Mastering Home-Based Voice Over: Lesson 3

The Science Of Voice Over (Part I)

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  1. After you’ve watched the video, please ask questions!

    Have you been told to stay away from USB microphones? What recording and editing software do you use and why?

    How have you tackled lowering your noise floor? Where in your home do you record?

    What else makes you really frustrated when it comes to being a VO talent?

    I’ll read them all, and respond to as many as I can.

  2. I have, in fact, (after getting a good SAG-AFRA Foundation DLF VO Lab recommendation) been told that a USB mic is “no good” (or, well, good enough to “start” with, but…) for audiobooks, at least. Oh well. I have the Rode NT USB mic, the Sony MDR-7506 cans, and Audacity in my HP laptop. Producer’s Choice sound blankets and 3 2’x2′ sound panels surround my PVC frame, in my kitchen/dining area, of all places, because it just happens to be the quietest space in my 1-BR apartment. It’s possible that it’s the quietest space because I’m up between 6 and 7 every morning, so I can record before the rest of the world awakens, once my warm tea has warmed my throat/voice. Some days, my noise floor sits at or below -60 db. MOST days, it lives in the -54 to -60 range, and when I’m really unlucky, I can’t get it below -54 without Noise Reduction.

    My primary frustration is bookings, I think. I have specific authors and genres I’d like to record, and I don’t know how to get my foot in those doors.

    1. btw, if I lived alone in my 1-BR apartment, I’d record in the bedroom, probably (no walk-in closet, but still more sound-dampening than the kitchen table next to the refrigerator and chest freezer! HA!)… but I share my apartment with two cats, who are fairly noisy about being fed and when they’re cleaning, and my husband who is on the late-to-bed/late-to-rise schedule. So the kitchen it is! 😛

  3. I’ve been using drop box to send vocals for a few years with no issues. Is source connect still needed in this case?

  4. Hi David — great 3rd lesson on the Science of VO, thank you! My first (and current) mic is an AT2020 (condenser), which seems to be working well for me. What are the main reasons you recommend the USB+ version? Is there a big difference in quality between the two?


    1. If you already have the non-USB AT2020, Greg, then I don’t think you need to step DOWN to the USB… David probably recommends and uses the USB AT2020 because it’s the best USB for the money, and you don’t have to step UP to the more expensive mics that need a converter box. It’s just that SO MANY of us are being told by SO MANY other “coaches” that USB mics are crap, and you HAVE to have the other kind, with the additional equipment to get it to talk to your DAW. It feels like David is trying to make a VO career as “easy” and inexpensive as possible, for anyone without the right equipment or skills or practice or training. You’re obviously ahead of that curve. Good on ya! 😀

  5. David,
    Great presentation. I am very happy that you are going over the business aspects of voice over, coming at this from my experience as an Artist I found that the one major missing element of my education in Art School was the Business of Art.. One question on the equipment side. What is the Sock you recommend for the AT2020 usb mic?

  6. Whoa, whoa, WHOA, David! I just went to your AudioCupcake site and discovered a. it’s not yet available, b. it only works on Mac?, and c. there’s something in Audacity called “ACX check”? … I’ve been hitting my 3 numbers painstakingly, by hand, on individual tracks, using Limiter, Noise Reduction, and Normalize (and Analyze:Contrast)… I’m on a PC, and my version of Audacity (latest and greatest, yeah, I think) does NOT have that beauty button called “ACX check”! DAMMIT! I want Want WANT something as quick and easy as AudioCupcake and ACX Check! How do I get THOSE?

  7. Is there a rule of thumb when it comes to balancing EQ between Mic Pre Amp, Interface and Recording Software? How would you set the levels?\

  8. Hi David,
    Thanks for the fantastic info in this course. I currently have a AT2020 XLR, and a Rode NT-1. If I use either of those microphones with a XLR to USB adapter with phantom power, is that an acceptable substitute for a USB Microphone?

  9. Thank you David, you answered my question from the last video!
    From this one – I have been wondering if I should invest in a paid Source Connect subscription. Last week I used CleanFeed for a singing open mic. I was sent a link. However, I have gotten VO auditions recently saying that I had to have Source Connect in order to book the job. I haven’t used it yet. Is it intuitive? Of course there are YouTube videos, but I’m concerned that when I book a job (when, no if!) I’ll be scrambling to figure out Source Connect and not seem professional. Is there a way to practice using Source Connect or Clean Feed?
    Also, I was told to avoid USB mics, but no matter anymore because I bought a condenser mic/interface/headphones last year so it’s already done.

  10. Hi David,
    Thank you so much for these classes. I have learned so much and am excited to start implementing ideas you’ve shared, such as getting ear buds and installing Levelator. I use Audacity and have found it to be pretty user friendly for someone who does not have prior recording experience – ME! One question I have is I’m currently using a Presonus M7 Audio Box 96 Studio mic. How does it compare to the AT2020 USB Plus? I’d appreciate any advice you can offer. Thank you again!

  11. Thanks for answering my question, David! Talk about a “wipe my brow” moment. Thanks for the confidence boost and the info!

    1. And yes, you can take the courses any time in any time zone. And our live workouts take place at all times during the day.

  12. Do you not use an interface because you use a mac? What are the pros and cons?

    1. I’m not sure if you’re asking me that, but no, it would be the same if I was using a Windows PC.

  13. Hi.
    When would you actually use a u-87, since yours is in an oak box, sitting on shelf…collecting dust?
    And, is yours for sale? (That could be a funny…or a serious question…depending on one’s perspective).


  14. One that I have used it on occasion is “Source Connect Now”… beautiful ANd free!
    “You can’t buy free”…my quote btw…lol.