Jun 7, 2011

Audio Book Week - Tuesday: Sound Effects in Audio Books

Tuesday's topic is: Sound Effects in Audio Books
Love them? Hate them? Take them or leave them? How do you feel about sound effects in audio books? Alternate suggestions: Single narrator vs. multiple narrators vs. full cast, audio dramatizations, etc.

I have listened to quite a few audio books. Different types, genres, authors, narrators, production companies, etc. When the sound effects topic comes up, the first company I think of is Graphic Audio. I've only listened to the Rogue Angel books, but I enjoyed those immensely. While the stories themselves are somewhat lacking in depth or character development, I am amused by the full cast of characters, music, background noises (like birds and traffic noises), and the full on sound effects of fights (punches, groans), gun shots, sword fights, etc. I also love that, since there is a full cast and you can tell the difference among the voices, no one has to say "so and so said," or " so and so exclaimed!" etc. There is one main narrator and then every other character in the novel has its own designated voice. Graphic Audio calls it "a movie in your mind." I think they're absolutely correct. Does it take away from the actual story? Perhaps. What bothers me is when sound effects aren't always used in every instance they can be used. Sometimes you'll hear gun shots when a character fires a gun, and then another time when a gun goes off there is no sound effect. Boo to that. Be consistent!

As far as single narrators vs. multiple narrators, it really depends on the book and narrator. Multiple narrators work for books like Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. When novels have alternating view points, it makes sense to have multiple narrators. Single narrators work for most other novels written with one point of view. That makes it simple since all the voices are the same. Full cast is more like the Graphic Audio books I described above, when each character is a different voice. That's nice if you don't like it when a man has to make a woman's voice or when a woman tries to mimic a man's voice. This depends on the narrator playing all the voices. Really, it comes down to listener preference.

Weigh in! Leave me a link for your post or comment here and let me know how you feel on these topics. I'd love to hear from you :o) Thanks for visiting!!


  1. Love this post - Alex Archer - Rogue Angel is a series I keep meaning to read -...

    I may have to challenge myself and listen to them... Love the covers...


  2. They're fun, short, and easy to follow. The sound effects were new to me when I started this series, and I've since listened to 24 of the Rogue Angel books. Let me know if you listen to them!! :o)

  3. Oh my gosh, I think an inconsistency like that would drive me INSANE.

  4. It is pretty rough when one narrator becomes the voice of the characters and then it switches. Arg! Thanks Jen!

  5. I'm with you on the consistency issue. Do it everywhere, or don't do it at all!

    I haven't heard of Graphic Audio. I'll have to check them out.

  6. I listened to Jodi Picoult's House Rules and that had multiple narrators and I thought it was excellent. I'm going to have to check out Sing You Home!

    My answer to today's questions can be found here.

  7. Great post. I'm not a big fan of sound effects or dramatizations, but love books told from multiple viewpoints that use multiple narrators. Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper was really well done, too.

  8. Cassandra - Amen! lol And do check out some Graphic Audio productions. Those are the 'do it everywhere' people!

    Kristin - I haven't read or listened to that one, so now I definitely want to listen to it. Make sure you check out Sing You Home!! My favorite book this year so far, no question, and it had multiple narrators. I LOVED it :o)

    JoAnn - Thanks! I read My Sister's Keeper, so I don't know about the audio on that one, but I did listen to Handle With Care, and that had multiple narrators. Mercy, however, does not. Depends on how the book is written, huh?

  9. Jodi Piccoult did that in House Rules too and I really liked it.


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