A VO's tools for their Booth Kitchen
I know, this blog post is NOT about food. But...this is a subject that I think will help a lot of VO's out when it comes to deciding what mic to pick for your setup. Specifically for the female voice.
This post is about the mics I've worked with for my mid-range voice. These mics worked for me but they may not work for you. I was very, very lucky to work with several different mics before I set up my first home studio. I worked within my budget and upgraded as I could. You can find the gear either at Sweetwater , B&H Camera , Guitar Center or even on Amazon.
Mic number one: The Blue Yeti. It is a simple usb microphone that we plugged into the computer. It helped me learn about mic placement and quality of sound. I never recorded auditions on it. We ended up giving it to our friend so he could record his audiobook he was working on.
Mic number two: The Rode NT1-A. This was actually a kit we purchased. It came with the mic, the xlr cable, the shock mount, a pop filter and headphones! Pretty keen! I then bought a Scarlet 2i2 pre amp and we used our existing i pads for recording. I had to get a cable that would work between the pre amp and the i pad and used the Auria app for recording. The second i pad was for reading copy. I would then upload my recording from Auria to my Dropbox and then post process on my iMac using Audacity. Cumbersome? Yes. Did I book gigs, YES! Was the sound quality great? No. I did A LOT of editing to help improve the sound quality. That took a LOOOOONG time and was not very efficient.
Before I get to mic number three, I must start by saying I was taking classes and had the luxury of going to different studios and using different mics. I say luxury because this was way before COVID, so moving about was pretty awesome. My mentor would let me use his pro set up for coaching and for sessions with his great mic and explained it to me like this: Why use a mic that is different from the top recording studios? Use a mic that the sound engineer knows and when you record remotely they are able to work with a superior mic rather than an inferior one. Make sense? The common denominator mic as I went from class to class, studio to studio, was what became my goal.
Mic Number three: The Sennheiser 416 MKH shotgun mic. Why do I love this mic? It's directional, not a large bore, is a workhorse and I can put that mic right where it will pick up the least amount of plosives and sibilance. Even without a pop filter. This mic, along with my setup, really reflects my true voice. It picks up minimal external noise because of its design and is what every studio uses for recording sessions. Remote sessions are great and the sound engineer appreciates that there is no distortion or murkiness from my mic. I used this first with the UA LA 610 MKII tube pre amp and Audacity for my recording. I've since upgraded to the Apollo Twin pre amp with Adobe Audition and a few plug ins. I also took classes with Tim Tippets to learn how to apply the best settings to my set up and hired him to build hot buttons that help me edit super fast. You can find him here https://votechguru.com .
Other mics I have tried: The Neuman TLM 103. For me, this mic made my voice too crispy. Too sharp. Again, I have a mid range female voice so this mic might work great for your voice print! I have tried the Apogee MiC Plus as a travel mic. It ISN'T my shotgun mic and I found it picked up WAAAY too much noise for me. The Shure MV88 is my current travel mic. It is still not my shotgun mic, but I find it a little easier to work with and edit out the background noise.
I hope you found this short article helpful. Be well and enjoy the process!