How to Listen to Audiobooks 1.5x Faster Without Any Vocal Distortion

I used to hate audiobooks, but now I absolutely love them.

Okay, maybe hate is too strong.

Audiobooks are convenient, but they take soooooo long to finish compared to ordinary books.

And yeah, I tried listening to them sped up. Quite frankly, I’d rather stay dumb than listen to someone talk that fast for six hours.

But now I really do love audiobooks. I probably listen to them more than I read.

What changed?

I figured out a way to listen to audiobooks at least 1.5x faster without any vocal distortion.

This system allowed me to speed up the silences between words rather than the words themselves.

So you can listen to entire books in less time without the speaker sounding like he or she is on cocaine.

This is one of my favorite technology hacks, and I had to share it with you. Below you’ll find my step-by-step guide to listening to audiobooks much faster without any distortion.

Note: You will need an iPhone to use this hack (sorry Android users). You will also need around 10 minutes to set it up, but when it’s all set up, adding audiobooks to your library is a simple drag and drop procedure.

Step 1: Download Overcast Podcast App

Overcast contains an amazing feature called Smart Speed, which allows you to listen to podcasts with the silences between words sped up. Smart Speed makes listening to podcasts more enjoyable in every way.

This is how Smart Speed is described on the Overcast website:

Pick up extra speed without distortion with Smart Speed, which dynamically shortens silences in talk shows.

Conversations still sound so natural that you’ll forget it’s on — until you see how much extra time you’ve saved.

But there is a small catch:

The Overcast app doesn’t allow you to listen to your own audiobooks.

That’s what the rest of this guide shows you how to solve.

Step 2: Create a Dropbox account

Visit Dropbox.com and create a free account.

how to create a dropbox account

This is where you will be store your audiobooks.

Step 3: Sync your Dropbox account with JustCast

JustCast beautifully simple podcast hosting service.

Sign up using the following URL: https://justcast.herokuapp.com

You will upload your audiobooks to your JustCast podcast Dropbox folder and play them through Overcast app, with the glorious Smart Speed feature.

If you have a Dropbox account set up, you can create a JustCast account with the same login credentials.

how to set up justcast podcasting

Step 4: Upload your audiobooks to JustCast Dropbox folder

In your Dropbox, you should have a folder called “Apps.”

Inside “Apps” there will be a subfolder called “justcast.”

just cast audiobook

Go into the “justcast” folder and create a new folder called “Audiobooks.”

Drag your audiobooks into this folder.

Step 5: Sync JustCast to Overcast

Sign in to your JustCast account and you will see your newly created Audiobooks podcast.

justcast podcast dashboard

Click the “share” button and you will get a URL. Copy this URL to your clipboard.

Open the Overcast app on your iPhone, go to add a new podcast, and choose the option in the top right “Add URL.”

overcast add url

Paste your JustCast Audiobooks URL here.

add url to overcast app

That’s it.

You can now download your audiobooks and listen to them with Smart Speed on the Overcast app just as you would a regular podcast.

Bonus: Where to Find Audiobooks

Personally, I don’t like to listen to fiction sped up because I think consuming art should be a timeless experience.

I prefer listening to non-fiction with Smart Speed.

Typically, I download audiobooks through Audible. The selection is top notch and you get two free audiobooks when you sign up to their free trial with this link.

I also love The Great Courses Plus for consuming college-level lectures taught by some of the world’s best teachers such as Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

You can convert Youtube videos to MP3 and listen to them on Overcast too if that’s your thing.

If you have to consume any information via audio, this hack will help you save massive amounts of time.


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Meet the Creator

Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the author of ComfortPit and the co-creator of HighExistence. He researches the practical ways art, science, psychology, technology, history, and philosophy can help us live more skillfully.

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