Making Your Audio Shine: Tips from an Engineer
When your voice is your product, knowing how to make it sound its best is key.
It’s up to you to create your sound, and everything from picking a microphone through to how you prepare your finished audio can play a role in what your final product sounds like.
Read on to learn how to make your audio outstanding and learn tips for perfecting your sound.
Creating Your Sound and Picking Your Microphone
When thinking about creating your sound, the decisions you make start with the mic you choose.
Bryant says that, “Right at the beginning, you have a choice to decide on your sound before you even play with [software] plugins.”
He advises that a microphone can make you sound differently. For instance, some are designed to make you sound deeper, and some will make you sound more bright.
When it comes to the number of mics you need to own Bryant says, “Do you have to have a million? No, you need about two, you can go to three.”
You might choose a few different mics for different types of work. For example, if you’ll be reading a lot of promos you might go for a mic that emphasizes the bass in your voice. If you were looking to create a more conversational sound, you might go for something that’s brighter.
Preparing Final Audio is Different than Preparing it for Auditions
When it comes to audio post-production, how you approach preparing auditions versus final files, may differ.
For instance, Bryant recommends that all voice talent normalize their auditions, as doing so has become standard. He’s seen clients move on when an audition wasn’t normalized because the levels were low, as clients are looking for a reason to narrow down their auditions.
Bryant advises that once you get the job, it’s wise to ask if the final recording is going to a mixing engineer, or mixer, before delivering the final file. If it is going to a mixer you don’t have to do much to manipulate the audio, including fixing glitches or room noise.
He says, “Send it to us! We’ve got all these plugins – thousands of dollars of plugins to fix [room noise]!” However, he notes that if you’re going to be sending out an audition directly to a client and you know that your audio would sound better with noise reduction, that is the time to apply it.
Perfecting Your In-Studio Sound is Up to You
Due to different setups, there isn’t one standard solution to create a great sound.
“Everyone’s room at home is different. Everyone’s setup is different. Keep this in mind,” he says.
While it may seem like having no one solution is a drawback, he suggests that the advantage of owning a home studio is that you’re in that environment all the time, and you can really get to know your sound.
“You only have to work on one voice, which is yours. So you have a big advantage there too.” He suggests that since you can become so familiar with your voice it means you can, over time, optimize how you sound.
Great Tech Enables Great Talent
Bryant advises one of the most important things you can do, is to simply make sure that your technology doesn’t get in the way.
“If it’s taking you twenty minutes to prep before a read, you’ve probably sucked some opinion out of the read already because you’re frustrated with your gear. It’s taking too long to set up. So, careful. Make sure that startup time for auditions is efficient,” he says.
He advises that you treat audio for auditions differently than jobs that you’ve booked; when you’re auditioning it’s important that you get a good sound and can quickly adjust your audio so you can audition a lot. Once you’ve booked a job, if the audio isn’t going to a mixer, then that’s a good time to tweak that audio.
Throughout your recording process you can choose how you end up sounding. Keep in mind that your mic matters, that you don’t want your setup time to be long and that you can, over time, perfect your sound.
About Bryant Falk
Bryant Falk has been a voice over professional and on-camera commercial and corporate producer-director for over 20 years. Bryant has worked with such clients as Foot Locker, Bloomberg, Walmart, AMC, MTV and the NBA. Bryant is also the creator of the VoGo – an on the road voice recording system, and owner of Abacus Entertainment.