Tag Archive: recording



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…


As many of you have learned from my last post, my great adventure in audio recordings has begun. So far I have recorded only the one short story “Wolves and the Northern Lights”, which comes from our first anthology book “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”. But simply recording one story is a far cry from turning a full-length novel into an audiobook. However, that is indeed my long term goal. At this point, I’m keeping things simple for myself as I still get used to the equipment both for recording as well as editing to get the best sound quality for listeners.

To keep things manageable for myself, I’m planning on recording the rest of the 25+ stories from the anthology, as well as slowly begin recording it’s predecessor “The Vampyre Blogs – Coming Home”.  Like the anthology, that novel is mainly comprised of blog, e-journal, and e-diary entries from various characters in the book.  And I plan on doing different voices for the authors of each entry, in an effort to bring the entire story and cast more to life for you all.

I have already started compiling what I call my “Voice Library”, which currently contains over 140 different voices (most based on actors and characters from movies, television, and even cartoons). I’ve always been a vocal mimic since childhood, and am taking great joy in finding a constructive outlet for all those years of trying to amuse myself and friends. I may share some brief recordings here, featuring some of the voices so you can get a better idea of just how versatile I can be.

But with all that said, the main topic I’d like to share with you all how I’ve been able to make all this happen. I know many of you might be wondering if I rent time at a local recording studio, or did I set up my own inside my home? If I’m doing it at home (which I am), how much special equipment did I have to buy? Did I have to soundproof an entire room? Who is doing the editing of my recordings? Will they be available through Amazon’s Audible program? If they will be available through Audible, how did I submit my work to them? What are their requirements, etc.?

Okay, let’s begin with how I got started down this particular path. As I’ve mentioned in a post last August when I first began thinking about this, I had been asked many times if any of our books were available in audio. Whenever I said I’d been thinking about it, but couldn’t decide on a reader I would be told “You should do it yourself! You’ve got a great voice…” So that of course got me thinking.

I did wind up trying a few samples back then, but I wasn’t happy with the quality of the recordings and kind of went off the idea a bit.

Then Helen not only began but finished her first solo novel. Besides listening and helping beta-read for her, I wound up doing the cover art for her. Then we had to focus on marketing the book to build up interest. So besides promoting the book on blogs, FB, Twitter, etc. but I wound up creating my very 1st book trailer. Anyone wanting to see the results can click on this YouTube link:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wNoPA_ytUvc.

While not 100% perfect, I was quite happy with the results, especially the voice-over you hear in the trailer. Shortly afterwards we held a book launch party for her novel “Forever’s Too Long”. During the party I did something I’ve been thinking about for some time but never tried, namely loud readings using the voices of character’s appear in the scene for those who attended. Their responses were much more positive than I’d expected.

As a result, I finally decided to go ahead and begin doing audio readings. But first I had to start gathering the right equipment for such an undertaking.

TO BE CONTINUED….


Okay, here it is folks. My first full-scale attempt at doing an audio recording of one of the short stories from our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time”. 

This particular tale features our vampyre Nathan, talking about Alaska and what it’s like to have shape-shifting powers.

*NOTE: Do not click on this image, link to audio is provided further down*

Please feel free to leave some comments below or at YouTube to let me know how I did. I’m hoping to fine tune my skills before trying for a full-scale audiobook version of the anthology and our full-length novels in the future.

FYI, I’ll be putting together a rather lengthy blog entry in the near future (possibly complete with videos including Blooper outtakes) demonstrating what lengths I go to get a good sound quality within the confines of my own home. I think I’ll be able to give you all a few good chuckles as well as useful information.

Just click on the link below to begin listening:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Mxg1nIibXI&t=32s

In the meantime keep writing my friends.


Thank you cardFirst I’d like to thank all the guest bloggers, authors, and reviewers who were so kind to supply our blog with posts. It gave me some much needed time to get some rest and help family members who had suffered a terrible loss. It also allowed us to get back to work on our anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” which will be coming out in early October, a perfect time for creepy stories and tales of encounters with strange beings. With only two stories left to be completed and edited, we will soon be lining up Beta-Readers and then doing our final edits.

Work has also been progressing on “The Door” latest full-length novel in the Para-Earth Series, and “The Pass” the first installment in a brand new series co-written with Richard Caminiti.

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In the meantime, I have been studying and purchasing the necessary equipment to begin audio-readings. As you can see below I’ve been slowly setting up a “Recording Studio” in our office/guest room.

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Now some of you may be asking “Why are you doing this? Don’t you have enough writing to do?” Well the answer is simply, a growing number of people have been telling us that they’d love to get our books but they prefer “Audiobooks” because they don’t always have time to sit and read. Or they lose track of the book they’re reading, etc-etc. This I can believe because I know a number of our co-workers are driving from over the hill from San Jose or Monterey, you name it. Plus, there are a number of folks who always have earbuds on and are not always listening to music.

“Why do it yourselves? Why not hire someone to do the reading and converting them into audiobooks?”

Once more I refer back to a number of folks who’ve actually heard me doing public speaking and reading aloud who insist I should be the one to do the audio-readings. And there are a number of readers who would prefer to hear the words spoken by the one who actually wrote them. This is a preference I share, I love hearing the author bringing their work to life because who understands the story better than they do?

As for how soon will any of our books be ready for audio? I’ll simply say that we’re just experimenting with audio-readings at this point. I’m going to try my hand at some classic short stories by others like HP Lovecraft and share them here and on YouTube to get feedback and maybe some tips from those who are more experienced in doing audiobooks. Furthermore, I want to know what it’s like doing audio recordings, who knows it may lead to a new character or even a storyline. After all they say write what you know, and drawing from life is always a much more satisfying for me when I’m creating a story.

Now if any of you are interested in hearing what happens on this little journey, I am planning on sharing in detail what I experience and learn as this adventure continues. I’ll be starting with the equipment and why some of it was chosen in an upcoming entry. And as I said before, I’ll be sharing some of the actual audio recordings for you all to get a taste of what the results are like.

Minions

Again some of my first attempts will be short pieces by other authors some which are in the Public Domain. I’m choosing those first because there is a volunteer project called LibriVox which is similar to Project Gutenberg which takes books/stories in Public Domain and are making them available for free here on the internet. However, it’s much easier to reproduce typed words than it is to get audio versions and LibriVox depends on volunteer readers to record and submit works for public enjoyment, especially for those who are blind for instance.

So, that’s all I have to report for now. In the meantime we’ll finish getting the anthology “The Vampyre Blogs – One Day At a Time” ready for release, as well as getting other writing projects closer to finished first drafts.

Until next time, keep writing!

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