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JOHN HARDY, GRACE, AKG 414 BULS – VOICEOVER ADVICE NEEDED

I'm new to this forum; have been reading posts for some time and found it very educational. I have a question, especially to those who have some experience recording voiceovers.

I'll soon be setting up a home project studio for recording voiceovers, most likely for FM radio audio skits with cartoon-like wacky voices (some of which pitchshifted) on sfx/musical background. I'll be recording from home (will have a well designed vocal room) but will be “coached” by a guy who owns a small commercial studio (he'll help me with mixing, etc).

He feels very strongly about me using AKG 414 BULS (says U87ai too aggressive) and since chances are I'll be working with hI'm for the next couple of years, that's the mic I'll probably will be getting, at least for starters. Now assuming that's the mic I'll use, what are my options in terms of a preamp? (Budget for pre is around $1000 – just need one channel, maybe another $1000 for compressor during tracking)I would like to have a detailed sound that is not too aggressive but that stands out easily from the mix. I heard great things about John Hardy M-1, Grace 101 or HV-3. However when i went to a local music store, the salesman told me that something as transparent as those pres in combination with AKG 414 BULS will sound flat, dull and boring in the mix. (and then suggested Universal Audio LA-610 or Blue Robbie saying it would add some life to AKG 414 BULS. Is it true that JH or Grace wouldn't compliment well this specific mic for VO? Any insights would be greatly appreciated. Thanx.

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