Voiceover/Spoken Word Suggestions?

Discussion in 'Vocals' started by StevenGurg, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. StevenGurg

    StevenGurg Guest

    I do spoken word and voiceover work. I am learning how to do the recording aspects myself with a small project studio at home. I am very interested in what everyone with experience in that area thinks about:
    1. microphone selection (is the senn 416 the one?)
    2. microphone placement
    3. EQ, Compression, etc while tracking... opinions.
    4. Editing, processing, and mastering those files.
    5. Equipment ideas (outboard, software)
    6. Talent preparation.

    Thank you in advance for any and all that share their expertise regarding this post. :)
  2. StevenGurg

    StevenGurg Guest

  3. TheSoundman

    TheSoundman Active Member

    Dec 16, 2002
    West Palm Beach, FL
    Home Page:
    Hey Steve-

    I always liked the sound of an Electro Voice RE-20 for voice over work. Put the mic on a good stand so you can record comfortably- placement will depend on where it sounds good with your voice, and in the room. Some light compression and or limiting during recording would be a good idea just to keep from overdriving the recording medium. Save EQ, most compression and effects for post production. Good luck!

    The Soundman
  4. JeffreyMajeau

    JeffreyMajeau Active Member

    Sep 5, 2000
    Shure SM7 is a great microphone for VO work.
    Neumann TLM103 is a GORGEOUS mic on female voice, big and full with male voices.

    RE20's great as well. I've been very pleased with my Studio Projects C1.

    With 24 bit digital and good pre's you don't have to slam the input levels. You can record with a reasonable level without clipping and you're not going to get any hiss or nasty noises.

    A limiter on the input just to skim the dangerous peaks is fine, if you want to be safe and you're running a hot level, but it's not necessary.

    For spot work, a medium fast attack 2-2.5 ms with a release between 80-250 ms(faster release will distort low frequencies, so a deep voice will sound better with a slower release) a low cut of everything under 40Hz, a -3 to -6dB shelf from 175 on down and a medium tight parametric bump between 180-225Hz (if needed) will give you the "announcer boom". A shelf from 10K up will give some sparkle, go easy here. dip between 5500-7K a bit to ward off sibilance.

    Follow the Compressor and EQ up with a limiter like the L1, set to do about 3-6dB of gain reduction will tighten things up and keep you in a tight window of dynamic range.

    If you can't get the talent to sound right, make sure they aren't trying to project too much. Trying to be too loud and boomy will make them run out of breath too soon. A normal tone of voice in a relaxed setting will make them sound their best.

    I edit all the breaths out and then insert spaces back into the audio. You'll find that you can use a space about half the length of a breath and it'll still sound natural. You can get very tweaky with editing if you're good with Pro Tools. I've taken syllables of unrelated words and joined them with seamless results. Practice.

    Dan Roth
    Otitis Media
  5. realdynamix

    realdynamix Well-Known Member

    Feb 23, 2001
    Mic is subjective, large diaphragm, good at close distances (do to bass rise), good pop, and wind rejection. Stick with the most common used.
    This involves some experimentation, some speak across the mic, if the mic is boomy back away, if to nasally point more toward the mouth from an angle to minimize plosives, and lip smacks. Even larger distances for effect.
    You should not have to apply much EQ if any, unless there is boom in your voice, or to much sib's, then a de-essor might help control that. Limiting may be required more than compression if you have some dynamic's involved like (quiet to loud).
    If you do all this in digital, save the processing for after the fact settings, make sure the levels are averaging well in tracking, with no clipping.
    No preference from me, other than a good recording/editing program with the plugs you might require. I'm 50/50 analog/digital at present, so I abstain any recommendation out of ignorance. :) Hope this helps, a lot of experimenting will be beneficial.

  6. StevenGurg

    StevenGurg Guest

    Wow! I am impressed by each of you that have posted a reply. Outstanding advice... I am so very grateful for your time and generosity. Thank you so much!!!
    Steven G
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