Someone on one of the audiobook narrator lists I’m on posted a comment about ACX.
The poster said it was “heartbreaking” what happens to our carefully crafted audio recordings once ACX converts them to AA files (their proprietary format) for sale to the public.
And he went on to say some pretty insulting stuff about how ACX and Audible’s product is so horrible to the ear.
I think that’s an uninformed, lunkhead move. Here’s why.
I’d really love it if griping about ACX and Audible was more moderate – they’re not doing anything overt that audiobook producers haven’t been doing for 50 years.
Audiobooks are like AM radio. The quality of the recording isn’t the most important part of the product – it’s the storytelling.
And just as your favorite talk show host is highly compressed so you can hear them over motor noise and traffic and road rumble, so is audiobook audio prepared for maximum presence and listenability in high-noise environments, even though the frequency response of the audio is limited and the compression is high.
This notion that ACX/Audible (or any other audiobook publisher) is “ruining our work” is nonsense. People enjoy what we do because we’re consummate storytellers, not because we record, edit and master with exquisite panache and quality.
We should, of course, create the best quality production we’re capable of putting out. I’m not saying you should be any less diligent about keeping to the highest audio standards.
But…what ACX does to the audio is their business.
Your business is to give them a great read.
You’ve got enough to worry about doing that. You don’t have time to waste griping about their production process, any more than you do about an on-camera gig where they cut you out of most of the scene, but pay you anyway.
They are the client.
Hope this helps.