6 Simple Tips for Recording Voice-Overs

Recording voice-overs, podcasts and other types of spoken word has its own unique set of demands. However, it’s still possible to capture professional quality sound without spending a fortune. Below, Audio-Technica has a few helpful bits of advice to get you started.

1. The Microphone

For voice-over and spoken word, the most important link in the signal chain is the microphone. Try an AT2020 USB cardioid condenser microphone. This microphone not only sounds great, but the USB output allows you to bypass an audio interface and plug directly into your computer where the digital signal can be recorded and mixed using your favorite recording software.

the microphone

2. Isolation

With voice-over, it’s essential to capture the voice cleanly, without other audio artifacts and with very little room ambience/background noise. The ideal situation is a separate, isolated space, like an iso booth, which is treated inside to reduce reflections as well.

Isolation

3. Workspace Set-up

If an iso booth is impractical, you can set up your workspace to minimize atmospheric sound. The computer can be a source of serious noise due to the fans, drives and various moving parts. Keep it as far away from the mic as possible. If you’re working at a desk or table, keep the computer underneath. Placing a piece of acoustically absorbent material in front of the computer can also reduce noise, but be sure to leave a little space to allow airflow to the fans. If you’re using a laptop, keep the fans to their lowest setting possible. Also, position the laptop directly behind the mic to maximize the off-axis rejection of the cardioid pickup pattern.

workspace

4. Workspace Treatment

Treating the walls of your workspace with specially made acoustic panels, heavy curtains or any material that absorbs sound will help reduce reflections from the room. Treating the walls directly to the sides and especially the rear will do the most good. If you’re sitting, a table or any other flat surfacecan be a source of reflection as well. So place a mat or other soft material on the tabletop.

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5. Position

The warmth and low self-noise of the AT4047/SV cardioid condenser makes it an ideal choice for broadcast and voice-over. When recording, always be aware of your position to the microphone.  Moving closer to the mic will increase the ratio of direct sound to ambient noise. Within a few inches of the cardioid mic, proximity effect produces an exaggerated low-end. This can be good for dramatic effect, but should be avoided if you’re looking for an honest sonic representation.

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6. Other Distortions

If you’re using a music stand, position it below and behind the microphone. Placing a soft material, like a piece of felt cloth, across the stand can also help to minimize reflections. If you’re speaking fairly close to the mic, use a pop filter to prevent plosives created by hard consonants, such as “p” or “b”.

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These simple steps will help your podcasts or voice-overs sound like the pros. Watch the full video below:

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