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Best Mic for Audio Book Recording

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Ashton Graham
Best Mic for Audio Book Recording
on Jul 19, 2014 at 1:37:27 am

I have been asked by an author to produce his audio book. Audio engineer that I've been in touch with has an AT 4050 mic? Thoughts? THANK YOU.

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Richard Crowley
Re: Best Mic for Audio Book Recording
on Jul 19, 2014 at 2:32:55 pm

Audio books have been recorded with a wide variety of microphones, likely including the AT4050. Different microphones are better with different types of voices. The AT4050 might be an excellent choice for your voice, or it may not be suitable at all.

Quite likely even a bigger issue than exactly which microphone you are using is preparing a suitable environment/location in which to do the recording. Two major issues are eliminating local reflections, and blocking environmental noises. Audiobook recordings are traditionally quite "pristine" with ideal acoustics and zero noise. This is a high standard if you want to achieve professional results.

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Bill Davis
Re: Best Mic for Audio Book Recording
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:33:23 am

Everything Richard says is spot on.

To go a bit further, here are some notes from experience for this type of work.

Audio books are the marathons of the voiceover industry. It typically takes dozens and dozens of sessions to complete them and that means that the talent will be returning to the same place, doing the same thing over and over for extended periods of time.

A dedicated booth is nearly a must. With hundreds of hours of work ahead, recordings messed up by AC noise or people waking by and talking is just not acceptable.

You want a line of sight between the talent and the engineer so they can see each other. It helps communication. Also you want proper talkback so that you can address reading issues in real time without having to break in and out of recording mode.

In such a long haul situation, the narrator might request a mic mounting (often on an spring balanced articulated arm) that he or she can use either sitting down or standing, so they can change regularly to avoid positional fatigue.

And for heavens' sake if you're not used to this - allow for breaks. LOTS of breaks. At one level, reading into a mic is just like any other physical activity. You get tired. While the engineer can lean back, or forward or twist around at will to stretch their muscles, a good narrator will literally hold themselves in nearly the same position relative to the mic for long, long stretches. It's tiring.

And you can hear tired in their voice. So allow them to refresh themselves often.

Aso critical are proper ventilation in the booth, proper lighting for the copy and thinking about stuff like whether the script will be on paper (rustling and page turns will require editing) or they will read from a screen.

If a screen, visual fatigue becomes an issue.

Just a few notes from a long time narrator.

Know someone who teaches video editing in elementary school, high school or college? Tell them to check out - video editing curriculum complete with licensed practice content.

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David Jones
Re: Best Mic for Audio Book Recording
on Jul 20, 2014 at 7:42:24 pm

I did a manual-on-tape for a national corporation using the AT4050 BTW, and it took months!

Our setup was the 4050 mounted on a boom arm with a pop screen (a must); narrator seated with a music stand in front of him. We did this in his house so, I set up two c-stands with boom arms and sound blankets, creating a sound booth of sorts. But getting silence was not always easy: cars driving by; planes overhead, and I had to unplug everything, including the refrigerator.

Take all the advice that's been posted, and have fun with it!

Dave J

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Omid Gharib
Re: Best Mic for Audio Book Recording
on Jun 28, 2016 at 10:34:06 am

I want to buy Rode SmartLav+ microphone is it a good choice for audio book recording?
If it is not what do you suggest with this budget?

Thanks in advance

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