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April 29, 2020 / Randy Coppinger

Microphones for Voice Actors at Home

A conversation with voice actor and home studio ninja Jordan Reynolds. UPDATED May 18

Some guideposts to our conversation:

01:03 Some different situations in which voice actors might be thinking about microphones for recording at home.

03:11 What qualities does a voice actor need from a microphone for recording at home? A well built so it lasts a long time. Low noise floor. Not overly sensitive to plosives. Elsewhere we talk about wanting a mic that captures qualities that are desirable in the actor’s voice, which will vary from person to person. In our discussion of Lewitt microphones and the profile of many shotgun microphones we want to avoid ones that sound harsh, strident, or sibilant on a specific actor’s voice.

05:36 Some of Jordan’s favorite microphones from his personal collection: Neumann TLM 103, Sennheiser 416, Roswell Pro Audio Bravo, and CAD e100 S.

06:43 Discussion about some specific microphone makes and models: Neumann, Townsend Labs, and Lewitt.

10:57 Is a microphone intended for auditions good enough for recording paying jobs? If your current microphone has too much self noise, that might be a reason to get a better mic. You may also want to consider if listing your mic for clients helps your hurts their impression of your professionalism.

14:00 How do USB microphones compare to microphones with an XLR connector? A USB contains 3 things: the mic element with associated electronics, a preamp, and an analog to digital converter. An XLR mic is only the the mic element and associated electronics. A $300 USB mic will need to have a cheaper mic element and electronics to afford also containing the preamp and A/D converter than a $300 mic with an XLR connector.

17:10 How might an expensive microphone be worth the price?

20:00 Should a voice actor own more than one microphone?

20:35 What types of microphones are suitable for a voice actor recording at home: Large diaphragm condenser, small diaphragm condenser (including shotgun microphones), moving-coil, and ribbon? We conclude that a large diaphragm condenser would be appropriate for a first mic, followed by a small diaphragm condenser mic. We specifically talk about what shotgun microphones do well and what challenges they offer. We like moving-coil and ribbon microphones (my voice was recorded on a ribbon mic for this interview), but might be better choices for an additional, rather than primary voice recording mic.

Here’s a great video review, comparison, and discussion from May 10th about microphones for voice acting.

Read more about Recording Voice Acting Remotely.

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