Realistic male to female voice for audiobook recording?

Long story, but my nephew is recording an audio “book” - really a long story - and he’s recording all the parts. He knows that I podcast and am a tech geek with a bunch of effects, etc. for recording voice, but mine are all for cleaning up the sound, normalizing, etc. He wants to record as the narrator on the book, but the narrator is female. I told him the best way to do that is to find a female friend (he’s 22 and single and just broke up with his girlfriend) and get her to do it but he is really obsessed with recording it in his voice then transforming it to a female voice.

He’s already discovered that simply using Pitch (he’s editing in Audacity) just makes it sound like a squirrel or chipmunk if overused, and not enough like a woman if underused. I reminded him that Lauren Bacall’s voice was actually quite a bit lower pitched than Bogie’s and you’d never mistake her for a man! But I now am obsessed for trying to figure out how to do this (just because I get obsessed when I can’t figure something technical out, LOL!)

Google searches all just say move the pitch up higher. Anyone here have any ideas of how to do this effectively? He plans to record mic to Zoom recorder then edit on his PC.


Something like this might work.

Looks promising I’ll try it (and if it works he’s got a birthday present lol). Thanks!

Option number 1 is obviously to get a woman to read it out if the majority of the words are to be read by a woman. But if he really is insistent on doing it all himself… then either he should trying acting a “woman’s voice” himself, or not giving a “voice” to the narrator and doing it au natural. I don’t think any software will help as much as those options.

People are more forgiving of a guy doing a lady-voice than they are of some weird robo-woman, as the first option is extremely common in audiobooks.

Drill holes into vocal cords?

I agree that option 1 should be too find a female friend to read if the female part is the lead/narrator in the story.

That said, I agree with that too. That’s how it’s done in audio books read by a male actor. It sounds fine and better than a software generated alternative. The voice doesn’t have to be exaggerated. Just pitched consistently in a way that makes the female lead recognisable.

I agree with how it’s done in professional audio books. We listen to those all of the time on long road trips, and your forget that it’s a male or female narrator if they are good (though we’ve heard a few with bad narrators that try too hard when they read the other gender’s lines.) His problem is he’s not a pro and he feels very awkward trying to speak the female parts. I’ve downloaded the software someone recommended, but I’ve also given him a couple of really good audiobooks to listen to to get the idea.

This is a very amateur project, BTW. ;)

There’s this but it’s not something I’d want to listen to a whole audiobook of.

A vocaloid-narrated book sounds hilarious and also incredibly painful to listen to.

Well, we have determined, with a lot of laughter, that even MorphpVox (which is amazing for some reason in Youtube videos but not in use, even with their female add on pack) only makes him sound like Tootise (old movie, Dustin Hoffman passing himself off as a woman actress with a very fake sounding woman voice.) It sounds like a guy trying to sound like a woman by speaking at a higher pitch, which is really all these do. MorphVox does the same thing you can do in Audacity, for example, it just gives you a pitch, timber, and strength slider. All the “Voices” are just adjustments of those. I don’t know how in some videos some guys sound realistically like women with this.

He’s also investigated text to audio applications but after a lot of searching, based on what he told me, everything still sounds robotic, even the best he could find.

I’m actually kind of interested just in my easily obsessed with a problem nature, but for him I’ve told him either pay a nice young lady to record or do what the top audiobook narrators do. I think, listening to him try the latter, he’s trying too hard, because he sounds like the bad voice morphing software results. It does give me a greater appreciation for good audio book narrators.

I’ve listened to a lot of male-narrated audiobooks, and the best way is just to change your voice a little to make the character identifiable and a little feminine, but not to go too OTT with it and try and get all breathy. That can get super cringey fast. I can’t imagine wanting to listen to a creepy-ass robo-voice.

This guy who did The Magicians audiobook does a good job, I think. He softens a tiny little bit and goes up a couple of notes, but otherwise doesn’t overdo it.

This whole experience has me looking at text to speech apps, and so far most of what I have found including the ones I’d heard of a long time ago like Dragon do still sound very robotic. Or at least somewhat robotic.

Software like this is like plastic surgery. Some people like it, but it can also end up a total disaster.