How to Achieve Professional Voice-Overs with Practical Setup

Five Tips for Success

My venture into producing audio began in the fall of 2019. I was determined and poured over 1200 hours into researching all the elements necessary for producing lucid and professional audio. Once I made the leap, I practiced key elements for breaking into this field with the goal of helping other indie authors like myself. In this process I discovered one very real fact; your voice may be the best vocals to grace this earth, but if your audio is scratchy, has poor frequencies, or a noisy floor, your audio will not be good enough, simple truth.

If you are like me, you may work every day to improve the creative voice acting skills required, and continue building the personal trust of your own voice. I found the finished audio file was a priority to master. The following five tips have helped tremendously with the quality of my audio, and I want to share them with you. The more you do on the front end, the less editing you will have to do on the back end. Lets cover five important elements to produce your best quality audio; voice acting skills not included.

What you will explore:

  • Setting up a Home Recording Studio that Works
  • Tips for Quieting the Home
  • Quality Microphone and Pop Shield
  • Adobe Audition Initial Record Setting
  • Practical Adobe Audition Editing

Tip # 1: Audio Recording Studio — You may have come across articles or advice that state you need a ‘sound proof’ room. If you have a home studio like me and you’re not willing to make an addition to your home, rent a studio, or fork out thousands for consulting and construction, then your room will not be, ‘officially sound proof.’ Do not let this hinder you. This does not mean you are incapable of producing professional audio.

The best alternative for most home studios is a dedicated room that has a few extras to ensure (1) most unintended sounds do not travel into your space, and (2) your audio does not bounce or travel out of your space. If you redesign a room that already exists in your home, try to find something away from home appliances (HVAC, refrigerator, water heater, etc), busy roads, or bathrooms. I turned a decent-sized closet into a professional studio. My first step was to remove all the objects in the room and start with bare walls. I used double-sided tape and acoustic foam to line the walls of the room. There are a great deal of products available for this. Below is an idea of the basics you might want to consider:

  • Acoustic Absorption Panel Insulation. Look for the commercial Noise Reduction Coefficient (NRC) rating of .95 for quality and a thickness of at least 0.4 inches. These panel the wall. How much you panel and placement is a personal preference. I placed each panel about 6 inches from one another. There are many other articles out there that cover acoustic science or placement of absorption panels, if interested.
  • Column Acoustic Wedge Studio Corner Foam. These line the vertical corner of the room.
  • Acoustic Foam Bass Corner Trap. Place these in the upper corners where the ceiling meets the wall.
  • Carpet or rug for the floor if it is bare.
  • Moving blanket or thick fabric for the interior doorway.

Tip # 2: Quiet the Home — There are a few tasks to consider to provide yourself the best opportunity for clear sound. Turn off your heating or air system prior to recording, turn off your room fans, keep family pets indoors and away from noise making tendencies, and the time of day can also make an impact. I complete most of my audio recording in the evening or early morning, when most neighborhoods are the quietest.

Tip # 3: Quality Microphone/Pop Shield — A quality microphone and pop shield are a must. The pop shield can and will save you from the uncontrollable popping or mouth noises that are not attractive in audio. A preference from experience; I tried two types of microphones after hours of research and studying product reviews. I also didn’t want to invest too much at the beginning, but I needed something in the professional category. There are at least a dozen types of microphones all dependent on type of use. These are the two types of professional microphones I considered and tested: a USB Mic -Blue Yeti (this mic uses the computer for external power) and a Condenser Mic -RODE (this mic requires an external power source from an interface).

  • The mic I use professionally is the RODE NT1-A Condenser Mic
  • The interface I use is the Focusrite Scarlett Solo USB Audio Interface. Here is a picture of the interface I use and trust. Easy to set up, and easy to monitor gain and input levels.

Note: Depending on the microphone will determine if you need an interface. The USB microphone will not require one, but the other option will.

Tip # 4: Adobe Audition Setting — Audition is a paid application, try using Audacity if you are looking for a free user friendly option. Below is a snapshot of the settings I use before each recording. These are based on the end goal of audio book narration and the voice over industry standards. Although there are many options, the settings below seem to have worked better for me through many trials and error sessions. Use these settings if you need a starting point.

Tip # 5: Adobe Audition Editing (Practical) — Editing can be a fun step. However, Adobe Audition can have a hefty learning curve for those not familiar with the audio file creation process, editing, or recording. I am almost certain any tech savvy, determined individual, can learn at least the following basics of editing. Pictures below of each step to make mastering Audition easier.

  1. First cut your audio. Remove any mistakes for a complete audio file ready for edit.
  2. Highlight a section of your noise print.

3. Under Effects and Noise Reduction — Select Capture Noise Print.

4. Select all of the audio file — Under Effects and Noise Reduction, select Noise Reduction (process).

5. Maintain all audio file selection — Under Effects and Noise Reduction, select DeNoise. Choose a range between 40–50% and apply.

6. Maintain all audio file selection — Select Effects, and Amplitude and Compression, select Normalize. Choose between -3 dB and -6 dB.

Now listen to your audio and make further edits as necessary!

With these tips, you will be well on your way to creating and delivering professional audio files using Adobe Audition or other popular applications.

Thanks for reading!

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