The DERP goes on

UPDATE: This is not for an audio book, it’s just a reading.  Yes, I’m tense, I HATE reading.  I have a Yeti microphone.  What I don’t have is a file converter.  My computer recording goes to wma, which WordPress won’t let me upload.  So I used an online converter to mp3.  The original file is if anything too loud.  SIGH.  If anyone knows a safe-to-download converter, tell me.

I was trying to test this before letting ya’ll try it.  yes, I know it’s stupid, but I can’t stand to hear to MY OWN voice.  Hey, I’m a writer.  I’m allowed to be a little derp.

Tell me if you can hear it.  If not, I shall take down and replace.

126 thoughts on “The DERP goes on

  1. I comprehend disliking the sound of one’s own voice — too bad more people don’t share that characteristic.

    It seems fine, but every time i post a comment here it resets.

    1. You must remember that no one’s voice sounds to him the way it sounds to other people. Bone and stuff gets in the way.

      1. I know very well how my own voice sounds – long experience in media and production. Rather better than I think it sounds to me, which is nice … alas, I am not so far well-paid though my books to set up a home studio to narrate them my self.
        We do what we have to do.

  2. no idea what audio you’re talking about. I just get an image of the cover, it’s not clickable.

    probably due to my (shall we say paranoid) browser settings.

    I’m one of those types who dislikes audio/video posts, I can’t go through them in places I don’t want people around me to hear or be bothered, and I’m limited to the speed of the material.

  3. I hear it OK; I’m just trying to get my ears synced to your voice. Your pronuciation reminds me of co-worker from almost 50 years ago who was born in Ukraine. Don’t know when he came to the US. I hear the music at low amplitude.

      1. Sending these comments refreshes the page without turning off the audio, but the progress line has gone out.

  4. I can hear it, but the sound quality is not good. You may want to consider buying a better microphone. Also your voice, what I can hear of it, sounds very tense. I am convinced that doing a quality audiobook is a difficult art, that’s why I had a pro reader on ACX do mine.

      1. Um, Sara? An audio book is just a reading, albeit by an alleged professional. 🙂

        To answer your question, Audacity will allow you to open a .wav file and then save it as an .mp3. It will also allow you to dink around with the sound.

        1. Rats, have to contradict my own post. Audacity won’t open .wma files. Sorry. However, it will record in .mp3 for you for future efforts.

          1. I add my endorsement for Audacity for simple recordings. I cannot speak to complex tasks, but my brother and I laid down a few simple tracks with a modest microphone for a musical Mothers Day gift and it worked great.

      2. I’d second the recommendations for Audacity. I used it for a reading I did of a short story on a podcast, and while I still sounded like a nervous geek, at least I was a clear nervous geek.

      3. Third the recommendation for Audacity. Its noise-removal plugin is great for removing noise like a static “hiss” and creating very clean-sounding recordings. You use it in two steps: first select a section of audio where there’s nothing but noise, then tell the plugin “This is what I want to get rid of”. Then you select the audio you want de-noised (probably the whole recording), and tell the plugin “Now go to work”. And magically, you get a beautiful clean recording from a not-so-clean audio source: the static hiss is just GONE.

  5. I can hear it just fine, and understand the words too.

    My problem is that this can’t be you; you are supposed to be a privileged white male (at least that is what “they” say) while this was clearly the voice of an ESL speaker.

    P.S. I will be very mad if you take it down.

    P.P.S. I listened to it on my PC with Firefox with Adblocker off (as usual on this site of yours).

  6. I heard it ok but I wanted to hear you say “moose and squirrel”. [Very Big Grin While Flying Away Very Very Fast]

    1. Sorry, but I had the same thought, “Natasha! Where is Boris?” Amazing that someone from Portugal would elicit that opinion, but perhaps Americans aren’t that good with any European accent. Is that Jean-Pierre Rampal playing the background music?

      1. To: Carp Targeting Minions
        From: FlyingMike
        Re: Recent Post and Resulting Moving Target Indicator Track

        Targeting Minions – Note that this time, This Was Not Me. I have plenty of Carp left in the freezer from the last time this came up, so I just wanted to provide a helpful input: No matter how quickly the Moving Target Indicator track moves or how close it gets to the location used when you last targeted me, this was not me.


        Minion 2675309

  7. You sound just fine Sarah. You need a sound engineer to make it sound excellent, though. As I end up saying at work, there are ways and there are ways. I wish I could afford field operations to travel to do proper recording work for you.

    For converting wma to mp3, use either Audacity or VLC. Either will do the job. Audacity will be the easier to use of the two initially as most people forget VLC handles file conversions too.

    On Sun, 30 Aug 2015 22:41:21 +0000

    1. +1 on Audacity. Skip the WMA phase altogether and save directly to MP3 (and, if you like, also save a copy in some uncompressed format like FLAC, in case you think you might want to reedit and reuse the recording later).

      1. There’s a plugin to open those, but the Audacity project isn’t allowed to include it because of idiotic* software patent law. But you can install it yourself. Go to and follow the instructions to install the ffmpeg plugin, and then you should be able to read the WMA format.

        And if you can get your recording setup to save to .wav files instead of WMA, that’s much better all around in the long run.

        * You don’t want to get me started. And even if you do, I don’t want to get me started, as I can’t spare an hour to write out the full rant.

          1. Shouldn’t be a problem, you’ll just have to put the plugin in a different place than the regular instructions say to.

            For portable audacity, you should download the file (currently it’s, but if they update the page between when I write this and when you download it, anything in the 2.2.x or 2.3.x range should work) found at this page:


            Look for the words “ZIP OPTION:” (or possibly a different set of numbers) and download that one.

            Then when you open that file, take its contents and put them all in the AudacityPortable\App\FFMPEG folder. Then:

            1. Start up Audacity, go to Edit – Preferences.
            2. Select Libraries.
            3. Click Locate under FFmpeg Import/Export Library.
            4. A box will appear saying that the library has been automatically located and asking if you still want to locate it manually.
            5. Select No.
            6. Click OK in Audacity preferences.

            And that should do it. If you run into any problems along the way, let me know and I’ll see what I (or other Huns who might be awake at the time you post) can suggest.

  8. There’s probably a better program to use, but there’s a sound editor called Audacity that (I just checked) says it can read wav and wma files, and can save as mp3 or ogg. I don’t know what the cool kids are using these days.

  9. It works. Seems likely that folks at Instapundit or Michael Bane or Baen Free Radio could make useful suggestions. Like most SJW I can easily pick nits but I have no useful suggestions for improvement.

  10. I third the recommendation for Audacity–I have used it for various things on my own computer; I used it once to edit a 2 hour taped interview (analog tape changed to MP3 format).
    Audacity not only converts a wide variety of files, but it has a wide variety of sound-engineery-filters (equalization, noise removal, normalization, high/low pass filters, etc.) It’s actually quite simple to use.

  11. The problem with the MP3’s volume is that the track gain is set to only 74%. This probably happened because that’s where the relative volumes are set on your system for WAV vs whatever else.

    You can use MP3Gain to raise the volume to whatever sounds good on your system. I use 96%, tho 92% is loud enough for most people. Experiment; you can always change it again, or revert to the original setting.

    MP3Gain is freeware. Download it here:

    (I don’t know if Sourceforge’s new policy has added any junkware, but if so, just get the ZIP, and unzip it wherever you want. No installation required.)

    And Sarah, I think your reading voice has a lot of character.

        1. Emily, we might even own it. Dan does composing/music online. I’ll wait till he’s done with taxes and we can probably get it done. I’d like to do some podcasts, so we’ll see.

      1. Quality with regard to MP3s refers to compression level, not volume. Your MP3 is 64kbit which is adequate for the spoken word (lacks timbre but is perfectly understandable), but would make music sound like crap. Regardless, MP3Gain can fix the volume. I ran it on your file and now it’s plenty loud. (And I meant dB above, not %, but, braindeath. 🙂

  12. From Audacity’s manual:
    >You can install the optional FFmpeg library to import and export a much larger range of audio formats including AC3, AMR(NB), M4A, MP4 and WMA (on Mac only, Audacity can import unprotected M4A, MP4 and MOV files without FFmpeg).
    >Audio files that are DRM-protected to work only in particular software cannot be imported. FFmpeg will also import audio from most video files or DVDs that are not DRM-protected.

    So, it’s possible to do *some* WMA files, if you download and install the optional FFmpeg library, but not all of them.

  13. I can hear your voice, but making out the words is somewhat difficult. There’s a lot of background static and general noise. I also recommend Audacity, along with a decent mic and a spit screen.

    You sound vaguely Russian. I keep waiting for some threat involving ways of encouraging me to cooperate along with political reeducation camp.

  14. Maybe instead of calling the campaign Sad Puppy IV, it could be renamed “Moose and Squirrel.”

        1. Every episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle had the moose attempt to pull a rabbit out of a top hat. Invariably something else entirely appeared, usually big and mean. Reference is appropriate in this context, but as you allude to the Hugos for this and the last several years have been magically appearing from an entirely different orifice.

          1. Except for the times the Moose pulled the squirrel from the hat. [Wink]

      1. Mistress should I carp David the infamous sockpuppet? Is the moose and squirrel story in ATH FAQ?

          1. I’ve always said South Ossetian, myself. Some people have no ear for nuance…


                  1. CarpLight Strike – when a hun that identifies as a B-52 loads up with carp and flies off to off the offending grid square or three.

  15. I can hear it, but the quality and volumn are low. There is a program called Switch that you can use to change the type of recording.

  16. I can hear it and understand the words just fine now. I had to turn the volume up on the external speaker, but I can hear you now. The music is there as well. I’m also getting a steady hum, but that’s likely my speakers.

  17. Sounds great on my Linux box… using an old Logitech analog surround speaker setup.
    It’s a paid program, but on Windoze I use High Criteria’s “Total Recorder” for most sound processing, including conversion to and from other formats.
    I’ve got the Pro version with video, but the basic program is terrific!

  18. I can hear it fine using earphones. You do sound Russian, which is unexpected. I’ll have to back to your interview with Steven Green to check.

    1. I don’t know if you sound Russian, per se. It sounds sort of generic “foreign” that covers everything east of Germany and Italy in Hollywood, to me. Of course, I’ve heard very little native Portuguese spoken, so my authority herein is kind of limited, kind of like MRK’s with English.

        1. Very interesting; I’d never heard Portuguese spoken before. I guess we (who don’t speak it) *expect* Portuguese to sound like Spanish, if only through adjacency, but to me it sounds more like a Slavic or perhaps Celtic language. Perhaps that explains why we hear the accent as we do.

        2. I followed the link to Funeral de Amalia Rodrigues – and a lot of singing. Nothing spoken. What did I do wrong?

          Spanish and Portuguese are quite different – or we’d understand the Brazilians.

            1. You don’t sound like your picture – for whatever that’s worth.

              I think of you as ‘SF writer.’

              It was fun to hear you read – I’m looking at all these examples, preparing to do the ‘read by author’ audiobook because I’m a ham, and I liked Darkly Dreaming Dexter read by the author.

              I think authors know their work so much better than any narrator can; but I’m weird.

  19. There are several models of the Yeti. If you have a multi-pattern model switch it to “cardiod” which will add a bit of low-frequency boost via proximity effect. Use Audacity (or SoX) to run a “normalize” on the sound file to bring up the volume. Then add a bit of compression to even out the level variations. The recording needs a bit more “presence” to make it sound like what we are used to hearing from radio/tv/etc. Fiddling around with an equalizer will do this. Maybe.

    For “go crazy” sound work, get a copy of Reaper ( ).

  20. If you’re still looking for a converter, I’ve had success with Wondershare, iSkySoft, and VLC, the conversion portion of which is kind of clunky but free. Audacity is a fantastic free program but may be too much if all you want to do is transcode.

  21. If you want to try transcoding to mp3 without recording all over again maybe Exact Audio Copy can handle your file. It can normalize your volume as well.

  22. When The Spouse played it last night on his system the sound I heard from across the room was fine. I heard your voice, perked up and said happily, ‘Yes! Sarah does the French Revolution….’

    This morning I am listening on my computer. Yes, I can tell that you are not entirely comfortable with the process. The posted recording itself, as it plays on my system, is clear, but there is a soft buzz and a slight echoing throughout.

    As I listen I am thinking, ‘I want to read that book.’

  23. As free conversions go, Audacity is really the winner.

    However, for one-stop “I don’t want to mess with this, just make it sound good” tools go, look into Auphonic ( ). it isn’t fee, but the online version is only about $1 an hour of audio and it does a great job doing noise reduction, volume adjustment and other magic. It won’t replace good hand tweaking, but it sounds great 99% of the time and is very, very simple.

    It will also happily convert your stuff to MP3.

  24. My offspring just bought a copy of “the Producer edition of FL Studio, the DAW I use for Music” (I have little understanding of what this actually means) which will arrive in a week or so. “So I will no longer be a filthy pirate.” Which I figure is a good thing.

    So I asked if that’s the sort of program used to balance a voice track with a music track and convert it to whatever (I included hand waves at this point). I was told “yes” and “sure, I can do that, easy”.

    I haven’t yet gotten a clear answer to “Do you want me to ask if Sarah will let you mix her file for practice.”

  25. You have the prettiest reading voice. I’m so jealous. Very melodious. Kind of like a French Horn or a Clarinet.

    I don’t think she sounds Russian, you guys. (Comparing to a gymnastics instructor here.) Russians have a less round tone.

  26. Your voice is clear and lovely and unfortunately not suited to this app. It beggars belief that only recently have some authors allowed audiobooks to be done in the fashion of radio plays. It has always struck me as the optimal method. I admit that the Portuguese with which I am most familiar is that of Brasil, and therefore unfair those of a less pidgined version.

    What audiobooks need is acting. Narrator, characters, and Foley man. I’ve tried, and failed, to listen to audiobooks. Quite frankly, I did better reading Voltaire to my kids as bedtime stories,

  27. You do realise you have a large number of people willing to help, don’t you? If you need a better file conversion just ask readers! I have Adobe Media Encoder with the package I use for my work which I believe can handle all these file types. I have subscribed to this thread, and I assume you can read my email from the details, so get in touch if you need anything converted.

      1. Oh! Well if you do need anything converted just let me know here or look on my website for my work email. I have used Media Encoder for a few things and it seems better than the free downloads I previously used.

  28. Sounds o.k. For a bit better acoustics, you might look up how to build a “portabooth” – it makes for much cleaner acoustics. And I’d chip in for a better mic in exchange for a voicemail recording by you mentioning “moose and squirrel”.

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