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Old December 22nd, 2007, 03:41 PM   #31
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Great stuff Jack thank you!
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 03:48 PM   #32
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...
2) Since audio is just as important as the video I will up my budget to $2000. Yes this is a huge increase but with this I expect to purchase a nice VO studio mic and upgrade my field mics...
With your revised requirements, I'd probably take a look at these selections...

1) Studio mic/ large diaphragm for male & female vocal... Audio Technica AT4050 (3 polar patterns)

2) Field mic / handheld... Sennheiser MD46 (Cardioid dynamic)

3) Lavs / Sanken COS 11, Countryman B6


They all would be a serious upgrade and help you continue to build for the future. Next I would look to add a good portable mixer...like an SD 302.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 03:56 PM   #33
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2) Field mic / handheld... Sennheiser MD46 (Cardioid dynamic)
Next I would look to add a good portable mixer...like an SD 302.
Sennheiser MD46:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/produc...namic_ENG.html
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 06:22 PM   #34
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The AT large condenser mics are nice. You might also check out Rode's large diaphragm mics. I've found them to be clean and relatively uncolored. The NT-1A is a good place to start, and they only get better from there. Much of the choice depends on if you want a variable pattern, pad, cutoff and/or tube front end.

Some people pitch Studio Projects' stuff to be "as good as a Neumann." Right. I find them to be too scooped. That can sound "pretty", but not accurate, and it won't be consistent across many voices.

If you get a chance, go you your local music store and check out a number of large diaphragm condenser mics. You might even bring your own headphones/mixer, so you know how it sounds through equipment that you know. Try each mic at various distances and volumes. Try jangling your keys in front to test high-frequency clarity. You'll be amazed at how different the responses are. Get something that sounds natural and compliments the target voice and that is clean across the spectrum. It should also have reasonable gain. Lean towards natural, rather than "pretty". "Pretty" mics are often overly scooped. Leave drastic EQ measures for post - especially for a vocal mic. (Bass drum mics are another story - they're scooped to death! "SMACK-Booooom")

Record with a pop filter. I like to position the mic in front of the nose or eyes, rather than in front of the mouth. You avoid plosives that way. Play with the distance. You get more bass the closer you are to the speaker. And don't be afraid to EQ in post. Focus on getting a natural, problem free recording from the mic. Making it "pretty" can be left for later.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 07:18 PM   #35
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There's a very flattering user review of the Rode NT-1A at B&H:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...rToReadReviews

Here are a couple of reviews of the Rode NT1-A:
http://www.digitalplayroom.com/rode/.../nt1review.htm


http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/may0...les/rodent.htm
This review also discusses characteristics of this type of mic and the different patterns, and thus may be of interest.

Last edited by Jack Walker; December 22nd, 2007 at 08:19 PM.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 11:35 PM   #36
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My solution

I don't have the experience level of most folks here and I've learned a lot reading whats been posted.

I was trying to do VO with an inexpensive small diaphragm dynamic direct into the sound card input on my PC. OK but not what I wanted. So I ordered a Studio Projects VTB1 preamp with both solid state and tube stages with a control to "blend" the two.

I purchased a Sennheiser e935 to use with it and found more control. But the kicker was when I tried an old Radio Shack dual pattern condenser mic (I almost threw out 25 years ago!) with the preamp and it made it sound great for my voice.

I'm 69 and my voice has lost some of the "timbre" it used to have 15 years ago. It has gotten softer and a condenser mic works better for me because of the clarity, a dynamic like the Shure's or Sennheiser allow some "fuzz" from my voice to creep in. The tube stage in the preamp lets me blend in a bit of warmth and "weight" to add to the crisp clarity of a condenser mic.

That's my solution, but it works for my voice.

There's been a lot of great advice here.
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Old December 22nd, 2007, 11:55 PM   #37
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Good reviews. If anybody heard harshness with the NT1-A, they were probably running their signal path too hot. (Been there, done that.)

Overall, I find that the NT1-A has a moderate scoop, a smooth presence peak and no sharp resonances or bad behaviors. Get up close and you can get good power from a bass voice. The highs are crisp and clean (unless overdriven, of course.) It passes the key jangling test well without sounding harsh or crunchy. (I compared it to one MXL mic, not sure the model, that sounded like gravel in a cement mixer by comparison.)

But don't take my word for it. Listen to as many mics as you can, and choose the one that best suits your needs. You should have no regrets after you bring your new mic home.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 03:57 AM   #38
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Geez this is getting complicated.

Let me see if I can make it easier.

Go online and buy the following.

A Shure SM7 mic for your studio. It's a studio dynamic that sounds great. It's forgiving and you can "eat it" for maximum proximity effect to sound more "radio-like" until you actually learn how to perform VOs properly - whereupon you can back up and get better recordings. It's easy to get parts, replacement windscreens, and anything else you need so that it will still be working in 20 years. That'll take up no more than $500 inc. tax and shipping.

Next get a Symetrix 528 Voice Processor. It's a mid-range professional pre-amp and voice processor. Do your absolute best to LEAVE THE CONTROLS ALONE. Well, let's be realistic. Go ahead and play around with all the knobs for a day or two, then go back and re-set them at the detents and DON'T TOUCH THEM for at least a month. Then if you think you need to use something like reverb or compression - add one click to one control and live with that for another month. The point is not to make you sound like someone ELSE - but to capture you sounding like YOU. Natural YOU. Un-futzed with YOU. Not the YOU you hear in your head from bone conduction and sinus resonance - but what YOU sound like to everyone else. THAT's your natural voice. Your REAL voice. That's why you need to leave the knobs alone for a LONG time. So you get to know what YOU actually sound like. That's another $500.

Finally, get a decent dynamic stick mic. I like the Beyer M-58, but the AT RE-50 is just fine as well. That'll be another $250 or so.

That's it. Put away the other $750 bucks. You don't need to spend it. You'll have enough gear to do all the VO your voice is prepared to handle right now.

If you decide to take voiceovers seriously and want to get to the point where you can really benefit from spending more on gear here's how you do it...

5 out of 7 days for the next few YEARS - spend between 5 and 15 minutes ONCE A DAY reading copy out loud. Doesn't matter what you read. Read the phone book - or the want ads - or trashy novels. Why? Because your voice is MUSCLES. Diaphram, larynx, jaw, tongue, etc, etc, etc.

Want to succeed as a runner what MUST you do? RUN EVERY DAY. Train your muscles.

Want to train your voice? DO VO'S EVERY DAY!!!!

This won't necessarily make you great - any more than hitting baseballs in your back yard will make you as good as Hank Aaron. Some people are simply born with superior talent for some things.

But to think you can announce simply because you can talk - is a lot like thinking you can win a 10k simply because you know how to physically run.

Not the way it works.

Good luck.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 04:22 AM   #39
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Paul, it's been a few days since your exchange with Ty over the need to hire a dedicated sound person, but I just came across this thread and thought I'd add my two cents. I have a business partner that I'm shooting a documentary with. There have been a couple of times when we've had to split up and I've had to cover the doc shooting dates on my own, running the camera and doing the audio, and guess what -- I completely botched the audio. Twice! Keep in mind that audio is my thing. Fortunately it happend on our project, because if these had been paying jobs I'd have been fired.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 04:52 AM   #40
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So here's a nice write-up on the Shure SM7:
http://www.buzzle.com/editorials/11-7-2005-80787.asp

It appears the mic is $350:
http://www.bhphotovideo.com/bnh/cont...arch&Q=*&bhs=t
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Old December 29th, 2007, 06:52 AM   #41
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Originally Posted by Bill Davis View Post
Geez this is getting complicated.

Let me see if I can make it easier.

.
Bill, nice post. Audio seems to be the most confusing part of video. :-)

Question: Where does the Symetrix 528 fit in if I record directly to computer and already have a USB or FW mixer? In my case I have an M-Audio 410.

Also, if I record direct to camera, could/would I still use the Symetrix 528?

Finally, is there a software equivalent of the 528, and what are the pros/cons of such an approach?

Thanks
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Old December 29th, 2007, 08:24 AM   #42
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A Shure SM7 mic for your studio.
Next get a Symetrix 528 Voice Processor.
Finally, get a decent dynamic stick mic. I like the Beyer M-58, but the AT RE-50 is just fine as well. That'll be another $250 or so.

If you decide to take voiceovers seriously and want to get to the point where you can really benefit from spending more on gear here's how you do it...

5 out of 7 days for the next few YEARS - spend between 5 and 15 minutes ONCE A DAY reading copy out loud. Doesn't matter what you read. Read the phone book - or the want ads - or trashy novels. Why? Because your voice is MUSCLES. Diaphram, larynx, jaw, tongue, etc, etc, etc.

Want to train your voice? DO VO'S EVERY DAY!!!!

But to think you can announce simply because you can talk - is a lot like thinking you can win a 10k simply because you know how to physically run.

Not the way it works. Good luck.
Bill, this is a wonderful post. I forget, you've been doing VO how long?

The SM7 and 528 are pretty much legend. If you can't do it with them, it really can't be done. The dbx 286a is also a contender, if you can find one. It's the only channel strip in that price range that works as well. I have reviews of both on my site.

I don't use either now because I have much better mics and preamps and, yes, I do process when I get the audio into Pro Tools.

The part about practice is pretty much what I tell my voiceover students......again and again. The good ones do it. The ones that don't succeed hear what I say and don't find time to do it. They never get better.

Even if you have an exceptional voice as an instrument, you may not know how to play it well enough to be halfway good or even competitive. I get big voice guys who come in with "the bomb" voice and think they are ready for their demo. Once I begin showing them what they are missing, they are....hm, well, astounded would be a good word. VO is an art and a craft. There's a LOT to it. As most of my students say, after a few weeks, "Um, you're right. It's NOT just like talking."

To someone else's post; I'm not an NT-1a fan for VO, but it certainly depends on the mic preamp. A preamp that tames the brightness of that mic (and it won't be a Mackie preamp) should help. It's still a little edgy.

The NT-1a compares well to the untrained ear because it's brighter. Overtime, your ear will hear that brightness and fatigue will set in unless you have a very soft voice and need that sort of ear poke. If you're doing real VO work, you'll be adding compression and limiting during mixing. Each of those processes add edge to the edge you already may have. That's not good.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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Old December 29th, 2007, 08:39 AM   #43
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Bill, nice post. Audio seems to be the most confusing part of video. :-)

Question: Where does the Symetrix 528 fit in if I record directly to computer and already have a USB or FW mixer? In my case I have an M-Audio 410.

Also, if I record direct to camera, could/would I still use the Symetrix 528?

Finally, is there a software equivalent of the 528, and what are the pros/cons of such an approach?

Thanks
Jumping in if it's okay

The Symetrix Bill suggested is a preamp and signal processor that would be inserted into the signal chain between the microphone and your interface. Your mic would connect to the Symetrix and the processor output in turn would go to a line level input on your interface. On mixers and interfaces with channel inserts it could also be patched into the signal chain there but AFIK your m-Audio doesn't have inserts on its two mic inputs.

You COULD use it when recording direct to camera but it might be a PITA as you'd need to change its output from line level to mic level unless your camera has line level inputs. Also it requires AC power and is a full rack width unit so not very portable
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Old December 29th, 2007, 09:09 AM   #44
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Bill you are correct the only way to succeed is hard work and practice. I have made it part of my studio routine to spend some time doing VO. I write a short script then put it to video. It does not have to make sense to anyone but me since I am trying different options.

As for mics I tried a Studio Projects T3 and really like the sound of my voice and two others who tried it with me. But the search goes on.

Thanks for all the detail input by so many knowledgeable audio professionals.
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Old December 29th, 2007, 09:27 AM   #45
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BTW, I've gotten so many questions about audio gear and the voiceover training that I do that I'm starting a new service in 2008.

It's live, location audio and/or narration training webinars via personal or small group video conferencing. I have iChat which also talks to AOL's AIM. Hook up a camera with a mic, log on and we can see and hear each other. I have downloaded skype, but haven't tried it yet.

You really can't learn voiceover without working with someone who knows what you're doing and can correct your problem areas.

Let me know if you're interested.

Regards,

Ty Ford
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