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Old February 12th, 2013, 02:22 AM   #1
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Tips for voice over recording

Hi all,

I'm after some tips on the best way to record a clean voice over without the use of a recording booth.

I have a decent mic (Rode NTG-3) which records great audio (well, to my ear anyway). So I'm looking for tips on ways to isolate exterior sound.

Record in a cupboard? Build a soundproof booth out of blankets? Record under the house?

Any tips appreciation.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 04:25 AM   #2
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Hi Jody, the usual suspects will be here shortly to tell you, you shouldn't use a shotgun indoors. They're all correct, so check through this forum
to find more suitable mics.

However, if you want to use your NTG-3, try it. And to construct suitable acoustics, we found this rig to be of great value. It's portable and works.
While you're on this site, play the Orson Welles outake, its famous around the world ...

Harlan Hogan - Voice overs Narrations Commercials Promos

Cheers.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 04:29 AM   #3
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Thanks for the tips. I actually just crawled into a cupboard and did some testing with my NTG-3. It sounds TERRIBLE. Really muffled. The internal camera mic sounds far better.

However outdoors, the NTG-3 sounds excellent.

Why is this? I'm not really that great with audio. Will do some searching through the forums as suggested.

Thanks again..

Edit: did some research.. now looking for a decent mic for voice recording that doesn't cost a heap :) Rode NT-2A looks good.. paired some some kind of isolation surround.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 04:49 AM   #4
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Yes the NT-2A is very good, with that Porta-Booth it'll sound great. Read the reviews.

Very simply put, your muffled cupboard destroys the acoustics needed for the NTG-3 to provide the sound for your voice test.
It's not for indoor recording, as you've found it's better outdoors, about one foot from the voice.

But before you go, play that Orson Welles track, it'll make you feel better for a start :)

Cheers.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 05:09 AM   #5
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

What about the Rode Podcaster? A great, cheap(ish) voiceover mic with built in headphone jack for monitoring.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 05:27 AM   #6
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Yep Mike. I use a Podcaster and am very satisfied. However it's designed for voice recording.

Jody could use the NT-2A for other recordings too, his choice.

Cheers.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 11:05 AM   #7
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

The usual 'go to' VO mic is a LDC. (large diaphragm condenser) for example, a U87 and C414 are popular..
That said, there are more than a few VO artists who use and swear by a Sennheiser 416 which is the same type as the NTG3. (short shotgun) However they are used in a proper acoustical environment, by pros who have 'the voice' and know how to work the mic. An affordable dynamic mic such as a RE20, MD421 or even a SM58 can also yield excellent results.
You may have better results using the mic in a very quiet carpeted room with plush furnishings, away from walls or other hard reflective surfaces.
As before, 'talent' and the acoustical environment have a lot to do with it. No particular mic, preamp or plug-in will substitute.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 11:17 AM   #8
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

My budget go-to (ie. the one I have in house as opposed to when I hire a voice over studio) is the lowly APEX 435.

Apex Electronics

$75.

MUCH better sounding than you would think.

What I like about it is that I often have "amateur" talent in to do commentary on videos and the thing is close to amateur proof, IF I can keep the distance to mic constant.

I went in to buy an AKG 414 and walked out with the APEX at the insistence of the recording guy at Long & McQuade (in his late 50's and he records LOTS of vocals and horns).

Not suggesting the thing is magic but MUCH MUCH better sounding than I would have expected at three times the price.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 04:43 PM   #9
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

I like the value of Rode large condenser mics. The NT1-A has super low noise and is inexpensive. The NT1000 has a better condenser and is an inexpensive step up. The NT2-A and NT2000 are the multi-pattern step up models with multiple condensers. Unless you're recording in various environments, the single pattern mics will probably do the trick.

When using such a mic, placement is key. Use a pop shield. Position the mic above or below the mouth to avoid plosives. If your voice is dull, position in front of the forehead. If your voice is thin, position in front of the upper chest. In all cases point at the mouth. Increase bass response by moving the mic closer or vice versa to find the right balance.

An easier mic is the ElectroVoice RE20. Just get close and speak straight into the thing. This delivers the classic radio version of your voice. EV recently came out with a budget version, the RE320. I believe that with a bit of tweaking, one can get the RE20 sound out of this mic. But more importantly, just balance the low frequency balance for your voice and tame or amp the HFs to give the right amount of air and crispness. (It's more important that you make your voice sound good in your environment than that you emulate a specific classic mic.)

Find a quiet area (HVAC can be a problem; if you live next to a construction site, you're hosed as soundproofing is expensive), tame the reflections (a large box and acoustical foam works great, and trap bass if needed (get a bookshelf with the books pulled out. Pull it slightly away from the wall).

Overall, I think a mic like an RE20/RE320 is easier to use in a box on a desk than a large condenser mic. You need a bit more room and height to position the NT1000 than an RE320. Another thing to consider is your speaking position. I like to stand. Some prefer to sit. In any case, don't be hunched over as it restricts the diaphragm.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 06:38 PM   #10
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Jody,

There's no reason why you can't use an NTG-3 for VO recording inside. Allan is referring to people not using shotgun microphones on booms in a reflective environment, indoors or outdoors. That's not how you use a shotgun for VO.

The late Ernie Anderson was reputed to always use a Sennheiser 416 shotgun, the mic Rode used as a model for the NTG-3. He used other mics, but anyway..... If you work it close, about 2-3 inches from the tip with the mic 45 degrees off the side of your mouth, it'll do just fine. I have one, I tried it. I know. Why you were having problems with it, I can't say. What were you doing? What part were you talking into?

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Old February 12th, 2013, 08:41 PM   #11
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shaun Roemich View Post
My budget go-to (ie. the one I have in house as opposed to when I hire a voice over studio) is the lowly APEX 435.

Apex Electronics

$75.
I have to admit that looks attractive for the price, although of course I'd want to hear it.

But I am very suspicious of any company that does not post their physical address or telephone number on their website. I could not find this info on the linked site.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 09:04 PM   #12
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Greg: based out of China. Bought mine from Long & McQuade, a musicians shop up here with a dedicated recording department as well...

It isn't a Neumann but my clients are VERY happy with it, I'm happy with it for what I use it for and anything I need better quality for goes to the pros (any number of studios I work with that specialize in V/O), although most of my clients are pretty happy to just "get it over and done with" in the comfort of my home edit bay.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 09:13 PM   #13
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

This might sound crazy (and it probably is) BUT I get great results with an M-Audio USB mic using my steadicam case as a mini sound booth. I don't use the software that came with the mic. I use Audacity instead.

I've had people shake their head and laugh at me when they see the setup but are completely amazed when they hear the result.

You can check out the mic here - M-AUDIO - M-Audio Vocal Studio - Easily Record Vocals Like a Pro
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Old February 12th, 2013, 09:18 PM   #14
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Shaun: I'm not surprised. Still, the fact that it's seemingly impossible to contact the manufacturer makes me rather reluctant to pursue it.

Chris: I actually bought one of those, for a friend who said she wanted to try her hand at recording audiobooks. (Libravox volunteer program.) It sounds surprisingly good for $50 total, especially given the fact that she can use it with her vintage laptop, without worrying about the laptop's audio input electronics.

And by the way, that steadicam case is a good idea! In fact you could make up a triangular piece of masonite or 1/4" plywood, with some foam glued on it, and store that inside the case until you were ready to record, at which time you'ld rest it on top of the open case to make a padded top of the "booth."

Ya know, the local Good Will store probably has a selection of hard-sided luggage to be had for pennies... With a little planning you could carry your laptop, mic, cans, cables, etc. INSIDE your "studio" for a truly portable operation.
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Old February 12th, 2013, 09:32 PM   #15
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Re: Tips for voice over recording

Check out the attached photo above to see what it looks like assembled. I can control the "presence" of the mic with how much I open or close the case around it. If I close it down too much it starts to sound artificially boomy but you can adjust it and kill most of the room tone quite easily. It works best with all the steadicam gear in the case. Well, I have to take out the vest but the rest of it is lurking under the foam.
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