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DIY Voice


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#1 Punk Designer   Members   -  Reputation: 137

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 07:24 AM

Hello there,

I was wondering if you could tell me how to create quality voice pieces from home, I was thinking that it might just be as simple as using a microphone and recording the speech but I don't think this gives a very good quality of sound or maybe it is just the microphone I am using.

I have no experience with sound technologies so feel free to talk to me like a child.

Is there software or techniques that I could try at home to get a quality voice clip, it is for a personal project so I am on a limited budget.

Thanks in advanced.

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#2 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4085

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 08:39 AM

Quote:

I was wondering if you could tell me how to create quality voice pieces from home...


I'm not really sure what you mean by "voice pieces." Are you talking about music that uses voice or doing voice overs for projects? One thing, regardless of what you're trying to do is to understand that very few "normal" rooms will create great voice recordings (either spoken or sung) because they're not acoustically treated. You'll hear things like computer noise, street noise, A/C and heating noise, your own voice bouncing off the walls, yelling neighbors and other elements that can bleed into a recording. This is why studios have so much treatment on the walls and are carefully designed to eliminate as much bleed over as possible.

Then it could also be the mic and/or cable you're using. It could also be the software or hardware you're using. Tell us more about the set up you're using and if possible post a short example of the type of quality you're getting. Odds are one of us will be able to help you out!

Thanks,

Nate
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#3 Eigen   Members   -  Reputation: 554

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 08:57 AM

You usually won't get any decent sound out of a "real" mic (real, as in not one of those attached to a pair of headphones) without some kind of a preamp. There are many in different price ranges. Otherwise you can keep increasing the mic volume but all you get is noise.

What kind of microphone do you have? If you're at all serious - you state that you want quality, then you are - you should look into buying something like Shure SM58 and a small preamp like this perhaps?

#4 Punk Designer   Members   -  Reputation: 137

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:00 AM

Thank you for being so understanding. I'm looking to create lots of voice pieces for my game and I will need lots of different people (genders/accents/ages) to do it so I thought it would be easier if I did it myself.

What I mean by voice pieces is short sentences with no background noise, for example "Roger that" or "Under attack!"

I only have a very basic head phone which I think is half the battle, I was just wondering how many people could offer services as Voice Actors, they can't all have studios surely? If not then they must have software or a technique they are using that make clean sounding clips, correct?

I had a voice actress once who said she used two microphones in a particular way? I didn't want to hire a voice actor(ess) because I needed a wide verity of voices within the same quality.

Ian.

#5 Eigen   Members   -  Reputation: 554

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:04 AM

I edited my post just after you posted your reply :)

#6 Punk Designer   Members   -  Reputation: 137

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 10:07 AM

The preamp will improve sound quality? I will have to read up on these. Is it worth getting one if I'm doing my own sound?

Are there any ways I can cut down the amount of background noise? Perhaps or is there any software free or otherwise that cuts out or smooths over such annoyances like the computer hum?

Thanks.

#7 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4085

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:06 AM

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
What I mean by voice pieces is short sentences with no background noise, for example "Roger that" or "Under attack!"


This is called Voice Over.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
Are there any ways I can cut down the amount of background noise? Perhaps or is there any software free or otherwise that cuts out or smooths over such annoyances like the computer hum?


Yes there are many programs. Are you on a Mac or PC? What is your budget range? Many DAWs (Digital Audio Workstation) programs come with their own bundled plug-ins and there are plenty of 3rd party plug-ins as well. These all can vary in price from a couple hundred dollars to thousands.

Also what audio interface are you using?

Thanks,

Nate
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#8 Punk Designer   Members   -  Reputation: 137

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 11:39 AM

is the "Shure SM58LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone" the best I could get for the job of doing the voice overs? It seems a little expensive. Probably it has good reason to be.

I thought that doing the voice overs myself at home would save some money and I would get what I want. I mean if it turns out to be a lot of money I will have to go another route but I'm looking for quality and diversity.

Perhaps I am going down the wrong route would it be easier to hire a professional? But would that deny my variety?

Let's explore this angle for a while though, I'm running PC (Windows 7) As I have said I am on a tight budget as well so if any free software was available that would really help?

Ian.

Edit; what do you mean by audio interface?

#9 A_J   Members   -  Reputation: 100

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 04:33 PM

From what I've learned about this business, there's not really a way to save money AND get the quality that you want. I have a friend who's in basically the same situation that you are, and has been searching for quite a while for software/hardware that doesn't require much financial commitment. Bottom line though, if you want quality, you have to invest a bit in hardware, software, and time. Not a bit, a lot. There's just not a way for most users to get the quality that they want for free or cheap. Luckily it won't cost you a fortune, but if you want quality...

#10 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4085

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 05:54 PM

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
is the "Shure SM58LC Cardioid Dynamic Microphone" the best I could get for the job of doing the voice overs? It seems a little expensive. Probably it has good reason to be.


$100 for a microphone is hardly expensive. The next mic I'm wanting to get for my studio costs $3,000! So this is a decent entry level mic.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
Edit; what do you mean by audio interface?


Audio interface is another way of saying what are you using for your audio card? Integrated? Sound Blaster Pro? DigiRack 003? The quality of sound card that you're using can greatly impact the quality of the recordings.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
Perhaps I am going down the wrong route would it be easier to hire a professional? But would that deny my variety?


It depends really. No offense but you don't seem to have much knowledge of the subject so it might take more time to get up to speed with the hardware and software side of things and we haven't even discussed the audio production side of all of this. Finally, are you a good actor? Can you give convincing performances that will enhance your game's experience? If not, then you may want to just hire someone.

On the other end however, it never hurts to stretch yourself and if you have a real interest about voice overs then this could be a good opportunity to learn and experiment.
Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#11 Drakonite   Members   -  Reputation: 215

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 07:58 PM

The Shure SM58 is a great microphone and at $100 it is easily worth every penny. You'll find at least one in every decent studio. I know a few musicians that will only perform or record with a 58.

You're audio interface is probably going to be the weak link for quality. The audio controllers that are built in to motherboards are horrible. You can get a decent quality external audio interface with built in preamp for $125 - $150 (I can't name a specific model off the top of my head, but I can find a link if you want one). Any less and the quality probably isn't worth it.

You should expect to pay as much as $20 - $25 for a shielded mic cable. By using a good shielded cable and an external audio interface, you should be able to move far enough away to avoid the interference hum from your computer, and with some careful setup a lot of the fan noise as well.

$250 - $275 may seem like a lot, but for audio equipment it is about the lowest you can expect for a decent quality basic recording setup; and for as long as you do audio work you'll have a good use for all of the equipment.


If you're willing to go a bit higher to $300, you may want to consider getting a portable recorder like the Zoom H4n instead. I use one of these for person recording, and I've worked on commercial games that recorded voice overs using an H4n. The quality of the better portable recorders is amazing these days.

The main benefit of a portable recorder is the ability to take it to a small room with good acoustics and no sources of background noise for a very clean recording.


As for free audio software, you are going to want Audacity.

#12 Punk Designer   Members   -  Reputation: 137

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Posted 02 August 2010 - 09:43 PM

Thank you, I will consider my choices carefully before making an informed decision.

Two things;
Is there a lot of people with the tech and skills to do a variety of voice overs well?
If I got myself interested in creating Voice Overs is there a demand for it in any capacity?

Thanks again, Ian.

#13 Eigen   Members   -  Reputation: 554

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:40 AM

Also note, that all this would be a one-time expense. After that you could record all you want, experiment and evolve, whereas if you have someone else do it, you have to pay per recording piece and you don't have that much freedom. So you have to think in the long run if it's worth it or not.

#14 nsmadsen   Moderators   -  Reputation: 4085

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 02:57 AM

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
Two things;
Is there a lot of people with the tech and skills to do a variety of voice overs well?


Yes, there are many great VO actors that can do a wide range of characters, accents and voices. If you're wanting to hire someone, or just explore what type of talent is out there then I suggest you browse www.voices123.com.

Quote:
Original post by Punk Designer
If I got myself interested in creating Voice Overs is there a demand for it in any capacity?


Sure is! I've worked with folks that make their entire living (and a decent one at that) doing VO acting for various games, shows and other media.

Nathan Madsen
Composer-Sound Designer
Madsen Studios

#15 MajorTom   Members   -  Reputation: 715

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Posted 03 August 2010 - 03:05 AM

Whilst recording a podcast, a collegue of mine used Audacity to take a sample of the background noise, then used that sample to remove the background noise in the original recording. It wasn't 100% noiseless ( is that a word? ), but it did make the voices sound clearer.

Perhaps the two microphone recording is set up to record the person's voice + noise, and the other to record just the background noise. When the first recording has the exact noise patterns from the second recording removed, maybe it will sound great!

( cheap solution )

#16 Punk Designer   Members   -  Reputation: 137

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Posted 08 August 2010 - 09:03 AM

Thanks for your advice, I will be back later on in my project's development to ask for more help no doubt but for now, thanks.

Follow my blog to see how I'm getting along ;) (Shameless promoting)

Ian




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