Tips for recording audio

Just curious what some of your tips are for recording audio.  I have a course where the client changed their minds regarding the initial scripts so the voiceovers had to be re-recorded.  In doing this the new versions have less volume than the first version, or the timing is slower/faster, etc.

How do you go about ensuring your voiceovers/audio stay consistent even if re-takes are necessary?

14 Replies
Alicia Durham

Personally, I use Audacity (its free) to record and edit audio and then import it into Articulate.  It is simple to use and allows you to mix your voice recording with introduction, exit, or background music and it works great at eliminating white noise.  It also allows you to set the voice volume. 

Bruce Graham

Hi Tracey.

Several things that I do:

1> Have same setup, (so I often have a slide off to the side that records time of day, weather conditions, my vocal condition etc.). I try and replicate these, (I find moisture in the air affects that way I sound a lot).

2> I have a "recording distance", so I know where my hands and face are in terms of distance to the microphone.

3> As with Alicia, I use Audacity, so I can see visually how the audio track "looks" and can then match this using the Amplify function, however, the Volume does not always equate to the "Tone" of your voice, so this can be a limiting function.

4> Am I recording "Formal", or "Casual" - also need to have a standard way to do these.

I am sure the guys with the full Studio like Andy Bowyer have full "settings" that can be pre-set, but that's how I do it.

Bruce

Tracy Parish

Thanks Bruce and Alicia.

I really like your idea Bruce of keeping track of distance.  That's an important one to think of and also posture.  Amazing how that effects your voice as well.  I have Audacity, but actually thought of using it after all the VO had been done.  Next time.  Will certainly look at it for presets.

I love the idea as well of having Formal and Casual presets.

Great tips.

Nick Leffler

When I have to re-record (which I just had to do this week,) I try to provide a copy of the original recording we can get an idea of the pacing and sound. It has worked pretty flawlessly so far as we can sit there and play the old recording and then practice that same line a few times to get it down. Volume wise it can be adjusted later on by adjusting the dB.

For my re-record this week I did not bring a practice file but the voice over has a fairly consistent sound. I don't work with professionals so I have to take what I can get. After the recording, I just copied the new recording into the original recording and adjusted the volume from there to match the new to the old.

Bruce Graham

@Tracy - you mention posture, very important.

I have recently raised the height of my mic, making me sit up even more, my breathing and delivery has changed due to this.

I also hold the base mic stand base in a specific way, so I am always a constant distance from it.

Have also changed my pop filter to a metallic one that I can see through - thereby allowing my posture to take the lead, rather than the PC/script making me sit in an obscure and strange position.

Bruce

Alex Burford

Hi Tracy,

I frequently have to include re-records and have found the best way by far to ensure consistency of sound is to use a mini-recording 'booth'. For less than $20 we built one using a cardboard box and audio foam tiles. Place the mic in the box and you will eliminate most environmental noise ensuring a consistency of tone.

Hope that helps.

Alex

 

Daniel Brigham

Hi, Tracy:

The voice will sound a bit different on different days. Perhaps not so different that the client can tell, but you'll be able to hear it. What helps me if I need to go back and re-record a few seconds of a track is to:

  • Carefully listen to a few tracks that have already been recorded (how was I phrasing things on that day? Was I "warmer" than usual? Perhaps speaking a bit more slowly? etc.
  • As people have mentioned, using the same settings is huge: if you have a pop-filter, this will help you maintain a standard distance to the microphone, so when you go back and rerecord at least that will be sort of the same.
Alec Gardner

Alex luv the recording booth, my first one 20 years ago was made of egg cartons.

I sing and record a fair bit, there is a little thing I use called Entertainers Secret....

http://www.entertainers-secret.com/ helps the voice

I am a big fan of Audacity used through a small mixing panel I use the Behringer EURORACK UB1002FX.

The key is always have good quality mics. i use
Sennheiser

Graeme Youngs

Try to use multiple voices within your course. This will make the process of re-recording easier, particularly if the original narrator is unavailable (or has left the company). Using different voices means that the audience is acclimatised to changes in pitch and tone so the new recording won’t stick out like a sore thumb.

Bruce Graham

Graeme Youngs said:

Try to use multiple voices within your course. This will make the process of re-recording easier, particularly if the original narrator is unavailable (or has left the company). Using different voices means that the audience is acclimatised to changes in pitch and tone so the new recording won’t stick out like a sore thumb.


Great tip! 

Marty King

If the course is small, I rerecord the whole voiceover for the course so that I have sound consistency. I also use Audacity and I created a booth out of bass traps that I can set up quickly. I do so many voiceovers that I can get close on the volume and adjust if necessary using audacity or the Storyline/Presenter audio editor. As mentioned by others, consistent setup is important. I leave the volume for the mic set the same for every recording and make sure I am at the same distance (my setup helps with the distance).

Daniel Brigham

Katie:

I believe you are asking about settings: these might be pre-amp settings or even filter settings. For example, I've got a TubePre preamp which boosts the signal the microphone captures. To be consistent, I'll want to keep those settings where they are (i.e., keep my two-year old from playing with them). Because I'm a second-tenor, I use a bass boost effect in Audacity (in particular frequency: 110 and boost 13). So I want to have those same settings when doing a rerecord for a course.

I'll also want to go back and listen to how I was phrasing things last time around. The voice differs from day to day. Hope that helps. --Daniel