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    Record in Studio dialogue question.
    Hi there.

    I shoot with the t3i, and use a Tascam Dr40 and Rode NTG2 for audio and edit on a Macbook Pro and have a new project now which will require me to do a lot of voice over work.

    I'm planning on buying a condenser mic, possible the Rode NT1a for this, but would like suggestions on how to best use it.

    Would you recommend geting a Preamp/mixer? or would this money be better spent on sound elsewhere?
    If I do get a Preamp would it be best to connect this into my DR40 through XLR then import the files through the SD card? Or straight from the preamp into my Laptop, skipping the Tascam?

    Any suggestions on brands of Mics, Amps etc is much appreciated. Would like to spend around $400.


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    Senior Member Richard Crowley's Avatar
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    Sep 2009
    Portland OR
    You say you already have a Rode NTG2. But you did not explain why you don't want to use that, but rather buy another microphone for voice-over work?

    In your subject line you say "dialog" but in the post you say "voice over". These are rather different things, it would be helpful to nail it down more precisely.

    Is this for your own use, or for mobile use to travel to the voice artist? Or is this for installation in the voice talent's location?

    I have a friend who does VO and announce and reading for the blind, and she is very happy with the AudioTechnica AT2020.
    The AT2020 is now available in a USB version (direct connection, no preamp required, etc.) for a street price ~$100.
    Consider that some of you budget might be better spent on fixing up the acoustic space of your recording location.
    Recording audio without metering and monitoring is exactly like framing and focusing without looking at the viewfinder.

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    Thanks for the reply Richard - and apologies for the spelling.

    The reason I was thinking about a new microphone was that I heard that using a Shotgun inside would yield lower quality compared to a mic like the NT1a.
    The project is a tourism advertisement of my city for a friend's travel agency and I plan on adding voice overs in a few different languages.

    It will be used in my study/studio which is a medium sized room which I use for Video Editing. The room hasn't been sound treated at all - Do you think that solely using a isolation shield would be enough? -

    Thanks for the advice.

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    Senior Member ryanjf's Avatar
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    May 2008
    San Francisco
    I second Richard's recommendation for a mic. I also recommend the AUDIX CX 112:

    Very nice and smooth.
    Sound Editor/Sound Designer/Mixer
    San Francisco, CA
    My IMDb

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    Senior Member
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    Mar 2011
    Bergkvara, Sweden
    The reason I was thinking about a new microphone was that I heard that using a Shotgun inside would yield lower quality compared to a mic like the NT1a.
    The reason for not using a shotgun inside is because reflections from the walls create problems for the interference tube that they use. For VO work however, you usually stand close enough to the mic and in an isolated space, so the reflections are not as big of a problem. Many have done VO with shotguns, and many like the added low end from the proximity effect of such a directed mic.
    You say the room isn't treated in any way - can you put up some blankets, duvets or matresses and try it out? It just might be ok. Put something behind the mic in the direction you're talking, and then over one or both sides of any parallell walls (carpets can also help).
    You can also try another room.

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    Senior Member Rick R's Avatar
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    Jul 2011
    New York
    With all the negative comments and such ( including me) about the pitfalls of using interference tube shotguns indoors, some high-priced VO/narration artists prefer a 416, though it is usually a different environment though. For VOs and such I would still tend to go to a LD condenser.

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    Senior Member Allan Black's Avatar
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    Nov 2004
    Loose Gravel Sydney.
    We use a Porta-Booth,

    Once we started using it for v/o in the post studio, we found it has other uses recording v/os on location without wasting production time.

    And a feeds straight into the editing rig.

    35yrs with our own a/v production company and studios.

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    Senior Member unclebob6958's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Greenwich, CT
    You are going to get lots of different and conflicting answers.

    What it all really comes down to is controlling the audio recording environment and mic technique.

    VO is usually very, very dry - Sahara Desert dry - so controlling the reflections of the room is of great importance. The easiest thing to do is get right up on the mic. In this case a "mud guard" or "porta-booth" box will do okay.

    auralex_mudguard.jpg pstandHarlan.jpg

    But now the mic technique needs to be very good. When you're in so close plosives ("P"s and "B"s, etc.) and sibilance ("S"s being over-emphasized) become a problem which an experienced VO artist knows how to avoid.

    My feeling is (without knowing details) that your SD would be rather noisy, so the DR-40 might be marginally better as a pre-amp. You may also want to consider a USB adapter for the NTG-2 like the Blue Icicle.

    The Audio Technica AT2020USB and Blue Yeti are decent inexpensive USB mics. There is even a nice package for the AT2020USB that includes the mudguard for a little over $200.

    You'll still need a mic stand.

    Just keep in mind that, no matter what equipment you get it's the sonic environment and mic technique that makes for a good VO recording - and of course a great VO voice!!!
    Filmmaking is the art of being invisible; if anyone notices your work you haven't done your job right.



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    Senior Member Michael Carter's Avatar
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    Feb 2006
    I have a very well treated recording area, great monitors, and a nice pro tools rig with a sweet-soudning Apogee pre; and really, quite often, I'll use a plain old Sure SM58 or 58 beta for V/O work. They have a lot of presence and sound nice with big voices, and they're good with the ladies as well. Sometimes you can't beat a dynamic.

    My favorite budget condenser is the ADK Area 51 - you can find them for ninety nine bucks. I don't have dozens of mics, but the ADK is really pretty nice, and in a shockmount basket it looks great as far as clients go, if that sort of thing is meaningful to you.

    For the be-all end-all on DIY room treatment, google and find the Ethan Winer forum. Tons of info on doing DIY room treatment the right way.

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    For VO, it's also important (and nice) to cut away breathings, sounds of swallowing
    Other details like ticks and sparks and other "mouth-sounds".

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