How to Record an Audiobook on a High Budget


To record an audiobook on a high budget use a single or double-wall sound booth, a condenser XLR cardioid microphone with a pop filter, a portable digital recorder, a microphone stand, or an arm stand, a tablet stand, and a led lamp. The average budget is $7,200 for a manufactured booth, $2,090 for a DIY single-wall booth, and $3,220 for a DIY double-wall booth.

This is the type of recording gear you can have as an experienced full-time voice actor or audiobook narrator. It provides all the great quality equipment and comfort to enable you to work for long hours 24/7. The biggest difference in comparison with a medium-budget setting is the high-end microphone (the Neumann world!) and the heavy noise reduction type of sound booth.

In the table below you can see the detailed list of equipment and the process to follow to record an audiobook on a high budget:

EquipmentAverage PriceACX Audio Submission Requirements 
Single wall sound booth whisperroom.com
DIY booth (light noise reduction)
DIY booth (heavy noise reduction)
$6,017

$970

$2,100
Your voice will be recorded free of reverberation and echo.

This type of booth includes an adequate ventilation system, so you won’t have to make any unwanted breaks because of the temperature inside the booth
Neumann TLM 102
(Shock mount  included)
$799The cardioid pattern will avoid most unwanted noises.
Condenser microphones are much more sensitive, so you need to be much more strict with reducing any unwanted sounds.
Zoom H4n Pro 4-Input / 4-Track Portable Handy Recorder with Onboard X/Y Mic Capsule
$249It has two XLR inputs and the device provides the 48V phantom power voltage, perfect for high-quality condenser mics.

It also has a minijack mic input for lavalier mics.
This digital recorder makes no noise. It has a couple of good quality built-in condenser microphones to record outdoor sounds or live music.
Computer
(SSD drive, Intel i5 or i7, Ryzen 5 or 7, 4MB memory or more)
In most cases, people already have a laptop or desktop computerYou may record digital audio directly to the hard drive of your computer as the Zoom H4n Pro also works as a digital interface connected via USB.
Auray PFNY-6 Nylon Pop Filter with Gooseneck and C-Style Clamp$18.99It is a must with high-quality microphones.
DAW software for computerFree full version 60-day trial: REAPER







Free full version:
AUDACITY
REAPER: The 60-day trial software is the full version. It contains all the necessary plugins (Gates, Compression, Equalization, Normalization) to comply with the Audible submission requirements.

After the trial period ends, the software will run perfectly but it won’t update unless you pay for the license ($60). Reaper is just perfect, and I sincerely prefer it over Pro Tools.

Audacity does the job and also includes the main effects (they don’t call them plugins) to comply with the Audible submission requirements.
Mouth clicks remover plugin
$18.98 a monthMouth clicks can easily be removed with a plugin. I like to use Era Mouth De-clicker
Tablet stand holder$9.99As all the equipment will be placed inside the vocal booth, using a portable tablet/smartphone stand will allow you to read from a tablet or smartphone. They don’t make any unwanted noises.
LED lamp flexible tube $19You can set the type of light and always get a comfortable position to read from your tablet, as you can place it on the  vertical or horizontal PVC pipe you want
Dog clicker$3.99Each time you make a mistake, click it to leave a sound mark peak that will help you recognize visually where the mistakes are
Total Cost (without a tablet or computer)$7,135.95  (manufactured sound booth)

$2,088.95  (DIY light noise reduction booth)

$3,218.95  (DIY heavy noise reduction booth)
  • A single wall or even better, a double-wall sound booth provides the best recording conditions possible, as long as there are no significant unwanted noises outside the booth. Read about sound insulation materials and strategies here.
  • Make sure the 48V (also called Phantom Power) is already turned on (if using devices different to a portable recorder like the Zoom H4NPro) and the device is muted before you set the recording levels around 0dB. 

Portable digital recorders can work on both batteries or with an AC adapter. Make sure the batteries are fully loaded and always have extra batteries at hand.

Luisa Bueno
  • Remember that the editing stage (compression, gates, equalization, normalization, cutting, and gluing) is the one that will provide the professional results to comply with the ACX audio submission requirements

Audiobook Recording Process Using a High Budget 

  • Ensemble the single or double-wall booth on a flat even surface on the floor.
  • Place the condenser XLR microphone and tablet stands in a way that they don’t interfere with each other. 
  • Place the led lamp in a convenient place on the roof of the booth.
  • Place the portable digital recorder inside the booth or a computer screen when using a computer outside the booth. 
  • Manufactured booths already have the precise holes for cables. In a DIY booth, you need to make them and make sure they will be properly stuffed with sound-absorbing material once the cable is already through the wall
  • Manufactured booths also include a ventilation system. That’s the feature that allows working long hours every day of the week. Do not miss installing one if you´re doing a DIY booth yourself.
  • Some narrators prefer a sound booth that includes an extra window to be able to see the screen placed outside. You can use your wireless keyboard and mouse inside.

Try not to use your computer inside, to avoid any sound leakage from the fans. You should follow all of these recommendations as you are using a condenser cardioid microphone, and they are very sensitive mics.

Luisa Bueno
  • In the recording stage use a dog clicker to make a sound mark when a mistake is made. Thus the editing stage can be much easier and more efficient
  • Start recording and take a 15-minute break every two hours, to rest your voice.
  • Feel free to keep a bottle of water inside the booth, but make sure you don´t drink cold water, sparkling water or soda, or diary-based beverages 

Be patient. Persistence is the path to success.

When you finish recording each chapter and the extra takes, save the file with the title of the book and chapter number. 

Click here to know How to Record an Audiobook on a Low Budget.

Click here to know How to Record an Audiobook on a Medium Budget.

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