authors | hard work | novels

Sound Editing

“If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all.”

Because I am married to a classical figurative sculptor, Michelangelo occupies a luminous position in our home. His wisdom matters to us.

In this case, I’m quoting him because, well, he’s a Big Deal around here. I don’t know if this bit of thoughtful humility on his part really applies to the situation at hand. I am thinking rather simply about hard work. Specifically, editing sound files as I turn my novels into audiobooks.

Sound editing is some of the most laborious, tedious, difficult, grueling, and time-intensive work I’ve ever done. It ain’t fun. And it requires perfectionistic focus. It’s a good thing I’m detail-oriented, because I hone in on every single click, hiss, hum, rattle, or pop in the narrative that I read with such feeling, and recorded so carefully.

Two different programs, Audacity and Wavepad, serve to manipulate the audio files, to filter out noise and to optimize the quality. First I use Audacity for recording. It’s a great free program, and it works beautifully for basic noise removal, equalization, and compression.

But…I record in my office, not in a foam-insulated studio, so there’s some reverb. I nailed a big fluffy quilt up behind my desk to absorb some of the echo. But there’s still a little awkward sounding whoosh in the background. Enter Wavepad, which has a marvelous high pass filter that, yes, filters out the reverb. God bless Wavepad.

I suppose I am learning a new skill, and that’s an asset. I’m always grateful for assets that I acquire through hard work.

Nor ought I complain. I know people who work much harder all the time. I’m thinking specifically about my beautiful stepdaughter, who is such a lovely young woman, sweet and loyal and thoughtful and grateful, a pleasure to be with. She’s studying diligently for the MCAT’s while working at a high pressure medical research job.

So I’ll keep chipping away at the giant, obdurate block of stone that is my raw recording files, hoping to reveal the art within.


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