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Building Budget Studio for VO?

Discussion in 'Recording' started by mafunk, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. mafunk

    mafunk Guest


    I'm working on VOs for some yoga videos and I'm thinking about doing the recording myself, then sending the files to an audio engineer to process and sync (will record so that syncing should be simple). To record at a studio means paying hotel fees, travel fees, and also it costly. Since I'm recording for four videos, plus have future projects, I thought this might be the way go.

    I'm hoping you can provide me some advice. Questions below

    1. I have a large walk in closet with high ceilings. The closet is filled with clothes and stuff and is carpeted. Would that work for a sound booth. Or do I need to cover the walls and ceiling?

    2. I need to capture a clean, soothing, etheral sound with no room noise. What mic should I buy? Prefer to spend $100 to $300 on a mic.

    3. I have audacity, is that sufficient for recording, or do I need something else?

    4. I know nothing about pre-amps. Should I buy one? If so, which ones are good? Do they just plug directly in to your computer?

    5. Once I record the files, how much processing do you think they will require per file? Note, each file will be about 25 minutes long.

    If anyone has any other advice, or is feeling really charitable and wants to write a specific tutorial on what I need to purchase, how to set up my studio and/or how to record and send to the audio engineer, I would be very grateful. If your advice is helpful and I end up setting up the studio I will be happy to send my videos to any and all folks who offer valuable information.

  2. mafunk

    mafunk Guest

    I just found this link

    Thought I would record in my closet on a zoom h4n with a rode nt1a. Then send to an audio engineer for final treatment/sync to video. What do you think?
  3. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Moderator

    Feb 23, 2005
    I think that you need to try doing some searches here. First off, a closet full of clothes and carpeting really sucks as a booth for anything, ESPECIALLY the voice. Even empty, as many here will attest, a large closet doesn't have the air space necessary to keep the voice sounding "open". Dimensions-minimum ones- have been posted in the "Construction" section on this site, illustrating the importance of size and how it affects the overall sound due to standing waves.

    In addition, I would stay clear of LDC's in a less-than-ideal acoustical space due to off-axis issues. You need a much tighter pattern, the larger the capsule/diaphragm, the more of the room you'll pick up. Mics like the E-V RE-20/27, Beyer M160, even a Shure SM58, will do better because of their tighter patterns. Many times a good shotgun is used in this application as well.
  4. TheJackAttack

    TheJackAttack Moderator Resource Member

    Mar 20, 2008
    currently Billings
    Oi, room dimensions. I'm just editing a recording done in an art museum. The particular very good sized room was a square box with noisy hvac. The musicians themselves come through lovely and clean. The applause on the other hand is a nasty sound that would have been fixed by not having perfectly parallel walls. Or at least something to refract the sound waves. I offer only for illustration of why there are minimum desired specs for a good sound booth vocal or otherwise.
  5. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Distinguished Member

    Dec 11, 2007
    Scotland, UK
    Clothes themselves aren't great at absorption.

    Unless you're an eskimo and you have a whole load of thick wooly parkas then I doubt they have the mass to absorb bass frequencies.
    Chances are they'll not do much but suck the life out of the room.

    Also, for a mic - feel free to use a SM58. Nothing wrong with them. For anything. Except underwater usage.
  6. mafunk

    mafunk Guest

    Thank you for your replies. I have searched extensively on this site and the net, but just am overwhelmed with all the info. I don't know where to start.

    As far as room size. You think my large walk in closet is too small? I'm confused by that because I recorded a proffesional VO at a studio in a tiny soundbooth and it was beautiful. If anything, I was worried that my closet would be too big.

    So did you look/listen to the link to the recording h4n w/external mic? I thought it sounded good for my purposes. And it is easy. All i have to do is buy two small pieces, then I can record in an appropriately constructed room. Thoughts?
  7. ahavill

    ahavill Guest

    Can you explain that a little more? What do your voice recordings need to get sync'd with exactly? Syncing, in my exp, is usually NOT simple. If your engineer is confident that they can do what you want, at least check with them that you are recording in a format (bitrate, sample rate, file type) that will work with the rest of the project.
    ...I would cover the walls with moving blankets. These are cheap, denser AND thinner than reg blankets, so you could do several layers. I think if you are doing voiceovers, not music or singing, this will be pretty good & easy to adjust if it's not quite working. for ex, try it in a larger room if possible.

    ...Based on your next couple questions, I highly recommend the Blue Snoball ($100) or Rode Podcaster ($230.) They are both designed to be great voiceover mics, I am personally a huge fan of Rode stuff. Haven't heard either model myself but I trust the brands. The key for you is a USB out right on the mic. Read on.

    ...not really. I think its fine as software, the problem you'll have is hardware. Read on...

    ...You probably shouldn't buy one, esp if you know nothing about them! (sorry not trying to be a jerk.) There are lots of options out there if you have the $, and some of them will def make your recordings sound better, esp if your engineer helps you set the level properly. The thing is, unless you want to spend $200 at the minimum (the FMR RNP,) anything less is probably junk that will add only noise. What you DO need, is some way to connect the mic to the computer, aka a USB or FireWire interface. TONS of options here, if you want to use audacity start by seeing what interfaces are compatible with it & your computer's specs. That's why I suggested the SnoBall & Podcaster mics: they have a built-in interface, so it's just a USB cable out from the mic, into the computer. If you use a regular mic that uses a XLR mic cable, you'll need to go into an interface to get digital before hitting your computer. Another great option is the Zoom H2 you have mentioned, since it basically combines the mic, interface and recorder. These little guys sound REALLY GOOD & are going to be the easiest to use imo. Since you'd be doing the actual recording on the Zoom, make sure you set it up for max quality. They usually default to a lower-res format like mp3 to maximize recording time; you'll probably want to sacrifice some rec time for higher quality (like .WAV file format or higher.) Easy to do, will make a big difference. Again ask your engineer what format he wants. Also Zoom just released the H4n, which means the original H4 is now available for just $100 more than the H2. Might be worth it since the H4 has "real" mic connectors (XLR) & phantom power, so you could connect a fancier mic if you wanted. The H2 has an 1/8" in for external mics, not designed for pro gear. One last note, you might need to buy a larger memory card, if you are doing 25 min recordings at high quality settings.

    ...Not sure what you mean by "processing." It seems like once you've recorded the files, you'll be handing them off to the engineer.
  8. Space

    Space Distinguished Member

    Jun 26, 2007
    "I have a large walk in closet with high ceilings."

    I say go for it. Cloths can absorb...but how professional is that? It reads like you have no concerns about spending cash on equipment but this audio recording room, many maintain the most important part of the chain, doesn't even rate a nickel for improvement.

    Depending on the size of the large walk in closet, it may be just your size. The only thing I know you do not have an issue with will be refraction. Reflection sure, but the speed of sound should not be modified.

    A simple method would be to understand that to contain or isolate or sound proof, you have to establish an air tight dense environment. Ratios being what they are, mostly only useful in large rooms, it may be one of the things you will have to live with. But, it is always beneficial to at least have a rectangular room, not square, not cubed.

    The parallel walls that most likely are present will have to have some type of absorption panels installed to stop flutter and reflections. Due to the size, or unknown size, of this room, some will say hard floor, soft overhead. A soft floor(carpet) and hard overhead(ceiling) may be the ticket for you. Who can really say, knowing so little about what you have for this project.

    makeshift vocal booth

  9. mafunk

    mafunk Guest

    Thanks for your feedback.

    Actually money is not the issue with the space. The issue is that my husband is not going to be too happy if I start taking over space and hanging unsightly blankets everywhere. :wink:

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