Starting out in voiceover narration for audio books? Find ten essential tips for voiceover recording I learned the hard way. Here’s how to take the headache out of a professional sound recording of your audiobook.
The Best Audio Interface on the Market
|Best Microphone for Voice Recording|
1 Don’t record your narration directly on the sound card of your computer. The internal soundcard is designed only for basic recording, not professional standard audiobook narration. Get a good audio interface. This USB external sound card will power your mic and boost the recording signal for audiobook recording. It will also convert the sound signal into digital, a language the computer can read. Focusrite, Presonus, M-Audio or Behringer are highly recommended. Unless you are a member of a band, you won’t need an interface with lots of outputs. Two outputs will suffice.
Good Quality Microphones for Voice Over Recording
2 Don’t go cheap on your microphone. Get the best quality mic you can find, not the sort for recording onto an Iphone. A large diaphragm condenser microphone is a must for voice over artists. Ensure it has an XLR cable that will plug into the interface. Rode, Behringer or Samson are good mic choices.
3 Get a good pop filter. The pop filter will break up plosives as you speak into the mic. Plosives are harsh sounding explosions of air that overload your mic, creating an amateurish recording. Place the pop filter between mouth and the mic to get the best results. You might also need a shock mount that will absorb vibrations and good quality headphones.
External USB Drive for Your Computer
4 Don’t save your sound files directly on your hard drive. Get an external memory card with plenty of space. I use 500GB or a terabyte. Sound files will soon gobble up the memory on your computer, creating unnecessary overload. Backing up your recording is also a must.
5 Don’t record your audio book in a bathroom. Rooms with harsh surfaces will produce unwanted sound reflections and an amateurish recording. Create a cheap but great recording studio by padding out a small room, which might be a walk-in wardrobe or box room. Eradicate echoes by placing blankets over the walls. Use acoustic foam or similar if this can be afforded.
6 Don’t record your audiobook in a room overlooking a busy road, train station or a dog’s home. Choose the quietest room in the house. Blot out as much background noise as possible. Pause if an airplane happens to coast over the house. Cut out noise during the mastering.
Sound Editing Software for Voiceover Artists
|Audacity Sound Editor is Free|
7 Use good sound editing software. Audio software enables you to cut out outtakes, equalize the sound and compress your sound recording to a professional standard. ProTools, Audacity and Cubase are popular choices.
8 Don’t be a walking decibel. Take off noisy jewellery and watches. Avoid high carb foods that can make your stomach rumble. Be comfy whilst you narrate to prevent unwanted shuffling sounds. Sitting still for long periods can be demanding, so use cushions and a back support.
Printed Text or Computer Screen for Easy Reading
9 Try out what works best for you: reading from a screen or printed text? Bear in mind the cooling fan of your computer could cut in during the recording if you read from a screen. A Kindle or Tablet might work best for you. I prefer to read from printed text as this is softer on the eyes.
Professional Voiceover Artist Tips
10 Get to know your voice. Can’t do accents? Don’t force it. Try altering the tone instead to differentiate characters. Practice reading the text to anticipate tricky sentences and pauses for breath. Research voiceover techniques to create a compelling read for listeners. This might involve raising or lowering the pitch, altering the pace and emphasizing words. A beginner’s mistake is simply to read the text aloud. This can result in a monotonous recording. Pick up techniques other great voiceover artists use and make them your own. Practice is the key.
Information about Audio Book Narration