Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Audiobooks Love – Tuesday: Sound Effects in Audiobooks


Tuesday: Sound Effects in Audiobooks

Q…  Love them? Hate them? Take them or leave them? How do you feel about sound effects in audiobooks?
Alternate suggestions: Single narrator vs. multiple narrators vs. full cast, audio dramatizations, etc.


A… When I started listening to audio books in earnest, one of the main things that I had to get use to was sound effects – listening to eerily chilling sounds or bombastic abrupt noised  had me jumping a time or two when I started out and now makes me giggle remembering some of the odd looks I got on the bus or just on my journey out and about.

All in all sound effect in audio books works for me depending on the book, the genre and the narrator to some extent.

The book:

Some books definitely worked better with a little bit of sound effect in the background – fantasy as in visual outputs really soar with those epic operatic type sounds.

That said as in everything a fine balance has to be reached as that same sound effect that I praised in one book total had me thinking of something else in another book…  A good example for me is "The Flower Duet" from Lakme, I have heard this used as backdrop a few times in audio, however I always think British Airways every time I hear it .

The Genre:

Suspense under any genre does better with sound effect. It builds the mood, it intensify the experience and can only make a good thing better.

Give me a Michael Connelly anytime – love the sound effects on those books.

Two books I would love on audio just for the sound effect are The 39 Steps or The Maltese Falcon – classics…

The Narrator:

This is the make or break area for me, for readers of my blog you may remember my love fest with narrator Jack Garrett  last year when I listened to Linda Lael Miller books – that man could sell me wax.

His pitch was perfect and the thing I loved with him was his natural speech pattern moved with the sound effects  and that made a hell of difference to my listening pleasure.

Multiply narrator works as well- when I challenged myself a couple of years ago to listen to the Twilight books – I think I enjoyed the books because they had a brilliant narrator that seemed to “feel” the book and changed her voice as according and worked with the minor effects presented rather than talk over them. When other narrators where brought in, in the second book I think – they gelled.

Bottom line

On the whole I don't like to discount any area of audio – as it really depend on the book and the other factors that I mentioned above to ensure my ultimate audio pleasure.

What might niggle me in one book, might just work in another book.



This post is apart of the Audio book love week hosted by Jen – Devourer of Book

13 Speak To Me:

Mickey on 7 June 2011 at 13:22 said...

I agree. This topic isn't all or nothing. It works in some places, and in others it doesn't. Thanks for the post!! And again, let me know if you get to the Rogue Angel books :o)

Jen (Devourer of Books) on 7 June 2011 at 15:16 said...

I'm with you and Mickey, it definitely depends on the audio.

Teresa on 7 June 2011 at 15:59 said...

Very well put! It certainly depends on the book.

Nise' on 7 June 2011 at 16:22 said...

Not a fan if it is too distracting. It is like most things... balance.

Cassandra on 7 June 2011 at 16:27 said...

I'm going to have to get more books under my belt before I can really give input on this one, but in my limited experience, I do not care for sound effects at all. I appreciate your recommendations for cases where they work, though. I'll have to check that out.

Erotic Horizon on 7 June 2011 at 17:40 said...

@ Mickey..

I will see how I get on with the effects in Rogue Angel - I am definitely going to challenge myself to get through the series..


Erotic Horizon on 7 June 2011 at 17:41 said...


Best approach is best to have a open mind to each book as they come about..


Erotic Horizon on 7 June 2011 at 17:42 said...


So glad you agree..


Erotic Horizon on 7 June 2011 at 17:42 said...


Well said Nise, Balance in all things..


Kristin on 7 June 2011 at 18:04 said...

I haven't had much experience with sound effects in the audio books I've listened to, but I can see where it might enhance the storyline.

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

JoAnn on 7 June 2011 at 18:22 said...

I generally don't like sound effects, but your last line sums it up perfectly -
"What might niggle me in one book, might just work in another book."

Leslie (Under My Apple Tree) on 7 June 2011 at 20:45 said...

I hadn't thought much about sound effects in audiobooks before. Most of what I've listened to didn't have sound. I agree, certain types of books would work better than others. Now I'm going to be paying more attention to the sound effects.

Jo @ Booklover Book Reviews on 8 June 2011 at 10:37 said...

I agree, that what works for one audiobook won't necessarily work for another. I think it is principally the relationship between the narrator and the story that sets the foundation for success or failure, and then sound effects are the icing on top!