Audible & Voice Narrating: 9 Common Questions (Answered)

Audible and voice narrating go hand in hand. Audible provides its customers with books read by narrators, and so, voice narrating is probably the most important aspect of every piece of content that is available.

In this article, we take a look at all there is to know about narrating and Audible.

Everything You Need To Know About Audible & Voice Narrating

Audible offers a huge range of audiobooks with a variety of different narrators. You do not have the option to change narrators as the narrator has been specifically chosen to narrate the audiobook for specific and stylistic reasons. 

I have used Audible for many years and I really like the narrators they choose. There were a few times where the narrator was too mundane and lacked some emotion in the voice, but mostly – it’s done very well.

However, I much prefer to listen to Audible books that are narrated by the author themselves.

However, that’s not always possible.

Narration speed can, however, be changed whilst in the Audible app. 

Although AI narration is not allowed on Audible and is neither desired by users, celebrity voices on the other hand are extremely popular and in numerous supply. 

Can You Choose Between Different Voices On Audible?

Most Audible books come with read-along text. When it comes to audiobooks, the narrator has an impact on your enjoyment that cannot be overstated.

That voice that will be reading to you for many hours will dictate the mood of the story.

The timbre of their voice will either resonate with you, and bring the story to life, or it won’t.

This is why the role of a narrator is so important – their voice becomes the book.

So, if the narrator’s voice is a crucial facet of the enjoyment of any given story, you may be wondering if you can select different voices to read to you your Audible audiobooks.

The simple answer, however, is that Audible does not give you the option to pick a narrator.

Audiobooks take time to produce and the decision of who will narrate the story is one that publishers have given a lot of thought to.

Think how long it must take to record an audiobook – it’s no small job!

So it stands to reason that it wouldn’t make much sense to record the audiobook with multiple narrators for users to select from.

Instead, the publishers have picked a narrator that they think best suits the style of the book and they do this by taking into account the following features that make a voice distinct.

These features include things such as the pitch of the voice, the intonation, pace, tone, and any accents.

The narrator has to have a vocal package that highlights and supports the book’s exact mood and subject.

For example, you wouldn’t want a narrator who has a happy-go-lucky, high-pitched voice to narrate your favorite horror story as it would sound completely wrong.

  • Although you cannot switch between voices on one audiobook, you can, however, pick a narrator that suits you.
  • There are so many books to choose from on Audible and they are all narrated by someone who has been chosen to bring that story into your imagination and color the images through the sound of their voice.
  • You have the choice to opt for a narrator who is famous for their work, find dramatizations that include multiple voice actors, or even select a book that is read by the author themself.

Not every voice may be music to your ears, but more often than not, you should find that the narrator for your book has been chosen for a good reason.

Read this blog here about does Audible do refunds?

How Do I Change The Voice On Audible?

As explained in the point above, there is no way to change or switch the voice on Audible books.

However, some books are narrated more than once! In that case, you can check out who the narrator is, find out if they match your style, and then purchase the best one.

Remember, you can always listen to a sample before making up your mind on Audible.

If you are unhappy with the narration of an audiobook you can choose to return it and get a refund, so long as you are returning it within the 365-day window since purchased.

It may also be worth checking to see if the story you want to listen to has been narrated by anyone else.

Sometimes famous titles will have been recorded by different narrators and published at different times.

It may be the case that there is an earlier or later recording of the same book.

You may find that you prefer a different audiobook edition with a different narrator.

What Voice Settings Can You Adjust With Audible?

So if it’s not possible to change the voice of your narrator then you’d be forgiven for thinking that there are no settings at all that you can change, however, Audible does give you the option to modify the speed of narration.

If you’ve found that either the narration of an audiobook is too slow or too fast, then don’t worry, you can adjust the speed of narration to suit you.

Adjusting Narration Speed On IOS

If you’re using an Apple device just follow these simple steps:

  1. With the Audible app open navigate to the ‘Player screen‘.
    • This is the screen you see when your audiobook is playing.
    • Selecting one of your audiobooks will automatically bring you to the Player screen.
  2. Bring up the options for Narration Speed by tapping the ‘1.0X speed button‘.
  3. Now you should see a list of speeds beginning at 0.5x and rising up to 3x (3 times the speed).
  4. Pick the speed that suits you and you will return to the player which will now narrate at the chosen speed.

Read our blog here about returning books on Audible.

Adjusting Narration Speed On Android

Making the same changes on an Android device is almost identical in terms of steps, just remember that the button you are looking for will be found in the lower bottom left corner of the ‘Player screen’.

Simply tap the speed button and select the narrator speed you desire.

Is Audible Using AI Voices Or Real Voices?

Audible does not stock content that has AI-recorded narration and users are very happy with that.

It’s no surprise therefore that Audible wants to keep AI narrators out of their catalog as it doesn’t appeal to their members.

That said, there have been cases where AI voices have snuck onto Audible.

  • A publisher using advanced AI narration uploaded their audiobooks to Audible.
  • They gave no indication that it was narrated by an AI.
  • The audiobooks were sold at full cost and were misleading customers into thinking it was narrated by a real person.
  • Narrators and users identified the issue and contacted Audible to complain.
  • Audible removed the content narrated by the AI.

As the quality of AI narration improves it may become more and more difficult to distinguish the difference between AI and human voice.

When this happens, it may not be possible for Audible to properly police whether or not a publisher has used an AI narrator.

How Good Is The Sound Quality On Audible?

When it comes to our listening pleasure, sound quality is as high on our lists as the sound of the narrator’s voice.

Let’s face it, terrible sound quality equates to a terrible listening experience.

Luckily, Audible has fantastic sound quality.

I really like the sound quality in general with Audible. I’ve been using Audible for more than 4 years now and have only listened to a few books where I thought the narrator was hard to listen to.

To make a comparison, consider this; Audible uses an enhanced format at 64kbps whereas is only using 32kbps.

To break it down for you let’s look at the facts about Audible’s audio quality:

  • You can choose from two qualities that are given the terms – Formats.
    1. Format 4 offers a 32kbps bitrate – allowing for users to store more audiobooks at the reduction of quality.
    2. Whereas Enhanced Format allows for 64kbps, ensuring incredible quality.
  • The downside to Enhanced Format is that there is very little compression which means that your audiobook will be a much larger file, and as such, will take longer to download.
  • However, Enhanced Format provides Audible users with the very best audio quality on the market.
  • There is also news that Audible is working on a 128kbps bitrate.

Does Audible Use Celebrities & Famous Actors To Narrate?

Everyone has their favorite celebrity and so it’s no surprise that audiobook lovers want to hear a top actor narrate new books.

Audible has a vast selection of audiobooks that are narrated by some household names.

Notable narrators include:

  • Stephen Fry
  • Claire Danes
  • Jesse Eisnenberg
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal
  • Meryl Streep
  • Anne Hathaway
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Rachel McAdams
  • Michael Sheen
  • James Franco
  • And many more.

Why Do Audible Narrators Talk So Slow By Default?

Slow narration is a cornerstone of the audiobook experience and there’s good reason for it.

Ensuring that narrators talk slowly by default allows listeners to catch every word and complex sentence so that they don’t miss a thing.

If you find that the narration speed on your audiobook is too slow, then you can simply increase the speed in the Audible app.

Instructions on how to do this can be found in the ‘What Voice Settings Can You Adjust With Audible?’ section, earlier in this article.

How Much Do Audible Voice Actors Make?

If you’ve ever wondered about how much you could make as a narrator for an audiobook or are curious to know whether your favorite narrator is making enough money to get by, then read on for the facts and figures:

  • Audiobook narrators usually earn their wages on a project-by-project basis.
  • Payment can take the form of either PFH (per finished hour), a Royalty Share, or a Union Rate.
  • PFH means that the narrator will be paid for the total length of time of the audiobook. If a narrator has a PFH rate of $50, then an audiobook that lasts 7 hours will bring in a profit of $350.
  • Narrators who have been in the game for some time will charge around $100 to $350 PFH, whereas a newbie may have a rate of as little as $10 PFH.
  • Narrators who go for a Royalty Share will expect either a quarter of the total profits that the audiobook makes or roughly $2 for each sale.
  • If the narrator is paid by a Union Rate then according to SAG-AFTRA (The Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists) members will be paid around $139 to $168 per hour they work.

Who Is The Main Audible Voice?

If you’ve been listening to audiobooks on Audible then it is likely that you’ve heard the following phrases:

  • “This is Audible”
  • and “Audible hopes you have enjoyed this program.”

The man behind the voice of these now iconic phrases is Rick Lewis, and although he sadly died in 2019, his voice is still appreciated by the masses.

Rick was a part of Audible’s journey from its infancy and his extensive career helped guide Audible to becoming the powerhouse of audiobooks it is today.

Audible provides a page on their website to honor his life and contribution to the company, it states there that:

“His iconic voice has introduced every title in our store. When you hear
“This is Audible,” you’re hearing Rick Lewis, one of Audible’s first employees.”


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