This topic contains 15 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by Avatar of Beth_Ailis Beth_Ailis 5 years ago.

How important is audio quality to you in a Podiobook?

  • Avatar of Beth_Ailis

    Even though my hearing ain’t what it used to be, if there’s a lot of buzz and static and variation to the sound levels, I will give up on a podcast or audiobook. I agree with you about the quality of the audio versions of a book — it should be very high quality. I can put up with some sound issues if it’s a freebie, but if it’s starts distracting from the story I just give up.

    And I only download a "book" when it’s finished. Can’t stand the waiting. There are a few serialized podcasts that I like, but the waiting between episodes definitely reduces my interest. I loved the first season of "Wormwood" since it was already completed with I found it. Second season had lots of waiting…I haven’t even checked in on it lately.

    Go Steelers! Go Dawgs! Got my signed copy of "The Rookie"

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

    For some reason, I had you pegged as a woman for some reason. Think it was from a comment on the 2008 Parsec Awards. Or maybe I just think the animal (can’t think of what it is right now) looks exceptionally feminine. Cest la vie.

    I’ll try not to do it again. May have to join the "I prefer you put a pic of yourself in the avatar box" with Scott Undecided Hell, you can fit 10 pics in there if you do a .gif file.

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    GirlCo: Quieter than ninja, faster than Sklorno, stronger than Ki, and more devious than the Quyth

    Avatar of Justin Crumpler

    **Bah posted this wrong, this was in response to Sadock**

    Mr here hehe, but yeah i havent had much time of late.  I still sadly (that i havent done it) need to finish The Fan for Mae too.  then hopefully start on two projects of my own.

    Avatar of Gmork

    Sound variation kills me.  When listening with headphones, it causes my ears to bleed (ok, small exaggeration).  Also, I sometimes listen to a podcast as I go to sleep and the variation, particularly increases in volume, end up startling me awake. Grr

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

         Sad thing is that variable noise levels is one of the easiest things to fix. Simply run your finished product through a program called Levelator.

        Same thing with popping. If a production artist is too cheap to buy a pop filter ($10-15), they’re easy enough to make. They’ll get rid of 85-90% of the popping, lip smacking etc.

    Thanks for the input!! Happy to see that you’re on the boards again. Welcome back!

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    GirlCo: Quieter than ninja, faster than Sklorno, stronger than Ki, and more devious than the Quyth

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

        I get all but one of my books there. While Evo doesn’t actually have any audio standards for submission, the audience ratings system does let you get an idea of what a book’s

    • audio
    • voice acting
    • writing
    • overall quality

    are before you even download it.

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    GirlCo: Quieter than ninja, faster than Sklorno, stronger than Ki, and more devious than the Quyth

    Avatar of Justin Crumpler

    obviously the higher quality the better, but honestly i have found myself listening to really good stuff that has some sound issues, mainly popping and other "lip noise" (bugs the crap out of me).  but the biggest issue that i cant ignore has been mentioned before: SouND varIAtioN! hehe :P i usually listen to podcasts at work, and i have to keep the volume low enough that i can hear other people asking me something, so it gets annoying when i finally get the volume right then BOOM the recording volume kicks up tenfold.

    I’m not saying that someone just tossing up a first pass poorly edited mess is good, but if someone has obviously done the best they could with the equipment/knowledge they possess I am fine with it.  I guess listening to so much old time radio has made me slightly immuned to distortions and whatnot. 

    Avatar of Dave Johnson

    Having just got halfway through another podbook by an unnamed author only to find that audio quality takes such a big dip for no apparent reason that i can’t listen to it any more.  half of it you can’t hear and the other half is so deafeningly loud that it scares the bejeebus out of coma patients in hospitals in neighbouring counties!!Frown

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

     Let me address them one at a time:

    1. There are very few authors in the same league as Scott when it comes to podcasting. I haven’t listened to everyone, by any means, but I’d recommend checking out Tee Morris, Christiana Ellis, & Patrick McLean. Patrick’s How to Succeed in Evil does have some editing issues, but his voice acting and writing are phenomenol. Christiana’s content is pretty far away from Scott’s, but other than that, she’s solid. Looking forward to listening to what she’s done with the new & improved Nina Kimberly. That was my first podiobook. Frakkin’ hilarious! Tee’s Billabub Baddings is flawless IMHO. Again, you may have the problem of story content. 
    2. The only book of Scott’s that I think has sound issues is Earthcore. And that isn’t due to Scott’s performance, but to his techtardedness. He released it at far too low of a bit rate. Some of the long episodes are at 32kpbs. Really? For a ‘cast with sound effects? Um, no. Just doesn’t work. But he’s done nothing but improve since then. Who would you consider a "rival?"
    3. If you enjoy sound effects, I’d check out Tee Morris’ MOREVI: Remastered. I think has the best sound effects (and most well mixed) that I’ve ever heard within a story. I know exactly what you mean about letting sound effects overpower the reader. That’s a rookie mistake that many authors make. It’s much more common to make with music, though.
    4. On the music vs. podcasts, it depends on whether you are including podiobooks in there on whether I would agree with you or not. Perfectly acceptable for podcasts to be flawed; unacceptable for podiobooks to be flawed. Podiobooks should be of an archival quality to rival anything that you’d buy at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

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    GirlCo: Quieter than ninja, faster than Sklorno, stronger than Ki, and more devious than the Quyth

    Avatar of Damon Henrichs

    So, I’ve read "Infected" and am almost done listening to "EarthCore".  I think Earthcore sounds plenty good to me, and it is his first Podcast right?  I mean, let’s not overthink this.  The story is ultimately what matters to me, and Earthcore is plenty professional in terms of sound quality to me.  Maybe I’m not expecting anything more than a glorified audiobook . . .

    That said, maybe I have not heard how the "other half lives", with a full fledged audio drama or something.  I just finished reading the Rookie, but have not listened to it. . . so maybe I will give it a listen to see what the difference in quality is.

    Anyway, I agree with the earlier poster . . . timeliness would be more important to me than loads of bells and whistles.  Give me a good story with a good, clean, quality reading done by a man doing his own female voices. . . .hehe.

    :)

    "I drank what?!?!"

    - Socrates

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

       I won’t listen to something until it’s 100% done. The only exception to this is something that I’m producing for Scott (eg Nocturnal). 

        For example, I didn’t listen to Chris Lester’s Metamor City "Season 1" until the first episode was like 2 years old or something obscene like that. I listened to all of the stand alone stories so I knew I liked the universe he had created, but I didn’t listen to Making the Cut until he wrapped up the entire novel. Murder at Avedon Hill was even worse. I’m pretty sure it took PG Holyfield over four years to finish that one up. Evo dubbed it "The podiobook that never ends."

       The worst is when an author up and podfades in the middle of a story arc. That’s a large part of the reason I utilize Podiobooks.com so much. They tag books as "complete" or "in progress" so it’s really easy for me to see whether I should consider listening to them yet.

       That would also explain why we look at the audio perfection slightly differently. I’m looking at it from a "does this measure up to the quality I’d expect from an archival edition?" whereas you’re looking at it from a "does this measure up to the quality I’d expect from a podcast?" Those are two completely different standards. I expect much more from stuff I find on Podiobooks.com than I do on an author’s site. Our goal on PB.com is to be just as good as something you’d purchase from Amazon.com.

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    GirlCo: Quieter than ninja, faster than Sklorno, stronger than Ki, and more devious than the Quyth

    Avatar of Renee Jordan

    However, I feel that if you’re doing serialized audiodrama, a balance has to be struck between quality and timely release of new episodes. For example, when I found The Levithan Chronicles I was blown away. I came into the series when they were on ep20, and it was my understanding the Christoph wanted to drop new episodes every 10 to 14 days.

    I waited like a month and a half before ep21 was dropped. Its been so long waiting for ep22 now that I have lost interest in the story and probably will not continue listening.

    I can certainly appreciate the desire to turn out a quality product, but one also has to consider time-to-market. If listeners have to wait a month between 30-45 minute episodes, they may tend to lose interest and move on to something else.

    Basically what I’m saying is that quality is important, but one’s measure of "quality product" should be bound by the time it takes to produce that product. If dropping new episodes in a timely manner means that you sacrifice a few steps toward perfect quality, that’s fine with me. I just want to hear the story, and I’m sure my imagination will fill in for missing sound effects, as well as overlook the occational flub in editing. 

    Now I realize that the stuff you work on for Scott is more "audiobook" than "audiodrama" (though The Rookie kinda straddles that line), so this probably doesn’t apply so much. You guys are really reliable about getting episodes in the can on a good weekly schedule when a new story is in progress. I guess I’m just venting a bit because I really like the stuff that Christoph and the folks at Darker Projects are doing, but its frustrating waiting a month or more for new episodes.

    **UNdead/GirlCo – We’ll eat your brains and look good doing it.**

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

     You’re very welcome for the re-masters. It’s nice to know there are a few fellow audiophiles out there. 

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    GirlCo: Quieter than ninja, faster than Sklorno, stronger than Ki, and more devious than the Quyth

    Avatar of Dave Johnson

    Scott has ruined my enjoyment of so many podcasts!! i expect all of them to be of similar quality to his work and the simple fact of the matter is that they are short by a long way.  Not just materially … (a lot of them have great plots and more importantly character development) and its not the audio quality that lets them down, its the voice acting/reading of them.  tbh most of the time i listen when I’m working and for me working means driving and my stereo is the most budget iphone  compatible one you can buy.  Add to that the sound of my shit box diesel van (don’t let anyone tell you diesels are as quiet as petrol it’s bullshit) most of the other time that i spend listening is either in bed in which case its on headphones and quiet enough that the mrs don’t hear voices and i don’t hear a reduction in noise quality.

    I can’t say that i’ve noticed any issues with audio quality in any of the FDO’s work and the rivals (if i can even justify calling them that) those that have poor production quality normally have even worse voice acting and don’t get past the first couple of episodes to allow it to bother me.  Don’t think that it’s just cos i don’t care at all about sound quality… when it comes to music i too am a snob with fecking expensive headphones with all that singing dancing noise isolation bollox… but that’s the point really, music is supposed to sound its best whereas podiocasticles are much more about the content and interpretation.

    sorry realised that turned into a bit of a soap box moment but that’s the risk of asking an opinion. 

    Ps i doo like sound effects though pewpew but only if they aren’t too loud that you can’t hear the reader. 

    Avatar of Mark Wheeler

     Audio quality is incredibley important. I feel that if i’m going to invest the time to listen to something that the same time effort to make the best quality product possible should be reciprocated on the other end. I’ve always thought that this was something our dear FDO has almost always excelled in. Even with his first book the audio quality was pretty good and it has only gotten better. Afterre-listening to The Rookie i immensly enjoyed the increased quality of the audio. Given I would still listen if the quality wasnt as high as it was with The Rookie but it was most definitely appreciated. So to wrap this all up, thank you for all of your hard work to help make an awsome podcast even more awesome, people really do notice. :)

    Mark "The Mangler" Wheeler

    #1 Contender for the heavyweight title.

    Avatar of Arioch Morningstar

       We all know Scott is one of the best as far as audio productions go. He’s only gotten better over time. I hadn’t realized exactly how much better until I did THE ROOKIE remasters recently. I don’t think he’d started recording in the closet yet. Or maybe he simply hadn’t soundproofed it very well. Point being that I expected to get GB files similar to NOCTURNAL quality when I told Scott I’d remaster THE ROOKIE. I’m fairly sure that’s the first novel I was working ‘live’ with Scott on. The difference in noise floor between the two novels is amazing.

       Scott is always learning how to make a better product for us. That’s our FDO and part of why we love him. Many authors don’t get it. Even some of the professional ones. The hobbyists I can excuse. They’re just doing podiobooks because they love writing and want to get their work out there somehow. But the pros? Come on, people. I always knew I was an audio snob, but I believe I’ve become worse after becoming a producer. Now I’m annoyed by even the smallest hiccups. I’ll be listening to a brilliantly authored piece with beautiful voice acting and thinking "Why the hell did he ruin such good material?" 

       Yes, it takes time. Yes, it’s boring as fuck. And you can vastly reduce the time it takes and wind up with a much higher quality product by putting some forethought into your recording. But if you don’t take the time to do it, your work suffers. So why do so many good authors skimp when it comes to audio production? Is it that most audience members can’t tell or don’t care? I find that hard to believe. Do you care? Will you drop a book if the production values are poor?

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