Getting great sounding audio is much more than simply picking the right microphone. In this post we’ll take a look at tips for getting great sounding voice-overs in everyday environments.
1. Find the Right Room
When it comes to recording audio, finding the right room is key. The typical room in an office building or home is extremely echoey — there’s a reason professional recording studios have sound dampening panels on the walls. Before you sit down to record audio, listen to the way your voice echoes throughout the room. Even if you hear just a slight echo, your microphone will amplify the delay. Try to find a room with a lot of cloth furniture, away from windows or highly-trafficked areas. Closets and study areas are usually the best option.
2. Dampen Your Desk
Echo doesn’t just come from your walls. One of the biggest offenders in voice-over work is your desk. Sound can easily bounce off the desktop and create a slight echo, even in the quietest of rooms. To help with this, place a blanket on top of your desk when recording audio.
3. Pick the Right Mic
Picking the right mic for audio work is key for getting great sounding voice-overs. While you could certainly spend upwards of $1,000+ on a decent VO mic setup, a Blue Yeti has fantastic audio quality and allows you to record directly through a USB port, making it super convenient for day-to-day use.
Be sure to place your subject at an appropriate distance away from the microphone. While every mic is different, the golden distance is around six inches. It also doesn’t hurt to use a wind-screen to cut out on any accidental breath distortion.
4. Turn Off Noisy Stuff
Professional voice-over microphones are incredibly sensitive: Even the slightest hum or hiss will be amplified. Before you start recording, turn off air conditioners, hard drives, fans, cell phones and any other devices that can cause interference. While you may be able to take out some distracting noises after you’ve recorded the audio, it is always better to prevent the problem rather than fix it in post.
5. Clean Up the Audio
If you followed the steps above, you should already have some great sounding audio, but if you want to take it over the top you can do some post-processing, including standard techniques like:
- Adjusting EQ
- Removing Hum
- Capturing/Removing Noise Print
- Enhancing Vocals
Watch this helpful tutorial from Mike Russell on these post-processing audio techniques.