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Old December 1st, 2009, 09:16 PM   #1
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Voiceover mic advice needed

I'm doing some VO work and for the first time will be recording to a Zoom H4. Will be working in a talents home recording studio but bringing my gear. Normally I would use my wireless Senn G2, into my XLH1 and roll tape with the lens cap on. But this time will try the H4. Also was wondering if the Senn Me66 may be a better option. It's not absolutely critical work to nail flawlessly, but was wondering which mic would others 'go to'.
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Old December 1st, 2009, 11:48 PM   #2
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you are correct to try the H4. It should offer better mic preamps with a higher signal to noise ratio than the XL-H1. The ME 66 should yield fine results. For best results, place it on a stand (preferably in a shockmount) with the front of the microphone about a foot in front of the talent.

The talent's home studio may have better options, however. A Shure SM58 or any large-diaphragm condenser microphone would probably give you a better frequency response, due to the ME 66's directionality. With cardioid microphones, you're going to want to move the mic closer, to about 6 inches, but definitely experiment a little.

My personal favorites for voice over work are the Electro-Voice RE20 and the Neumann U87, but you certainly don't need mics in that range to get a good result.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 08:05 PM   #3
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I've read, more than a few pro VO folks use a 416. I have not worked directly with any of them nor would a 416 or other shotgun be my logical first choice, having access to the usual LD studio mics.
For US radio b'cast, the RE20 is by far the most common... some U87s here and there and a few 421s.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 08:28 PM   #4
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Based on the budget range you're inferring, an Oktava MK-012 with a cardioid or hypercardioid capsule would might be a good choice. It's not a Schoeps, despite its nickname as "the poor man's Schoeps," but it does have a nice sound that's great for vocals, and since it's not a shotgun it can be used in a wider range of indoor spaces to better effect. Many say it's a great value because of the character of the sound for the price. The narrower the capsule's pattern, the "darker" it sounds, in my judgement, so having a range of capsules to suit the voice at hand is convenient.

I got mine from OktavaMod.com; even then it's still too noisy for stuff like ultra-quiet SFX gathering, but for normal-to-strong spoken word, the signal to noise ratio would be completely appropriate.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 10:28 PM   #5
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I've done a couple of VOs with the H4. I like the built stereo mics, adds depth and warmth. The acoustics and background noise in the room and placement of the mic will be a bigger factor. I purchased the mic stand holder for it.

Last edited by Pete Cofrancesco; December 3rd, 2009 at 09:51 PM.
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Old December 2nd, 2009, 11:21 PM   #6
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I use a AKG with H4n. Works very well but the room ambience is a killer. Something like the porta booth would be ideal in a hotel room setup.
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Old December 3rd, 2009, 02:10 PM   #7
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Ken,

an ME66 for a VO?
Hey, I'm no expert, but I wouldn't do VO with that Senny
(which I do own, but never use indoors).
Being an El Cheapo kind of guy, I bought a Marshall MXL V67
(you can get it now for $80: MXL | V67G Cardioid Microphone | V67G | B&H Photo Video)

pix caption:
the MXL V67 in an improvised setup
(with ENG-44 audio mixer - not visible - and Edirol R-09)
By the way, the gentleman taking notes is Mr. Nick Clooney (George's dad)
who very kindly volunteered to do a quick VO (for free!!!)
in his Newseum (Wash., DC) suite...
It worked (once the AC finally decided to give us a break)

Best

Vasco
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Old December 4th, 2009, 09:07 PM   #8
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I'll confirm what Vasco said... I also tend to use my MXL V67 for VO. I hope to get it modded next year to open it up a little, but for a male voice it does a nice job at its pricepoint - stock.
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Old December 11th, 2009, 08:07 AM   #9
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For presence and detail, you really can't beat a large condenser microphone. I have a bunch (U87, AT4033) but my favorite is one of the cheapest I've ever bought: an SE2200. Up where you are, Tom Lee Music is a dealer for SE stuff I think. Long & McQuade is not, although they do sell some equally inexpensive alternatives. Hopefully the home studio has a mic pre/compressor unit, such as a Focusrite (I use a TwinTrak Pro). Make sure you use a pop screen. BTW, 90% of good VO work is the talent. 10% is the gear.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 10:22 PM   #10
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I use an APEX medium condensor mic I bought at Long & McQuade for $80 for non-mission critical VO's. The important stuff goes to my buddy's VO booth.

ME66? Nah, too brassy in the upper mids. I actually prefer the sound of the RODE NTG-2 for speech to the ME66 but still wouldn't suggest either for VO work. Boom dialog? Sure.
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Old December 12th, 2009, 11:42 PM   #11
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I love my AKG 414-TLII (the old one) It is the most versatile mic of my stable. (which has Neumanns, Beyers, Shure, Rode, and Sennheisers among countless lesser mics) Awesome for vocals, any instrument including drums, orchestral recording, ambient, two person interviews (in figure 8 pattern) and yes I have stuck it on a boom for video work!
Being an audio engineer for 20 years, I can say with confidence you can't go wrong with any of the 414's like the ULS or newer variety. The 214 is an inexpensive alternative but with only cardiod pattern, it isn't as flexible. Seriously, if I could only have one mic to do everything with...it would be a 414-TLII.
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Old December 13th, 2009, 12:17 AM   #12
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If you want a condenser the best in the low end is M179. Get them cheap from Warren Dent (great guy). It's like $150 but it's one of the best sounding mics I've heard for most applications.

If you want a dynamic (ie. your room does not have good acoustics) I'd suggest an SM7 (not sm57, but a 57 would be ok). SM7s are one of the most sought after vocal and VO mics along side the RE20, but I have a personal preference for the sm7
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Old December 13th, 2009, 08:49 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ken Diewert View Post
I'm doing some VO work and for the first time will be recording to a Zoom H4. Will be working in a talents home recording studio but bringing my gear. Normally I would use my wireless Senn G2, into my XLH1 and roll tape with the lens cap on. But this time will try the H4. Also was wondering if the Senn Me66 may be a better option. It's not absolutely critical work to nail flawlessly, but was wondering which mic would others 'go to'.
If you are recording at a professional VO talents studio, then let him or her do the VO with their gear into their system, and provide you with a much more professional product than you would get by gleaming the internet for microphone advice.

Good Luck!
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Old December 13th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David W. Jones View Post
If you are recording at a professional VO talents studio, then let him or her do the VO with their gear into their system,
How did I miss that part when reading? YES!
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Old December 14th, 2009, 11:53 PM   #15
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It's OK Shaun,

The 'studio' turned out to be a small bedroom with some sound-proofing (with no gear). Talents husband is a musician, so when she told me we could record her VO in their studio, I was expecting a little more. It was a rushed thing so I really had to make do with what I had.

I ended up using the wireless (G2) lav into the Zoom H4. It was OK for what I was using it for. Fortunately the talent was very good. She's an experienced stage actress and I see what you guys are saying about the importance of pro voice talent.

I am looking for a new mic for VO as I seem to be doing more of it of late. So the suggestions are helpful.

Thanks Dale for the tip on the SE2200 from Tom Lee. I'll probably end up picking one up. Though I'm dumping some cash into a new website as well.
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