iPod and Audio Books
September 3, 2004 8:37 PM   Subscribe

Does anyone have one of the new iPods that let you speed up audio books? Can you really listen to them that way?
posted by josh to Technology (5 answers total)
Haven't used the new iPod yet, but simlar features have been available in tape recorders for a while, and it is definitely listenable, but you have to pay more attention to the act of listening, sort of the difference between casually watching words flow by on a tv screen and actually sitting and reading a book at a good speed.
posted by Space Coyote at 8:59 PM on September 3, 2004

I just got one of the new ones. The only audiobooks I have are the free 9/11 Commission and Democratic Convention downloads from the iTMS. And, testing the "Faster" setting, no, I couldn't listen to sped-up audiobooks for very long. The ends of the words feel clipped, and the tempo is jarring, like watching sped-up video of people walking.
posted by Guy Smiley at 9:21 PM on September 3, 2004

Just wondering, does "speed up" mean that the words are closer together, or that the audiobook sounds like the Chipmunks?
posted by ALongDecember at 10:03 AM on September 4, 2004

I haven't used it myself, but it's almost certainly sped up without a change in pitch.

The Chipmunks effect is not only annoying, but it makes speech much harder to understand, so it would make the whole feature essentially useless. We expect certain features of the sound we call "speech" to fall in certain frequency ranges, but simply changing the speed of playback causes the sound to shift in frequency -- and not in a natural way -- so we can't easily comprehend them. Here's an example of the frequency ranges of various vowels. Google for "speech formant" if you want to know more.
posted by xil at 11:37 AM on September 4, 2004

Does this feature also work with regular music, or just things downloaded from Audible?
posted by Robot Johnny at 6:51 PM on September 4, 2004

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