• Register
  • Help
Results 1 to 10 of 10

Topic: OT: Recording Voice Talent

  1. #1

    OT: Recording Voice Talent

    I\'m gonna be recording voice talent soon and I wondered if anyone has any tips. Any reccomendations for microphone? I have a Rode NT4 but I\'m guessing that won\'t be appropriate. What other equiment do I need? I\'ve been recording sound effects with satisfactory results but I\'m guessing it will be a little different with voice talent.

    Also how do you charge for clients for voiceover work? Is it charged per minute or what? Does anyone know the average price?

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent

    Recording voiceovers, for real, is pretty demanding. You need a room quiet enough to pick up whispers with no discernable reflections, and with enough \"air\" not to sound boxy.

    Mic--Neumann U87 is the gold standard. If you\'re on a budget, I would look at the Rode NT1000, Studio Projects C1, etc.

    And actually, depending upon the paycheck, you may be financially better off taking your VO talent to a studio that has the rooms you need. That way, you can sit back and be Mr. Producer during the sesssion, then take everything home and cut it in your own space.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    69 Lois Lane, Metropolis

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent

    I\'m one of those freaks that just hooks up a mic and lets the speaker do their thing, and I clean everything up afterwards in my audio program. The one thing I\'ve always wanted (you probabaly have on already) was a compressor/limiter to keep things within the desired decibel range *before* it went to tape. I\'ve yet to see a speaker/singer that doesnt get a bit overzealous at one point and the levels go through the roof.
    A pop filter is also pretty basic, but essential. Sure it keeps the \'\"p\'s\" tp a minimium, but even more importantly, it keeps the speakers head in the same place so you get consistent recordings. Before I used a pop filter, people would stray from the mic anywhere up to a few feet, turn their head to the side, etc. which can change the sound significantly. The pop filter provides them with a focal point and I get much more consistent voice levels with it.
    And for those those fellow penniless souls (I\'m gonna get slammed for this by the audio purists), I\'ve also had great results with a SM-57. We did a comparison of mics back in my audio school days with the AKG 414, the EV RE-20, the sm-57 and several others, and a large group of us were floored at how good the SM sounded in comparison. Point is experiment with what you already have and see how it works. Once you have money, sure, plunk a couple of thousand and go for the U-87.

  4. #4

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent

    Thanks guys. I am gonna be on a budget so no Neumann U-87 for me just yet. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] This will be my first time recording a voiceovers (as you\'ll have no doubt realised) so I may just record it in a normal room, but not one with horrible reflections of course.

    Could I get away without a pre-amp? If not what would you reccomend on a budget?

    Also does no-one have any comments about the normal way this is charged for based on the amount of work to be done? Is it charged by word count perhaps? There\'s also the factor of how many different voices need to be hired. Any guide for this to help me make my bid would be much appreciated. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  5. #5

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent


    my friend does voice-over work for Mix 98.5 in Boston (Commercial Pop type station).

    The room they work in at the station is nothing spectacular.

    He uses a Audio Technica 4040.

    It is not a perfect configuration (room, pre-amp etc...)but it sounds fine.

    Yes, what Bruce is saying of course would be ideal but I am suggesting you consider \"going for it\" and do the best with what you have.

    Remember the key word I just used is \"Consider\".

    However, if this could potentially scare a client away and result in a loss of business then of course go the other route (what Bruce suggested)!

    I am saying that I have seen good work come from less than ideal situations.

    Obviously the room has to be quiet and not have crazy reflections.

    Maybe you could charge low fees until you feel confidant you have adequate tools (room sound, mic, etc) to deliver a good voice over recording. And of course maybe you already can!

  6. #6

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent

    *Bump* [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img]

  7. #7

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent

    I just used Audio Technica AT3035 for several voice over recordings. I thought they worked great. They can be purchased new for under $199 (I believe I got them for $170 each).


  8. #8
    Senior Member Bruce A. Richardson's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 1999
    Dallas, Texas

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent

    Originally posted by Hasen:
    Thanks guys. I am gonna be on a budget so no Neumann U-87 for me just yet. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] This will be my first time recording a voiceovers (as you\'ll have no doubt realised) so I may just record it in a normal room, but not one with horrible reflections of course.

    Could I get away without a pre-amp? If not what would you reccomend on a budget?
    <font size=\"2\" face=\"Verdana, Arial\">The reflections don\'t have to be horrible to really screw up a voiceover. If you\'re not recording in a tuned room, then you\'ll need to kill as much reflection as possible, covering hard stuff with blankets and maybe even setting up a \"booth\" of blankets.

    But just as a business suggestion, I really wouldn\'t do that. It makes you look rinky-dink in front of a client. Clients want to feel pampered, not hustled into a tent village for a session. Studio time is cheap. Find an impressive studio, and have the client meet you there.

    Here\'s why I say this: If you do voiceover work on the cheap, you are branded. It makes you \"the cheap guy.\" You\'ll be doing work for cheap for a long time to come, and you cannot make your living that way. And as soon as the client gets bigger budgets, they won\'t spend them on you...they\'ll upgrade and leave you behind. For your career purposes, it\'s better to be the guy they upgrade TO, not from.

    It\'s all in the positioning. Instead of displaying your lack of amenities for the job, project an attitude of professionalism by saying \"I use such-and-such a place because they can meet my standards.\"

    You may reject this advice, but if you do, print it off and review it later so I don\'t have to say \"told you so.\" [img]images/icons/tongue.gif[/img]

    Per your pre-amp question, are you saying that you do not have a mixer with preamps built in, or are you asking if you need a **special** preamp for voiceover? If the former, definitely yes, if the latter, perhaps yes, depending upon the quality level of your board\'s preamps.

    Per what to charge, you haven\'t really described what is in the job. Is it a straight ahead announcement? Do you have to assemble a radio spot? Is it a single market, or multi-market job (where you\'ll have to edit in custom content per market)?

    My advice is this. Go to a studio, where you\'ve prearranged a fee and paid up front, and conduct your session. This makes you look good--people are expecting you walking through the door, they greet you like the important client you are (which in turn impresses YOUR client), you have an engineer answering to YOU who has already set up the session, and you are free to pamper your client and play a more \"overseer\" type of role. This gives you a choice of microphones, preamps, etc., and gives the client some choices to make. This is good--it makes people feel like they\'re getting the best possible service. What if you blow your wad on a new mic for the session, and it sounds terrible with the voiceover talent? Suddenly you\'re screwed. Take $30 less on the session, and get yourself into an environment that protects you from failure!! Then once everything is tracked, you move to your \"producer\'s studio\" where you\'ll do the assmembling and cutting...at that point, you\'ll be on home turf, in a situation you can control.

    I would set up an hourly fee for both. Mark up the studio time at least 100%, and then get whatever hourly editing time you want to be paid. You don\'t necessarily have to ***present*** this to the client, just use the hourly fees to compute your total bid. You can say that the total is based upon xx number of hours, and set up an overtime contingency fee for any unexpected increases in your labor.

    You may wonder why my advice is so adamant. I lost two large national accounts in my lusty youth, both of which happened because I tried to make that extra $30 an hour on the voiceover session and set myself up in the client\'s eyes as \"rinky-dink.\" Not worth it.

  9. #9

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent

    Hasen I tend to agree with Bruce. It\'s good advice, particularly if you want to really get into VO work.

    BUT let\'s say you don\'t want Bruce\'s advice....

    I bought a DBX tube channel strip (I think it\'s the 376, maybe 386). It\'s less then $500 and has a tube, mic-pre, EQ, Compression, Desser, and will convert it all to Digital up to 24/96 so you can go direct to your computer. I really got it for demo stuff to use here at the house but as my business grew it kept going with me and now i\'ve used it on several real albums and people love it! I\'m not saying it can replace some of the higher end stuff but it IS a solid mono channel piece for a good price.

    I\'ve used my Rode NT5s for Ac. gtrs through this unit and it sounds fantastic. Some of the best mix guys in town have been blown away! I\'ve not found a vocal mic that blows me away however. But then again I don\'t have a huge selection. The best one I\'ve been able to use is an AT 4050. You might consider renting a better vocal mic for the day if your stuff is real critical. But if it\'s just little VO stuff you can get by with something cheaper.

    I have no idea what to charge. I really have not had much interest in VO work so the very very little bit I\'ve done has been flat hourly, and a cheap hourly rate at that. But then again, they\'re not getting the world\'s greatest gear either. You have to ask yourself (as Bruce pointed out) what you want your reputation to be. If you want to be a real VO dude, then I\'d put your new gear money into making the client comfortable. If it\'s just a quick job to make some dough, do as little as you have to while still keeping your client happy [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] that\'s my 2¢


  10. #10

    Re: OT: Recording Voice Talent

    Thanks a lot for your help, Bruce. I\'m sure I will go to a studio to record it as recording it at home seems much less acceptable than I thought. Its just easy to get my head around \'cos I know my studio and what it will cost me to use it.

    For the what to charge; for example 10 voice actors needed to record 10,000 words in 4 weeks. All the script is already written. I would have no idea what to charge for that from a million pounds to 50 pence. [img]images/icons/smile.gif[/img] I could still get branded the cheap guy (or the expensive guy for that matter) whether I use a studio or not.

Go Back to forum

Tags for this Thread


Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts