I’m not going to spend a lot of time on this folks…first, because you can learn everything you need to know from thousands of YouTube videos and from acx.com. But I will share how I began (and the mistakes I made).
After researching online how to become a narrator, I saw that the most popular site to get started was listed over and over again. https://www.acx.com You can set up a free account with them. Read the instructions on how to get going…they are easy to understand. Download a software recording program on your computer. I went with https://www.audacityteam.org/ Again, free download. I bought a microphone and stand from Amazon for $50, and I was ready to get started.
My first mistake? My microphone actually sucked. About 5 books in, I invested in a $250 microphone and my life became much easier and my books sounded much better. My second mistake? I should have researched tips on recording and filters before I happily and unknowingly submitted my first project.
Okay, I know nothing about RMS levels, or Limiter filters, or noise reduction filters, and on and on. If you are not a sound engineer, you will see terms that look like Japanese to you. At least they did to me. I spent hours copying/pasting phrases like “how do I adjust my frequency Hz?” Audacity has hundreds of filters to choose from and I have tried most of them. Along the way, I learned I could double click on the audio and highlight the whole thing. Wish I had known that when I was editing my first 14 hour project….
Suggestion, take the free ACX classes they have on their website. You can learn the basics and not waste hours of time trying to figure it out like I did.
In the end, out of all those filter choices in Audacity, I use the following filters….Noise reduction, Compressor, Normalize, Graphic EQ, Limiter, Low Pass Filter, Amplify, and lastly Measure RMS. Everyone’s voice is different, so you will have different settings than me. I just had to play around with it until I was happy with how I sounded.
I can go on and on about how much time I spent learning, but I was determined to do something with this. I learned that if you try to record in a large room, you sound “hollow”, if you use too many filters, you start sounding like Betty Boop (for all you youngsters-google her and you will understand). I wanted my voice to sound like one of those smooth radio DJ’s and it took me a LONG time to figure out the right settings for my voice to even come close.
So, to conclude this, I just want to reassure anyone that is trying to figure this out, you are not alone! I have said it before, and I will say it again, Google and YouTube are my best friends in this endeavor. By the way, make sure you invest in a small backup hard drive. The first time you are practically weeping because you lost 20 hours of recording/editing/producing time, you will wish you took my advice!
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