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OwensDrumming
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3rd December 2012
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You Favorite Voiceover Mic???

What are your all time favorite voiceover mics??? I'm interested in purchasing one. I know there are the classics (U87, RE20, SM7B, MKH 416, etc.), but I was wondering your experience with them versus other ones. Which one would you recommend? Thanks.
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I use an SM7 for voiceovers cause it's what I have.

I really liked the Heil PR40 when I used it. If I had a ton of VO work, I'd likely buy one for myself.
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LOVE the U67 I recently got. Using a Brauner AE before. The U67 just has the most amazing "Neumann-mids" and I really like the gentle tube compression it adds. But a good VO talent will sound great on both... They will sound great with a budget Rode. An average talent will sound average on both.
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Originally Posted by pethenis View Post
LOVE the U67 I recently got.
WOW. You are sooooo lucky. I'd buy that in a second if I had the dough!!!!
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If you've got a good RCA 77-series with a clean preamp, it'll blow anything else out of the water in terms of naturalness.

Barring that, I'd want a mic with as little coloration as possible, rather than 'flattering'. I can always add the flatter in post. Current favorite AKG 414 series.

But there's also something to be said for a good small cap condenser (Schoeps MK4, AKG CK1) so the talent doesn't have a big blob in front of their face...
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I've been running TLM170s for the last 20 years or so. They're ruler flat and have very little self noise. I knew I could only afford two matched mics, and so went with what I thought would be the most usable, and not something known for it's particular 'sound'. I can add color with a tube or transformer coupled mic-pre and/or nice EQ. I like the 5 patterns, the 3 cardioids each have a distinct character. I can get most any sound from '416ish to U87ish. Everyone from Seasoned pros to total newbies sound great. It needs a good room through, especially if you are running one of the wider patterns.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill@AudioVision View Post
I've been running TLM170s for the last 20 years or so. They're ruler flat and have very little self noise. I knew I could only afford two matched mics, and so went with what I thought would be the most usable, and not something known for it's particular 'sound'. I can add color with a tube or transformer coupled mic-pre and/or nice EQ. I like the 5 patterns, the 3 cardioids each have a distinct character. I can get most any sound from '416ish to U87ish. Everyone from Seasoned pros to total newbies sound great. It needs a good room through, especially if you are running one of the wider patterns.
One of my favorite mics. Period.

Has been my "go to" for several years now. Love it!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwensDrumming View Post
What are your all time favorite voiceover mics??? I'm interested in purchasing one. I know there are the classics (U87, RE20, SM7B, MKH 416, etc.), but I was wondering your experience with them versus other ones. Which one would you recommend? Thanks.
If you have a room that's well-treated for voiceover (quite a bit deader than a music room, with no standing waves and great isolation) any of those will work fine. If you don't, strongly consider the 416.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill@AudioVision View Post
I've been running TLM170s for the last 20 years or so. They're ruler flat and have very little self noise. I knew I could only afford two matched mics, and so went with what I thought would be the most usable, and not something known for it's particular 'sound'. I can add color with a tube or transformer coupled mic-pre and/or nice EQ. I like the 5 patterns, the 3 cardioids each have a distinct character. I can get most any sound from '416ish to U87ish. Everyone from Seasoned pros to total newbies sound great. It needs a good room through, especially if you are running one of the wider patterns.
The TLM 170 is my go-to VO mic as well - I love it!

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AKG C414 because I can choose between Cardioid and Figure-8.

The aforementioned TLM70 is good for that as well. I think the U87 too.
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The (VO) mic that works on almost every voice in a majestic way is Violet Design The Amethyst Vintage. (Compared to Brauner Valvet X, Phanthera V, AKG C414b-XLS, Schoeps MK41, MK4, MK22, CMIT5U, Røde NT2-A, M2, M3, NTG2, NTG3, Violet Design The Globe Vintage, The Emerald, Blue Bottle. This is not to say that any of these mics might not work better on a given voice, but the Amethyst Vintage just works well on every voice. Blue Bottle with B6 capsule is also very versatile, but many times the price.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brent Hahn View Post
If you have a room that's well-treated for voiceover (quite a bit deader than a music room, with no standing waves and great isolation) any of those will work fine. If you don't, strongly consider the 416.
I have a Rode NTG-3. Will that sound almost as good as a 416?
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwensDrumming View Post
I have a Rode NTG-3. Will that sound almost as good as a 416?
I've never tried one but lots of people compare them favorably as a boom mic. Sounds like it's worth a try, for sure.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OwensDrumming View Post
I have a Rode NTG-3. Will that sound almost as good as a 416?
It will sound damn near close. I've worked with both, and find them very similar in tone.
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Originally Posted by insomaniac View Post
It will sound damn near close. I've worked with both, and find them very similar in tone.
I use it frequently with absolutely no problems. It sounds great, is rugged, has almost no self noise, and it's not outrageously expensive.
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been having a little sibilance issues with the 416 lately, through an ISA 428. (women only though)

I'd look at a company called Charter Oak and their e700. It's a great large diaphragm condenser, side address... very smooth and warm (solid state)

The AKG 414 I found very nice with women, not so rich on men.

Also the TLM 103 or on budget 102 (it's a little larger on the low mids though and can sound boomy)

Best use of money though.... Room acoustics!
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The classics: U47 and U87 originals are my favourites if you can get one in excellent condition.
SM5, SM7 work extremely well for most people.
RE20 pretty much ubiquitous in radio for live announce and recording.
New favourites: Lucas CS1 and CS4.
As always, it's what works best for you in your studio with your voice on the material you're recording.
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I have used many microphones for voice over work but we recently purchased a Shure SM-7B which is paired up with a Blue Robbie Preamp and most of our voice over clients seem to think it makes their voices sound GREAT and I have to agree. The other microphone I really like for voice over work was a 77DX that we used back when I was working in TV.

Recently I did some voice over work and used an AKG C747 that belonged to a client C 747 (Discontinued) and was pretty much blown away by how good it sounded. Too bad is is no longer being made.

FWIW and YMMV
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A lot depends on the contents of the voice over and more so the voice itself. Generally I like the sound of the RE20. Because of it's lack of proximity I can come back the next day with copy corrections that are invisible when remixed. The Sennheiser 416 is great for that "in your face" type of sound, but has to be worked very carefully. I also like the AGK 414b ULS and Neumann TLM 102 microphone that's fairly new to the market. There are just many microphones that work well with voice overs.

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It depends on what the voiceover is for.

If it's dialogue replacement for a film, then the same mic. as was used for the original dialogue would be the best.

For a straightforward voiceover, then the Neumann U87 is popular and also the TLM67 and TLM103 are often used. The Gefell M930 is popular in Europe, or the M930Ts if you want a transformer in the mic.

The Shure mics suggested are more popular in the US than in Europe, I think.

In the end, you should choose what suits your voice best and gives you the results that you want, whatever anyone suggests you should buy.
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There's so many types of voice-over: promos, commercials, narrations, book audio.
It's hard to pick one mic for all chores.

However, I do recommend the Studio Projects CS5.
It is a high end sounding mic with low pass and high pass filters. Great for taming booming or sibilant voices.

It's multi-pattern and in hypercardioid mode sounds very up-close while picking up little room noise.

The CS5 goes for $350 USD new, but it's sounds much more expensive. Nice timber and natural high end.

Others I own include Senny 416, TLM-193, and SM7B. CS5 is always a winner.
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Quote:
The Gefell M930 is popular in Europe, or the M930Ts if you want a transformer in the mic.
If you put those on your list, don't overlook the M1030.




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Some of my more colored favourites besides the usual TLM170 and U87s:

- Schoeps MK4
- AEA 44 (with their own 500 pre)
-Wunder CM7 Fet
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Anyone ever use a Brauner VM1 or VMX for VO? I'm getting a little bored with U87s...
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PoxyMusic View Post
Anyone ever use a Brauner VM1 or VMX for VO? I'm getting a little bored with U87s...
Yes. I have a VM-1 for years.

It eats rooms alive. You really want a good sounding room with this one.

It has not so much proximity effect and if someone is especially sibilant, watch out.

Other than that, it's of course a superb mic.
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I'd go with a U87 on male voices, and I've sometimes chosen the SM7b on edgy female voices. I've never found a "one size fits all" mic that sounds great on all VO performers.

While it's not a popular choice, I really like the sound of the Sennheiser MKH40 about 18" away from the performer. Really clean, realistic sound (to me, at least). And don't forget Corey Burton's infamous tirade against using the 416 for voice-overs. He makes some good points... and yet I can recall many, many, many network promo VOs done on this mic, and producers just got used to "that sound."

I recorded at least a couple of dozen sessions with the late, great Ernie Anderson back in the day, and that guy sounded great on anything. We used a U87 with him most of the time, but I bet he would have still sounded like Ernie Anderson on an SM57.
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Quote:
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I recorded at least a couple of dozen sessions with the late, great Ernie Anderson back in the day, and that guy sounded great on anything. We used a U87 with him most of the time, but I bet he would have still sounded like Ernie Anderson on an SM57.
I've heard this from 2 fairly reliable sources, but would need confirmation...
Ernie didn't like be cooped up in tiny VO 'closets' and so requested to work in the control room doing the ABC promos. The engineer at the time, trying to get some isolation, put up a 416 - and the rest they say, is history.
Any truth to this???
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill@AudioVision View Post
I've heard this from 2 fairly reliable sources, but would need confirmation... Ernie didn't like be cooped up in tiny VO 'closets' and so requested to work in the control room doing the ABC promos.
The room Fred Jones and I used with Ernie was a fairly good-sized VO booth capable of holding about 5 or 6 people, with a pretty big glass window. If he had claustrophobia or something, he didn't mention it. But man, he almost took my head off whenever I tried to use a windscreen -- Ernie was absolutely convinced they affected the sound, plus I think he felt it was an implication that he didn't have good mic technique. He was a holy terror in the beginning, but I got to know him pretty well and he was a pussycat, once you got past that rough exterior.
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I don't think you can separate the mic from the preamp. A mic can sound great with one preamp while sound like *knuf* on another preamp. (It's called impedance matching) All of the mics mentioned should work great, when used properly, with a good preamp, in a good room, with great voice talent. I think I have right to speak, as being the owner of a large collection of Classic Mics. My personal favorites are (in no particular order) TLM170/Amek CIB, M149/Pendulum Quartet II, and most of the time ... Senn416/Lafont LP22. These setups work instantly, for any kind of voice. Sure there are voices which benefit from a U87 or any other mic, but let's be honest, we wall want a setup that we never have to touch. And as for the Hotshot Classics like the U47; these are indeed great mics, but I don't consider them voice-over mics. Although the U47fet can work really great on some voices ...

Just my 2 cents ...

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Plus 1 on Fredo's mic/preamp analogy. With 30+ years of recording voice overs my favorite combination was an U 47FET through the mic pre of the Ward-Beck console I was working with at the time. The U 47FET also shined when I later moved up to a Harrison MR-4 console. Today I get so many tracks ISDN'd or MP3'd to me that the in-studio VO chain sees little use.

So over the years my favorite mics are the U-47FET, RCA 77DX, Sennheiser MKH-40
(very dark and not for every one) and surprisingly the Heil PR-40 which is a bright sounding mic but works for my ears.

At this moment in time I have an AT 2035 hanging in the VO booth, it sounds fine, it's cheap and again the booth see's only occasional use.

I also like the DAV BG-1 and the AEA-TRP pre-amps.
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