The following post may be controversial to some as I know opinion runs strong about such matters in voice over circles, however, this is useful advice for some, so here we go.
In my years involved in audio production there are times when something comes along that really impresses me.
In recent years it has been the USB microphone and here is why.
In the days before USB mics, a voice over would need to buy an expensive microphone, expensive mixing desk and a PC with an expensive sound card to get a professional noise free recording. Even then, PC’s are notorious for adding electronic noise into the signal path.
The graphic below illustrates the signal path in a conventional voice recording setup. The mixing desk and PC sound card can introduce noise which is then digitised along with the voice over recording.
To add to this, any wires carrying a signal has the potential to collect noise before being digitised into 0’s and 1’s in the computer.
Behold the USB microphone. It eliminated most of the signal path, therefore reducing the opportunity for noise to get into the system.
Here the microphone digitises the audio before it leaves the microphone.
Now, I must say, you cannot beat the sound of a well set-up studio with a high-end capacitor microphone, such as a Neumann, but if you are delivering mp3 or wav audio and you do not have a budget of thousands to spend on a high-spec recording setup, you should seriously look into these sub-£100 USB microphones.
I know numerous voice overs that make a living using USB microphone set-ups and I am also aware of expensive, conventional home studio set-ups that do not provide the quality of audio needed in today’s market.
Of course, just because you can get the kit for less than £100 does not mean that anyone can be a professional voice over. It takes talent, experience and professionalism to be a great voice over.
Incidentally, we are currently looking for a limited number of voice overs to join our UK, US and Australian roster.
Amazon is a good place to read reviews and buy microphones so I have compiled a few items below. You will find many studio quality USB microphones on the market today. If you want to convert your conventional studio mic into a USB mic you can buy a USB interface (see page 2). The USB interface plugs into your computer and your studio mic into the interface.
Please feel free to leave your comments and share your own experiences and views.