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Voiceover tips (recording the human voice)

Discussion in 'Recording' started by stephentedsmith, Jul 26, 2009.

  1. We record a lot of voice overs at ALT Recording Studios in Brighton. I've been unable to find much advice on the web about recording the human voice.

    I've given an overview of what we do but would love to hear any tips or techniques used.


    I always appreciate the difficulty in recording the human voice well. Colouration be it from roo acoustics, excessive compression, bad microphone techniques etc can ruin a recording. We hear the human voice everyday and so instantly know when it sounds wrong.

    As with any recording it is always best to start at the source. In this case the voice over artist. Sitting comfortably, having good posture can work wonders.What I always try and aim for from a voice over artist is to optimise volume levels, reduce excessive sibilance and microphone popping, reduce excessive bass due to microphone proximity. In our control room at our Brighton studio we position the artists with their back to wall covered in auralex acoustic tiles to help avoid a boxy sound and create a pleasant reverberation ambiance.

    Each mic has its own sound. At ALT Recording Studios we use Rode valve mics for recording voice over artists. We find it has a clean yet warm quality.

    At the mix down stage I usually add compression but only with ratios up to 4:1 and a threshold of less than 5dB to get rid of the the peaks. To keep everything sounding natural I use a fast attack and a release time of around a 0.25 of a second. I always try and avoid gating, de essing and eq unless there are specific issues I am trying to remedy.

    I've posted more details on our website

    http://www.altrecordingstudios.com

    http://www.altrecordingstudios.co.uk/index.php/Information/recordingspokenvoice.html
     
  2. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Stephen,

    You need to call PWA and let them know your site has a coupla' bug-a-boo's still left... Namely that your bottom section blurbs have the standard Lorum ipsum text in the "About this site"

    That and several things in the top sections have the same text.

    All in all, it looks nice, but you really gotta get them to go through and clean things up before telling you it's ready for prime time.
     
  3. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Well, conceptually your vision of recording vocals is noble. But what you're trying to avoid by not "gating", "De-Essing" and/or equalization & compression/limiting really doesn't hold water. Maybe for a talking book but certainly not for the competitive commercial market.

    Professional promos & commercials require something along the lines of unnatural acts in the land of engineering. For instance, a fast attack time will certainly help to eliminate any emphasis on anything. A faster release time will create more perceptual loudness levels. Aggressive equalization will further enhance presence while downward expansion, which is a different style of gating, can help prevent breaths from sounding like gasps. This is what competitive commercial engineering is all about. Natural sounding is boring muddy sounding. It certainly doesn't sell product.

    Billions of commercials served
    Mx. Remy Ann David
     
  4. moonbaby

    moonbaby Mmmmmm Well-Known Member

    I don't get it. Last week you were on this forum telling us how we should mic drums.

    This week it's VO's, like the folks at the Pro Recording Forum are a bunch of idiots (I may be, but...). If somebody recorded MY voice as you described, I'd be pretty upset. Good thing that the UK doesn't permit handguns for the public!

    There is a good amount of information on the web regarding these topics.
    There are a number of valid publications covering these, as well.
     
  5. apstrong

    apstrong Active Member

    Two posts in a very similar format that just repeat some half-assed content from his website and mention the URL a couple of times. I'd say he's trying to create linkbacks to his site or drum up some web traffic. You know what seals the deal? He posted the exact same thing on 4 other forums. Word for word.

    :roll:

    But let's take a closer look at what he's contributed and see if reading between the lines reveals anything of value:

    > We record a lot of voice overs at ALT Recording Studios in Brighton. I've
    just starting using my computer and don't know how to search, so I've
    > been unable to find much advice on the web about recording the human
    digestive system, and my forbidden love for my cousin makes me raise my
    > voice.

    >I've given an overview of what we do but would love to hear any tips or
    recipes for fruitcake, or directions to the nearest zoo. Be sure to explain
    > techniques used.

    >I always appreciate the difficulty in recording the human voice well.
    The human voice, like a kitten playing with fireworks, can suffer from
    >Colouration be it from room acoustics, excessive compression, bad
    upbringing, lack of vitamins, erectile dysfunction, and even the best
    >microphone techniques etc can ruin a recording. We hear the human
    voices commanding us to attend Eagles reunion shows, but I hear my mom's
    >voice everyday and so instantly know when it sounds wrong.

    >As with any recording it is always best to start at the source. In this case
    I have placed a tiny bunny. Notice that this bunny is not nearly as big as
    >the voice over artist. Sitting comfortably, having good posture can work
    out if you have back pain. Why am I wasting your time, everybody
    >wonders.What I always try and aim for from a voice over artist is to
    get the money up front. Those people are devious. Or you could
    > optimise volume levels, reduce excessive sibilance and microphone
    damage by using a toilet paper roll wrapped in duct tape. If your ears are
    > popping, reduce excessive bass due to microphone proximity. In our
    shed out back we have all kinds of gardening tools. But sometimes in
    > control room at our Brighton studio we position the artists with their
    legs crossed, suspended from the ceiling by wires, especially with their
    > back to wall covered in auralex acoustic tiles to help avoid a boxy
    sound and muffle the screams. A little shock therapy goes a long way to
    > create a pleasant reverberation ambiance.

    >I've posted more details on our website

    Let us all give thanks for that.
     
  6. Codemonkey

    Codemonkey Well-Known Member

    BAHAHAHAHHA
     
  7. Wanted to get some tips and share my thoughts. Take your point though. I'll read through the forums and see what I can pick up.

    Drum recording and voiceovers I believe are the 2 most difficult and exciting parts of the recording process.
     
  8. music293

    music293 Active Member

    I could be wrong here, but...



    His posts just sound like shameless self plugging?




    Better plug in the glade because it's starting to smell bad in here. :)
     

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