Podcasts Voice Over Experts Microphone Technique: A Secret Weapon
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Microphone Technique: A Secret Weapon

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Stephanie Ciccarelli
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How’s your mic technique? Frank Piazza of APVoices shares Information about the different ways you can benefit from microphone technique. Performance examples by male and female voice talent are included, demonstrating different approaches with regard to mic proximity. This podcast will help to empower and enhance your ability to create first-rate recordings from home.

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Your instructor this week:

Frank Piazza is the president of Audio Paint Studios and co founder of APVoices in New York City.
He is also an audio engineer, music composer and producer.
His work can be heard on radio, television, film, and the internet.
As a commercial producer, he has directed numerous television, radio, and corporate spots for clients that include HBO, Comedy Central, Grey Group, and Scholastic Publishers.
As a music composer he has created original music for film, television, and the internet. His clients include NBC, Nickelodeon, and Disney.

Welcome to Voice Over Experts, brought to you by Voices.com the number one voice over marketplace. Voice Over Experts brings you tips, pearls of wisdom, and techniques from top instructors, authors and performers in the field of voice over. Join us each week to discover tricks of the trade that will help you to develop your craft and prosper as a career voice over talent. It’s never been easier to learn, perform and succeed from the privacy of your own home, and at your own pace. This is truly an education you won’t find anywhere else. Now for our special guest.
Frank Piazza: My name is Frank Piazza. I’m one of the founders of APVoices in New York City. My partner is Ellie Devers. Together, we’ve helped hundreds of students get started in their voice over career by providing coaching, training and professional demo production.
The microphone is a very powerful tool and has the ability to actually enhance your voice recordings. It’s not only designed to record your voice. If certain techniques are used properly, it can help make your voice sound even more thunderous, or sexy, or just plain conversational.
These textures are very desirable on a professional level. It’s mostly about your positioning when facing the mic. What is the correct distance your voice should be from the mic when recording your voice? How loud should you speak when recording a script?
Later in this podcast, I will answer these questions and also demonstrate examples of some noticeable differences on how microphone technique can affect the recording.
There is a term professional engineers use for recording voices or instruments. It’s called microphone proximity. Microphone proximity is referred to the distance you place your voice from the microphone when speaking. A good large diaphragm condenser microphone has the ability to capture your voice with accuracy.
Whether your voice has low tones, or nasal tones, or crisp tones, the microphone is designed to record all of those characteristics. It also reacts to changes in volume, or warmth. So much depends on how you position it. And, by the way, this is also true when you speak in a live setting, like through a PA system.
When recording scripts, the idea is to try and combine or match the mic proximity with a style or a motion of the script. For example, if a producer is looking for a warm, soft, sexy voice, you’ll want to record your voice very close to the mic. By doing this, it allows the microphone to respond to the closeness of the tone created by your voice. If the script calls for a loud, excited, or hyper read, you might try adding a little distance when recording. The mic should be able to record the height and performance without squashing or over-compressing your emotional tones.
Believe it or not, that cold metal cylinder-shaped tube can do all that. If you are not sure what these differences sound like, I will demonstrate this for you now. I’m going to ask my partner Ellie Devers to read an excerpt from a typical beauty product script. We’re looking for a sexy, intimate performance. This first example will be recorded at a normal distance from the mic, about three inches.
Are lashes this long legal? Maybelline introduces new illegal lengths mascara.
Now let’s try it close up to the mic, about one inch away.
Are lashes this long legal? Maybelline introduces new illegal lengths mascara.
To my ears, the closer recording captures Ellie’s sexy or sultry tones, very appropriate for beauty-style reads. Next, let’s try an excited, loud script reading, maybe a pro wrestling promo. The fist example will be recorded at a normal distance from the mic, about three inches.
One ring. Something’s gotta give. Superstar Wrestling on ESPN.
Now let’s try it further from the mic, about eight inches away.
One ring. Something’s gotta give. Superstar Wrestling on ESPN.
To my ears, the furthest version gives me room to appreciate maybe an arena or large space, as if Thor is waving his sword on a mountaintop. Of course, you need to experiment and try different versions, until you are satisfied with your final results. There are many combinations you might try when combining mic proximity and emotions of your script. Some are more obvious than others.
For sure, this podcast benefits those of you who are already recording on your own and are interested in being more effective in your auditions and finals. Microphone technique can definitely give you an advantage when recording your reads. In fact, using a little mic proximity can turn out to be your secret weapon.
The truth is, you never really know who’s listening on the other end, right? So before you hit that upload button, remember, a little extra effort can go a long way. At APVoices, after training, coaching and recording a professional demo with our students, we encourage them to send examples of their at-home recordings to us for review. This way, we can comment on things, such as, overall performance, recording levels, emotional connection, mic technique, and others.
We want you to feel confident with your new skills and equipment. We know you have the ability to submit pro-quality recordings from your home. All it takes is a little practice in patience, and we can help you get there. We hope you’ll take a moment to visit our site. Please go to www.apvoices.com, or give us a call at 212-873-8772. We’d love to hear from you.
Thank you for joining us. To learn more about the special guest featured in this Voices.com podcast, visit the Voice Over Experts show notes at podcasts.voices.com/voiceoverexperts. Remember to stay subscribed. If you’re a first-time listener, you can subscribe for free to this podcast in the Apple iTunes podcast directory, or by visiting podcast.voices.com. To start your voice over career online, go to Voices.com and register for voice talent membership today.

Stephanie Ciccarelli
Stephanie Ciccarelli is a Co-Founder of Voices. Classically trained in voice as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. For over 25 years, Stephanie has used her voice to communicate what is most important to her through the spoken and written word. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, Stephanie has been a contributor to The Huffington Post, Backstage magazine, Stage 32 and the Voices.com blog. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.
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  • Tim Miller
    January 24, 2016, 4:12 am

    Thank you!

  • Geoff
    March 1, 2016, 5:53 pm

    Thank you for this, Frank & Stephanie! Some great tips and tricks in this podcast.

  • Matt McGuire
    June 7, 2017, 1:08 am

    Thank you for the tips. They were very helpful.

  • Scott Martin
    June 28, 2017, 1:21 am

    Good stuff!

  • Cristian
    January 27, 2018, 5:20 pm

    Thanks! You do a wonderful job! Be blessed all of you from Voices.com