How has Artificial Intelligence (AI) made audiobook editing more accessible?

If you’re familiar with audio files, you know all about waveform manipulation. But if this is the first you’ve heard of that, most audio editing involves special tools – such as Adobe’s Audition – and looks something like this:

Audition example

Using this interface, you can manipulate my voice into something…pleasant to listen to. As you can guess, it takes a little practice. Even with voice editing (which isn’t nearly as complex as “mixing” multiple tracks together – vocals, drums, guitar, bass), there’s still a substantial learning curve.

I needed to learn it to produce the audiobook for Marketer In Chief. It turned out well, but it was a lot of work. I spent about five hours of recording and editing time for every hour of finished recording you listen to. For an 18-hour book, you can do the math. It was about 90-100 hours.

Imagine my childlike joy when comedian and podcaster Andrew Heaton told me about Adobe Podcast. Instead of waveform editing for text recordings, its interface looks like this:

If you have a flub, you simply edit out the text just as you would in a text document. The AI behind the scenes not only merges the clips back together seamlessly but also enhances and optimizes the spoken audio file with one toggle. It’s so good that you can record outside in the wind, import the audio, and turn on the audio “fixer.” Adobe Podcast will make it sound like you recorded in a soundproof studio.

The software wasn’t available to the general public when I began recording, but I could request early access. I’m not ashamed that I begged Adobe, and they came through. I’m not their primary use case, but the tool worked like a charm for audiobook recording, and I’m grateful. The ratio of total time to finished recording is now about 2.5 to 1 – a massive improvement.