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Thread: Voiceover equipment (the right one)

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Zagreb, Croatia

    Voiceover equipment (the right one)

    Hi guys

    I really need some helping hand here as well as some opinions or suggestions.

    I'm ready to invest in some serious equipment for voiceover work since it's my main income flow (beside music and some sound design from time to time).

    75% of my work is for radio and/or TV (jingles, commercials-mostly advertisement work) and rest is some speech/spoken word or narrations for various kind of presentations, audio books, etc.

    Most of the times, I recording myself (fine tenor) but lately lots of people came to me to make some recordings at my place which have more or less proper acoustical treatment (almost perefect sound isolation and pretty good sound absorption/diffusion). I'm try to move from MBox/AT 3035/Rode NTK stuff toward someting better.

    Since I'm not in position to try/test for myself (dealers here doesn't have this kind of stuff in stock), I really appreciate some advice regarding right equipment (mics, preamps, etc.) My budget is, let say, pretty serious (around 4k$).

    Thanks in advance and apologies for such a long post.

  2. #2
    Wireline's Avatar
    Wireline is offline 3D VIP 2004, '05, '06, '08, '09, '10
    Join Date
    May 2002
    Midland Tx
    Most people I know doing that kinda work are using either a Shure SM7 or EV RE20, both large diaphram dynamics....but you may find something that will do better for your particular voice.

    As far as preamps, can't say for sure, but more than likely any of the better known models (API, GR, etc) would give you astounding results.

    Best advice - try them out in actual situations before committing...
    Ken Morgan
    2010 3d VIP

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Northern VA.
    You really can't go wrong with a U-87 for VO. It's an industry standard for voice over for good reason. A Great River, API or Buzz Audio might be a nice choice for you, I've used them with the voice talent I work with and I like the result, but that can be a bit more subjective. I guess it depends on how much of a "colored" response you want with your voice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    The Sennheiser 416 is a very popular V/O mic I've liked in several post studios here, as well as the good old U87. I've had great results with Neumann M49 and an AKG C12A, but those are possibly too pricey. (I don't know what C12A's are going for these days.) For the money the AKG Solidtube sounds very similar to the M49 for about $900. It's a little darker but still quite nice. Finally the Groovetube AM62 (now the GT 67? they changed the number, it's the multipattern tube mic) does a decent job, although it can be a little bright for some applications. If you need to buy a nice preamp as well with that $4000, I would look at the 416 or the Solidtube.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Berkeley CA
    I'm on a very strict budget, and ended up doing a lot of research to find a VO combination that I liked that I could afford. (Done partly with the help of the 3D Mic CD.) One thing I decided I needed was VERY low noise, something I hadn't had while using an SM7 and a Chinese LDC mic. I ended up going with a Neumann TLM 103--I liked the sound of it pretty well, it is very quiet (7 db) and seemed to work well with the preamp I was going to use (Sound Devices 302, both for studio and field use). A U87 is a great thing for VO if you can afford it, but is actually noisier than the later Neumanns. Other "contenders" for me were the Gefell 930, AKG 414 XL, Rode NTK. The tube mics I could afford I didn't like and were too noisey
    (MXL etc.). Clients have been pretty happy with the TLM 103 so far. (I know that this is not a popular mic on this forum, but here we are discussing talking--not singing or instrument recording.)

    Philip Perkins

  6. #6
    ozraves's Avatar
    ozraves is offline Gold Club Member (1000+ posts)
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    When people say "tenor" I think we got to try different mics and pres.

    I think I'd start with a mic preamp first. And, then think about mics after getting the mic pre in my hands.

    I'd highly recommend that you look at the Great River ME-1NV.

    I made these comments about the MP-2NV in a review I wrote but they apply just as well to the ME-1NV:

    I really like the Loading switch. When a Neve 1073 pre is in a console, its output transformer is loaded, meaning there is a 600-ohm resistor connected across the secondary. When it's racked, it's not loaded. Engineers got accustomed to hearing the 1073 one way or another or perhaps even both ways. The MP-2NV sounds flatter when the Loading switch is engaged. When it is off, the pre sounds a bit gritty in the mids and there is a nice bit of air in the high frequencies.

    I found the Great River MP-2NV exceeded my expectations in versatility. I liked how the mic pre let me switch the "Loading" characteristic as well as fine tune the interplay between the input and output levels to give various shades of color from clean to dirty.

    The Impedance button refers to input impedance. Your options are 300 and 1200 ohms, which are generally considered optimum for 50 and 200 ohm microphones respectively. I'm a fan of switchable input impedance. It gives you more sonic colors from dynamics, ribbons and condensers as well as DI instruments.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2001
    Brauner Phantom C (or V)
    Gefell M930

    these or used U87 made it to my shortlist when searching for and asking about the voiceover mics. People mostly recommended Brauner for voiceover work.

    // and don't forget about AD - stereo Mytek or Lavry or maybe apogee (mini)
    Matous Godik

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Zagreb, Croatia
    Thanks guys for helping me with, for me, very important investment.

    I was thinking, based on your and other suggestions, about Brauner Phantom C mic (with EV RE20 as back up and/or extra choice); mic preamp would be Great River ME-1NV (in combination with SafeSoundAudio P1 compressor/limiter) and for audio interface MetricHalo ULN2 - that unit have just enouhg ins/outs for my need, pretty good AD/DA converters and nice preamps as well (for different taste of Great River ME-1NV) . What do you say guys, am I moving in the right direction or what... ?
    And one more thing regarding tube mic: should I keep the Rode NTK or it would be wiser to sold the Rode and invest in, lets say, Rode K2 or Audio Technica 4060 Tube mic?

    thanks in advance guys

  9. #9
    PookyNR is offline 3D VIP 2005, '06, '07, '08, '09, '10, '11, '12, '13, '14
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Edmonton, AB, Canada
    The Metric Halo ULN-2 is a very nice unit. Getting something better will cost significantly more.

    I also prefer the AT 4060 over the Rode NTK.
    Am I the only one without a small type signature?


  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    Las Vegas, Nevada
    In US radio, RE20 is still king, partly becuase its so good off axis, partly because moisture build up is not a problem with dynamic mics like it is with condensers. Radio continues to be the thing some folks think is the prime VO app; but many of oour clients are radio by day ad promo guys by night (at home) and want something that sounds better than the bland (but still good) RE20. Sennheiser 416 has been the secret weapon VO mic for some of the film and ad guys, partly becuase as a shotgun it evades room noise, partly becuase its tone seems to work as the larger than life sound VO guys want.

    So to get something "else" that sounds really good on VO voices is tough, for the sound you want depends on the voice you are starting with.

    Lately we've been working on high end VO mics as a long term project, we have two developments:

    1) Soundelux U195VO (not yet available commercially, we have the first 25 in play on air at Clear Channel Radio in Seattle). This is working well with moisture barriers installed and a amplifier inside that won;t overload with very loud voices or big p pops. Reliable on air with a variety of "mic unfriendly" talent so this is good. Off axis seems to be OK, but is not as good as a RE20; But it sounds way better than an RE20. I don't think we can solve the "amazing off axis" needs of a radio VO mic with a condenser without getting too much room noise so this is a limitation. But we envision that most U195VO's would be for private VO work anyway, where off axis isn't such a big deal. But clear Channel says its improved on air voice tremendously. Unfortunately this is still a work in process and you can't get one right now to try.

    2) The other is Dirk Brauner's Phantom. We spent a lot of time with early proto Phantoms to them voiced as a VO friendly mic. It took a lot of back and forth, samples between Germany and the US. What we have now we think is very good, a very clear sounding, very detialed mic, survives and holds up via MP3 very well. We have several of those out in VO use, doing very well with guys who think its the best ever. the pattern is hyper cardioid to avoid room, but soom who work in bad rooms haven't liked it-so the hyper pattern is just a little narrower than a cardioid. No moisture barrier so for those who like lips touching mics, you need a Pauly Superscreen or some kind of really good pop filter as a moisture shield. The private VO guys aren't having problems with moisture shorting the capusle even without a pop screen, so in use its working fine.

    So that brings us back to three issues: moisture potential, off axis needs, room acoustics. It just so happens the Re20 and 416 are good on all these issues, but it just sounds like everyone else. So I think by 2006, you'll see two different high end VO mics from us. I wonder if any broadcast dealers would even be interested? Or would more than 1 or 2 pro audio dealers? Not sure yet how best to get the message out to the right (private VO)people. Suggestions anyone?

    Brad Lunde
    TransAudio Group
    The Source for High End

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