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Guide to the Audacity Project Window

Guide to the Audacity Project Window

http://manual.audacityteam.org/                         http://manual.audacityteam.org/











This is an example of the wonderful guidance available for Audacity. This is from   http://manual.audacityteam.org/ . Librivox (audiobooks) volunteers have condensed, written, much which is helpful. You can find the Librivox at http://wiki.librivox.org/index.php/Audacity_1-2-3 . Librivox complements the manual in some cases, for example Mystery of the Missing Mic

MicSwap -Studio Microphone Emulator & Recorder


 
Check out Micswap in the app store here
For my recommended gear for podcasts I think MicSwap has me. It's the only app of it's type that I would pay $13.99 for the pro version. Why? It makes your stock OEM built in microphone on the IPhone sound like a studio mic. Of course you can use an external USB type microphone as well.
Granted, I just got the IPhone 6s Plus, so maybe I'm coming around because of a better internal mic. All those attachable USB mic's I was just talking about? Umm, well, I don't need them. I still have a studio mic for special occasions, but, if I can pull off voiceover jobs with this combo, well, it's our little secret. We'll see.
 There are zillions of mic emulations to chose from in the paid version. The file can be shipped out by email to audacity or transferred easily to Liggett Recorder with it's compressor and reverb, or the Audiomaster, the sister product to MicSwap that can give the audio a light makeover for free. Note that the Liggett App does not support exporting in the free version. Paid version is 4.99 US
MicSwap is a Studio, Mic Modeler & Recorder for iOS.
Yes it comes with it's own studio sounds.
Record using custom mic emulations. Record or audio and change its sound. Adjust the input of any microphone.
Color label your recordings and much more!
Sorry Awesome Voice Recorder there is trouble in paradise!
Use with other apps as an AU, Audiobus or IAA input or effect. Insert MicSwap pro as an effect to run other sounds through it adjusting the gain and changing it's sound.
MicSwap Pro allows you to connect an external microphone or interface. Use it live or in the studio, or as it's own studio.
 MicSwap - Mic Emulator & Recorder for iOS.  Check out Micswap in the app store here

Professional Voiceover Microphones For Iphone

There are all kinds of microphones and setups to allow you to record on you phone. I have written about all the apps that will record and let you do basic sound editing from the built in mic or a plug in mic. Just keep in mind that the 3.5 mil plugin is analog, and as such is not good great for professional recording. Other than that, your iPhone can record digital audio just as well as a mac or pc digitally and with these app you can generate a quality demo or podcast without leaving the comfort of your phone. 

The easiest and seemingly unknown way, is to use a quality USB microphone like the CAD U37, or better yet the AT2020 USB Plus, or a Rode NT1A with a Focusrite(see below) or other xlr to USB adapter. I prefer the NT1A over anything, but the USB mic's plug have a USB output and generate their own phantom power, so they will work without any adapter.
The Rode is a standard ultra low internal noise large diameter cardioid condenser microphone which requires phantom power which is provided by the Focusrite xlr to USB.

Then just get yourself a powered USB hub, plug your microphone USB output into the hub, then plug your IPhone USB output wire into the hub. The wire is the same that you use for charging. [divider color="red"] I learned about this neat divider line trick on bloggertricks dot com [/divider] Now you might say that this post is a bit of a mess and it is, but I'm working on it. The intention was to expose you to some of the better digital phone enhancements that can help you free yourself from a studio, but it just looks like a mishmash of advertising, so I will fix that if you will bear with me.

Scroll all the way down through the page to get ideas on most of the options available. Don't fall into the trap of thinking an app can't be of value if it is under $10 dollars. Everything shown here is well worth the money. Just do it, do it for yourself. Free inspiration to get going in voice over.

Just keep in mind I might get a tiny commission if you were to order something through the links on this page, so let's don't go crazy. 

If you want to free yourself from using a USB hub, here you can see all iPhone compatible recording devices from iRig, and below that are ads directly from iRig for some of them.

All of them are digital and plug into the charging/data port. iRig even has compatible audio digital work station Apps for iPhone,

iRig Mic Studio - Large-diaphragm digital condenser microphone for iOS, Android & Mac/PC (111) IK Multimedia's iRig Mic Studio
IK Multimedia's iRig Mic Studio

iRig Mic HD - handheld digital microphone for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
IK Multimedia -  iRig Mic HD

Rig Mic Field - unltra-compact stereo field mic for iPhone, iPod touch and iPad
IK Multimedia - iRig Mic Field

iRig PRE - XLR microphone interface for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad
iRig PRE - XLR microphone interface for iPhone/iPod touch/iPad








[divider color="red"][/divider]

FREE AUDIO DAW APPS FROM IK MULTIMEDIA FOR IPHONE.  

 
EZ Voice for iPhone/iPod touch Mobile recording and editing app for iPhone/iPod touch
FREE Download

EZ Voice for iPad Mobile recording and editing app for iPad
FREE Download

Basic Beginning Voiceover Part Four-WORKING IN VOICEOVER

WORKING IN VOICEOVER
WHERE TO FIND VOICEOVER JOBS


The following are some locations you can monitor constantly for VO work. You should join Voices.com and Voice123.com, but don’t expect too much until you have experience and the big money to invest in a paid membership. Then make sure you respond immediately to all inquiries. Would you send leads from your hot customers to anyone who didn’t respond right away?


http://www.acx.com/help/narrators/200484550
SAGfoundation Voiceover events
 http://www.guru.com/d/jobs/q/voiceover/
https://www.freelancer.com/jobs/Voice-Talent/1/
http://www.peopleperhour.com/freelance-voiceover-jobs
https://www.linkedin.com/jobs/voice-over-jobs
https://www.voices.com/
https://www.voiceoverxtra.com/
https://voicebunny.com/talent/#http://www.indeed.com/
http://soundlounge.com/casting-page/
http://www.backstage.com/casting/open-casting-calls/voice-over-auditions/
http://voice123.com/plans
https://www.upwork.com/hire/voice-actors/
https://www.upwork.com/o/jobs/browse/skill/voice-over/
https://www.fiverr.com/
https://hired.com/
http://craigslist.org
https://www.actorsconnection.com/classes.php?category=vo
https://www.actorsconnection.com/seminars.php?category=vo
http://audiopub.org/resources-narrator.asp

It should be noted that on sites like Fiverr, most of the samples provided are garbage with room echo and poor enunciation. It doesn’t take a VO genius to do better than that. If you have to cover everything with blankets while sitting in your wife’s closet it doesn’t matter, you are not going to get much work with a hollow echo like that. It bears repeating that your computers speaker enhancements should be off, off, off or you will hear echo on everything you record when you are editing.
Send me a sample attached as an MP3 if you are not sure.
Focus on improving performance. It’s often been said that the general rule of thumb for booking jobs is one for every 20 auditions. It’s hard to say what that means in a beginner world of audiobooks and online booking, and this is hardly an iron-clad fact anyway, but it’s a useful guide to help you gauge your progress. The cultivation of your performance skills must be your primary focus. If you’re not booking, then something may need to change. How you rehearse, prepare, and train (what you bring to the booth) is the one thing you have control over. If you’re not booking at least one out of 20, then something may be missing.
At this point, a good agent or coach will be able to give you some insight and it may not be pretty. If you want the truth, you have to create a comfort zone for your agent to share the truth. It won’t happen if you’re uptight, nervous, and overly sensitive. In sports, it’s a common occurrence for an athlete to completely rebuild aspect of his mechanics. Golfers and baseball players, for example, are known for rebuilding their swings.
This works for voice actors as well, and it’s a good thing to consider if you’re not booking auditions with some regularity.

AUDIO BOOKS
About 70% of the voice-over work is narrating audiobooks. Audiobooks are one of the easier things to get into in voice-over. If you’re new at recording, schedule sessions a few days apart to ensure you have enough energy. Try to modulate your breathing so you don’t end up holding your breath. It’s hard to learn to do the different voices in fiction so you can start auditioning for non-fiction until you see if you have a faculty for acting the various parts of fiction. If you work through ACX, you have to do the producing yourself, editing and mastering.
There’s a technical learning curve. Audiobooks require hours and hours of editing, making them much more labor intensive than a lot of other voice-over work. Even online course videos requiring a few hours of voice-over are much shorter than most audiobooks, which run closer to 10-15 hours. Hone your skills on smaller jobs and work your way up to the lengthier projects. You’re expected to record, produce and deliver a finished product. Any additional help you bring in will cut into your pay. Avoid page turning noises — read from a tablet, Kindle or other electronic device. Turn off any devices’ wifi connections and set them to Airplane mode to avoid static noises. (They may be there, even if you can’t hear them.) Each ACX file needs to be a single chapter of the book. It’s easier to record these as separate files, rather than cut it up later. The ACX technical requirements mean you have to add a few seconds of Room Tone at the beginning and end of the file. While ACX may be a good place to find the work, the pay is usually lower, especially compared with freelance broker sites that aren’t dedicated solely to audiobook narration. When you record an audiobook with ACX, you’ll choose between setting your own per-finished-hour rate or splitting royalties 50/50 with the rights holder (usually the book’s author or publisher). If you charge a flat rate, you’ll be paid upon completion of the book. Royalties are paid monthly based on sales from the previous month. Research an author before signing an agreement. If you’re just looking for a quick job and aren’t concerned with long-term sales, you can work with an author regardless of their audience. Set a flat rate, and get your money when the job’s done. It’s possible to make much more money with royalties, but the chances of that are slim. Most royalties are small monthly amounts.

ROLL AND PUNCH WITH AUDACITY
This is done to reduce the incredible high editing times of a long recording. Normally you would make clicks or clap your hands to indicate by a spike in Audacity waveform that there is a flub there. If you don’t flub a lot, you can then rerecord the sentence, going back after and cutting out the flub. Then you go back later and cut and rerecord. All the more reason for practice.
With punch and roll you can stop the recording, cut the offending part to the end. Then place the curser two seconds back- start recording again and Audacity will start a new track below. You will hear the last two seconds you recorded before the flub and you join in at the spot you deleted, replacing the flub. You can go on as long as you like, recording on this lower track, then copy and paste it to the upper track, starting where the upper track recording ends. Then click the little x at the beginning of the lower track. Move slowly here, you would hate to lose your recorded area.
My experience: while it’s very time consuming to go back and cut out the flubs, leaving the good sentence you recorded immediately after it, it does make for a consistent sound and the breaks are relatively undetectable. I have found with Roll and punch the few words sound weird and out of place making it clear there’s an edit. That’s not going to fly. Maybe later on. For now, I focus my practice on continuous reads without flubs. A flub in the first minute or so means back to the beginning, and a few minute out I just clap for a spike and resay the sentence and keep going, editing out the flub later.

USING DEMOS
Shoot for a demo length of 60 seconds. Keep voice-overs moving, and limit it to 5 segments per demo. It’s been said that a no/yes/maybe decision is made 9 seconds into the demo on average. Make sure yours starts out strong and well spoken. Obviously audiobook demos are going to be longer, long enough for them to get a feel for your rhythm and breathing style. Spend a huge amount of time recording and editing thee. The
• Slate or Intro (say your full name and the type of voice-over you will be
performing): 5 seconds
• Segment 1: 15 seconds
• Segment 2: 15 seconds
• Segment 3: 10 seconds
• Segment 4: 10 seconds
• Closing remarks (contact information / website plug): 5 second


BEST METHOD OF GETTING WORK


What I have found to be the formula for beginner success is this:
First you must constantly check for ads and respond instantly. You will send a link to your web page which will have sample audition demos right there on the page. If a script is provided than put it on your web business card identified as such. It’s a simple website that is your own simple business card with a number of audition demo’s listed with type, character description and length. All on the front page logically and orderly. Then the person looking for talent can not only choose what to listen to, but can also listen to a recording in a different genre than advertised for. Really think they’re not going to listen to one?

Here’s an example 
Offer the following:

• 2 versions of your file, an MP3 and a Wav.
Your audio will be buzz and click free, with breath removed and ready to use for your project.
• 24 hours=a turnaround in 8 business hours
• Corrections to script and translations to English in advance by client approval extra $25
• Ask for Info:
• A final script. To be read exactly as sent.
• Script changes after delivery are $25 extra.
• Pronunciation of brand and personal names, contractions. ie: CAT is cat or C.A.T.?

Exercise caution in reading a “sample” script that is provided by a potential client as they may use your sample without paying. Interrupt with “this is a sample” to make it more difficult for them to use without paying, and anytime you feel unsure of a situation it’s best to let it go. It’s heartbreaking to do your best work and have to give up on ever getting paid.
Here is a great way to record test voiceovers or podcasts for quick demos or auditions. You will need a IPhone, as they have the best microphone of any phone  around, as well as the best Apps being available..
Now the phones circuitry takes out some bass to make the voice more intelligible for conversation in loud environments , but that's not our application.
Download Free AVR app =Awesome Voice Recorder for MP3/WAV/M4A Audio Recording, which corrects for the IPhone standard frequency meddling. AVR is the best voice recording application for businesspersons, reporters, tutors, audio experts, sound engineers, school personnel, university students and those who need to manage voice memos. It is designed for both iPhone and iPad and the free version exports MP3 without any problem, at least not when I export by email. I'm not sure about Bluetooth and the other options. I don't use iTunes so that's also an unknown.
Take a couple of trial runs, holding the bottom left microphone close to your mouth. The closer it is the more warmth the sound takes on in recording. As you get closer you have to modulate the loudness of your voice to avoid clipping. There is also a built-in microphone emulator that gives you a choice of three microphone sounds in the free version. (the paid version gives more selections of mic emulation). I actually use what they call the "professional" mic and it's the one that is the most like the built-in mic as is and happens to sound the best..
It does take some experimentation to get a balance of warm intimate sound without going over and clipping. Point it slightly away to reduce plosives and mouth noise. It can even be straight forward but close, but then may pick up more external sounds and noise. Drape yourself and your material with a blanket if need be.   Record your project using AVR, and export as MP3 to your PC by email. You can also clip the ends off and send directly to the client or potential client for a quick informal demo.
FINAL TIPS… GET BUSY
This would be a good time for that. It is critical that you practice constantly, focusing on enunciation. Join edgestudio.com and use some of their free scripts. Pay attention to the timing so you land close to the 15, 30, or 60 second mark. When working for a client never fail to be sure of their preferred pronunciation on ANY word that has more than one possible way to pronounce. The great news is that even though the voice over industry is competitive, there is plenty of voice over work out there for everyone. Go to voicebunny and voiced 123 and listen to voiceovers to compare with yourself. •
    Breathing – are your breaths distracting? Do you take big inhalations or exhalations? Do you sound like you are running out of breath mid-sentence?
•  Take natural pauses – Just speak at your normal conversational pace. Unless you are voicing a monster truck ad or a fast disclaimer, most clients just want a normal speaking pace.
•  Don’t fade out on the ends of your sentences – when we converse in person, we naturally fade our voices out at the end of a sentence to allow the other person a chance to talk. Don’t do this to your microphone! It will not talk back.  Maintain the same volume throughout your read.
•  Watch out for “P-popping” –  plosive sounds are created by air hitting the mic when you say sounds like the p, or even the wh sound. Speaking at an angle on the mic instead of directly in front will help.

I hope this has been of help to you. If you need help, contact me at b

Basic Beginning Voiceover Part One
 
Basic Beginning Voiceover Part Two


 Basic Beginning Voiceover Part Three

Basic Beginning Voiceover Part Four

Basic Beginning Voiceover Part Three- PREPARING TO WORK

PREPARING TO WORK
PERFECTING YOUR TECHNIQUE
Working The Mic and Beyond

You are ready to start. Find something to read. Place the mic to the side with the front facing your mouth but not directly in front, but to the side. Here’s our first trick. We’re going to experiment to see how low we can keep our Audacity mic gain while having a recording that will be great with some work.
Why?
Because if we keep the gain low, and speak a little louder and closer, we will get a rich, expensive microphone tone without picking up a lot of background noise. High gain picks up everything, even twiddling your fingers. This close work will tend to increase mouth noise, which is that breathing, clicking, clattering and other ruckus you will hear when you first start.
Everyone flubs, by the way, when you do just start the entire sentence over and cut out the bad one later. Some people clap or click to leave a tall narrow spike that you can see to locate errors. Probably at first you’ll be listening to and editing the entire recording so finding flubs shouldn’t be too hard. That bears repeating: Everyone Flubs. You will clap to make a spike on Audacity’s waveform, take a breath and start again at the beginning of the sentence. These are just short practice recordings anyway.

Done recording for now? Keep the first one short, it’s just for practice. Remember that we want all your sound enhancements turned off on your computer. It’s hard to accurately edit for everyone one when you are listening to a souped up version. Hit play in Audacity –you should be listening now on headphones or really good earbuds and remember to have all audio enhancements turned off for speakers.

Notice what a loud breath or a click looks like. Highlight them and click on “Noise Reduction”, sample it then hit OK to reduce the level of the breath, click, clatter, or ruckus. If you see a steady small wave across all non-speaking parts you should look and listen for an offending PC fan, air conditioner blower, refrigerator. Something like that.

Next, equalize adding 3 to 6db at 315HZ, 2000K, and 4000K. Then compress using default settings and peaks to 0db clicked. Now normalize if you want and almost home. If it sounds a little dull and lifeless, add a few db on the high end. Now go to Tracks, click add new mono, then down to the little dropdown menu at the left of the top track. Click “Make Stereo”. That will join the two mono tracks as stereo, although one track will remain empty for now. Click on Pseudo-Stereo and back off on the settings some. I use 10 and 50 to keep it sounding real.
Keep listening to preview and making adjustments, until it sounds reasonably like true stereo. This gives it some serious punch! NOTE: Pseudo stereo may not be acceptable to some end users such as Librivox, discussed below. If the requirement is for mono then that is what you will deliver.
Exporting- Click on File then “export audio”. I prefer selecting 128 bps and constant rate. Name your audio using underscores between words.
When you click save a meta data form will open, you can leave it blank if you want. Possibly when you do a commercial voice over they are not going to want your personal meta data embedded in their audio file. There you have it. Keep practicing, email me if you have questions and keep practicing. Ask for someone’s opinion then ignore it.

I see a lot of discussion about mouth noise. Sometimes it’s thought of as too much/too wet mouth, other times too dry. I’ll give you some suggestions and you will have to experiment if you are having a problem with clicking.

First, a pop-shield doesn’t stop that kind of noise. Period.
My suggestion is to drink plenty of water, brush your teeth and palate before recording, and speak in an upright position with face slightly up. It’s said that moving the mic away from the mouth reduced those internal sounds from deep in the mouth, relative to the voice, which can be directed and increased. This unfortunately requires a step up in recording gain which will cause an increase in ambient noise picked up.
The best way is to work close to the mic, gain down, and practice minimizing the sounds as you record. Try positioning the mic above your head facing down toward your chest. It’s also possible to turn your head away from the mic in between sentences when clicking and smacking become prominent. This cuts those loud breath sounds as well.
When you have clicks on a recording- find a click, highlight it, and open noise reduction plugin. Use the click as the noise sample, then reduce noise on the click area. If your highlighted area is a little longer than the click, no worries, normally it will blend in. I keep my noise reduction at aroud 6, 6 and 6. If you want noise reduced to absolute minimum, for example on a silent section between sentences, use the residue setting. Otherwise use reduce.
You don’t need a mic to practice. Everything you read, read out loud, being your harshest critic. Go get something to read, and select from each genre and read. You’ve heard all these types of voice over, as you practice, you will hear similar voice overs on the radio, internet and TV and you will be able to compare. Also, major projects that could take hours and hours — like performing the voice over for an audiobook or educational video — it could become needlessly time-consuming to read, reread, and reread the script again before starting your voiceover. Instead, practice speaking well during the first read through: it might take a while before your mouth and eyes start working in sync

PREPARING FOR WORK IN VO
The first thing to do is to make sure you know how to prepare, save and send your audio to your client. Start at Librivox for hands on experience and feedback. Librivox is a site where volunteers collaborate to make audio books of public domain texts. The have a tremendous amount of information in their Wiki and website. You can submit a short sample for review, and there is an audio validation tool that lets you know if your bitrate, decibel level and other factors are right. and descriptions are formatted properly.

There is also a one minute test that you can upload to their site for feedback from one or more of their moderators. You can also listen to a number of people read various books and chapters and get a feel for audiobook work and what the different genres sound like. Some of the readers are brand new, and some are fairly advanced, but all are volunteers and each listen should teach you something, whether what a good read sounds like what a bad one sounds like.
Pay attention to where acting is used, and where straight narration sounds best. You can also get experience recording for http://gatewave.org/, which records and streams books and newspapers for the blind.
Potential feedback issues include:
• Are the settings correct?
• Is the input volume OK? (too soft? Too loud?)
• Do you have "plosives"? (is your breath hitting the mic and making nasty noises?)
• Do you have a hum? A buzz? Dc offset? Hiss? (there could be many reasons for these things, but don't worry, there is lots of help available to help you fix it!)
• Too much noise? (there are many types of noise, and we can help in a variety of ways to reduce the noise in your recording)

Now that they have helped you out, pick a chapter and read it.

Edgestudio has practice scripts by the thousands and a forum where you can submit practice VO’s for feedback. Bear in mind that they are in the business of converting the VO curious into paying students of some very expensive training. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Locally there may be free or low cost introductory courses. I would take them if you can just for the studio experience. The caveat about edge studio is applicable here. Take everything you are told with a grain of salt. You’re just getting your feet wet by immersing yourself in the industry as best as you can, but you don’t need to take out student loans.
 

Basic Beginning Voiceover Part One

Basic Beginning Voiceover Part Two

Basic Beginning Voiceover Part Two-GETTING STARTED-EQUIPMENT


GETTING STARTED  -               ALL THE EQUIPMENT YOU NEED

And That Which You Don’t Need
So what do you really need to become a VO artist? Well, you need a microphone, a desk stand or a spring loaded microphone arm that will attach to your desk, a pop shield, some recording software and your computer. None of it needs to be top of the line, just affordable, functional and enough to get you started.

First let’s take a look at mics.

 MICROPHONES As far as microphones, the overwhelming amount of advice you’ll find out in voiceover training land is to get a large diaphragm cardioid condenser mic.Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphones iare an ideal candidate for recording, broadcast, sound reinforcement including vocal. The condenser microphone consists of a thin conductive membrane stretched very close to a stationary plate. High voltage is applied between the membrane and the plate. As the membrane vibrates, electrons move. These moving electrons are sensed as voltage. This voltage can be strengthened (but not necessarily increased) by silicon.Cardioid condensers are very sensitive, relatively cheap and are multi-directional in picking up sound. They will always be mounted so that the front of the mic, not the top, faces your mouth. There are some mics, particularly USB condenser mics, that have a switch to change the pattern. Cardioid is the best pattern for VO purposes because it is directional and picks up sound best from the front. It tends to reject unwanted sounds coming from other directions. This is called a side address. Condensers come in two types. A USB type has the necessary circuitry to operate on USB power, and plugs directly into a PC or laptop. The other, a standard condenser mic like the Rode NT1A needs what’s called Phantom Power, which is 24 or 48 volts from a power supply. Usually you will have to use an audio interface that powers the mic and provides USB or firewire output to your computer. A good sounding, highly affordable USB mic is the CAD U37 at under $60.00. It plugs directly into your computer and needs no other equipment for basic use, although you will want a pop filter and a desk or floor stand.

Or if you can spring for a little more, get my favorite, the iconic Rode NT1A with the Focusrite Itrack Solo digital USB converter which works with USB or Lightning connection and provides phantom power magically. This by the way, while a relatively cheap microphone, doesn’t sound like one. In fact, it has the lowest internal noise of anything in it class.

Many voiceover talents vouch for the Rode NT1A, and this is what ACX recommends for narration. This microphone costs around $229, so it’s definitely budget-friendly for beginners. Quiet and neutral sounding, it creates high-quality recordings with a wide dynamic range. It comes packaged with a shock mount and an exclusive “studio secrets” DVD, offering recording tips and techniques. Another great value is Audio Technica AT2020USBi USB Large Diaphragm Microphone w/ Pop Filter with USB and Lightning inputs to use with your PC or Apple computer, available for about $199.00. If any of the equipment linked to here in is not available, just look for the same item from another vendor on the website. The AT2020 USBPlus, with less bells and whistles can be had for $120.00, but it’s sound doesn’t work for me on the high end. It’s very popular but I am not a fan at all. Had one, and to me the sound was a bit shrill. With my gravelly voice the accuracy is annoying, but it may be perfect for you. I haven’t tried the AT2020USBi but it seems that it would sound similar. You can also try one of a host of other kinds of mics, one of which might be perfect for you, but unless you have access to a studio with multiple mics to try out, stick to the cardioid condenser. Excessive high end (high frequency) in your voice can be taken out after recording.

 ***PLEASE NOTE*** A cheap microphone that plugs into the microphone jack of your computer is not good enough and I strongly recommend you don’t use it. If your recordings are being rejected for background noise it’s possible you are going to need to switch to a dynamic mic like the very inexpensive Shure SM7B, but you’re still going to need to convert to USB using the Focusrite Itrack Solo or similar device. It should be available at guitar and music stores, or order online

STANDS & BOOMS Obviously you need something to hold your mic. You can choose between either a stand or a boom. A stand is just that. It sits on top of your desk or table top and the mic or shockmount attaches to it. Most of the stands that are packed with the mic and are very light, making them easy to tip over, much more so if you try to attach a shockmount. There is also a floor stand with boom that might be over kill at this point. I would recommend you buy a desk stand with a heavy weighted base or use a clamp down table boom. Booms are fun and useful, making the mic position much more flexible and able to meet your own desire. For experimenting with working the mics closeness and direction you can’t beat it. For optimal voice quality, you must sit up straight and to sit up straight and desktop stands don’t always accommodate that.

SHOCK MOUNT You will also need a shock mount to reduce vibration and you will need to use one whether you use a tabletop stand or a boom. Largely it eliminates some of the vibration coming up the boom or stand from laptop hard drives and fans, and from passing trucks, children and subway trains or your own body. Ultimately, just use one. You don’t need the best and you can get one for $20 or less. The Rode NT1A comes with one, usually.

SHIELDS & SCREENS A pop shield is necessary to prevent the overt sound of certain sounds like “pppp” or “bbbb.” The pop shield attaches to the boom usually, and should be close to the mic so you speak through it to the front face of the mic.

 HEADPHONES You will use headphones or really good earbuds for editing, so plug them in now. Some people like to have them over or in their ears while recording, even though we aren’t monitoring. When you use your DAW software on a PC, like Audacity, there is a delay (latency} in the sound that you would hear from the headphones which is the end of any rational sounding voice over recording. Based on your experimentation, however, even with the earphones disconnected they may make your voice sound better by muting the sound of your own voice. Try recording with and without earphones on but unplugged. When you get experienced you’ll know your optimum voice and mic position. Anyway if it sounds wrong in headphones it’s too late, you can’t be making corrections as you go along. When you happen to be in a booth later on, you will want to wear them to communicate with the engineer and producer between takes, but just tell the engineer to turn the volume way down. Some new USB mics have a near zero latency jack on the mic, which is Okay, but you still can’t, be making voice corrections as you go along. Headphones come with the Rode NT1A kit mentioned above.

 EQUIPMENT SETUP Now that you have invested in your equipment, let’s set it up. First set up your stand or attach your microphone boom to your desk or table. Now attach your shock mount to the boom or stand. Next attach your XLR wire to your microphone noting the pin locations and the key unless it’s a USB connector. Make sure if your mic has switches or other delicate controls they are in the right position and are not exposed to the shock mount directly. Usually mics are designed so that switches are recessed and protected, but just check. Grasp the squeeze release tabs on the shock mount and insert the mic so it is tight, then release. Be very careful not to drop or bump the microphone because they are very sensitive to shock. If it is a USB mic, plug the cord into your in to your computer. If it is a standard condenser mic you will need an a Focusrite Scarlett Solo Compact USB Audio Interface or the Focusrite iTrack Solo USB Audio Interface to provide phantom power to the mic and give you a uB or Lightning connection to your computer. They can also connect a dynamic mic to your computer. Now you have spent between $60 and $400 or so and you are about ready to start practicing. The switches on the CAD U37 control a pad (electronic sound absorber) to reduce bass, and one to reduce gain overall. Both are sometimes needed when recording musical instruments or singing. You could however, try the bass pad if you have a severely low or muddy sounding voice. Otherwise make sure they are off when you mount your mic. However, if you have a very deep voice, exceptionally deep, it couldn’t hurt to experiment with the bass pad.

PROFESSIONAL SOUND QUALITY How to Achieve the Sound of Silence
Basic Beginning Voiceover Part One
AUDIO BOOTHS Think you need to build a professional recording booth in your home? Think you have to buy one of the portable ones that can run hundreds or thousands of dollars. Well think again. Just look at your closet, the one with all the clothes hanging in it. Well that’s good enough. I’m not suggesting you sit in the closet, (some of us do, if it’s big enough) but it gives you an idea. The fluffier and more fabric in your surroundings, the better. You are trying to eliminate outside sounds as much as possible and also the reflection of your voice, which causes an audible echo and is quite disturbing and impossible to remove post recording. Drape your desk with a blanket, your lap or your head, whatever it takes. Close the window, and when you are ready to record turn off fans and air conditioners. Drape the microphone if needed. You’ll live.

PROFESSIONAL SOUND STUDIO BOOTHS
Before you go off to a sound studio to audition or create a demo, it’s urgent that you: Don’t touch the mics ever. Be humble, cooperative and take direction immediately without question. Read your material and question any pronunciation you’re not sure of. Be on time. It’s best if you can get in an orientation class for free or very cheap before going to a studio.

SOFTWARE
Many people will find learning much easier on a "beginner's" DAW (Digital Audio Workstation), like Audacity, which is free and has an astonishingly large number of plug ins available. Due to licensing requirements you need to download Lame in order to export your completed files as MP3’s. In fact, it may have all the features you need. Certainly you can go with Pro Tools or the Adobe product, but they will set you back hundreds of dollars. And that’s Okay - see it as an essential investment in your voice over business. But the investment also comes with a level of commitment. Once you spend that much money you'll be reluctant to change programs later. Are you ready to make that investment at this stage of the game? Are you sure you'll stick with voice over? Are you committed to building your own sound studio at home to benefit from this level of software? You’ll be able to make a better-informed decision once you have more experience. My suggestion is to download Audacity Audio editor. On the download page you will find LAME and a number of plugins you will download as well. Download Nyquist plugins here, especially Pseudo-Stereo.

You are ready to start using Audacity. Install Audacity and Lame. Go to control panel, then Sound, click on the speakers and disable all enhancements. Disable AGC on microphone. Unclick listen to this mic. Make sure your mic is plugged in. Start Audacity. Select the proper microphone from the upper left menu and then a dialogue will open “to monitor click here”- click there and you should see the level in db as you speak. Adjust the gain (slider with a little microphone) to about half-way for now. Click the red button to record, and as you record, you can click on the “pause “symbol to take a break. If you flubbed you can make a note of where it is to find it later. Now you will re-record the flubbed section and continue on.
Everybody flubs repeatedly. Thanks to Your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW), Audacity in this case, you can go back and cut the flubbed part out. When you pause try not to change your mic position and try to remember what tone and volume of voice you were using. When you start out you are definitely learning audio editing as well as voice over acting, and some real skills will develop with practice.

 Audacity, in fact any DAW has a stiff learning curve, but it becomes repetitive and automatic.

TEMPO- You can add or remove up to a few seconds using the Change Tempo plugin. It does not affect pitch. There is also a Change Tempo and Pitch, if you think that will help, or you can also just change pitch. All should come built-in with Audacity.

Basic Beginning Voiceover Part One

 
 
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