I have to admit that sometimes I can be a little critical when it comes to dramatized audio books or audio Bibles. I had the opportunity to request Tyndale’s new Breathe Bible New Testament Dramatized Audio Bible. I honestly had some mixed feelings about this one. Most of it I really liked, but there were a few other parts that I wasn’t so sure about. I received a copy of this audio Bible set from Tyndale for me to do a review on it. In full disclosure, I was not required or requested by Tyndale to write a positive review.
The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
<http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
**See all sections below for full detailed review**
This is really a good product, but I did have a couple of items that I felt could have been just a little better. I did like the packaging for the most part – it could have been a little higher quality with the binder, but still, not bad and it really does look nice. The printed part of the package looked very nice, but it is very clear they want to promote all of the very well-known actors that they cast for this large project. The audio quality is actually pretty good. It is dramatized and some of the actors didn’t do quite as well as some of the others in my opinion which was probably my main mixed feeling topic. For me personally, I would rather have a physical Bible in my hands personally, but for those that can’t see as well or maybe in the vehicle driving quite a bit, I totally understand the desire to have an audio Bible. In fact I was driving for work on a 7 hour drive and I listened to the CDs the entire trip there and back. I’m curious if they will do the Old Testament project at some point in the near future. If they do, I’m sincerely hoping they keep John Rhys-Davies and Kevin Sorbo lined up for that project! They were my favorite voices on this production in my opinion. If you enjoy the NLT translation of the Bible and want to get an audio Bible, then you will enjoy this dramatized audio Bible of the New Testament. I received a copy of this Dramatized Audio Bible in exchange for this review from Tyndale House Publishers and all opinions are my own.
DESCRIPTION OF THIS PRODUCT
Type of Product: Dramatized Audio Bible (NLT)
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication Date: March 7, 2017
ISBN-13 of Book Reviewed: 978-1414398617
Price: At the time of writing this review, the cheapest place to get this Audio Bible is at Christianbook.com. They have it for $34.99– suggested retail from the publisher is $49.99. Please note that these prices do not include any potential shipping charges.
If you would like to purchase the Breathe Bible NLT, please support my blog and purchase by clicking any of the links to Christianbook.com on this page like the one below. If you want it in an MP3 format, they will be releasing that on 9/5/2017. Click HERE to see the MP3 format.
|NLT Breathe Bible Audio New Testament
By Tyndale HouseThe Breathe Bible Audio New Testament is a remarkably vivid listening experience that transports you into the world of the Bible. Performed in the New Living Translation by a cast of internationally acclaimed film, television, and recording artists, this captivating multi-million dollar audio production features cinema-quality sound with an original music score. It’s an experience you will never forget. The Breathe Bible Audio New Testament—“It’s like being there.”This 18-CD set also includes a code to receive the user-friendly mobile App for free! Listen however you like! Breathe Bible lets you easily share your favorite verses with friends and family on social media.Created by an award-winning team, this dramatic production features a cast of leading Hollywood entertainers, 600 supporting actors, a full-orchestral score, and cutting-edge sound design. Stars of stage and film such as Kevin Sorbo (Voice of God), Josh Lucas (Jesus), John Rhys-Davies (narrator), Ashley Judd (Mary Magdalene), Jesse McCartney (Matthew), Hill Harper (Mark), Corbin Bleu (John), Christian Stolte (Luke), Marshall Allman (John the Baptist), Wintley Phipps (Peter), and Bailee Madison (Young Mary Mother of Jesus) headline this production bringing a new level of excitement to the forefront of Bible audio innovation.Featuring the New Living Translation (NLT)—the translation created to be read aloud.
Binding: Audio CDs in binder, chipboard box and slip cover
Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.2 x 7.3 inches
Number of Audio CDs: 18
Approximate Total Play Time: 21 hours
OK, this is the part where I get to tell you about how I like or dislike this product in a detailed manner.
The Packaging that this came in looked pretty good to me. I was shrink-wrapped, then had a slip cover that was printed nicely. The slip cover goes over the chipboard box and the CD “binder” slides into the chipboard box. Overall it looks nice. I wish the binder was a 3 ring binder rather than the method they used, but not a huge issue. There was a small printed card that has a download code for the app that goes with this. This card was secured with fugitive glue (sometimes known as “booger glue”) to the inside front of the binder. The glue did end up leaving a stain on the inside of the binder which you can see in the photos below. Click on the photos to see full-sized pics that will open in a new window.
Overall , the audio quality was very good. They have quite the cast for this project. My favorite one by far was Kevin Sorbo as the voice of God – This is only the New Testament, but if Tyndale does go ahead with the Old Testament, they really should secure him in that role again. John Rhys-Davies as the narrator did phenomenal as expected. Josh Lucas did pretty good as the voice of Jesus, although it felt a little flat and emotionless at times. I really like Josh Lucas as an actor, but to be completely honest, his voice is pretty recognizable and the first time I listened all I could picture was Jake Perry from the “Sweet Home Alabama” movie. I eventually got past that though.
There were times when Jesus was with his disciples and I think they were around a fire as I could hear what sounded like crackling, but it was a little too loud for my taste so it kind of distracted me as it sounded like the noise you hear from a small scratch or dust on the old needle record players. I think I just dated myself with that comment though. Wintley Phipps played the voice of Peter and he has such a strong, rich voice that it felt just a tad over-dramatic in my opinion. I don’t want you to think that the audio is terrible, because it isn’t. There were just a few points that distracted me a little bit from the Word of God as it was being acted out. The backing music was actually good – audio levels were subtle, pleasing and not overbearing at all. The music did not detract from the experience in my opinion.
You can check out some a free example of what it sounds like with a preview from Mark chapter 1 at http://breathebible.com/preview/. Also on this preview webpage, if you enter your email address, you can get the entire book of Mark for free to you check it out. You will get an email you have to “confirm subscription” from which will then take you to a page on the website where you can listen to the 1 hour 35 minute audio, or you can also download the 89 meg MP3 file to your PC or device.
As a bonus to the audio CDs and packaging, they also did a phone app that you can download with the code provided in the packaging. The Breathe Bible App lets you read the NT version like most Bible apps do. You can also download the entire audio to your phone, which is kind of nice if you don’t have a CD player handy (and you don’t want to use data on your device). The downloaded audio is the same audio that is on the CDs, so you get the dramatized Bible at your fingertips. You can download book-by-book if you wish. As a note to remember, this is only the New Testament, but if you download this entire New Testament onto your device, it will take up 1.7 gigs of space for the audio files.
Ease of Use:
Well, not much to say here – it’s CDs…. how hard can it really be, right? As far as ease of use for the app for your mobile device, it’s pretty comparable to how you use many other Bible reading apps. If you are comfortable using something like OliveTree or YouVersion’s Bible app, you will have no issues using this app.
- Full-color slip cover
- Chipboard holding case
- CD Binder
- 18 Audio CDs
- Small 2-page insert asking you to go to the website (breathebible.com)
- Small 2-page card with the download code for the app
- Small 4-page brochure with a letter from the Exec. Producer and Director and listing of full cast and credits.
Durability of Product:
The CDs will hold up just like any other CDs that can scratch if mishandled. The chipboard holder box actually feels pretty sturdy and the slip cover will hold up like any other slip cover you see on other products. The part that I’m not 100% convinced of is how the sleeves that hold the CDs in place will stand up to the test of time. They hold the CDs nice and securely in the sleeves, but I’m wondering about how the actual sleeves are attached to the binder. I would have rather seen something like a 3-ring binder because even if the CD sleeves get torn or damaged, you can pretty easily find a replacement for it. In the case of this packaging, I’m not seeing how you could secure a replacement sleeve in it something happened. I could be wrong on my feeling of durability with this. Plus, it is probably not a major issue as many people could likely be downloading the app and audio files (even though they are large) and listening from their devices as well.
MY CHRISTIAN REVIEWER RATINGS:
Below, we have the overall ratings that I would give to this particular book with a 1 to 10 range.
Quality: 8.4 – The printing and color for the packaging is done very nicely. We will have to see how long this will stand up to a lot of use though. As I stated earlier, I would have preferred a 3-ring binder approach. Audio quality is mostly good. At times they had the sound of a crackling fire like when Jesus was speaking with his disciples, was distracting me, but I eventually got used to it. A few of the actors felt not as strong as the rest of the other actors, but that could just be my preference. Listen HERE to the preview of the book of Mark you can get from their website to judge for yourself.
Appearance: 8.9 – I would say that the design of the product is actually very nice, but with that said, it is very clear that they are promoting the high quality actors that they hired for this project. Based on that, I’m a little torn because to me, this product should be about the Word of God rather than what I felt was just a little too much emphasis on the well-known actors that they cast for the parts.
Value: 9.2 – For the suggested retail price and what you get from a content perspective for this product, I would say that this is a very good value if you are in the market for a dramatized audio New Testament Bible using the NLT translation.
Innovation: 8.6 – Overall, this project does have good quality to it, plus with adding in the Breathe Bible app, I would say they did a nice job with innovation..
Other/Wildcard: n/a – There are no real wildcards to speak of in this product, so this will not be included in the average rating.
Overall Rating: 8.8 out of 10
From the publisher’s website: Tyndale House Publishers was started back in 1962 with the publication of Living Letters printing 2,000 copies. It was launched by Ken and Margaret Taylor and operated out of their dining room. Since then, privately owned Tyndale has grown significantly and publishes many Bibles and Christian resources like the Life Application Study Bible and novels such as the “Left Behind” series.
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