October 2013

Wolfspeak: Sound studio

by wolf on October 19, 2013

Studio Not much to look at, my sound studio. It doubles as the bedroom closet.

There’s my laptop at the bottom, and to the left the iPad I read from. Smack dab in the middle behind the pop screen is the mike, a Rode NT1 I picked up a couple of years ago and which is kind to my voice.

That’s about it. And the clothes, of course, which are essential to deaden the sound. That’s what you want in a studio, dead sound.

Here’s a raw sample:  credits

Yes, I’m deep into the audiobook production of Breathing for Two. Have I mentioned that I love audiobooks?

I’m done with the recording–that’s the easy part. Now, the editing. So many choices, so little time. I’m hoping for a release date before Christmas.

A few years ago, after listening to audiobooks for many years, I began thinking seriously about sound. I wrote about it in Undercover Soundtrack, a lovely venue where writers talk about how music affects their work, hosted by the British author Roz Morris.

I said:

Sound—all sound, music or otherwise–goes to a part of the long-ago brain, the brain older than words, older than thought.

I once played Lenny Bruce when I was acting. To prepare, I got all his recordings. It was overwhelming at first–I couldn’t even understand him. I was in despair. But as I listened more and more–to one album, over 100 times–I could feel myself getting closer to him. Not just to understanding his words, but also to his character, and then–no other word for it–to his soul.

Something in recorded voice captures far more than a photograph. What would we hear if Lincoln had lived long enough to have been recorded by Edison?

Alas, we don’t have Lincoln. But here (most experts believe) is Whitman, recorded by Edison in wax. Listen for the Brooklyn accent:

Acting and writing are very similar in respect to voice. Finding a character as an actor is just like capturing a character’s voice as a writer. Both processes–the translation of inner voice to outer–inhabit the same, deep structure in the brain. When you apprehend  someone’s voice, the sound travels the same path back.


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