How to Record an Audiobook on a Medium Budget

To record an audiobook on a medium budget you need to raise the level of noise insulation by using a large portable booth, use a condenser XLR cardioid microphone and a pop filter, a portable digital recorder, a microphone stand, or an arm stand, a tablet stand, and a led lamp. This equipment will allow you to work for long hours every day. The budget for this option is under $840.

Some people find it hard to believe, but it is true: You can perfectly record an audiobook on a low or medium budget, and achieve the necessary professional standards the industry demands. The budget difference relies mainly on the type of sound booth you use and the microphone brand that you find is the one that makes your voice sound the best.

Take a look at the table below to see the details of How to Record an Audiobook on a Medium Budget:

EquipmentAverage PriceACX Audio Submission Requirments 
Portable large sound booth made of acoustic blankets and PVC pipes
$287.66Your voice will be recorded free of reverberation and echo.
Rode NT1-A
Large-Diaphragm Cardioid Condenser Microphone
(Shock mount  included)
$229.99The 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 noises.
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.
(SSD drive, Intel i5 or i7, Ryzen 5 or 7, 8MB 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:
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.

It 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 love 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)$837.60
  • A large portable sound booth will allow working long hours, but you will need to take at least a 5-minutes break every hour, in order to open the acoustic blankets and let the fresh and cool air come in
  • Using a good quality cardioid condenser microphone is a must in the recording stage. By good quality, I mean $240 to $1,000 condenser mic
  • As condenser mics require 48V (also called Phantom Power) you need to connect it to the portable digital recorder
  • If you want to know How to Record an Audiobook on a Low Budget, click here.

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

  • 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 Medium Budget 

  • Set the large portable 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 portable digital recorder inside the booth.
  • The Zoom H4N Pro can also work as a digital interface. In this way, you can choose between recording straight to your computer through the interface function, or recording onto the SD card in the device.
  • Thus, if you record directly to your computer, make sure you place the system unit (CPU) outside the booth; you may connect an additional screen inside the booth (if you have an all-in-one computer, leave it outside). You must avoid any noises inside the booth. Therefore, 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. Use a wireless keyboard and mouse as well.
  • Many experienced audio product narrators use a dog clicker to make a sound mark when a mistake is made. The sound of the click will create a wide peak wave shape, which can make the editing process much faster, as those peaks will be easy to identify and grant a faster an efficient editing stage.
  • Start recording. 

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. 

Make sure you have already created a folder with the name of the book. Inside that folder, create two more folders. Label one with the title of the book and the word RAW. Call the other also with the title and EDITED. Feel free to use any other labels, but just make sure you have raw takes and edited tracks on separate folders.

Make sure each main folder is set to have a security copy in the cloud.

If you want to know How to Record an Audiobook on a Low Budget, click here.

If you want to know How to Record an Audiobook on a High Budget, click here.

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