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  • Voice Over ..... Do need to have compression for voice over ??

    HI GANG.... New to the group. im setting up a voice over studio at my home for conversation voice only. im looking at a high end condensor mic with an avalon 737. My question is do i really need a compressor in the chain at all if all im doing is voice? i was thinking maybe i should just purchase a nice mic pre and interface and perhaps a separate unit for compression down the road. Do voice actors use much compression at all and if they do is it by way of outboard units or do they controlcompression in the DAW ? thx for ur replies.

  • #2
    First of all, welcome!

    I'd recommend getting the cleanest, best voice recording possible without any processing - once you've recorded with processing, there's no way to undo it. Then if you need to add compression, it will be done during whatever process (mixing, mastering, adding to video) comes next.

    Recording with compression can be particularly problematic if you're not intimately familiar with how to use compression to obtain the best possible sound. You might add compression that sounds good at the time, but ultimately ends up not working with other material.

    OTOH if it's to do an audition recording to get a gig, a little bit of limiting or compression, if used unobtrusively, could make your voice sound more present and "upfront" and help with getting the gig. I think we need a little more info on what the intention is for this recording
    Last edited by Anderton; 01-05-2017, 08:37 PM.
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    • #3
      Originally posted by Anderton View Post
      First of all, welcome!

      I'd recommend getting the cleanest, best voice recording possible without any processing - once you've recorded with processing, there's no way to undo it. Then if you need to add compression, it will be done during whatever process (mixing, mastering, adding to video) comes next.

      Recording with compression can be particularly problematic if you're not intimately familiar with how to use compression to obtain the best possible sound. You might add compression that sounds good at the time, but ultimately ends up not working with other material.

      OTOH if it's to do an audition recording to get a gig, a little bit of limiting or compression, if used unobtrusively, could make your voice sound more present and "upfront" and help with getting the gig. I think we need a little more info on what the intention is for this recording


      thx for ur reply.... my intention is to do do narrations, possibly some book reads, instructive/educational for medical industry. i want clean and not too much color....for that reason i felt maybe a 737 might give me what i was looking for w a good condensor......but as u know the 737 has cpmpression and eq components and though to save a few bucks perhaps i could just get a very good pre amp (Grace or something in that neighborhood) and not use an outboard compressor at all.

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      • #4
        For narration, I doubt you'd really need to track with compression - not unless you're a highly "animated" speaker who goes from very soft speaking to much louder speaking a lot. As Craig suggested, going for a good quality preamp with as little processing as possible on "the way in" is the way to go IMO. You can always use a compressor plugin later to smooth out any remaining rough edges if necessary.
        **********

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        • #5
          Me? I think that if you have good mic control, you never-ever need to compress anything you are recording. Dynamics are a very important part of both musical and spoken expression.

          If you want to participate in volume wars, you can always compress later.


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          • #6
            Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post
            For narration, I doubt you'd really need to track with compression - not unless you're a highly "animated" speaker who goes from very soft speaking to much louder speaking a lot. As Craig suggested, going for a good quality preamp with as little processing as possible on "the way in" is the way to go IMO. You can always use a compressor plugin later to smooth out any remaining rough edges if necessary.

            thanks phil....in your opinion what would be the "good quality preamp" of choice?

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            • #7
              It depends on your voice, what it's over, and what the project is.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by patriot View Post


                thanks phil....in your opinion what would be the "good quality preamp" of choice?
                There's a bunch to choose from. You mentioned Grace, and they make nice, clean preamps.

                Let me ask you this - what is your voice like, and what microphone were you planning on using it with?

                **********

                "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                - George Carlin

                "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Phil O'Keefe View Post

                  There's a bunch to choose from. You mentioned Grace, and they make nice, clean preamps.

                  Let me ask you this - what is your voice like, and what microphone were you planning on using it with?
                  My voice.....id characterize it as a tad lower than ur normal conversational voice....id lIke to do voice over in the Atlas of instructional....commercial for radio or tv....books on tape....im not stuck on avalon or grace at all....but i do not want to compromise on the quality of the previous amp.

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                  • #10
                    Make sure, especially if you have a low voice, after you record, eq to get rid of mud and boost the consonants a bit. This will help especially if the listener is using low end consumer gear. Make a double of your original track so you can eq to your heart's content without destroying the take.

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                    Style and Fake disks for Band-in-a-Box
                    The Sophisticats http://www.s-cats.com >^. .^< >^. .^<

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                    • philboking
                      philboking commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Yeah, that's been my experience too with voice.
                      For a big deep voice: Cut the lows, slight boost on the mids (600Hz - 2kHz), highs as needed to get clarity without adding sibilance.

                  • #11
                    Originally posted by patriot View Post

                    My voice.....id characterize it as a tad lower than ur normal conversational voice....id lIke to do voice over in the Atlas of instructional....commercial for radio or tv....books on tape....im not stuck on avalon or grace at all....but i do not want to compromise on the quality of the previous amp.
                    Thanks! Have you decided on what microphone you like best with your voice yet?
                    **********

                    "Look at it this way: think of how stupid the average person is, and then realize half of 'em are stupider than that."

                    - George Carlin

                    "It shouldn't be expected that people are necessarily doing what they appear to be doing on records."

                    - Sir George Martin, All You Need Is Ears

                    "The music business will be revitalized by musicians, not the labels or Live Nation. When the musicians decide to put music first, instead of money, the public will flock to the fruits and the scene will be healthy again."

                    - Bob Lefsetz, The Lefsetz Letter

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      Originally posted by Notes_Norton View Post
                      Me? I think that if you have good mic control, you never-ever need to compress anything you are recording. Dynamics are a very important part of both musical and spoken expression.

                      If you want to participate in volume wars, you can always compress later.


                      I really wish people would teach singers in particular better microphone technique.

                      Anyway, I was going to respond with something fairly similar to Craig's response.

                      If you're concerned about plosives, have the narrator talk "past" the mic, not directly into it, if they are relatively up close to it.
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                      • #13
                        Originally posted by patriot View Post
                        HI GANG.... New to the group. im setting up a voice over studio at my home for conversation voice only. im looking at a high end condensor mic with an avalon 737. My question is do i really need a compressor in the chain at all if all im doing is voice? i was thinking maybe i should just purchase a nice mic pre and interface and perhaps a separate unit for compression down the road. Do voice actors use much compression at all and if they do is it by way of outboard units or do they controlcompression in the DAW ? thx for ur replies.
                        I own 2 737s... I use them for everything... vocals, drum OHs, guitars, bass DI, etc... I suggest you compress mildly. The good news, the compressor on the 737 is gentle. A threshold of -15 with a 2:1 ratio is gentle and will get your signal where it will need minimal processing in the DAW.

                        The EQ on the 737 is quite impressive and very powerful so be careful. I would experiment with some EQ settings, take notes, then record short portions, and compare.

                        Yes, there are cleaner pres out there... Grace comes to mind immediately. But then you`ll need a compressor and EQ. The 737 gives you a lot of bang in one box. Anyone who talks smack about the 737 really doesn`t understand the power that lies in that unit. I`ve been using them since 1999... time flies... I have access to lots of gear thanks to some friends but I always turn to the 737 for vocals and bass.

                        Learn the unit by experimenting.

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                        • #14
                          Originally posted by Ernest Buckley View Post

                          I own 2 737s... I use them for everything... vocals, drum OHs, guitars, bass DI, etc... I suggest you compress mildly. The good news, the compressor on the 737 is gentle. A threshold of -15 with a 2:1 ratio is gentle and will get your signal where it will need minimal processing in the DAW.
                          Actually this brings up a very good point. One of my favorite compression techniques is two compressors in series, each with very subtle compression. The results seem more transparent and natural than trying for the same amount of effect with one compressor.
                          CHECK IT OUT: Lilianna!, my latest song, is now streamable from YouTube.

                          Subscribe, like, and share the links!

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                          • #15
                            Originally posted by Anderton View Post

                            Actually this brings up a very good point. One of my favorite compression techniques is two compressors in series, each with very subtle compression. The results seem more transparent and natural than trying for the same amount of effect with one compressor.

                            two compressors ?? how does thatb work? you compress that which has already been compressed?

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