There is a new voice only recording of the Holman Christian Standard Bible New Testament read by Dale McConachie. Dale kindly gave me a free download for review and I have to say, I really like it. Ever since YouVersion added access to audio Bibles, I’ve found myself listening to the Bible a lot. Since they have yet to include an HCSB audio Bible, I was excited about this new audio Bible since it is my translation of choice.
To begin, let me say that there is already an official audio recording of the HCSB read by actor David Payne that can be bought on Amazon for $63. The product description says, “Audio edition of the complete HCSB translation on 64 compact discs, dramatically and dynamically read by actor David Payne.” This virtually ensures that I will never use this audio version. I can’t imagine paying $63 and uploading 66 books of the Bible to my computer from 64 cds. I’m also turned off by “dramatically and dynamically read”. I’m further turned off that there is background music.
So, again, I’m excited to announce the voice only audio version that Dale is working on. Before I go into some of the reasons why I like Dale’s version, I should say that I primarily use the NLT audio Bible and have enjoyed it to some extent but this new HCSB version is fast becoming my favorite.
Three things I like about this HCSB NT audio version
I like that it is voice only. I don’t want to listen to someone else’s music when I’m listening to the Bible. Besides, sometimes audio Bibles only have music on certain chapters. That confuses me. I try and figure out if it’s random or if this is a special chapter that they are trying to highlight with their music.
I like Dale’s voice. It’s not overpowering like a James Earl Jones. He’s not changing his voice for different characters (like the NLT audio Bible does). He doesn’t have a dramatic voice (like the NIV audio Bible). It’s just his voice which is strong and soothing.
I like the version. I would settle for the NLT audio Bible even though it’s not my favorite translation.
To summarize, Dale’s voice only recording allows you to hear the Word of God without distraction. I don’t want music. I don’t want someone faking a voice so that Satan sounds like he’s a sinister rapscallion who needs a throat lozenge. I don’t want someone whose voice gets in the way of just listening. Dale does a great job of simply reading the Bible in a strong but nondescript way.
One minor subjective complaint
I hate to even bring it up. I mean, this guy sat in a recording studio for hours (maybe days) on end reading into a microphone. However, I would just warn you that the reading isn’t as fluid as I’d like. It’s not monotone and it’s not boring by any stretch of the imagination, but Dale’s vocal cadence sort of plods along through the text. A split second would make all the difference here and I know I’m nit-picking. It would just be nice if there was a bit more of a pause after a sentence or before a quote. That’s all. It’s really, really minor, but I thought I’d try and give a fair critique of this particular version.
With that said, I hope you will check out this new audio version of the HCSB NT. As soon as they get it on YouVersion it will definitely be my choice when I want to listen to the Word of God while I’m in the car or at Starbucks. You can download Ephesians for free or go ahead and purchase the entire New Testament for $9.95.
[Update] I’ve now learned that this is an official audio recording and Dale has a license agreement with Broadman and Holman. It is also the only audio version based on the 2009 update of the HCSB text.
Do you listen to audio Bibles? What version do you like the best? If you’ve got this version of the HCSB NT, what do you think about it?