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Voiceover mic recommendations

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by aurelius, May 15, 2006.

  1. aurelius

    aurelius Guest

    I'm thinking of getting an Audio-Technica AT4040 for voiceover recording (primarily male voices).

    Is there anything of comparable quality at a lower price? I need to save wherever I can but make as few compromises as possible when it comes to quality.
  2. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I do VOs and have a 'project studio" here as well. I own many mics. One of my absolute faves is my pair of AT 4047s. Love 'em. Not for VOs, though. The defacto standard (if there is one) would have to be the E-V RE20 (or RE27, which is a bit brighter). I am now using a Beyer M99, too.
    And there are others out there that do well for that. I'll bet you that if you ran a poll of the leading 100 VO studios in the world, that the number that use a large-diaphragm condenser would be a minority. Many use a shotgun mic for that, too. Why? Because with a VO, it is imperative that you get the dryest, purest vocal take. No hype. and NO "ROOM"!! A LDC will by its very nature, pick up what you may not want picked up in the first place-THE ROOM!!! In the case of the RE20/27, the M99, or even the Shure SM7, these are all "tight" pick-up mics that will keep from pulling the room into the equation. Ditto with a decent shotgun. See if you can try a Beyer M99 in advance. I love mine plugged straight into a Valley Audio Air Force One preamp. BTW, Full Compass was running a special on the RE20 and the Shure SM7 a little while ago. Contact them about pricing.
  3. aurelius

    aurelius Guest

    Thanks for the reply. I have so little money available that I'm trying to find a mic that will do for both speech and song. The AT4040 would seem to fit the bill but I was hoping there might be a recommendation at a lower price.

    Having said that, thanks for the referrals. I don't know either the RE20 or the M 99 (I've just downloaded some literature) and I'll see if I can arrange a demonstration.
  4. mugtastic

    mugtastic Active Member

    i got a heil pr40 as a cheaper alternative to even a used re20 (mainly for kick drum) but its marketed towards voice applications.
    i think it may sound better than an re20, but it does have some proximity effect (for better or worse) as the re20 is known to have none. LOVE the mic.
    large diaphragm dynamic as opposed to condenser is the industry standard for v/o work.
  5. bpatram

    bpatram Guest

  6. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    Certainly, with a limited budget, GO DYNAMIC FIRST!!!

    For $550(RE-20 with shockmount) down to $350(Beyer M-99 or Shure SM7 - or - sometimes, the Sennheiser 421), at least you will have one of the world's best dynamic mics. Good to have one really great piece of gear. Are any of them the best mics for VO? Depends? So far, the best mic for VO I've ever used(From 35 dollar to 6K+ dollars), is the $3000 Brauner Valvet, and even the AKG C414B XLS, will put the dynamics to shame, sometimes, for SOME purposes. Fer Shure, though(Or for EV), the dynamic is the most reliable, easiest to get good sound out of(Quickly) mic there is.

    Start with a fine dynamic - it's in your price range. Graduate to a fine(Or at least a semi-fine) condenser, as you can afford to do so comfortably.


    BTW: If, by chance, you're just looking for "permission" to get the AT, have at it, it'll be fine - certainly worth it's cost, I'm sure...... If you don't already "know" condensers(They're tricky!), again, start with a dynamic and keep it around while you're learning the condenser(And always after!).

    BTW#2: Only because I have had no experience with them, I cannot recommend you start with a shotgun mic. I don't do VO worldwide, but, I get around a bit and I have never seen one used(I know they are! And, I can see why! But, nowhere that I go. You will, I believe, get 90% of the value of the shotgun, without the potential problems, with a great "normal" dynamic.). I would want you to first have a good dynamic and a good condenser, then, maybe try a shotgun to see if you like it. A ribbon mic will be something to try, someday, too. as may be a truly fine "tube" mic(Like the Brauner... ahhhhhh, lovely.)......
  7. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    If price is the issue, try some of the ADK or MXL line of mics. The MXL M3 is a great mic, so is the V6.

    I love the AT line of mics, esp the 4050 and 4040's, but Iv'e had great success with the ADKs and MXLs, too. For male VO's, they're all pretty good.
  8. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    I have used with much success for announcers the Shure SM/Beta87 performers small capsule condenser microphone, with a weighted frequency response curve optimized for vocals. I think you will find it is a lovely condenser announcer microphone?

    Beta be the best one?
    Ms. Remy Ann David
  9. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Boy, did you open a Pandora's Box!
    I have a Shure Beta87a and it is designed for vocals. But if you have a baritone-type voice, I don't know. It is a bit sibiliant on my voice, and according to the Shure marketing hype when it first came out, it was designed for a female entertainer's voice. It works pretty well for my female clients, and the tight pattern is a good in a less-than-ideal room.
    BTW, if you want to see shotguns in operation, check out the website for Ira Glass's "This American Life" on NPR...
  10. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Guest

    The VO mic of choice here in L.A. is the Sennheiser MKH416 , and the Neumann U87.

    The 416 ($800.00 street) sounds the same in most rooms due to its super tight pattern at 6", so most of us use it. ALL Pro VO guys here know how to work that mic!!!!

    In a dead room, the U87 cant be beat. The TLM103 is a very good substitute for the U87 when pads/rolloffs/pattern selection arent needed.

    Most of the mics stated above are nice mics, the ATs will work well in music setting the RE 20/27 work great as announcer mics, but the point in a "VO" is to have the voice "CUT" through loud program music and effects.
    The 416 on its own sounds harsh, but mixed in a commercial or trailer does the job intended.
  11. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    Excellent points, TV; I can't argue with what you know about the LA TV & Movie Scene.

    A few thoughts come to mind, though....do you think it's possible that these mics have become the "Signature" sound due to the particular group of "Popular" VO folks who regularly get these gigs? (For example, those guys we always hear on the networds (FOX, CBS, etc) plus that guy who always starts the trailers with: "IN A WORLD....")

    In other words, perhaps these mics treat these particular folks so much better than the others, and in that case, they become self-sustaining, with little need to experiment.

    The other thought I had is along the same lines - the "sound" of the whole process - based on the usual Talent and mics used - becomes something that sound designers and mixers actually (perhaps unconsciously) plan on, when they do mixes. This very sound could arguably be helpful because it's what people expect; not good or bad, but simply the standard. (And since time is money, no one wants surprises, eh?)
  12. TeddyG

    TeddyG Well-Known Member

    One also wonders if the shotgun mics are used in LA, because of the plethora of TV/movie work done there? Inotherwords, because they are/were available/familiar? Fer Shure, one would expect the better shotguns to be "better" like anything else?

    Certainly the tight pattern part makes sense, in some instances, especially with some kinds of mouth noise, etc., IF one can back-off the mic a l-o-n-g distance, stay in the pattern, and still get good sound, otherwise, but..?

    I really don't know? I was just looking at the Senn shotgun today(In a catalog)...wondering..?


    Hey, MB! Got my M99, today! Nice! More as I use it...
  13. AudioGaff

    AudioGaff Well-Known Member

    Any decent mic can work. I usually use a SM7 or a 421
  14. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Guest

    Thats Don LaFontaine, in studios, he worked a Senn 416 and a Neumann U87 like no one else. One read, one safety take, and he was done!!!!
    I believe he now uses a Soundelux U99 in his home studio.

    Yes, that is fact.

    And those folks, treat these mics much better than others.

    Most of the "VO" guys out here are "self compressing" I mix around the VO.
    Meaning, I record the VO, at mix level (0 VU), with no compression, they have no more than a 14 dB crest factor, so a few dBs of compression in the mix, with hardly any make up gain will put them where I want them.

    Unlike an SM7 or MD421, (which I own both, and love them for their own)) I dont need to eq the hell out of a VO (with a 416 or U87), to get it to cut.
  15. JoeH

    JoeH Well-Known Member

    An old tip we had in the analog days was to watch the VU meters when professional VO people spoke.

    The "Pros" had practiced so much, and had so much experience, that they generally didn't need any comp/limiting at ALL. It was spooky sometimes, watching the meters move consistently. (Practice and listening DID make perfect.)

    I recall one "old" news guy here on a local radio station where I interend that read the news twice an hour, four hours a day, five days a week for 30-some years. His body would contort, muscles would flinch, and his face made all kinds of grimaces, but the listeners never knew; all they heard was a smooth, polished, right in you face professional newscaster, day in and day out. The man was a machine when the red light was on.

    Nowadays, ya got DSP to handle it all, and it's not always the same thing.... :?
  16. Huxy

    Huxy Guest

    I recently rought a Rode NT1-a Great sounding mic - I'm new to the recording industry - but seems like it'll be a good mic for recording speech and vocals...

    Anybody have any thoughts on that?

    It was cheap - $350 NZD
  17. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    Glad that you got the M99 and like it. I loves mine! Since I told you about it, I've used it in a bunch of scenarios- Latino drummer ( a pair of Audix i5s over the kit and that badass Beyer on the kick, on a SVT rig, and a fair share of VOs for a local Ford dealership). And it was a steal!

    I mentioned the shotgun because of the way it keeps the room from interfering with the pick-up. Dry and in your face, as was stated before.
    An analogy would be using a DI on electric guitar. You do have to know how to use one, usually working it from the side, across the top.
    Rode mics are a very good alternative to the flood of Chinese mics out there these days. Enjoy.
  18. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Guest

    Oh, how true, (a talented VO person) along with analog tape taking care of peaks, I never used a compressor to track VO talent.
    Nowadays, just a little compression in the mix, because its digital.

    Oh, VU meters are still in my arsenal.
  19. TVPostSound

    TVPostSound Guest

    If youre new, the NT1A will serve you well, when you get better, youll find no Aussie, Russian, nor Chinese mic, can sound like a Neumann :wink:
    I still have 2 NT1As in my locker.
  20. Nirvalica

    Nirvalica Guest

    are those two NT-1A's for sale possibly? :D

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