How It Works

Video Lessons & Resources

Whether you’re new to audiobook performance or a seasoned narrator hoping to become a more proficient producer, ACX is here to help you. But beware, this is not an easy task. Watch these videos, and then study up on our ACX Audio Submission Requirements because ACX requires you to create finished retail-ready audio, not just rough unedited narration.

Setting Up A Home Studio

The room you set up to make the recordings has a massive influence on your finished work. A great set up will allow you to quickly and efficiently produce audiobooks that sound great, while a bad set up will make this work miserable and can ruin otherwise great performances.

Of course, the equipment you use is important too, but if you’re on a budget, spend more on getting the room right than on top-end gear.

Watch and learn about:

  • The elements of a good recording space
  • How to set up your home studio
  • The basic equipment you’ll need

Key elements of a good recording space:

  1. Isolation from outside noise (No noise from cars, airplanes, or nested birds!)
  2. No home noises like boilers turning on, air conditioners, TVs in other rooms, dogs or kids
  3. A low noise-floor
  4. A dead room

The Gear You’ll Need:

  • A comfy chair that won’t creak
  • A script stand
  • A microphone (preferably a large-diaphragm condenser)
  • Mic stand or deskmount
  • Mic Shockmount
  • A Pop filter
  • XLR Cable to connect microphone to an audio interface
  • Audio interface (such as an MBox)
  • A reasonably fast and quiet computer
  • External Hard Drive (solid-state drive preferable as they are typically quiet and fast)
  • Recording/Editing Software (such as Audacity, Twisted Wave, Wavelab, or Pro Tools)
  • Material to deaden sound
  • Lighting that is easy on the eyes (Avoid fluorescents or anything with a dimmer)

Sample Setups

Get Gear Now

Putting together your first home studio can be a daunting task. To help make this easier for you, ACX has compiled an Amazon wish list containing much of the gear you’ll need to get started. All products are highly-rated among the audiobook community!

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The Basics of Recording

Make the very best recording you can the first time around. Be well prepared: Make sure you're rested, well-fed, comfortable and familiar with the material.

If you don’t get a good initial recording, you’ll have a very tough time producing a great product profitably.

Watch and learn about:

  • What to wear and eat
  • How to position yourself and the mic
  • The basics of recording with Pro Tools

Keys to a good recording:

  1. Be prepared! Know your script, get familiar with the characters, and practice pronunciations.
  2. Don’t use compressors, expanders, limiters, or gates when recording.
  3. Record “roomtone” at the start of every session. This is 15-30 seconds of “air” that you’ll use during editing.
  4. Give your files clear, explicit names.
  5. Leave cell phones outside of your booth!

Helpful Links:

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Advanced Recording and Editing

ACX can help you become more proficient at the recording process. We’ll also teach you how to polish your recordings through effective editing – which is as much an art form as a technical endeavor.

It takes practice to become truly skilled at recording and editing, but doing a great job at both will make a significant difference in your finished product.

Watch and learn about:

  • How to make basic edits
  • How to “punch” record
  • Cleaning up your recordings

Keys to editing:

  1. Listen first! Take a few minutes to sit back, close your eyes and really listen to the performance.
  2. Get familiar with keyboard shortcuts.
  3. Listen again! (This is also known as the QC stage.)
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Mastering your Audio

Mastering is, to many, the most mystifying and scary part of audiobook production. Getting a good result requires a bit of trial and error, but luckily what you do in mastering can be undone, and you can try again. Plus, if you're consistently recording in the same space using the same recording settings, you’ll be able to save your mastering settings and use them over and over again for every audiobook you produce.

As a reminder, files submitted to ACX should measure between -23dB and -18dB RMS, with peaks hovering around -3dB. Your noise floor should fall between -60dB and -50dB.

Watch and learn about:

  • Why master?
  • Common tools of the trade
  • Important recommendations

We also encourage you to download and listen to these example files. Open them in your audio software of choice and listen critically. They highlight both what to aim for, and common mistakes to avoid. While you can play them right from this page, opening in your recording software will help you see and hear how they compare to your own work.

Good Samples

Here are a few examples of what you should be aiming for. These were produced in well thought-out home studios that have been properly treated and insulated from extraneous sounds, and with much care put into the entire process -- from recording and editing, to final mastering. While produced in reasonably affordable home studios, these examples sound just as good, if not better, than what can be produced in studios costing many thousands of dollars!

Bad Samples

Here are a few examples of what you must avoid. The issues represented here can lead to a bad listening experience and, ultimately, hurt sales. Before being released for sale, every audiobook is given a quick check by the Audible staff to ensure it meets our quality standards and titles with flaws such as these may be rejected.

If, after watching this video and listening to these examples, you’re still not comfortable doing this on your own, click here to contact us. We’ll help connect you with a seasoned pro that can help you out.

Keys to mastering:

  1. Be mindful of our guidelines
  2. Ask for help if you need it, we are here.
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Elements of Successful Narration

You'll find a lot of good books dedicated to the craft of audiobook performance. There are also many great schools and workshops you could attend to help you become an even better narrator. We encourage you to read and study a lot.

In the meantime, this video gives you a solid start...it's designed to help professional actors learn about audiobook performance.

Watch and learn about:

  • Preparation tips from a veteran
  • How to create good flow
  • What if you’re the author?

Want to hear some great narrators talk about the best titles they ever voiced? Check out

Key Ingredients For Great Narration:

  1. Training
  2. Preparing well
  3. Knowing the point of departure
  4. Working at the level of the paragraph
  5. Handling characters and accents
  6. Knowing your strengths and limitations
  7. Imitating strong narrators

Additional Videos

Industry Veterans Discuss How to Be a Better Narrator of Audiobooks

Stefan Rudnicki and Gabrielle de Cuir of Skyboat Media, both award winning narrators, producers, and directors, lead a round table discussion with a small gathering of audiobook narrators who are relatively new to the game. This candid discussion is filled with valuable tips, tricks, and insights that narrators of any level may benefit from. With multiple Earphones Awards, Audies, and even Grammys between them, Stefan and Gabrielle have proven industry experience!