Sound Affects In Audio Books…. yay or nay?

This week is Audiobook week and our host Jen from Devourer Of Books has been posting themes each day as well as audio giveaways.   Todays topic was on sound effects in audio books.  originally I wasn’t planning on writing this post as I fall somewhere in between.  As the day went on and I thought about it… I decided maybe I did have something to say to this after all.

If you read my “No Excuses” audio book post yesterday, you may recall I mentioned that my first audio was a James Patterson, Worst Case.  (Which – shameless plug here… this particular series with Michael Bennett are clean and excellent audio… you can not say that about all of Patterson’s work).  Now no matter where you fall on the whole Patterson issue (love him, hate him….) this is not so much about him as it is about the narrators and the sound effects.  The narrators of these books are so fantastic, and as this was my “debut into audio”, the sound effects were icing on the audio case.  An occasional gun shot, a door slamming, the sounds of footsteps…. not cheesy, not consistent throughout the reading, but occasional and like they belonged.  I remember I was so into that first book when that gun shot sounded I jumped.  Now that my friend…. is good audio.

Now on the other side of this…. it can also not work.  Be considered cheesy, over the top, and just basically too much and I want to say STOP IT.  Just STOP IT.  😛  I am currently listening to an audio (it shall not be named…) where I am experiencing this over the top dramatic sound effects.  It is a classic so I am thinking they meant it to be this way, but I am finding it takes away from the experience and I am finding in this case that it distracts me from the story line.

This particular discussion – is really the listeners preference.  For more thought son this topic stop by the discussion going on at Devourer Of Books and see the other audio listeners links to their thoughts on sound effects in audio.

How about you?  If you listen to audio – what do you prefer?

31 thoughts on “Sound Affects In Audio Books…. yay or nay?

  1. Beth Hoffman

    I personally don’t like any kind of sound effects. A good narrator and an equally good story will allow the listener to form those sounds in their head just as what happens while reading.

    I dislike sound effects so much, that I will not purchase and audio book if I know it has them. So that’s my two cents! LOL.

  2. No. I also don’t like the (birds tweeting) and (engines roaring) that show up in caption for the hard of hearing. Those effects aren’t even aural, but I don’t like ’em anyway.

  3. I don’t think I’ve listened to audiobooks with sound effects. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t like them but I do like the use of music between chapters or sections.

  4. When I was a kid I remember listening to the radio drama Adventures in Odyssey and I liked the special effects. However now if I were listening to an audiobook I would find it jarring. I don’t even like it when Jim Dale sings in the Harry Potter audiobooks.

  5. I have been listening to audiobooks for about 10 years and I can honestly say I have not come across any with sound effects. My view is if the narrator is good enough then you would not need them but I guess if they are subtle then it would only add to the experience

    1. I have only heard a few and then they are not all through the audio just occasional. I think they were all Patterson.

      I agree – as long as it is not overwhelming and consistently happening it did not bother me. 🙂

  6. I listen to audiobooks in my car, so for obvious reasons the sound effects I least like are car noices or sirens! I think musical segues between viewpoints or chapters are the best use of sound effects.

    Shame to hear they’ve overdone it with that classic you’re listening to…

  7. I’m a huge audiobook fan and just listened to the first one with sound effects. Whenever someone makes a phone call, there is background phone static and muffling of the voice. Plus, there’s a ghostly presence who is usually accompanied by some woo-woo sounds.

    Ick, ick, ick.

    No need for sound at all!

  8. I do not mind sound effects if they are done well. Honestly though, it is the narrators that have great influence over the story. A narrator that does her/his job well far outweighs my need for sound effects.

  9. I haven’t listened to many with sound effects but I think I might find it distracting. Actually, one thing I’ve found distracting is when they put in music sometimes to heighten the tension. It isn’t needed!

  10. Bookworm

    I listen to audio books in my car driving back and forth to work an hour a day for the last 10 years or so also. I don’t remember ever getting one with sound effects and have thought maybe it would be interesting, doors opening and closing, things like that… I agree the narrarator makes the story, the more realistic individual different voices he or she can do, the better the story! There is nothing worse than a monotone narrarator that puts you to sleep on the first cd! ugh!

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