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Old March 22nd, 2009, 11:37 PM   #1
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Best voice over gear out there ?

what kind of voice over gear should i buy i have mac pro soundtrak pro sure fp 33 mixer what i am not looking for some homevideo voice over i want to use what the pro use any help thanks Tamim .
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 12:16 AM   #2
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Heres a short article on Don LaFontaine's studio setup: Voice-Over Talent Sets Up High-End Home Studio

For the mic, preamp, mixer, and protools setup mentioned in the article, you're looking at more than $20,000. Add to that your cables, racks, and miscellaneous outboard gear.

All the gear in the world, however, will not do anything for you if you're not recording in a good space, be prepared to spend a good chunk of time and money on your booth.

Last edited by Jordan Block; March 23rd, 2009 at 01:01 AM.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 03:57 AM   #3
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Heres a short article on Don LaFontaine's studio setup: Voice-Over Talent Sets Up High-End Home Studio

For the mic, preamp, mixer, and protools setup mentioned in the article, you're looking at more than $20,000. Add to that your cables, racks, and miscellaneous outboard gear.

All the gear in the world, however, will not do anything for you if you're not recording in a good space, be prepared to spend a good chunk of time and money on your booth.

It's an old topic. Handled many times here.

The bottom line is that the best recording studio and gear in the world can only do one thing. Get you a REALLY good recording of whatever VOICE the talent has.

Don LaFontaine didnt' sound like Don LaFontaine because of the equipment. The equipment captured Don LaFontaine SOUNDING like Don LaFontaine.

Excellent, even superb, or go one step farther and call it AMAZING recording of a crappy talent - always sounds like a fine recording of a crappy talent. And nobody will buy that.

Announcers sound like announcers because they're announcers.

Want a track that sounds like a pro announcer? Hire one.

Period.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 05:40 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Tamim Amini View Post
what kind of voice over gear should i buy i have mac pro soundtrak pro sure fp 33 mixer what i am not looking for some homevideo voice over i want to use what the pro use any help thanks Tamim .
I hate to use your post as an example, but I sure hate this broken record question.
What's the Best "insert equipment here" I can get for doing "insert type of work here"

Why don't you first tell us what your budget is for... software / Gear / Room /
and then we might be able to better guide you to voiceover bliss.
Do you honestly have $10K, $5K, $500?

But as Bill has suggested, A pro talent can sound great using an EV 635 hanging from a coat hanger.
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Old March 23rd, 2009, 08:13 PM   #5
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I'd say on the cheap end, if you get a DMP3 into an Echo Audiofire with an sm7 you will sound pretty good. You can upgrade from there, but that's a pretty basic setup.

Best? That's personal.

Most pros just use a U87 with a pre of their liking (many times a Neve 1073 or John Hardy, or even Millenia or API) through a converter of their liking (Lynx Aurora, Apogee, Prism). Is it the best? Probably not if they are using the same thing for every voice... but it's good.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 02:03 AM   #6
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Originally Posted by Chris Rackauckas View Post
I'd say on the cheap end, if you get a DMP3 into an Echo Audiofire with an sm7 you will sound pretty good. You can upgrade from there, but that's a pretty basic setup.

Best? That's personal.

Most pros just use a U87 with a pre of their liking (many times a Neve 1073 or John Hardy, or even Millenia or API) through a converter of their liking (Lynx Aurora, Apogee, Prism). Is it the best? Probably not if they are using the same thing for every voice... but it's good.
Sorry, but the above is simply and categorically not true.

"Most pros" don't use one particular brand of anything.

Having done more than 2000 paid voiceovers personally, I can tell you that the vast majority of them involved me walking into someone else's studio and using whatever gear they had in place.

I've had my voice recorded on probably 50 different microphones - and those mics fed probably 30 different recording chains. I've worked with various models of Shure, Sony, ElectroVoice, Sennheiser, AKG, Neumann, and half a dozen other mics - and had then run everywhere from exotic pre-amp chains to directly into the mic inputs of cheap analog tape recorders.

And NONE of those voiceovers were ever judged unworthy of completing the journey onto a public program or being broadcast.

It's the script and performance FIRST, the voice quality SECOND - and the equipment DEAD LAST in the chain of importance in achieving a good VO.

Trust me. Yeah, I own a dedicated VO booth and a $2500 Neumann. Why? Because I've made enough earnings off my VO work to make top quality professional gear a simple, justifiable business expense. But I don't for a second think those tools are NECESSARY for my VO work. In fact, and my last five or six PAID VOs were done on an old decommissioned Sony short shotgun I pulled from a prosumer camcorder - fed through a $100 in-line preamp and directly via firewire into a mid-range laptop.

RECORDING THE HUMAN VOICE IS NOT PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT.

Even making a voice sound "bigger" is pretty trivial with laptops loaded with more dynamics processing power than an SSL console and a state of the art processing rack from 10 years back.

Performing voiceovers, however, IS reasonably difficult. It requires about the same dedication and practice as maintaining the status of being a good amateur musician or athlete.

Voiceover is NOT talking. It's PERFORMING. No different from performing on the guitar. NOBODY expects to buy a guitar, sit down and NAIL a song. Similarly, you just can't expect to print out your script, open a mic and start nailing VOs.

If your VO's sound bad it's most likely because you're using bad talent.

Period.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 06:39 AM   #7
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It's the script and performance FIRST, the voice quality SECOND - and the equipment DEAD LAST in the chain of importance in achieving a good VO.
After 46yrs in pro audio, 30 with our own audio visual and music studios, Bill is exactly right.

And to survive, you have to learn to be able to recognise good sound as fast as you can.

Cheers.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 07:36 AM   #8
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Tell it like it is, Bill!

Wow. I have been holding my tongue on this thread, figuring it would probably just wind up as a rant nobody would want to read anyway.

But now Bill Davis has gone and done it for me, so I would like to add a little support for his view. Just in case some reader might think him biased, since he arguably has a vested interest in putting vocal talent before the gear.

Here is the word from the other side of the console - an engineer in one of those studios he could have gone into. If you count lead vocals, I have done well over 4000, if just pure voice overs and/or character work, somewhere in the hundreds at least.

Nobody in the audio business agrees on everything, so I went over his post several times before finally concluding this was that rare circumstance where in fact, I agree with him 100%. I fully expect bolts from Thor to strike me dead at any minute after saying that. :-)

Believe what he says - notably:

RECORDING THE HUMAN VOICE IS NOT PARTICULARLY DIFFICULT

and

It's the script and performance FIRST, the voice quality SECOND - and the equipment DEAD LAST in the chain of importance in achieving a good VO.

which is exactly the right order.

Here is how I handled voice over, narration, or character sessions for 30 years (not music vocals):

1. I asked the talent if they had a mic preference. If they did, I went with that. (most commonly if they did, it would be one of U87, SM-7, RE-20, even SM-57)

2. If they had no preference (which was most of the time), my go to mic was not a U-87 or any one of my other expensive condenser mics, but my relatvely inexpensive Shure SM-7.

Why? Ths mic has a nice sound on most voices. It has an optional low cut and presence boost switch right on the mic, which is sometimes handy. It doesn't tend to make female voices too sibilent. It is directional and can be used close, which means I get little bounce from the copy stand. In fact, a few times due to particular circumstances, I was able to use it right in the control room at the producers desk, because it is used close enough that the room has little effect on the sound. (Home users take note.)

But most important of all, the construction of the mic is such that it has a very large windscreen, backed by metal at exactly the right distance from the element to allow the talent to 'eat' the mic witout danger of pops (with a very few individual exceptions).

So I could tell the talent to just go ahead and get right on the mic, and I would get a very even and consistent sound. Not only on that day, but a month later, when the producer decided they needed a few more lines. If I used that mike, I knew everything would easily and -quickly- match.

3. I generally used a little mild compression, just enough to smooth things out a bit for voice overs, sometimes a bit more toward limiting if character voices were being recorded - they can get pretty wild.

My go to compressor for that was generally a dbx 166, or sometimes, with a few voices, an LA-2. Why? Dbx limiters sound good in general on most voices, and that model also has a built in peak limiter which can be handy with character voices - rarely needed for straight narration.

That is a fairly cheap limiter, but sounds good.

That's it. A $350 mic, and I have used a 57 ($100) when a client asked for it and been perfectly happy wth the sound.

A $250 limiter - and a dbx 266 ($150) woud probably work just about as well for this.

I have very nice preamps in my console, but in point of fact, the preamps in a Mackie 802-VLZ3 ($199) would have worked just fine in this application.

Voice is easy.

Some people here seem to obsess endlessly about gear, and seem to think you always need the very most expensive stuff to be 'pro'. What you really need is just what will get the job done. No less, but also - no more.


-Mike
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Old March 24th, 2009, 01:57 PM   #9
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I have very nice preamps in my console, but in point of fact, the preamps in a Mackie 802-VLZ3 ($199) would have worked just fine in this application.

-Mike
A note concerning Mic Pre amps.
Some of the Dynamic mics out there like the RE20, RE27, SM7b, SM5b, MD421 and such require a bit more mic pre gain than condenser mics when doing voice work.
Just something to think about when selecting a mic pre for use with a dynamic.
As some ill mic pres can distort when trying to achieve proper levels.
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Old March 24th, 2009, 08:57 PM   #10
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First of all thanks to all my budget is $1000 so what kind of gear should i buy with $1000 ? Tamim.
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Old March 25th, 2009, 06:08 AM   #11
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First of all thanks to all my budget is $1000 so what kind of gear should i buy with $1000 ? Tamim.
We need a listing of your other gear so we know what to include / exclude from list.

Do you already have... console / monitors / headphones / mic stand / mic cable / audio interface... Or do you need everything?
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Old March 27th, 2009, 07:10 AM   #12
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But as Bill has suggested, A pro talent can sound great using an EV 635 hanging from a coat hanger.
Darn David! Stop giving away my secrets!

BTW, I just updated my commercial and narration demos.

Ty Ford VO and On Camera Demos

Regards,

Ty Ford
AFTRA/SAG
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Old March 27th, 2009, 07:44 AM   #13
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Oh, I just had an epiphany.
Instead of the coat hanger, a series of bungee cords used as a giant shock mount web.
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Old March 27th, 2009, 07:49 AM   #14
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That's (and a velcro jumpsuit) are good for the talent, but not so good for the mic!

Ty Ford
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Old March 27th, 2009, 06:33 PM   #15
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David w. Jones i have sennheiser shotgun mic shure fp33 mixter mac pro fianl cut pro
Sennheiser EW100ENG G2 Wireless Mic that is all .Tamim
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