As a voice actor, it's important to have a wide range of skills to succeed in the industry. One skill that is often overlooked, but is crucial for producing high-quality recordings, is audio engineering. Even if you don't have a professional recording studio, there are simple hacks you can use to improve your audio quality and stand out from the competition. In this blog post, we'll explore some easy audio engineering hacks for VoiceOver actors.
1. Use a pop filter
One of the easiest ways to improve your audio quality is to use a pop filter. Pop filters are simple screens that go in front of your microphone and help to reduce popping sounds that can occur when you say words that begin with P or B. Pops can be especially distracting in voice-over work, and a pop filter can make a big difference in the quality of your recordings. Pop filters are relatively inexpensive and can be found online or at your local music store.
2. Position your microphone correctly
The position of your microphone can have a big impact on the quality of your recordings. You'll want to position your microphone so that it's close enough to capture your voice clearly, but not so close that you hear every breath and mouth sound. A good rule of thumb is to position your microphone about six inches away from your mouth and slightly off to the side. This will help to reduce plosives and other unwanted noises, while still capturing your voice clearly.
3. Find the right recording environment
The environment you record in can also have a big impact on the quality of your recordings. Ideally, you'll want to record in a quiet room with good acoustics. If you're recording from home, try to find a room with minimal background noise and some soft furnishings to absorb sound. You can also invest in some acoustic foam or blankets to help reduce echo and reverb.
4. Use a noise gate*
If you're recording in an environment with some background noise, you can use a noise gate to help reduce unwanted sounds. A noise gate is a software tool that mutes your microphone when it detects sounds below a certain threshold. This can be especially helpful if you're recording in a noisy environment, like a busy street or a room with a loud air conditioner. Most recording software includes a noise gate feature, so be sure to explore your options.
* there are very very few noise gates I enjoy hearing. Most clip the voice and it sounds robotic. I like Izotope's noise gate the best but every industry pro will have their favorite. If you can get by without using one at all, the better!
5. EQ your voice
Equalization, or EQ, is a process that adjusts the balance of frequencies in your recording. By adjusting the EQ of your voice, you can make it sound more clear, crisp, and professional. Most recording software includes an EQ tool, so play around with the settings until you find a sound that works for you. Generally, you'll want to boost the mid-range frequencies of your voice and reduce any frequencies that sound harsh or nasally.
6. Normalize your audio*
Normalization is a process that adjusts the volume of your recording so that the loudest part is at the maximum level without clipping or distorting. This can be especially helpful if you're recording multiple takes and want to make sure they're all at a consistent volume. Most recording software includes a normalization tool, so be sure to explore your options.
* added this because it's in every advice video/article/etc however, I'm not a fan of normalizing. I prefer to record at a low setting and EQ until I've achieved a volume I like. Industry standard is around -3dB.
7. Use compression*
Compression is a process that reduces the dynamic range of your recording by lowering the volume of loud sounds and boosting the volume of quiet sounds. This can be especially helpful if you have a dynamic voice and want to ensure that your recording is consistent throughout. Most recording software includes a compression tool, so be sure to experiment with the settings until you find a sound that works for you.
*use compression SPARINGLY! We all still want to sound like humans. Too much compression makes you sound robotic and flat.
In conclusion, as a voice actor, it's important to have a solid understanding of audio engineering. By following these simple hacks, you can improve the quality of your recordings and stand out from the competition. Whether you're recording in a professional studio