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Old October 31st, 2011, 09:20 AM   #16
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Re: mic for vo

As a side note, I traded my U47 after a rebuild by stephan paul years ago for all the gear needed for my first studio. It's amazing what some folks will pay for a microphone.
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Old October 31st, 2011, 10:21 AM   #17
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Re: mic for vo

Yeah...some of us would sold a limb for a Paul modded U47!! :)
We had to "settle" for an M149! Ha ha!
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Old October 31st, 2011, 03:02 PM   #18
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Re: mic for vo

Okay, I'm just looking at the past and current VO talent here, and . . .

Actually, we have need for VO work pretty regularly. Would it be best to post that in the "Helping Hands" section?
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Old October 31st, 2011, 03:35 PM   #19
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Re: mic for vo

Yes...and if you contact your friend in PHX who happens to have a roster of talent and his own studio, he might be able to help you out! ;)
Talk to ya soon!
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Old October 31st, 2011, 05:44 PM   #20
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Re: mic for vo

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Gresham View Post
Okay, I'm just looking at the past and current VO talent here, and . . .

Actually, we have need for VO work pretty regularly. Would it be best to post that in the "Helping Hands" section?
Send me an Email would be the best way, at least for me.... : )
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:34 AM   #21
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Re: mic for vo

Call me simple but I just use my Zoom H2N for voice overs, mounted on a little table top tripod. It sounds simply wonderful.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 09:43 AM   #22
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Re: mic for vo

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Originally Posted by Rick Reineke View Post
But there is no 'one size fits all' solution... case in point ... years ago, I recorded a very famous actor / VO artist with a U47.. which I thought would work.... Big mistake.. it came back to haunt me all the time on CNN.
Rick, that was YOUR session?!?!

Whether you like the results after the fact, that voice and sound have defined a generation of news station IDs... A pretty cool milestone...
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 12:35 PM   #23
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Re: mic for vo

Any mic can be used for vice over work, but some suit one voice, some another, and a few most. I don't think any are guaranteed to work on everyone, so the OP now has two mics with different timbres - or colours, if you like - and they're different enough to give plenty of options. At the end - it's down to the sound coming out of the speakers.
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 01:15 PM   #24
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Re: mic for vo

I find it interesting that people focus on the tone of a mic. Yes, on first listen, it's the main thing that one notices. However, with EQ, it's one of the easiest things to adjust. If a mic is too dark, cut some bass. Too bright? Cut the highs. As long as the mic is reasonably good and doesn't have any holes in the response, EQ can be quite effective.

What's more important, IMO, is the pattern and the location/position of the mic. Sometimes, hanging blankets will be more effective in improving the sound than changing the mic.

There are practical concerns: weight is important if the mic will be on a boom; high dynamic range is important for loud sounds; low noise is critical for capturing distant sounds.

Where we get into microphone alchemy is the distortion that a mic presents. A small amount of pleasing distortion acts like an exciter - it creates harmonics that weren't really there. A great mic can use this to add a distinctive edge or presence to a voice while keeping the overall sound smooth. It's like heavy cream with a dash of nutmeg. This is the aspect that's tough to fake in post.

The Electro-Voice RE20 is a mic that has that magic sound that we've all heard on radio. I checked out the new RE320 at NAB and found it to have a similar character, but with extended bass and treble intended for musical instrument recording. The RE320 is a good bit cheaper too. Pinch the highs and lows a bit with shelf EQ and balance the bass and one should be able to get an RE20 sound on a budget. These mics are directional yet have a controlled proximity effect, so they're easy to use too. Record in a reasonably dead space, EQ, and apply some compression and all(!) you need to add is the talent. :)
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Old November 2nd, 2011, 02:52 PM   #25
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Re: mic for vo

One of the more interesting mic shootouts is on Transom.org and has some surprising mic values. Definitely worth listening to. Although it is from 2005 and several new models have been introduced since then. http://transom.org/?p=7517#

I like the sound of the 416 shotgun for VO, though some people hate it. After digging a bit more I found that it was because of the shotgun's tight pattern which kept the talent restricted to a rather small area of "perfection". If you watch behind the scenes of someone like Robin Williams in the VO booth you'll see how animated he becomes moving his head wildly about. That's when the looser pattern of a cardioid makes sense. For most folks though, we're pretty much staying in the same position and a shotgun that you may already own makes sense. Give it a shot, just watch for being too close and becoming overly bass heavy with proximity effect.
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Old November 6th, 2011, 08:50 PM   #26
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Re: mic for vo

The experience that most informed me about VO mics was doing so much paid narration and spot work in professional studios over 20 years.

If I'd do eight sessions in a typical month, I'd expect to be standing in front of at least 4-6 different mics.

Studio 1 would have a Shure Sm5b. 2 would hang an AKG-414 BULS or TL2. 3 would be a "music shop" with maybe a Neumann or perhaps a Sony C-37. 4 would be a TV station where they stuck a plain old 58 or 57 or maybe an EV-635. And then I'd hit another studio where the engineer was convinced that a Sennheiser 421U or maybe an EV RE-20 was the ticket.

The point is that I'd do VOs in each of those spaces, and a month or so later, I'd hear ALL those spots on the air and they all sounded just fine. Not ONE of those mics, from the assembly line SM-57 up to the pristinely engineered German gizmo had a problem recording me and getting my voice out to do it's job of selling the stuff.

What made ALL the difference (and trust me when I say this, cuz I've been there and done it for more years than you can imagine) was how well the clients and producers had understood the ACTUAL nature of the problem the spot was designed to solve, and how well the writer(s) had turned that understanding into a quality SCRIPT - and how well I was able to bring the INTENT of their good writing to LIFE in an engaging performance. (The final step, of course was some unheralded media buyer doing THEIR job correctly so that all the above work could actually reach the intended audience, that's that the "inside baseball" stuff that nobody sees but that can wreck the entire effort in a flash!)

The ephemeral "tonality" of the VO signal? Barely marginal at best in terms of importance compared to EVERYTHING in the paragraph above. Period. End of story.

Believe it or not, but it's the absolute truth.

Simple as that.
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Old November 7th, 2011, 12:46 AM   #27
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Re: mic for vo

Bill, so true about the quality of the script and the intent.

That said, you mentioned using all these mics in studio settings. A lot of budget shooters are recording in a home office with a few hanging blankets and are recording amateurs. In that situation, there could be a bigger difference between mics.

If a mic has too tight a pattern, you'll get a proximity effect and falloff when the talent moves from side to side. It might pick up the room poorly as well. Given that, a decent large diameter condenser mic with a cardioid pattern along with a good pop filter - or the RE20/RE320 could be the most forgiving. A 57 lacks a pop filter (and is dull to my ears). A 58 is designed to be used very close and could vary if the talent isn't consistent in their spacing. You don't have to be too close to a shotgun, but they are often poor in small spaces and can be picky about placement and aim. A picky mic is also problematic when you try to match some dialog a few days later.

Overall, I think the RE20/RE320 are the most forgiving of room and placement and tends to sound big right out of the box. And, yes, with a good room and technique, you can make most any decent mic work. But not everybody has a good room and technique. (Or a good script or intent, but that's independent of the mic.)
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Old November 8th, 2011, 02:48 AM   #28
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Re: mic for vo

I think the only reason hollywood uses 416 shotguns for voiceover is because they match the 416 they use on a boom during on-set production sound. By using the same microphone there are less tonal issues in cutting between the two.

So if the vo mic is used for ADR work on a film then stick with the same mic that was used for the production. But if the vo is for narration or something that doesn't have to match, a large diaphragm mic is a good match for the human voice.
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Old November 8th, 2011, 10:52 AM   #29
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Re: mic for vo

I don't know about VOs in Hollywood, but in my experience, I've had more than one VO artist state that they like the way the 416 sounds on their voice. One man even brought his own 416 to a session.
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