Voice over - What I am doing wrong?

Discussion in 'Mastering' started by harman90, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    I am just new to voice overs. So I was comparing my sound with other guys !! I Found a huge difference in quality.
    Here is the link attached to the sound !! First 2 are some random voice overs and third one is my random recording for comparison.

    Their voice so soothing and clear, and my voice seems to be very irritating. :mad:
    I have AT2035 with scarlett 2i2 . I have soundforge and adobe audition.
    Please let me know How can I achieve smooth, bright quality like them .

    Thanks in advance.
  2. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    broadcasters & v/o artists typically use dynamic mics like the RE20 or a SM7a/b or even a Senheiser 421 /441 ... in a pinch a SM58 will work too. try that.
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    You should create a Dropbox account so we don't have to download your stuff. I didn't listen to it.
    But guessing and another option, I can remix your work if you are interested. Nothing like an LA-2A with vintage tubes to give you that big lush sound!
  4. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    I have updated the link sir !

    @kurt !
    I have heard the comparison of AT2035 with these mics !! they are nearly same for the guy like me !!
    but in voice-over !! there is huge difference.
  5. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    1.) After listening and processing your example, you are speaking too close to the microphone which is creating an undesirable low mid proximity effect ( a woofy sound from 110hz to 300hz), and aggressive high sibilance. This also accentuates poor mic technique. I hear you getting louder and softer. If you move further back, that will also improve.

    2.) I also hear a plosive sound (burst of air), are you using a windscreen / pop filter? I suggest you should.

    3.) Your input level is too hot which is creating a lot of distortion and lack of space. If you lower your recording level and speak further back it will produce a superior sound quality.

    This is an sample of your voice through my mixing system with these corrections. If you fixed the issues I suggest, it will greatly improve your final product.
    If we ran a new version through my system the results of your work would be even better than your rivals.

    The analog version of the LA-2A is wonderful for Voice-overs. Even better tracking into.

    Fix these areas and you will be well on your way. howdy


  6. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    Sir ! Thank you very much for your input !
    Yes plosives can be improved !!

    But if I get away from my mic my voice gets flatter, in second there is some treble scintillation ( i dont know how to say it) , it's not smooth.
    How can make it smooth and soothing voice.
  7. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    not to be contradictory but a lot of vo artists eat the mic but the engineers probably hit the hi pass filters .. this gives a close in bass boost sound while keeping the ultra lo end mud below 100 Hz out ... but you need a foam wind screen on the mic for this. another reason a lot of vo studios use the SM7's ...
  8. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    Thank you sir !
    I will try Foam wind screen.
  9. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Beyond what Chris did, which made a huge difference btw., there is more to VO's than just getting a clean vocal recording to your computer.

    A good VO isn't all that much different than a singing performance. There are inflections, dynamics, phrasing, emotion, etc. And in many cases, there is some acting skill involved - how to invoke certain emotions or poignant sections...

    One of the reasons that you hear so many actors doing professional VO work (Martin Sheen, James Earl Jones, Alec Baldwin, etc) is because, as actors, they have that innate ability to take a simple written piece of copy or script and add animation and character to it. Yes, their voices are identifiable, but more than just their fame, they have the training and experience to know how to read that ad copy, and to make it more than just words on a page.. Believe it or not, and regardless of your language, a smile can be "heard" by the listener. ;)

  10. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    Hi Donny !
    Surely there is no doubt That !
    Actually my recording was just to check the Recording. When I compared the recording with other people ! it just killed me.

    Importing products in India is not cheap and after getting professional gear, Still I am not able to produce the quality. I just want to remove that extra crisp which is sounding irritating.
  11. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    well, you're competing against other VO artists who are, in most cases, using much nicer gear - and while I wouldn't necessarily call the AT mic you have complete junk, it's not considered to be in the "pro" caliber range, and much of your competition, if they are using condensers, are very likely using nicer models, like AKG 414's, Nuemann's, etc., which are much nicer, but also much more expensive.

    As mentioned by Chris and Kurt, you may want to consider a nice dynamic mic. One of my favorites for VO recording is the EV RE20. It's a broadcast standard, you'll find them in radio stations everywhere.

    You'll find a much smoother top end on that mic than you will on a cheap condenser such as you have, which, along with other similar models in similar price ranges, are notorious for that frequency harshness that you are experiencing. You wouldn't be the first to notice this particular characteristic about your mic and other mics in similar price ranges.

    If I were you, and on a limited budget, I'd personally look for an EV RE20 or a Shure SM7. As far as bang for the buck, and for the applications you want them for, they are the best choices in their price class.

    These mics can also be used for alternate recording applications as well... both can be used for vocals, horns, kick drum, bass and guitar amp miking, etc.

    Every pro studio I've ever worked at has an RE20 or an SM7 in their mic locker.

  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Check it out.

  13. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    would these mic(Re-20 and shureSm7) work perfectly with Scarlet 2i2 ?
  14. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    The gain on a 2i2 is a little bit low for use with an SM7, but there should be less of a problem with an RE20.

    For reference, the microphone sensitivities are (shown with dB referenced to 1V/Pascal):

    SM7B 1.12mV/Pascal (-59dB)
    RE20 1.5 mV/Pascal (-56.5dB)
    SM58 1.88 mV/Pascal (-54.5dB)

    The maximum gain from the XLR input on a Scarlett 2i2 is 55dB with a clip level at +7dBu, giving a required sound pressure level of around 3.2 Pascal for full amplitude from the SM7B. You would need a strong voice to achieve this at a mic distance of 300mm.
  15. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    duh figures bouncing around my civil engineered head :D

    THing I have understood that Sm7b will produce low output !! but with Re20 , there wont be that much problem ?
    Does this mean there could be noise in output ?

    and let me know 1 thing !! If I buy a mic !! what is the sensitivity (mv/pascal) above which scarlett 2i2 would work fine.
  16. Boswell

    Boswell Moderator Distinguished Member

    Almost any mic can be made to work by, if necessary, winding up the amplitude digitally in your DAW after recording. With the 2i2, there's plenty of digital bits available to allow you to do this. The big problem is that if you run pre-amps of this type at full gain you are in danger of getting audible pre-amp noise recorded along with the amplified mic signal. Whether this is acceptable depends on your application.

    If you were miking a guitar cabinet, you would not worry overmuch about pre-amp noise, as you have a loud source which may well be putting out more hiss than your mic pre-amp does. By contrast, in your VO case, you should be concerned about keeping pre-amp noise to an an inaudible level.

    If you want to be able to include low-output dynamics in your microphone choice, one solution is to add an in-line signal booster such as the Cloudlifter. This will change your 2i2 pre-amp from one with only 55dB of gain to one with 75+dB, which is more than enough for even the lowest-output moving-coil or ribbon microphones.
  17. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    Mods4Meh - E2 - Mine Painter! - YouTube

    I found one video !!
    He is also using same microphone but his quality is good enough !! smooth.

    Can anyone let me know settings or changes I can make to produce such quality !!
  18. DonnyThompson

    DonnyThompson Distinguished Member

    Actually, the quality is barely okay. Actually, no, I lied. It's not even okay. It's actually terrible. It's not "smooth" at all. There's harsh sibilance and no warmth. There's no character to the voice, no personality. It sounds cheap.

    As an engineer - and also as a person who has made a good portion of his living as a voice over artist over the past 25 years - I can tell you with complete confidence that the example you linked to is not even close to what those who have experience in this business would describe as anything even resembling a "professional" VO/production.

    If this is the quality that you are striving for, I suggest that you raise your bar ... and I mean a lot.

    Part of this failure is the fidelity, (or lack thereof) and part of it is the voice characteristics of the person doing the VO... which is very nasally sounding, and is spoken with questionable intelligibility throughout.

    The subject/content lends itself to an amateur production, in that the quality of neither the fidelity or the performance matters all that much because of the content...it's not as if you're listening to a professionally produced documentary done by an actual voice over artist who knows what they are doing and is using good gear to capture that performance in the best way possible.

    I refer to this amateur type of production as "YouTube-ary".. in that it doesn't fall into anything resembling a professional VO, but then again, in this case, it doesn't need to.

    However, you shouldn't go into any project with a sense of "that's good enough" or "that will do..." or because you find that the bulk of the VO's on the web are novice at best and that there's no reason to do any better because no one else is. You should go the other way, and present the best product you can in spite of what the majority of other amateurs are doing. You should also stop trying to compare your own productions based upon what others have in similarity to your own equipment. In doing so, you are catering to the lowest common denominator.

    You should always strive for the best fidelity and performance that you can get. It's no different than releasing a song. You want it to sound a good as possible, right?

    I think you need to reference real VO's - recordings and performances that are of a much higher caliber, and then figure out how you can get reach that type of pro quality -as opposed to listening to this novice stuff and then trying to obtain a goal of mediocrity.

    And I'm not saying that there aren't quality recordings on YouTube, because there are.

    But... I certainly wouldn't use the one you linked us to as a reference for what you want to do or sound like... because the example that you linked us to was pretty bad.

    It's not my intention to sway you away from doing this, and if the above sounds harsh, well, look at it this way... it's better that you hear the truth here - than from a paying client who decides that they want their money back. ;)

  19. pcrecord

    pcrecord Don't you want the best recording like I do ? Well-Known Member

    The mic is just one part of the sound capture process. The tone of the voice, the room, how far and how loud you speak in front of the mic. You can't ask for specifics.

    audiokid gave you pointers to what are the problems with your recording you should start to look for fixing those first.

    What seems like studio magic is in fac a series of calculated decisions based on the source and the sound you want to achieve.

    Last week a customer brought me a karaoke project to raise money for sick people. He did the recording at home. First thing I noticed is that while he tried to treat his room, he in fact created problems. All his tracks had to much of 500hz. I showed him the spectral analyser and play with the EQ to show him the difference. He came back this week and his new recordings were much better just with a better placement of his panels. (still have a bit of 500hz cause by his room but it was a lot better)

    So harman, try to capture a clear and natural track when you record. Then fix any mistakes when you mix. Thats what we do !! each recording ask for different tricks in our bag !! ;)
  20. harman90

    harman90 Active Member

    DOnny !! thank you for your message.
    In india ! VO is not much of a job, Its not even considered to be ! We Barely have sound engineers. Pro Audio products are not available in India. For importing, It nearly cost us double! So its really not possible for me to go for new products at this stage.
    So Unfortunately, i have to deal with What i have! :( :(

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