? Well, as I’ve learned, since the title of the story is “A Christmas Carol”, and ‘carols’ are songs, he chose a term that was associated with music. A “Stave” in music has its own mood and theme. This is also true for each of the five sections of Mr. Dickens story, so he titled his chapters accordingly.

I have already recorded the first of the 5 staves “Marley’s Ghost”, which has clocked in at about 45 minutes. For your enjoyment I’ve decided to give you all a brief sample here, so you can get an idea of what you can expect from my little performance, although you might want to lower the volume as the ghost gets a bit loud at the beginning and can be quite startling:

As you can hear, I’m not just reading the story, but am actually performing it by giving each character their own voice. I’ll also be supplying some sound effects for certain scenes where I feel it helps enhance the experience.

My hope to have 5 videos altogether, which I will release over the course of several days or weeks, depending on what you all would like to see happen. Please let me know by leaving your wishes in the comments section below. I want this to be enjoyable for everyone, especially during this unusual year with the pandemic keeping most of us at home instead of being able to travel. I am also considering making CD/DVD’s upon request for those who would like a complete copy for themselves or family members who do not have (or feel comfortable) computers and YouTube.

So that’s what’s been happening and what I’ll be focusing on for the next two months. Please note, I’m also working on more Para-Earth novels. I have both “The Door” and “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” well under way, with hopes of releasing one or both sometime next year. So until next time (which I hope will be sooner rather than later), stay safe and keep writing my friends.


UltimateFinalCoverForeversTooLongGIMP

My first ‘Voice Actor’ performance “Forever’s Too Long” is now available as an unabridged audiobook, exclusively through the author’s webstore.

You have a choice between MP3 Downloadable Zip File for $12.99, or if you prefer  available as a 4 CD set for $20.00 (which includes shipping).

                  mp3logoFTLCDS1262

This book has already been earning rave 5 Star reviews both locally and internationally in audio, paperback, and e-book forms:

 

5.0 out of 5 stars – Well-crafted and hard to put down

Reviewed in Canada on November 12, 2019

Format: Paperback

“Relatable characters, evocative scenery, and engaging dialogue make this book a lot of fun to read…”

 

5.0 out of 5 stars – A Great Twist

Reviewed in the United States on July 3, 2019

Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase

“This is an interesting take on both hard-boiled mysteries and urban fantasy…”

 

Diane Bouse rated it 5.0 out of 5 stars – It was amazing

“I listened to this on audio and loved it. Helen has done a superb job with her characters and story… Allan did the reading and it was wonderful. Voices spot on, all the time and such a variety.”

Just click on the link below and you can hear a sample as well as order your own copy.

https://www.theforeverdetective.com/p/store.html

BlueYetiandHeadphones


Finally heard back from ACX. Two issues came up. I didn’t leave enough “Room Tone” (silence) at beginning and end of every chapter. They want .5 to 1 second of silence before first word spoken, then 1-5 seconds of silence after last word spoken. Easy fix.

The other issue, I included the closing credits and the last chapter in one file. They wanted them separated, another easy fix.

Otherwise, they had no other problems with the files. Volume, clarity, technical requirements of the audios themselves, all of that was fine.

I will be making these corrections, if I haven’t already dealt with them on my own. After that… still going to follow our own path at this point and make CD’s and downloadable MP3’s from our websites.

and

Why?

Because Audible has an “exclusive” clause that says only they get to produce the audios, and they do not make CD’s. They only produce Audible versions, and as we’ve been told by others NOT everyone can afford the monthly Audible charges every month.

Will our path be an easy one? Not really. But we’re hoping that people will spread the word once we have the audios up for sale. We’ll have to promote ourselves, which would still be true if we went with Audible. Oh the books would be in their catalog along with 100’s of others, so what would be the difference?

Reviews? Reviews can be left at our website under the comments section for each product.

A lot of people think that just because they got their book/audio on a big company’s site that they are set and don’t have to do anything else. But that’s the BIGGEST mistake one can make. No matter where your works are for sale, YOU still have to do most if not all the promoting to get the word out. Or hire someone to do your marketing. In this day and age “If you build it they will come…” is seriously overrated. YOU have to put in the work to get people to find out about your work.

And that is exactly what I’m doing here and now. Letting people know the CD’s and MP3’s are coming. I’ll be creating a “Store” button here on this site very soon and populate it with CD’s, downloadable MP3 files, PDF’s, and the option to order a signed print copy of any of our books.

ALSO… I will be continuing the “Adventures in Audio Recording” Series, in order that those who still wish to create audios can succeed in making Audible quality files ready for submission to ACX or other audiobook outlets.

Until next time, take care and keep writing and recording my friends.

After our last entry asking about making other options available such as CD’s and downloadable MP3 files of our books for audio, we’ve learned that if we go with Audible they have the “Exclusive” right to produce the audio. It also clearly states in the agreement that neither we, nor anyone else, can create audios of the books in ANY format.

                                  

And this does not just apply to us. At our local library we found some of Jim Butcher’s “Dresden Files” on CD. However, it seems they were all made before the books were transferred to Audible. Since then no new CD’s have been made. Allan even went as far as to check on Amazon and found the only  CD copies available are used ones for the earlier books. There do not appear to be any CD’s for the more recent installments of that series, only the Audible version.

So what does that mean for us? That is where the tough decision is being made. After much researching, Allan has learned how to make MP3 Files for sale and download from Helen’s web page. She is still in the middle of constructing the store for that website, but we will keep you all appraised of how it is coming along and when things will be available for sale.

Her first novel “Forever’s Too Long” is already recorded and up to ACX/Audible standards. However, we both want to add a few new touches to the files, like adding some intro and closing music, as well as the occasional sound-effect here and there where it just seems appropriate (like someone bumping their head – without giving any of the plot away, it just seems appropriate for the particular scene in question, trust me on this).

The MP3 downloads will be in Zip File format, and if this is a problem for anyone please let us know.  (NOTE: We will be experimenting with non-Zip MP3 Files as well, just in case some people need that style.) 

Payment Options:

-Payments will be accepted at Helen’s on-line store through PayPal (which takes credit cards these days).

-Personal checks will also be accepted in which case the file(s) will be e-mailed to you as soon as the check is received and deposited.

 

What will be available at the online store?

                                   

CD’s

MP3 Downloads 

Signed Trade Paperback Copies

And finally…

PDF’s for those who don’t do Kindle/Nook


*NOTE: Kindle/Nook/Kobo and other e-book versions will still be available through Amazon and Barnes and Noble, Kobo, other online outlets. 

 

But what about the Para-Earths Books?

We will also be slowly setting up a store here on this blog to cover our Para-Earths Series which of course includes: 

            

*NOTE: Signed paperback copies and PDFs will be posted shortly.*

Audiobooks in the forms of CD’s and dowloadable MP3’s are already under way, starting with the our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At A Time” (of which 5 of the stories have already been recorded and edited) and “The Bridge”. Voices have been lined up for many of the characters, while others have yet to be cast so please bear with us.

And rest assured that all new Para-Earths tales are on the way as well.

As of today “The Door” is weighing in at over 60,000 words and still growing.

We are also pleased to let you all know that “The Vampyre Blogs – Family Ties” novel, is also under way and is currently sitting at 6000 words. This story will be a full-length novel taking up a couple of weeks after the events of “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.

A third novel “The Misty Mountains” will feature Jonathan Cloudfoot and his girlfriend Michelle (who both made their 1st appearances in “The Ship”) will be teaming up with “The Professor” (aka Otto from “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”) is also in the works. This adventure will be taking place in the hills of Santa Cruz California.

So we have a lot going on here and much more coming your way. As always we thank you for your support and patience while we bring all this and more to you.

Until next time, take care and keep writing everyone!


New Year’s is a time for reflection and looking ahead… or so I’ve been told. My first thought was “I didn’t really get that much done this year. I don’t have much to say or show for it.” Then at the urging of Helen I pulled out a pen and paper and started making a list. The results surprised me.

                   

I created not one but three book covers. This is the most art I’ve done in one year in I don’t know how long. Two of them were of course for Helen’s new The Forever Detective Series. The other was a new cover for “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” which we re-released as the first Young Adult (YA) installment of our Para-Earth Series.

Speaking of Helen’s new series, we created not one but two book trailers, one for each book.

 

 

This was the first time I’d ever made a book trailer and it was a blast. Helen wrote a short script for each and also found a bunch of images she wanted used in them. I not only supplied the expertise in turning it all into a video, but also the voice-over.

Now all this voice-over work, as brief as it was, led to yet another new project. At the urging of many others, I started looking into creating audiobooks. I spent a couple of months researching equipment and software and how to use it all. Eventually, I finally started recording a couple of our short stories from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” and got some seriously positive feedback, as well as some solid tips.

Here’s one of them:

I’ve recorded several more in the meantime, with the hopes of eventually having the entire anthology recorded in the coming months.

This leads me back to my efforts to get into creating full-scale audiobooks. In spite of all my research and blogging about all the technical aspects of creating an audiobook (there are seven entries in this blog already with a few more to come) I still wasn’t sure I was ready to fully go for it. Then in early November I went to a class about voice-over work and got the reassurance I needed from a pro. As she told me in an e-mail “You’ve got the chords for this…”

With this in mind I’ve been fully throwing myself into completing the audio recordings of Helen’s first solo book “Forever’s Too Long”. To date 20 of the 22 chapters are recorded and edited. I have re-record two more and get them edited. Once their done and meet with her approval (I had recorded them earlier but neither of us were happy with the results hence the do-over) we will be submitting the entire set to Audible. We’re hoping this will happen no later than the end of this month (January 2020). From there I intend to continue recording more stories from the anthology as well as begin turning her second book “Forever Haunted” into an audio, as well as “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” in which Helen will be lending her vocal talents to bringing those characters more to life.

Some of you may be wondering why I haven’t started turning “The Bridge” or “The Ship” into audiobooks, instead of jumping to “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” and “TVB – One Day At a Time”. The answer is simple, length. Both “The Bridge” and “The Ship” are much longer than any of the other books I’m tackling and will take a great deal more time to record. Plus, I still have to come up with voices for all the various characters in those two books. So until I’ve nailed down voices for everyone, those are on the slow track for now, but they will be happening.

But getting back to 2019, with all this artwork and recording, did I get ANY writing done? The answer is of course I did. Some of it was on the long-awaited sequel to “The Bridge” and “The Ship”.

“The Door” is fully under way, and will hopefully finally see the light of day by the end of this year if not sooner. As this book is a major turning point in the Para-Earth Series, I really want to get this book completed as much as people want to read it. However, some of it’s progress will depend on another writing project with my other collaborator Rich Caminiti.

“The Pass” has been one of the most ambitious projects I’ve worked on to date. It is also the only book I’ve worked on as a long-distance collaboration, which has involved trading off chapters and as well many, MANY Skype sessions. But Rich and I are closing in on a finished 1st draft and then the process of creating a 2nd cleaner draft will begin in another month or so. So I will have much to do on that front. After the 2nd draft, it will be sent to beta-readers and an editor for further clean-up. Our hopes is to have the book out by the end of the year, but we will see what happens. We refuse to rush the book without getting it as clean and exciting as possible. And on a side note, the 2nd installment of that tale is also under way as I write. So more on that will be coming in future blog posts.

Also on the writing front I completed 3 brand new short stories for our other site “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition”. Two of those tales were rather lengthy and took several months apiece to complete. Yet in spite of their length, they are still considered short stories and not novelettes or novellas.

So that covers most of 2019.

What’s in store for 2020?

Well, I’ve already covered the fact that I’m close to releasing a complete audiobook, which I hope to follow with at least 2 more before year’s end. As I mentioned earlier, one will be “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” anthology, the other will be Helen’s 2nd book “Forever Haunted”. I’ve got voices prepared for both titles and depending on how things go I may get “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home” under way as well.

When it comes to my own writing getting “The Pass” into a finished 2nd draft and sent to beta-readers and an editor are the top demands. Rich and I would like to see it reach readers by the end of the year, but I know from experience that there’s still so much to do before that can happen. But we will see.

I’m already planning several new short stories for “The Vampyre Blogs – Private Edition” as well as beginning preparations to put together and 2nd anthology with several never before seen stories included.

“The Door” of course is another priority for me. I’d really like to see that finished and prepped for release this year. With luck, and patience, I hope to make that actually happen.

And of course, I’ll be making new book trailers as well as helping format Helen’s next two books in her Forever Detective series.

So that’s what’s been and what is coming. There’s a lot on our plates, but we’ll keep bringing you new posts regarding all these projects and more so stay tuned. Please accept this late wish for a HAPPY NEW YEAR to you all and as always keep writing.


Okay folks today we get down into some of the actual nitty-gritty with the Audacity program.  I’m going to be covering a fair amount of info here, while also supplying you with links to various videos that helped me. This way if my own instructions are not clear, or maybe you work better with  a visual, you’ll have the link to see exactly what’s going on.

Now I’m going to introduce you to what I refer to as “My Best Friend” in Audacity. It’s called the CHAIN. What the chain does is applies several clean-up “Effects” that will improve the quality of your recording in one shot. Mind you, it is possible to do every Effect separately, but you’ll probably need to do it every one at a time, whenever you do a recording. The Chain command will have all the Effects  preset at the levels you already need in order to meet ACX’s requirement guidelines and will save you a LOT of time.

However, we will have to do those presets while creating the Chain. This may take some time, but as I said before, in the future you’ll be able to select the Chain command and it will do it all in one shot.  So let’s get started.

Looking at the image above you’ll see Audacity in all its complicated-looking glory. Don’t worry it’s not that scary really. Clicking on “FILE” you’ll get a drop down menu. Just under the Import Option you’ll see Chains. Bring your cursor over it and it will give you two more options Apply Chain and Edit Chains. You’ll want “Edit Chains” so click on that. This is what should come up:

Of course in your case there may not be any Chain names in that first column, aside from maybe MP3 conversion, that came with mine, but I don’t know if this is true for everyone. Nevertheless, you have to create a new chain command of your own. So down at the bottom you’ll hit the Add button. This will start your new Chain. I gave mine the name ACX so I know exactly what it does.

After you give it a name the next thing you’ll see that you have that name highlighted under your Chain List. In the other box you’ll see 01 End. That will wind up getting pushed down to the bottom of your list as you add each effect, so don’t panic. At the bottom of your screen you’ll click on Insert which will bring this up next:

Now you have a list of Effects to choose from. I started with Equalization so select that one. Once you have it hi-lighted you’ll see at the top of that box a button that says “Select Parameters” hit that. This will bring up another screen that looks like this:

Looks intimidating doesn’t it? But all I want you to do is go to the bottom where it says Select Curve and choose the Low Roll-Off For Speech option. Then you’ll take the Length of Filter arrow just above that line towards the right and move the arrow to about 5000. Then click OK.

Congratulations, you’ve just taken care of your Equalizer Effect. Now we’re back on our Command Select screen with Equalization still chosen. You’ll now hit the OK button on that screen and see that Equalization is now part of your Chain.

Not so bad, right? Now we’re going to hit the Insert to add another Command to the Chain. This time I want you to choose RMS Normalize for your next command.

*NOTE: If this or any of the other options I’m telling you to choose is not among your selections, you’ll need to add it to your options. Should this be the case with you, I recommend watching video which is easy to understand and really helpful visually. I used it and it saved me a lot of aggravation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdQq9W6Ot2w. Mind you you might need to restart Audacity to get it to show up among your Select Command options, so make sure you save the Chain you’ve been creating BEFORE closing Audacity down. That way all you’ve done is already still there when you go under File and hit Edit Chains which will bring up your list again and you can select it to continue inserting the new command/effects.

Now back to RMS Normalize. Now remember to choose RMS Normalize, instead of Normalize. These are two very different functions and ACX is focused on RMS Normalize so choose it. Once again it will be hi-lighted and you’ll choose Set Parameters at the top of that window. Once there you’ll get a small window (which I cannot find an image of online #*@%!!! –those symbols were me cursing under my). However, without the image I can tell you there is very little to do here. You’ll simply enter -20.00 in the box marked Target RMS Level. You’ll also make sure the Normalize Sterio Channels is set at “Independently”. Then hit OK.  This will take you back to Select Command  and you’ll hit OK on that window. Now you have both Equalize and RMS Normalize in your chain.

*ANOTHER NOTE ABOUT RMS NORMALIZE: If after you run your chain and  you go to ACX Analyze and it may come back saying the RMS Normalize did not meet their standards. If this happens go under Effects, choose RMS Normalize and this will in turn take you back to that same screen where you set the Target RMS Level. Don’t change anything. Simply hit the “Debug” button (while having your entire recording selected so it will be applied to the whole thing), and then run the ACX Analyzer again after that. This happened to me the very first time I ran my chain and it fixed the problem. And apparently it has become the default because I’ve never had this problem with the RMS Normalizer ever again. Hopefully, you’ll have the same luck.

Finally, we come to the last command in my Chain and that is Limiter. Once again we are back on the Chain screen and hitting Insert. This time from the Select Command we choose Limiter and go back up to the top and click “Edit Parameters”. This is the screen that should come up:

Here you will choose the following. First you’ll want to choose Soft Limit under Type. Then you’ll choose 0 for both Input Gains (or if that’s already your option just leave it). Then -3.5  for Limit to (dB).  and finally 10 for Hold (ms).  As for Apply Make-up Gain: choose the No option. Then click OK. Then select OK on Select Command and you’ll see it as part of your Chain. From here, you’ll simply hit the OK button at the bottom of the Chain Command screen and you are done. You now have a working Chain that you can apply to your entire recording.

To do this, you’ll got to Select at the top of your Audacity screen and choose All. Then you’ll go to File and choose Chains and this time select Apply Chain. From there you’ll select whatever name you gave the Chain and select “Apply To Current Project” and from there the magic happens. The program will tell you which effect it is working on then go straight to the next one and so on until it finishes. You’ll see a visible difference in the wave-lengths of your recording and when you play it you’ll notice a huge difference in the sound quality. Here’s an example of one of mine, the first selection is BEFORE and the second one is AFTER I applied the Chain command.

RAW RECORDING:

AFTER CHAIN APPLIED:

Again you could have applied all these steps individually, but again the time it took to just set this Chain up would be just as long.  But now that you have that Chain you’ll be done in way less time.

Now if anyone found me sounding condescending in how I wrote this piece, please understand I am a total Novice when it comes to tech and I know I’m not the only one out there. So I tried to keep this in terms I know I would understand if I was a reader with the same lack of knowledge.

And in case I left anything out or didn’t explain the processes correctly here are the video links that cover this same material. It took me hours to find these but they were so worth it in the end.

How to Make Your Voice Sound Like Studio Quality in Audacity:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20DtRBJXWXU&list=PLjgeYVyMyvJxzwyZjepXTyey_gTeGiF2K&index=25&t=97s

Making Your Voice Sound Better In Audacity:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TYF5ytMDFpA&list=PLjgeYVyMyvJzrsl94TaEtLVVZts6O10a9&index=3&t=0s

Audacity for ACX:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wnutKoBzmpA&list=PLjgeYVyMyvJzrsl94TaEtLVVZts6O10a9&index=6&t=18s

The last video involves adding a Noise Gate, which I will go into in the next installment of this series. I’d do it here, but I’ve probably already overloaded you all with enough info. But watch the video by all means and if you choose to experiment on your own, that’s great.

Until next time keep writing and recording my friends.


Okay, so getting ready to record in the privacy of your own home. Sadly, this will not always be easy. Finding a quiet spot to set up is always tricky at best. But here are a few do’s and don’t’s:

1 – DON’T use your bathroom! It may have great acoustics for singing, but for recording an audio book, not a great choice. Too much echo, unless of course you want that effect for a particular scene where the character is in a cave/tunnel.  But not ideal for an entire book. You’ll drive your listeners crazy.

2 – Do not have any laundry, dishwasher, or loud fans going anywhere nearby. If you’ve got a really good microphone, guess what it will be picked up in the background. Not acceptable to ACX requirements.

3 – Make sure the windows are closed so you don’t pick up outside noises, like traffic or kids playing.

4 – Be prepared to start over… repeatedly! Things happen. You accidentally step on something, or your clothing is crinkly, etc. Where something comfortable and quiet.

5 – Have some water/drink on hand to take a swig between takes (or even sentences). Remember, with Audacity you’ll have the capability to delete sections where something happened you didn’t realize got picked up by the mic.

Some of you are probably wondering, “How do I delete a section in Audacity?” It’s very simple. When you record Audacity not only records but gives you a visual on your computer screen as depicted in the shot below.

You’ll notice how one section of the narration is already hi-lighted. For this discussion let’s say that’s the are you want to delete. Well once you have the area you want to go, simply select it and hit your delete button. It’s that simple. Just be careful you’re selecting just the section you want gone. If you delete too much, you do have the option of “Undoing” the delete by simply moving your cursor over to the Edit on the toolbar line and selecting Undo. Then you can go back and select just the area you had intended to delete. Audacity can be very forgiving. But this only works if you haven’t done another delete already. The Undo is only good for undoing what you just got rid of, not something you removed several deletes back.

The same holds true while you’re recording. If you make a major goof one trick I’ve learned is to snap my fingers near the microphone. This will create a big spike on your Audacity recording so you have a visual which makes it easy to go back and figure out where the error occurred and delete it later on. I will also snap my fingers again when I’m restarting so I can find the dead area between the snaps to delete.

As a rule I DO NOT stop the recording when I make a mistake. I use those snaps and keep recording. I’ll even do this when I’ve recorded a section but wasn’t happy with how it sounded to me. *Remember how I said in the last post that the headphones plug into the Blue Yeti microphone so I hear exactly what the mic is picking up*. Well if I feel I didn’t do a good job on that last section, I’ll snap and redo it. Believe me, those snapping fingers will become your best friend when it comes to editing your recording on Audacity. It makes it so easy to find those sections and delete them and it will save you a lot of time.

Okay, let’s say you’ve finished your recording and have gone through the process of deleting the sections you wanted removed. What comes next?  You’ll probably wind up with a raw version that sounds like this:

You can hear me taking breaths as well as a few noises that the mic still picked up in the background in spite of all my efforts to make things quiet in the room. Furthermore, the decibel levels in some areas will not meet ACX’s requirements. What do we do about those? Well, for sake of length I’m going to cover all of that in our next installment. Sorry if this leaves some of you hanging, but to cover the material properly it will probably be a lengthy entry complete with examples and YouTube links to videos where I learned a lot of what I will be covering.

So stay tuned and keep writing and practice reading aloud my friends.


Okay, continuing with my adventures in recording audios, I left off last time with the image above. Now what you are seeing are the Blue Yeti Microphone, which had a huge amount of reviews over on Amazon. It’s a very versatile microphone in the respects that it can give you several options for picking up sound. It can do 360, if you want a room full of people involved (or to pick up background sound effects), it can do 2-way where you’re on one side of the mic and someone else is directly opposite you, while filtering out the sides somewhat. It also has a setting called Cardioid which is the one I use for audios, this allows you to not have to be directly in front of it at all times, so if you like to move a bit and perform as you record a scene, it catches everything you’re saying. These will plug into your computer’s USB port, so no special attachments. Also, the cord is very long (about 6-7 feet) so you have some freedom of where to set up to get away from your computer and not pick up sound from it.

Now I warn you in advance, this microphone costs at least $90-100+ depending on several factors. Number one are you buying a package deal where you also get a pop filter/professional foam windscreen that fits on top of the Blue Yeti for further filtering of noise. If you’re just getting the microphone go through the color selection. Believe it or not, which color you get it in can raise or lower the price a fair amount. Because I chose this blue color, I got mine for just under $105 instead of being charged $120 if I’d taken the Black or Silver.

Don’t ask me why color matters I have no idea. I just went with what was cheaper and it kind of reminded me of the color of the Tardis in Dr. Who… one of my all time fav shows.

Also, I warn you that this is NOT a small microphone. In its stand that comes with the microphone, this puppy is a full 1 foot tall and almost 3-4 inches wide at the base. The microphone itself can be  removed from the base and attached to a swing arm, but make sure the arm can handle the weight and stay in position. There are swing arms designed for the Blue Yeti, but that’s more money so go with what your budget will allow. Personally, I just keep mine on a bureau in a quiet corner of my room and record while standing and performing. Now when I say performing, I mean reading not singing. I like to add silent gestures as I record which allows me to get more emotion and emphasis to come across in the readings.

Next you’ll want closed over the ear headphones. In my case, they plug directly into the bottom of the Blue Yeti Microphone. This is a big plus in my book, because I could hear exactly how I sound over the mic as well as hear background noise that is being picked up. This in turn allowed me to turn things off, re-position the mic to cut down a lot of the noises it was picking up. And believe me, even in Cardioid mode, that mic will pick things up so pay attention to what you’re hearing. I don’t have a specific brand of headphones to recommend I’ve had this pair for 2 years already and with the way technology keeps changing, they are probably obsolete. But they’re great for my purposes.

Now comes the biggie, what audio recording system to use. In my case, I went with Audacity which is a free download (here’s the link: www.audacityteam.org/download/).

I highly recommend getting fully acquainted with this software and its many features. And believe me it has a lot! Now, if you’re like me (who is a complete audio neophyte) you may want to go over to YouTube and look up some videos to learn how to navigate and use Audacity to its fullest before launching into full-recording mode. If you’re already well-versed, I salute you and wonder where the hell were you when I was looking for advice.

I will go much deeper into the specific functions I use with Audacity in another post, but for now I wish to focus on the equipment I’m using. But one thing I will say about Audacity is that it has one particular function I’m very excited about.  Along the toolbar at the top of the screen of Audacity is a button titled Analyze. When you click on that, a pull down menu appears and one of the options is ACX Check, which will become your best friend/enemy. When you’ve got your recording done an think it’s ready to go, you will click on ACX Check and it will analyze your work and tell you whether or not it meets the technical sound requirements to be moved onto Audible.  If your recording doesn’t meet the standards, it will tell you why and what needs to be improved.

Now all of what I’ve covered today is strictly for recording inside your own home. If you can rent studio space, they’ll have all the equipment and soundproofing already covered (hopefully). I’ve never been to one, so I cannot say much on that front. But, recording audios in your own home can be done, but it will take some effort. I’ll cover what I did to prepare and get cleaner sounding recordings in the next two-three installments of this blog.

Until then, take care and keep writing/recording my friends…

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