I don’t profess to be an audio engineer. I know just enough to get into trouble! In reality, I have worked with audio for a good number of years, dating back to splicing tape and grease pencils and admit my small knowledge isn’t much. I’d much prefer to be on the voicing side of the console, and leave that magic voodoo to real sound engineers.
But these days, as voice actors, edit we must. (At least most of us) And even if we farm out editing, we still need to know how to critically listen to and how to deal with the wav form and its errant noises, breathe reduction, etc. And we must rely on our ears and with the guidance of various solid tech gurus to make sure our sound is excellent.
In July last year, my “sound” went through a revolution. Yes, I had my dawbooth and an extremely simple audio chain, but I installed a new microphone, which changed everything. Then I realized my interface and mixer didn’t have enough preamp power to really drive all that great sound I should be getting from my expensive NeumannU87 mic. I made the plunge and invested in an Avalon M5 preamp , a more robust interface (Lexicon) and Mackie mixer.
Wow! A huge change! In listening to before and after audio, the change to my sound was immense. It was suddenly more upfront, and more warm and full. Then I needed to figure out a way to re-engineer my audio chain to incorporate my ISDN. Long story short, I hired the fabulous George Whittam , VO StudioTech who hooked me up!
THEN THE MOVE
In November, we made a drastic change in our lives when we decided to move from California to Wisconsin. With a 30 day escrow, there was no goof-off time. All was quite serious, and intense efficiency abounded in work and life, and I was literally working on voiceover projects up until the last piece of furniture was removed from the house…voicing from my car! But we carefully dismantled and packed my isolation booth and all my gear. My delicate preamp and mic went with me in the car, not on the moving truck!
Once we set up the studio in the new place, I pulled out my trusty schematic diagram George made and set everything up perfectly, as if I really knew what I was doing.
HINT: It did help to color-code each cable during the break down phase, so set-up was a snap.
IT’S A MATCH!
Today, 3 1/2 months post-move, I was immensely relieved after one of my agents booked me for an update to a narration initially I recorded via ISDN five months ago in California. The job entailed reading partial sentences that contained name updates and such. I must admit I had a tad of anxiety before the session about my room sound and if we could make it work without having to read the entire script again. But YIPPEE! The audio match was transparent. My engineer said it was the best match he’d ever heard from a room that completely changed location! He didn’t need to EQ or change his settings a bit!
Of course I had to do my part on the vocal delivery in pitch and tone, pace and inflection, position to the mic, etc., in order to make it work as well as it did. Guess I’ll rest easier tonight knowing my sound is a “natch match”.