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Old 09-30-2017, 06:21 PM   #1
sun surfer
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What's Your Speed?

Mine has changed over time. I've been listening to audiobooks a few years now. I of course started out listening on normal speed, then found I could speed them up and listen to them faster. I can't remember the speed options on iTunes/Nano at the time but I'm pretty sure I just went to the fastest. It sounded so much faster (the voices got squeaky like chipmunks) but I think it was only at like 1.25 or some such. I remember thinking I was listening to it at twice the speed at first and so happy I'd be getting through books twice as fast, but I came down from that cloud real quickly! Though, once I adjusted my expectations it was still nice getting through books a little faster anyway.

Then, I started listening to audiobooks while doing other more mentally tasking things, and I went the opposite way - slowing them down below normal speed so I could still multitask more often. By this time I'd given up using iTunes and Nanos for audiobooks and just started using the Audible app on my mobile. A little harder to keep on while exercising and listening, but it was one less device to have to keep track of, and less work to get the audiobooks onto my device of choice (a simple tap of a button on the same device I listen to it on, rather than three separate transfers before - downloading it from Audible to my computer, then transferring it to iTunes and authenticating, then plugging up the Nano and transferring it to the device). Honestly I stopped using my Nano when I started using music streaming services because I needed the smartphone for that, so without being able to use my Nano for music, using it for audiobooks alone was too cumbersome. I do still miss how light it was though, but I digress.

Anyway, then I just started to tire a bit of listening to audiobooks with sloths reading them. So, now I've drifted back to listening to audiobooks on normal speed. I don't know if it will stick but currently I do like hearing books being read in a 'normal' voice. Listening to chipmunks or sloths read is okay for awhile, but eventually it wears on me!

But I know there's people who do prefer audiobooks on non-'normal' speeds, so what's yours? Since it's not discussed much I'm actually really curious as I have no idea how popular speeding up or slowing down audiobooks is.
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Old 09-30-2017, 08:02 PM   #2
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My current book is 1.15x speed. I'm sure it would be fine at "normal." I use normal with most books.
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Old 10-01-2017, 09:38 AM   #3
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It's complicated.

One factor is the narrator himself; some benefit no matter what from goosing up the speed. I think John Lee is a wonderful narrator, but he's slow. It helps my attention to have him talk faster.

Another factor is the app itself. The best is the current Android Audible app, since the adjustments are the most granular. An increase to 1.05X is imperceptible, and why not? I'd say the same for 1.1X. With OverDrive and Downpour, however, the first mark above 1.0X is 1.2X and with some narrators that's too fast; you're already on the border of chipmunk territory.

And then there's the type of book. Fiction is more performance and I'm more likely to listen to it as read. Non-fiction, where the emphasis is on disseminating information, there's not as compelling a case to keep it at normal. The books also tend to be longer (sometimes much longer). Bumping up the speed to 1.2X or more (and I've gone as high as 1.4X or even 1.5X) can save hours. It makes the book much less daunting.

Finally, with my absolute favorite narrators I like them just as they are and have no desire to speed listen. But even then, if it's a longer non-fiction book, I'll probably give them a little nudge (assuming it's an Audible book and not a different app).

So overall, I'd say yes, faster, but with (many) qualifications!
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Old 10-01-2017, 01:31 PM   #4
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The speed indicators in my AGPTek go from -8, -7, ... +7, +8. I don't know what the actual increases are, but they are very slight; going up to +2, which is what I started doing, was imperceptible.

Then I encountered a droning narrator, and pushed it up to +4. I forgot to lower it again for the next book, and found I was quite comfortable listening. Now I've pushed it up to +6 as the norm, and sometimes go to +8.

The more I listen, the more the higher playback speed seems comfortable. But if I haven't been listening for a day or so, I have to lower the speed temporarily to reaccustom myself.

Sometimes I think the device must have reset itself to the normal speed, but I'll check and find, no, it's still at +6.
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