The Audiobook Mastering Guide

A technical overview for creating high quality audiobooks with Findaway Voices

Wesley Ingram
May 18, 2018 · 6 min read

Start with Great Audio

If you start with poor-quality audio, there’s only so much you can do to improve it in the editing room. Garbage in, garbage out, as they say.

Record in a sound-proofed environment.

You might not notice the everyday background noise of a fan or water heater, but they can detract from your performance and impact your noise floor. Whenever I record with a new setup, I start by recording a 10-minute segment of room tone, then measure noise levels and listen closely for any distractions.

Invest in hardware.

Get closed-back headphones, a nice microphone (not a laptop or smartphone), and a wind screen. Then narrate 5–7 inches from the microphone to minimize sibilance and plosives. Sound proofing is crucial but if a full home studio is out of your budget, a nice reflection filter can be a solid alternative.

Know your tools.

Pick a solid Digital Audio Workstation (“DAW”) and understand how to fully leverage it. We highly recommend Adobe Audition for standard vocal work.

Mastering Audio

File Format & Quality Settings

All audio files must be provided in FLAC or MP3 (192 kbps or higher), a sample rate of 44.1 kHz., and all files must be in mono or stereo (but not a combination of both).

Room Tone

Each individual file must contain between 0.5–1 second of room tone at the head, and between 1–5 seconds of room tone at the tail.

RMS

RMS for each file must measure between -23dB and -18dB, with peak values below -3dB, and a maximum -60dB floor.

Conclusion

By starting with a fantastic recording environment and taking the right steps during the mastering of your audiobook, you’ll always produce audio ready to go to all of the major audiobook vendors out there, while also providing a great listening experience.


About The Author

Wes has been producing audiobooks, music, live audio, and video for the past 16 years. When he’s not at his day job here at Findaway Voices, he spends more time in the booth — managing a Cleveland area recording studio and running an online company offering post production services.


Findaway Voices

Findaway Voices helps authors create & distribute audiobooks with more freedom and control than ever before. For the entire catalog of posts, visit blog.findawayvoices.com.

Wesley Ingram

Written by

Audio Mastering Specialist for Findaway Voices

Findaway Voices

Findaway Voices helps authors create & distribute audiobooks with more freedom and control than ever before. For the entire catalog of posts, visit blog.findawayvoices.com.