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Microphone Techniques for Voice Talents

By using the right microphone technique you can achieve the best from your voice and give a true professional work for any project.

At the same time, with the proper microphone technique, you can help with your edition, mixing and production saving a lot of time and headaches by giving the best quality.

It's important for any Voice Talent how to avoid plosives, adjust dynamics and take the best from a microphone so that you can enhance your emotion in your recording.

You may have heard about the Frecuency Response concept that is defined as the quantitative measure of the output of a device in response to a sound across a range of frequencies and it is used to characterize the dynamics of the system.

The Frecuency Response is affected by your proximity to the microphone or how far or near you are. It is also affected by the axis position to the microphone, how centered you are in relation to the diaphragm of the microphone which is a thin piece of material that vibrates when it is struck by sound waves.

Another factor that influences the Frecuency Response is the Polar Pattern, defined as the description of how a microphone picks up sound in the 360º space around it. There are several Polar Patterns suitable for any of your requirements in any project. You can have the Cardioid Pattern, Omni-directional Pattern and Figure-of-eight Pattern among others (image below). The most used Polar Pattern for a Voice Talent is the Cardioid since it avoids or reduces in several decibels (quantity depends on microphone features) any sound or noise behind the microphone.

polar_pattern

Furthermore, the dynamics of your voice affect the microphone as well and it is defined as the variation in loudness between notes and phrases.

Any device has got a sweet spot which is the point where you can find the most effective work from it and the sweet spot in terms of proximity for condenser microphones with large diaphragm is about 6 / 8 inches of distance so that the voice sounds as natural as possible.

In my experience, the best way to avoid plosives and air in general when reading or acting is getting off center of the microphone slightly by turning your head a little but without changing the proximity and so the final frequencies (bass and trebles of your voice) during the recording.

There are another tools like a pop filter, much more effective than the wind sock (a foam covering the microphone head) that tends to diminish Frecuency Response. Though the pop filter is not so effective as the changing the air direction, a combination of both could work very greatly but in cases where you are very close to the microphone you'd better use mostly the technique of changing the air flow enough to the side so that it doesn't hit the microphone diaphragm.

There are cases where the plosives or air flow hitting the diaphragm many times could damage the microphone, in those cases a good technique can avoid such nightmare, in other cases you simply have to make another take.

But when you come across with situations where it is impossible to rearrange with the Voice Talent in order to make another take you can kind of removing the recorded pop sound by filtering it with the right equalization. You simply cut out the bass frequencies between 50Hz up to 80Hz ~ 100Hz only at that point and voilà! you get rid of the pop sound by making it not so audible.

If you want to be creative, when you are close enough to the microphone you become very intimate, warm and romantic, and your lower and higher frequencies are more present in the recording.

If you pretend to record as if you are far away you must increase the distance to the microphone and project your voice to it or turn away, in such cases you should consider the physics and features of the room you are because it influences the frequencies of your voice in the recording. When taking this aspect into account, consider if you can do it and if so, to what extent.

All of this could seem very overwhelming  when recording but only consider some aspects as previous steps to the recording in order to achieve the right ambience, then the right techniques when acting so that they become a natural part of you and finally other aspects in the post-production when necessary.

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