My New Microphone

I have now completed one entire project and have started two more using my new microphone. I purchased it in celebration after getting a deal for my first fiction audiobook production. I promised an update about it in a previous post so here we go. The microphone along with a new editing technique that I learned have resulted in increased audio quality and more efficient editing, a win-win!

Previously, I had a USB condenser mic. The Samson C01U. It has been an excellent microphone with a very nice sound quality. It was inexpensive so it was perfect when I first started out in audio with tutorials and screencasts. Then it moved along with me nicely to podcasting. But I needed something different for long form audio projects because it picked up everything. It captured breathing and mouth clicks as well as noise from the rest of the house, even outside. Things like the tv downstairs and the neighbors car starting. So I needed to wait for quiet times in the house (really rare) to record and still spent excessive time editing.

In fact, I only used that Samson mic for the first audiobook I released: Freelance Writing Business, which you can hear a sample from below, just click the red “play” circle.

For the next couple audiobooks that I narrated, I used my Roland R-05 Recorder’s onboard microphone. I love that little recorder but rookie move, I now know. They didn’t come out bad though. I even recorded my own audiobook with that setup. Below is a sample from another project I did with it.

At that point, I started studying narration specifically and learned how lame it was to use a portable digital recorder. I thought I wanted to go further with narrating but I needed to be sure before throwing a lot of cash into it. I really wanted to make due with what I had if possible.

No sooner did I start thinking that way and begin settling in to work with what I had, did I get the invitation to addition for my first fiction read. Once I got that deal signed, I knew I needed to level up on the microphone. I also needed voice acting lessons stat! Well, this post is about the mic so more on what else I did in to prepare in a later post.

So regarding the mic situation, enter one of my long-time mentors. Like so many of my mentors, he doesn’t necessarily know he is my mentor specifically. Rather, I study whatever information (blog, podcasts, books, articles, courses) he has created. In this case, I have been following Cliff Ravenscraft, the Podcast Answerman for quite a while. He is an expert on podcast development, especially equipment and start-up. I have taken a couple of his courses and can highly recommend him. Anyway, I have heard him mention the benefits of a dynamic microphone many times and decided after much research to take his suggestion and get the Heil PR-40 microphone for myself. I actually ordered mine through Cliff because I wanted the whole microphone package he recommended.

Below is a sample (warning: adult themes) of the first audiobook that I used the new microphone on. So much better, I think.

So there’s some juicy details about my new microphone. I also wanted to share a real good noise reduction technique for Audacity that is part of my regular routine now.

Of course, I have a lot of room for improvement in narrating and editing to go still yet. I’m just getting started! The foundation is good though. Now I have a pretty decent equipment setup and I’m ready to take on the next challenges of learning voice acting technique, microphone technique, and storytelling.

I’m now working on narrating and producing my sixth audiobook! I am shocked to also report that it is a fiction book.

I thought that I might eventually get into fiction narration but was planning on it being later…maybe much later. After listening to the great Robert Petkoff narrate my favorite paranormal romance book series, I was just a tad bit intimidated. I’ve never had acting classes and haven’t played much with making different voices or anything like that. Still, I thought it would be so fun to narrate fiction audiobooks too, maybe someday after more preparation.

Well, later was what I was thinking but a neat opportunity came my way. I was invited to audition to read a book in Warren Adler’s, Fiona Fitzgerald Mystery Series. He is the one who wrote The War of the Roses and Random Hearts.

After doing a little research and reading the Amazon sample of the book they asked me to read for, I decided, “What the heck?!” The writing was so good and I loved the main character right away. I figured it would be fun to try it out anyway. It was fun, and a little scary.

As it turned out, I got the gig! I’ve already started the project. Today I am reading chapter four and producing chapter two. Only twenty more chapters to read and twenty-two more chapters to edit and produce. The deadline is June 1 so I have to hustle. It seems to be going very well so far, even with the addition of a new microphone which I’ll write about more in a later post.

Now Narrating

I just delivered my first audiobook production project, and it feels great. I think this is the start of something awesome!

As it happens, I was just following my nose as usual. I published my ebook in February this year. Then I published it in paperback in March. In preparation for releasing the audiobook in April, I set up a profile at ACX. ACX has been on my radar since listening to Joanna Penn’s podcasts. She has several about turning your book into an audiobook with all the why’s and how’s. Joanna peeked my interest especially since I already have experience with audio from doing my own podcast. Also, I’ve been an Audible customer for a while, and I just love it, so I figured, “Why not?” By the way, click my affiliate link to ==> Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks.

I knew I wanted to narrate my book which authors sometimes do especially in nonfiction. So I set up a profile on ACX. While there, I learned that narrators had a separate profile area. Because I’d recently started to think that narrating audiobooks would be a real cool gig, I set up my narrator/producer profile there too. I added a couple of one-minute samples from my podcast and left it at that. I thought I would visit again after publishing my audiobook to figure out how to get a deal to narrate books for others.

As it turned out, within two days I received an offer to produce an audiobook! I could not believe it. Later, within a week or so, I found three audiobooks I was interested in producing so I auditioned. The process was so easy if more than a little scary but I was feeling bold. In a couple more days time, I was offered all three deals! Each project is only going to be about an hour long, so very small audiobooks. I think they are perfect projects to begin with. vAll four audiobooks will be completed and delivered by the end of the month. This is going to be so much fun!