It *is* all in the voice -- re: my Rode NT1A at

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Old July 17th, 2004, 12:38 PM   #1
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It *is* all in the voice -- re: my Rode NT1A

Just a few recent thoughts on voiceovers and whatnot...

I've had the Rode NT1A for a few months now, and while I quickly understood how good a microphone it is (especially for the price), I never really got a good voiceover out of it. OK ones, sure, but not the sort of male VO I was expecting.

Tried using different people; tried to figure out what sort of tweaks and plug-ins to use; started to figure that one must have to buy a high-end audio program or some special, knob-twiddlin' pre-amp to get the sort of voice I wanted.

Then the co-owner of a local eatery came by to do the voiceover for his ad. He's had some experience doing VOs, so I expected it to be a little better, but I was very surprised by the results. Go to and click on the "Schlotzsky's Bakery-Cafe" ad (should be the second one down).

I'm not saying that it's the best VO ever, but that's a straight signal from the Rode, through the Tapco pre-amp (which is mostly just powering the mic), into the computer, and then into the ad, no tweaking whatsoever. Compare it to the AthFest ad above it (also recorded in the same exact way with a "radio-voiced" friend of mine) and hear the difference. Of course, there were some errors of my own on that AthFest ad (the recording was a little too hot), but I was amazed at how much improvement I heard simply because of this person's experience in front of the mic.

This boost of confidence regarding what I could get from the NT1A carried over to my next session -- which you can hear in the "Foundry Park Inn" ad just below the Schlotzsky's ad on that main Video page. This voice person is an employee of the business and is about to go back to school for broadcasting/voice. This time I took my cheap, homemade "baffle-booth" to a quiet room on their property, with the Rode and my DVC80 to record to. The session we recorded that afternoon is probably my second favorite now (a little more flawed, again I think partialy due to a the recording being a tiny bit too hot, but overall the type of male voice I wanted).

I'm definitely starting to really like what I'm getting out of the Rode, and I've started trying to work more closely with the friend who did the AthFest ad so that we can figure out how to get the most out of his voice. He's got a great voice, I just need to figure out how to best capture it.

Anyway, that's just my thoughts on my recent VO-recording experiences...
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Old July 17th, 2004, 12:50 PM   #2
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I can hear exactly what you're talking about. That is a biiiiiiiiiiiiiig improvement, it really sounds great. Thanks for sharing.
Life's journey is not to arrive at the grave safely in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ".......holy smokin rubber lips...what a ride!"
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Old July 17th, 2004, 01:20 PM   #3
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That's some impressive stuff! Hey see if you can keep that guy on the payroll for some future projects. LOL. He's great!

I clicked on the AthFest link also and I like your work... I'll check out the rest later. Your website is much improved over what it was a while ago.

You've made it clear that I need to get my sh*t together.

EDIT: It's the next day from my comments above. That's some really good work on AthFest. I've been part of a little debate about JBs being cheesy... and as a happy owner I know that they're only cheesy when misused. You applied them perfectly twice in the compositing. Most people wouldn't even notice them as they subtley compliment and energize the cut. Is that other stuff AfterEffects?
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Old July 19th, 2004, 07:18 AM   #4
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I wish I could say thanks, guys, but I didn't even really do anything. The guy just spoke into the mic and it sounded great -- you should have seen my expression. We listened back to the take and my jaw dropped. I just kept asking, "What did you do back there? How did you do that?" I'm definitely going to try and use him again.

[And off-track to Matt re AthFest: Thank you very much! Actually, those aren't JBs, but a different company (unless you meant "John Britt" being cheesy!), but I know what you mean. I'm glad they aren't too in-your-face. The main reason I used the canned motion graphics was because I only had three nights to do the ad. I wanted it to be more of a trip through downtown Athens, with a little more visual interest and humor, but there was no way I could pull that off in the 16-20 total hours I had to work with. They didn't even ask for this style -- I'd just been wanting an excuse to try that type of cut-out animation in After Effects. I literally could have just thrown 5-6 still images on-screen and they would have gotten their money's worth; they were pretty excited about what they got. So the motion graphics made life a lot easier. And yes, the various scenes were done in AE, then cut together in Premiere, with the addition of some titles, as well. And thanks for the positive words about the site, too!]
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Old July 19th, 2004, 09:22 AM   #5
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Location: Ann Arbor, MI
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Yes, it is all about the talent in front of the mic. No doubt about that one.

BUT there is also a reason
why studios have a vast selection of microphones. The reason is because
some voices work well with certain microphones.

Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac) always used a Sennheiser 441 on stage.

John Lennon used to use an old (cracked) SM57 on many of his recordings
because he liked the results.

Many times a great mic just doesn't seem to work right on certain people
and a less expensive mic blows it away.

The moral of the story is, if it works, it works.
Jacques Mersereau
University of Michigan-Video Studio Manager
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