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Raw Voice Over Samples

Raw Voice Over Samples

Raw Voice Over Samples: Truth in Advertising

When I check out voice over demos from my colleagues, the first thing I listen to is their E Learning or IVR demos. Why? Because there isn’t all kinds of music and sound effects as one hears in commercial or promo demos. You hear the full quality of their voice, and the true quality of their studio. You can hear if their room is tubby/heavy on bass or has too many early reflections. If their preamps and mic sparkle and have that extra special sauce, you can hear it. In short, you hear their raw voice over samples without much post-production, and what quality of files they send to their clients. I regularly check the quality of my colleagues’ work to make sure my clients are getting unprocessed audio files of the highest standard.

An increasing number of production houses and talent rosters, especially in Europe, are asking for raw voice over samples as well as finished demos. This is what my most recent raw voice over sample sounds like. I deliberately chose some slower paced copy so you can accurately here the noise floor level and the reflections.

Starting with Quality Studio Acoustics

My studio has acoustic panels and bass traps from GIK Acoustic. Instead of recording in a tubby booth, I record in my 20′ x 15′ studio. To tame some of the larger wall areas I have several hanging double-thick acoustic blankets from Vocal Booth to Go. And I have covered my desk’s top with deep shag carpet, avoiding the bad effects of large reflective desks. Professionally produced demos are great for showing off a voice over talent’s chops. But there is a question of Truth in Advertising. Can you really deliver high quality sounding audio files, or does all the sizzle in your reel come from the demo producer’s post-production skills? Sometimes a well produced demo can mask the ugly truth about a voice over studio.

The Voice Over Signal Chain

For clean, clear voice over audio, I keep a clean, clear voice over signal chain. Let’s trace that chain from my voice to the digitized audio. First, there is my voice. Next, the sound waves from my voice pass through an Octo – 824S pop filter from The Hook Studios. From there, the sound enters the front end of my Rode NTG3 shotgun microphone. The Rode is just like a Sennheiser MKH 416 but with better bass response and the same self noise level but hotter output.

From the microphone, the analogue signal flows down my Mogami Gold XLR cables into my GAP Pre -73 Mk III microphone preamplifier. The preamp is set to 30 dB gain and 70% Output, HPF at 40 Hz -6 dB per octave, and Air Channel + 3 dB at 30 kHz. The analog signal then goes line out to my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation Audio Interface for digital conversion. The Scarlett is line input with the gain turned down to zero so as to minimize the effect of the Scarlett preamps to negligible since they cannot be bypassed. Finally, the digital signal goes to my REAPER DAW, which captures the Raw Voice Over Sample you heard above.

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Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation Audio Interface

How is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation Different from the First?

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation

If you are in the market for a small, inexpensive quality audio interface for voice over, one of the most popular choices is the Focusrite Scarlett. I had owned the 2i2 First Generation as part of a backup/travel rig, but upgraded to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation when it came out in the summer of 2016. As a result, the improvement was noticeable in all areas:

  • First of all, 8 dB more headroom for instrument inputs.
  • Significantly lower latency than was achieved with the First Generation model.
  • Surge protection for inputs and outputs.
  • More even gain structure for setting mic levels. With the old version, good settings were often near the end of the dial.
  • Better converters that handle up to 192 kHz and 24 bit audio.
  • Ships with Avid Pro Tools First and additional plugins, loops, and software.
  • Much louder headphone amp than in the original. This might be one of the best reasons to upgrade.
  • And finally, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation has more clearly marked dials.

Making the switch to New Scarlett Audio Interfaces.

So, if you own a first-generation 2i2 or another Scarlett audio interface, I highly recommend you make the switch to the newer models. When buying, how can you be sure it’s the second-generation model? Focusrite has a handy guide to let you know. If the serial number starts with a V or W, it’s second-generation. If it starts with a S or T, it’s first-generation.

With all the amazing advances in voice over friendly audio interfaces over the past few years from almost all the popular brands like Universal Audio , Yamaha, Presonus, and RME, don’t settle for an old Focusrite interface. Make sure you choose the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation or other Scarlett Second Generation gear.