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Thread Hollow Sounding Voice Recordings

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1 Hollow Sounding Voice Recordings
I'm just beginning in the voice-over business and am trying to save myself studio expenses by setting up my own computer based home studio.

I'm using a Shure SM58 Mic (I know it's not the best option for this application, but $$$ is the issue right now, and I'm using mic modeling software to try out some different mic options that best suit my voice), plugging directly into an Audigy 2 Platinum sound card. For software I'm using Steinberg Nuendo 1.5.

I'm playing with different EQ and compressor settings, but no matter what I do, I just can't get that smooth production sound that I get when I pay for studio time (obviously something to be said for paying to let the real pros do it properly), the sound just comes out kind of hollow sounding. I've had some people tell me it's the mic, some people tell me it's the sound card and some people tell me that I need a preamp.

I'm leaning towards the preamp opinion, but there are so many options out there I really don't know where to begin. I don't think I need a mixer with built in preamp as I can alter all of those settings in Nuendo but I guess I really don't know what I need.

I've done a bit of research and have found 2 preamps that sound suited to my application: Behringer MIC100 and ART Tube MP Studio Microphone Preamp.

Any help would be appreciated.


If you know anybody looking for some new voice talent I'm willing to work for free to get some good demo material.
well a preamp would do something positive if youre recording into a soundcard, would make it sound more analog, and would give it some color and life...

check out the "really nice preamp" http://www.fmraudio.com/

its not too cheap, but its a good one...depending on your budget...check out one of those ART-tube channel preamps
I do voice-over work about 30-40% of my time.

If this is something you're doing for clients and getting paid for it, you should invest in a mic cabinet and pre-amp that will get results.

As far as mics, the industry staple is the EV RE-20, or Shure SM7B, which I'll use 90% of the time. There are others too. I also find my BLUE Baby Bottle comes in handy... even other non-standards can work.

Now on a serious low budget, I would pick up a Studio Projects B1 condensor ASAP. It is on the fairly neutral side and you can always tame sibilance or make tonal changes using EQ, or mic positioning, assuming this is your only means available.

For a pre-amp, you certainly won't want something that has too much "coloration". And be careful that you don't mistake "warm" for "muddy" which is what people usually interprete in audio gear. Most of those budget "tube" preamps just muddy up your mid-range, robbing your tracks of clarity and definition. This will kill your voice-over tracks. Pre-amps with too much color going on may not be too beneficial for general voice-over work. You'd want a pre-amp that's more on the transparent side. Be aware that you can also get "warmth" from the mic's response itself (such as with using an RE-20).

The FMR Audio RNP is ok. But I wouldn't classify it was transparent. It does have some coloration going on. If you have the cash, you can try it out and see if it works.

A very inexpensive alternative is the $129 (U.S.) Studio Projects VTB-1 prepamp. It is a pre-amp with tons of feature, and is pretty clean sounding. About a step up from Mackie VLZ preamps. It's got plenty of clean gain with a "tube" circuit that allows you to dial in coloration at your discretion. But in full "SS" mode (solid-state), it gives a pretty clean, colorless signal for this price. It also has great metering options and something very valuable... an impedance switch in the rear which really lets the preamp match well with dynamic or ribbon mics especially.

I'd say a VTB-1 and B1 mic would be great starting point for voice-over work. Your SM-58 would work better on it, than what you're probably already using.

I'd pick up an FMR RNC 1733 compressor while you're at it ($175 U.S.) to complete your setup. This will help you get more consistent levels when tracking, unless you're working with pro's who know how to control the dynamics of their voice.

Best of luck.
yes studio projects stuff is great quality for the price! especially that (tube?) preamp, and a "rnc" is also a bitchin deal! that my friend would make your vocals sound nice...not godlike! but nice :)