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Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

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Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby tagspeech » Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:13 am

Hey everyone, thanks for reading.

I'm building a digital workshop soon and sound is going to be a big part of it. I'll be soundproofing a small workspace and was hoping to get some hardware and software suggestions from here. I am very new to sound engineering but have the time and will to educate myself as I go.

What's a good software for tweaking and masking vocal recordings? My intention is to do voice acting for multiple characters and would like to adjust pitch and other effects as subtly as possible to help with the illusion. I'm willing to pay good money for quality software in this regard. I have audacity but was wondering if something more advanced/powerful exists.

What's a great value microphone? Something professional-grade, but relatively affordable and easy to use.

Thanks in advance for your guidance!
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Re: Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby Bob Bickerton » Wed Dec 25, 2019 1:58 am

You’ll receive lots of suggestions regarding software and microphones, but of utmost importance, especially seeing as you are constructing a studio, is to incorporate acoustic treatment into the design. By this I don’t just mean ‘soundproofing’ which is merely one aspect of acoustic treatment - but crucially to create a neutral acoustic space suitable for recording.

There’s a number of excellent articles and threads about this around the SOS site.

Depending on budget, best solution would be to have a design done by a qualified acoustician.

Software and microphones come and go - but you have to live with the room......

Bob
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Re: Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby zenguitar » Wed Dec 25, 2019 2:20 am

Welcome to the SOS forums and wishing you a Merry Xmas :wave:

I am sure you will receive some well informed replies over the next few days, but until then I can offer you some broad principles to take on board.

The most important thing you need to understand is that soundproofing is hard. The laws of physics take no prisoners and won’t compromise; if you need soundproofing, you have to understand that it will be expensive. And cost cutting shortcuts end up either more expensive or offering little or no soundproofing.

Small spaces are difficult to treat acoustically and even more difficult to soundproof. Microphones don’t like to live in small spaces, they need room to deliver their best. They also interact with individual voices, so once you establish your budget you will need to try out a range of mics to discover which ones work best for your voice and/or your talent.

Perhaps you could let us know a little more about what you have in mind for your project. There are quite a few members here who record speech and regularly offer very helpful advice.

Andy :beamup:

Bob is one of those informed members I had in mind ;)
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Re: Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby ef37a » Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:13 am

All good advice and don't forget that your room is both part of the 'output' as well as the 'input' system.

Many beginners concentrate on the microphones and interfaces but do not think about how they will listen to their creations? This really should be done on monitor speakers and good, accurate devices are NOT cheap!

You are perhaps fortunate in that your proposed work is largely voice based. This means you can 'get away' with smaller speakers with less low frequency capability and that also eases the room treatment requirement to some degree. You will also need some good quality closed back headphones since I assume you will need to listen to a track whilst adding voice to it? You therefore need headphones ( aka 'cans') that keep sound from spilling into the mic.
From a purely operational point of view, a monitor controller might be a useful addition to the gear line up as you will need to switch between cans and speakers quite often.

Software? I like Samplitude ProX 3 suite, you can download a trial and have a play over Crimble!

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Re: Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby Ariosto » Wed Dec 25, 2019 8:40 am

tagspeech wrote:Hey everyone, thanks for reading.

I'm building a digital workshop soon and sound is going to be a big part of it. I'll be soundproofing a small workspace and was hoping to get some hardware and software suggestions from here. I am very new to sound engineering but have the time and will to educate myself as I go.

What's a good software for tweaking and masking vocal recordings? My intention is to do voice acting for multiple characters and would like to adjust pitch and other effects as subtly as possible to help with the illusion. I'm willing to pay good money for quality software in this regard. I have audacity but was wondering if something more advanced/powerful exists.

What's a great value microphone? Something professional-grade, but relatively affordable and easy to use.

Thanks in advance for your guidance!

I never find that tweaking the pitch of the voice and then changing the speed really works convincingly. To record different voices at different pitches is quite hard, and I never sem to be able to do a woman's voice. I think you need to use actual women's voices to be successful. Changing pitch for a different man's voice can work and I just about get away with it. (I think).

All the other suggestions so far are spot on, and you may find you need more than one mic if recording other voices. I generally use an active ribbon mic and I also have passive ribbons as well, but you need a good clean pre-amp with plenty of gain with the passive mics. Dynamic mics (of course ribbons in fig 8 configuration are also dynamics) are generally excellent, and can be less expensive.

You really need to do a lot of reading and research before making any decisions. As far as room acoustics go you need to kill as much reverberation as possible using duvets and blankets to dampen the sound, and also use close miking techniques. (Unless you deliberately want an echo effect for a given sound effect, but mostly the voice should be recorded very dry, the opposite to much music recording).

You also have to achieve recordings that have a very low noise floor if you want to record for professional platforms such as Audible.com where the noise floor (i.e. the silent moments) have a noise floor of at least -60dB and preferably in the region of -70dB.

P.S. I do most of my monitoring and editing using headphones and do not have problems with this as most VO and narration work is required in mono. This saves on expensive speakers although you may feel you need these especially if playing back to hear how it sounds on speakers or to several people all listening at once.
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Re: Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby tagspeech » Wed Dec 25, 2019 11:21 am

Thanks for the thoughtful responses everyone, it's a lot to take in!

So more about my project: I'm the creative director of a pretty promising mid-tier video game and I hold an MFA in fiction, with a background in the humanities in general and a lot of acting experience. I'm a woman with a fairly androgynous voice so my goal is to be able to shapeshift convincingly in audio, Jim Cummings style, with a little extra help from software and narrative contrivances.

A lot of this dialogue will be placeholder performances to demonstrate what my expectations are to potential contractors for various vocal roles. But, also, I might be able to do certain roles to fill in the gaps and add polish to the project at no additional cost but my own time and effort.

It's sounding like may not be feasible to set up quality acoustics in my living space, as it will likely be relatively small (I like living modestly). It sounds like it might be better for me to fully prepare my scripts, rehearse at home, and then do the final cuts in a rented local studio. The goal here is to be able to produce usable audio that I can deliver to my UX team and design lead, at best, and provide quality recordings and performances that set the standard expediently for people auditioning for roles.

Hope this clarifies! The research continues.
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Re: Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby ef37a » Thu Dec 26, 2019 8:40 am

That is a very laudable aim Tagspeech, to support a local studio and I wish more bands etc did it. You will I am sure learn much that you can apply at home.

Don't give up on home production though? There was an article in SOS (year ago? Flies so...) about a couple who made professional V/Os in various hotel rooms. I am sure someone here has the link to hand.

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Re: Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby Sam Spoons » Thu Dec 26, 2019 11:27 am

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Re: Building a Workshop: Suggestions?

Postby ef37a » Thu Dec 26, 2019 12:18 pm

Sam Spoons wrote:I think this might be the article https://www.soundonsound.com/techniques/recording-voiceover-on-road

The very chap!

Thanks Sam.

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