Voice actors use all different kinds of setups for recording. Especially for audiobooks. I’ve heard of some narrators who run their computer in a separate room and stream the audio from their microphone to it by bluetooth, to avoid picking up the computer’s fan noise. And while some want to narrate audiobooks under a pseudonym or conceal their identity, I’ve even heard those who literally record in the closet – including one who accidentally got locked in a walk-in closet during a recording session!
Personally, I use an eeePC that is in the same room as my microphone to record. The eeePC is small and quiet, placed as far away from my microphone as I can get it, and I also use a noise gate on my compressor, so computer noise is minimized to the point of not being an issue. You can read about my entire studio setup here.
I’ve experimented with different techniques of recording audiobooks, too – including “punch-and-roll,” which means you hit record once and continue recording through the inevitable mistakes, perhaps making a noise like a finger snap to mark the flubbed lines, and edit the recording later; and “edit-as-you-go,” where you get a perfect take of each line before moving on to recording the next line, deleting the bad takes as you record.
For most of my audiobooks, I’ve preferred the “edit-as-you-go” method, which means that I do a lot of mouse clicking and audio editing tasks as I am recording. I had to find a solution that would let me stop the recording without making an audible click… and a way to scroll through pages of the script during recording without making any noise that would get recorded. Some narrators use a tablet with a touch screen to read their scripts from, but I prefer to look at my monitor, which is already at eye level at my standing desk. That way, my chin is not tucked, kinking up my neck and affecting the sound of my voice, as I look down at a tablet.
Standing at my standing desk, looking at my monitor which displays the script and my audio recording software, with my microphone placed in front of my mouth and not blocking the field of vision, editing as I record an audiobook has proven to be the best and most ergonomic solution for me. The tool that has really made this possible, though, is a noiseless mouse. I’ve used a couple of different types over the years, and over time I came to like them so much that I switched all of my mice to noiseless ones.
The first one that I tried was this one – the Noiseless USB Optical Computer Wheel Mouse 800 DPI Super Quiet JNL-006K Black Silent. It was quiet enough to not make any noise that got picked up on my recordings, and it really convinced me on the benefits of noiseless mice. However, it didn’t last – the scroll wheel broke after about 6 months of daily use, and I couldn’t repair it myself.
For my next noiseless mouse, I decided to go with one that was wireless. I was a little wary of the reviews claiming it wasn’t the highest quality product, but I ended up going with this – the Kinobo – Silent Click Blue Wireless Mouse with Scroll Wheel 2.4GhZ Laptop Desktop. I’ve had it for about a year and it’s still going strong. In fact, it was quieter than my previous one, the JNL-006K, and even slightly quieter than the mouse that is now my main noiseless mouse, the JNL-101K (more about that below). The Kinobo gets great battery life, has not broken yet, and just… works. The only thing I’m not crazy about is the size. It’s a bit too small for my preference. So, I use this one for my non-audio work (I’m using it to write this blog post right now, in fact!) For my main noiseless mouse, I went to a different model.
The Noiseless USB Optical Gaming Computer Wheel Mouse 1600 DPI Super Quiet JNL-101K Black Silent is now my main workhorse for voiceover and audio work – including podcasting – very handy when you need to click on something during the recording without creating a distracting noise! It has lasted through about 6 months of daily use at this point with no problems. The last JNL broke after about 6 months, so I’m watching out for that, but this model does seem to be higher quality than the JNL-006K. Paying the extra $4 in price differential does seem to have made a big difference. The JNL-101K is larger (which suits me better), has a more ergonomic design, and feels more solid in my hand. And it’s very quiet (the Kinobo is slightly quieter, but the difference is barely noticeable and the JNL-101K does the job quite well). The only real downside to this mouse is that it’s wired, and occasionally the wire can bump or scrape against something and create a noticeable sound.
I’m happy with the value that I’ve gotten for the money out of both the JNL-101K and the Kinobo. If you’re looking for a wireless model and have small hands, the Kinobo can’t be beat. If you have larger hands or want a more substantial mouse, or if you prefer something wired so that you don’t have to mess with batteries, the JNL-101K would be a great choice.
As a final word, I guess I should say that although noiseless mice are marketed as “noiseless,” they are very quiet but not 100% noiseless. You probably get a 95 – 98% reduction in noise compared to a conventional mouse, but there is still some sound. If you have a good quality microphone that zeroes in on the nearby sound of your voice relative to far off background noises for your voiceover or podcast work, and especially if you use a noise gate, they will suit your purposes just fine.
After a while, you may find that you want all of your mice to be noiseless. That’s the conclusion I came to. I don’t see much of a useful purpose that loud clicking sounds serve, and they can be really distracting sometimes!
I’d love to hear your feedback on whether you found these reviews helpful, or if you have a favorite noiseless mouse, so please feel welcome to leave a comment on this post if you have something to say!