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Old September 1st, 2005, 09:24 AM   #1
Regular Crew
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Bangkok, Thailand
Posts: 189
Audio Guys, may I borrow your ear?

I've recorded a voiceover for my marine-life documentary DVD and I would be very interested to know how much post-production effects more experienced engineers than me might put on it to give it a professional sound. The voiceover will be mixed with a bed of ducking ambient music and a bit of reef noise here and there.

I've posted a 8Mb zip file of 4 short WAV clips on my website if anyone is interested to listen.

The recordings were made in Sony Vegas with a Takstar SM-1C concenser mic through an Echo Gina soundcard. My mouth was about 6 inches from the mic with a pop filter in-between.

The mic's low frequency attenuation switch was OFF .
The -10dB sensitivity switch was OFF.
The polar pattern was set to cardoid (as opposed to omni-directional or bidirectional).

I was going to get an Audio Technica mic but this one sounded so good in comparison tests in the shop that I thought I'd save the cash.

- What EQ would you tend to use? (to me it sounds too bassy... perhaps too much proximity effect?)
- How much compression would you add?
- Would you add any other effects to it?
- Are the levels OK?
- Would you set Vegas' "normalize" on? After editing the clips are very fragmented.

Delivery will be AC3 stereo for DVD.

For comparison purposes the zip also includes the first clip recorded with my old Fostex dynamic mic, which to me sounds cheaper/thinner but brighter.

Oh, and please don't be afraid to tell me my new mic is rubbish or my voiceover style too dull! :-)


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Old September 1st, 2005, 11:47 AM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Waterloo Ontario
Posts: 721
I don't think I would compress this any further. Perhaps a hardware compressor between your mic and sound card would help with the bass frequencies. Other than that, a very wet track. Excellent.

As for your inflection, this is nice for nature doc's where no shock value is needed. For other productions you might get criticized for being too FM DJ sound a like. Your tempo and sound is excellent.

I will state that you need to edit the track also. You might already know this so disregard if that is the case. Having a set of pre-programmed fades to deal with breath pulls and lip smacks save a ton of time. Just don't start or end a fade at -96db. You can if you wish, but be ready to multitrack in your room noise to avoid going to blank.
Jimmy McKenzie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old September 1st, 2005, 01:02 PM   #3
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Thanks very much for the comments Jimmy and the tactful encouragement re the preformance :)

Unfortunately I don't have access to a hardware compressor, nor the opportunity to buy one in the timescale for this project (I'm in Thailand), so all I have for the time being are the audio tools of Sony Vegas and Sound Forge. Maybe I can reduce the bass, or up the treble a bit in the Track EQ? I don't trust my uneducated ears much though, especially when listening to my own voice, so I don't want to screw it up.

I'm surprised you advised against any compression. I thought at least a little compression was pretty much standard on all voiceovers. There's no compression on those clips as they stand.

So regarding the editing, are you saying I should fill all the sections between the voiceover clips with room noise? I'm listening on a pair of M-Audio BX5's and I can barely hear the change from room noise to nothing, even without the background music or reef noise mixed in, and the voiceover is now chopped into a couple of hundred clips, so I'm wondering if it's worth the effort. I guess the auto-cross fade in Vegas would ease the pain a bit. Another alternative might be to use the noise-gate plug-in, to bring the room-noise parts down to infinity. What do you think?
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Old September 1st, 2005, 09:20 PM   #4
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Location: Waterloo Ontario
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A noise gate or NR is always a good idea. I use Audition and in spectral view I can really dial in the freq. band that I want to attack. Always judiciously. Less is more. As for your wild/background track of ocean and your music track combined with the voice, you will likely not need to add room noise during the breaks.

No harm in experimenting with the software compressor. I am a big fan of the vst plugin named multiband compressor. Select the preset for vocal and with a few tweaks I end up with a wet mix with the needed bass that my voice requires.

My 400 dollar condensor mic is no match for yours. Equipment is always key. That's a nice mic you have.
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