MP3 recording

Its a funny thing, you know. More than 10 years ago, when I was doing this..... this..... voice mail thing, it was so new in the market that no one can really accept it. At that time, mobile phones were starting to have voicemails. But not Land lines (as in your house telephone or office phones). Sure, we have seen countless of American movies where everyone has a tape recording machine which records your message while they were out/listening to you in tears/being killled and so on. But no, not here. In Malaysia, the general public sort of skipped this era and went straight to pagers and mobile phones. And so, I could say, we were one of the pioneers which brought Automated Attendants and/or Voicemails to the offices to torture your clients.

And at that time, these systems are a big thing. Yes, its really a BIG, HUMONGOUS, GIANT thing. It is so big, when the Salesguy quoted the price, you can see the Manager do a split second "deer in the headlights" moment. And, it is so big, you need a qualified Engineer (OK, so I was the only guy with a Degree) to install and maintain it. And it is so big, no one (apart from me) wants to screw things up.

Having these things (at that time) gives the caller the impression that it is a Professional Company they're calling to. Never mind if its just a 18 staff company (yes, really). But that is the effect it has on the caller (as long as they do not visit the company in question, la). And so, to make it more believable, the voice that announces to the caller must be "professional". And that is where the customer has to make a "big" decision on the types of voice to be recorded:

1) Professional voice artist.
Yes, they do exist. But, you have to got through talent agents and so on. They will charge you by the pages and or by the hour. And it takes weeks to get them. And then, when its all done, you have to (or rather, me) specifically tell them to covert all the voice into computer .wav files and not CD audio, even though CDs are the rage then. And woe is you when the voice talent is sick/has a sore throat, etc. And worse still when the customer's Manager's Manager's Manager does not like the choice or wants a script change at the last minute. Sometimes, the customer who has ties to Celebrities, would get them to come and help out. And so, its actually quite fun to do recording with them. And a certain Ms. Teoh was so professional, she got it right on the first take. And so, all this "delay" would stretch on for days or weeks. Which as usual, I get blamed because the Salesman could not get his payment on time and hence loses or reduced his commission. Not only that, I was the only guy who does this as most often than not, my other colleagues usually end up as being Ex-es due to the heavy workload the requires our attention.

2) Me.
Yeah, me. No, not my voice. But the solution. What I would to is to "coach" the staff into the doing proper pronunciations and tones, all in a private little sound-proof room. And while we're there, I have complete control. No coughing, no mobile phones, etc. Just the quietness. Once the customer is ready, I will record their voice, again and again until the Manager or whoever is satisfied. And after more then an hour, its done. But hey, this beats weeks of waiting and thousands of Ringgit spent.

Fast forward ten years later, I am still doing it. I wanted
to try recording it with my Nokia 5800. After that, all I
have to do is download it into the Notebook, use a free
.wav converter/editor software and then upload the new
voice to the machine. Yeah, the problem was, it sounded
nice on the Notebook/earphones but crap when played
back on the machine. So, "One the count of three, I
want you to read this paragraph................"