Sound Effects in Audiobooks

For day two’s discussion topic for Audiobook Week, Jen has asked that we talk about sound effects in audiobooks. I personally hate them. Nothing irritates me more in an audiobook than when there is a sudden burst of sound – it never fails to jolt me right out of the story. Just tell me the story, please – I don’t need bells or whistles (literally).

Another quirk I have about audiobooks – I love multiple narrators. The best example of this I can think of is The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, it had about a million narrators and all those voices really added to the listening experience for me. When one narrator does multiple voices it can be kind of cool (such as the case with Jim Dale’s narration of the Harry Potter books) but only if done very well.

Do you like sound effects in audiobooks? If so, what types do you enjoy and are there any kinds that annoy you (like they do me)?

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22 thoughts on “Sound Effects in Audiobooks

  1. I’m w you: sound effects annoy me! I prefer single narrators to multiple ones, though; feels more like reading and less like a play to me. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. Once I read Guernsey I was sold on the multiple narrators thing. I’m not sure it would work for every book but when it is done well I absolutely love it!

      Thanks for stopping by Eva! I know you aren’t commenting on a ton of blogs these days so I feel extremely honored that you are here. ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. I also don’t think I would like sound effects in audiobooks, but do like the multiple narrator technique. I haven’t listened to many books that have either of these things, but I am hoping to ramp up my listening very soon!

    1. If you haven’t read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, try it on audio, the multiple narrators totally make the book. I don’t think I would have enjoyed it nearly as much if I read it in print.

  3. I don’t listen to a lot of audiobooks, but of the ones I have listened to I’d have to say….it depends. In some it’s annoying. In a few the noises have just been “cheesy”, but some have been well done and add to the overall feeling without overwhelming the story.

    1. Perhaps! If I am listening to a story I want the story, not some grand production. If I am watching a movie, on the other hand, it’s a whole different thing!

  4. The Guernsey audiobook sounds equally audio charming as it is charming in print. I like multiple narrators in print format, and I can only assume I would love them just the same in audiobooks (if I ever took it into my head to listen to one — I’m so bad about audiobooks!)

  5. In movies I love sound effects, but in audiobooks I just hate them… The effects are to loud and annoying for me, but my 7 year old kid loves them (figure that out – I doubt that without effects he would even listen his audiobooks).

  6. I dunno, if the sound effects are done well and are constant – basically if it sounds like an entire scene is playing out in the background – I like it. I agree that one single gunshot would scare me stupid though!

  7. Sound effects in audiobooks always used to annoy me, maybe because they didn’t fit in with the actual story. However my boyfriend introduced me to a Charles Dickens audiobook (The Signalman – Textbook Stuff Audios) as he is in to gothic horror tales, and I must say that the sound effects of these stories was very good and if anything actually enhanced the stories! So I am a bit of a convert.

  8. Hi guys, just came across this thread after googleing “Audio book sound effects”. I’m a budding music producer and typically write\orchestrate music that wouldn’t be out of place in a film score. I’m looking for some audio books that have no sound effects where by i will be able to use the vocal samples in my recordings. I don’t actually sell any music; itโ€™s purely for personal enjoyment, so there would be no copyright issues. Could anyone please recommend some interesting examples? Any genreโ€ฆ.

  9. I love sound effects and multiple narrators in an audiobook! It’s like hearing a play with my eyes closed! It really does bring the book to life for me…instead of someone just doing a boring reading…that doesn’t keep my attention at all!
    It also reminds me of the old radio shows that I love so much…

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