Readers of the forum will be aware of the ongoing development of an audio interface for suttas on SC via @karl_lew’s SC Voice, which uses computer-generated voices. We have also discussed the possibility of recording the suttas with humans.
Over the last few weeks, I have been gradually setting up a studio at the Lokanta Vihara, specifically for recording suttas. (We hope to do some podcasts and the like as well, but let’s focus on suttas for now.)
Thanks to the generous support of @michaelh I now have an excellent studio mic and preamp. We’ve also put quite a bit of work into sound-proofing my room. I mean, it’s nice anyway to have a quiet space, but it’s essential for good recordings.
We have been discussing making the recordings, and a number of people have showed an interest in doing the reading. Which is great! But when I read a few suttas for testing, I immediately realized that by reading them myself, I could also get the chance to review the translations and improve the wording and phrasing. I gradually came round to the realization that I should do all the suttas myself.
I’ll read them through and make any adjustments to the translation, gradually working through all the nikayas. If anyone else is still interested to read them as well, that’s fine of course, but I’d recommend working in my wake, so to speak, waiting until the adjusted texts are ready. This is, of course, one disadvantage of this approach as compared to the computer-generated audio, which can be updated continually with the latest version.
How the process will go will be something like this.
- I’ll make the recording here, as a raw
- Any changes to the text are added to SC.
- I send audio and text to Michael, who processes the audio, generates a timing map of the text, and outputs the final product as
- The raw files are archived.
- The processed files are served to SC Voice. These are optimized segmented audio files, so can be served directly on SCV.
- Processed files are also made into EPUB audio ebooks, released when each volume is ready.
I guess the whole project will take a year or so, reading suttas for an hour or two each day. We’re just about ready to get started, and I’ll keep you all up to date as to progress.