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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Audiobook Week - Sound Effects in Audiobooks

Day 2 of Audiobook Week hosted by Jen at Devourer of Books is all about sound effects. Love them? Hate them? Take them or leave them? How do you feel about sound effects in audiobooks? Alternate suggestions: Single narrator vs. multiple narrators vs. full cast, audio dramatizations, etc.

I am actually a big proponent of sound effects - if they are used appropriately (I will go into the appropriateness further on).  I don't think that sound should be overly used as the point is to tell the story, but I love it when it is added in at choice times - it can really add to the experience.  My interest in the audiobook is more than just hearing the story.  I think when you listen to a story you get an entirely different experience than if you read it and I want the complete experience.  I especially love it when in the story they are discussing music and the narrator will sing the part and you might hear a little bit of the lute or guitar etc in the background.  I also have liked it when there is a war scene and you get the feeling like you are there - you can hear gunfire and cannons.    

There are some audiobook productions that do a little music at the beginning and end of each cd as a way to tell you its started and ended - that I don't care for so much.  Usually that music isn't related to the story at all and just seems to get in the way of the flow.

Now in regard to narrators I do have a few opinions.  As a general rule I like one narrator - but I want this narrator to be able to convey to me the different characters.  This means that they should use different voices for different characters, accents, etc as appropriate to the character.  In direct contradiction to my previous statement about liking one narrator - the best audiobook production I have listened to was a full cast dramatization.  I think these types of narration are best put to use when reading a play.  The book for me was Hamlet by William Shakespeare.  It was just like listening to a stage production - there were different narrators for each character, sound effects, music, the whole thing.  And I LOVED IT!  I would highly recommend the BBC Radio Collections for anyone who wants to hear Shakespeare.  They have done several of his most famous comedies and tragedies.

What do you think about sound effects and narrators?

Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court


  1. I haven't listened to one that truly has sound effects, but I did learn early that the narrator can make a big difference in the story.

  2. I don't do audio books often but when I do, I totally care about the narrator. I often look for my favorite voice actors and pick up a book by that.

    I'm not sure I've ever listened to an audiobook that had sound effects!

  3. Hi Heather:) Oh dear...would you believe I have yet to listen to an audio book?! But you've made some very good points here...hmm, I think I would probably go for the several character voices -or full cast like the Shakespeare you listened to. It would make it much more interesting I'm sure. And hold my attention too! Thanks:)

  4. Teresa - the narrator is so important - it can really make or break the story for you. I do think that there are some books that should just not be made into audiobooks as well.

    Audra - I don't have too many people who I have found that I love as narrators - but I have a couple I will mention in an upcoming post this week, so I won't spoil it now!

    Lucy - I think that if I didn't have so long of a drive I might not read audiobooks. I don't really find myself want to listen to them at home, and I would get too distracted to easily. At least in the car I am a captive audience :)!

  5. I am totally with you on the appropriateness thing.


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