Upgrading my VO Setup

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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by skyace888 »

Yeah those were just the two high-end mics that had available to rent from their used inventory. They are asking $1,900 for the Manley. They said they previously had a used U87 and that would have been nice to test with the others. The search continues...
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

No winter? I envy you :) Agree with James about the U87. It really is the standard.

An awful lot of stuff is done incorrectly in audio for picture and VO, because we see pics of it being done without being aware of the reasons or the science involved. Case(s) in point (a) overuse of shotgun mics (b) booths.
MOF wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 11:25 pm
too bad the MKH416 isn't available

Not really a microphone for VO, I’ve only read of its use in a well treated ADR studio to match location dialogue at a typical boom to actor distance, not close up.

Agreed. Shotgun mics don't function well indoors without extremely careful setup as you describe. They're only ever used in ADR to make it easier to match the sound of the mic used on location. Even this practice I would question, personally. YMMV.

And I echo blindrew's point above about closets. A treated room is much much better.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by skyace888 »

Thanks all.

So I've done some testing with the TLM103 and Manley Reference Cardioid in my closet recently. Feedback welcomed. They are both great mics! I do worry about the transformer setup and the tubes with the Manley though and what's involved maintenance-wise. These were recorded in my closet.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1BJfKFu ... sp=sharing
https://drive.google.com/file/d/1RRNwUf ... sp=sharing

I know I need a better treated room for recordings but I'm not sure what's practical or possible where I currently live. Would love to get some thoughts on mobile solutions like the IsoVox (plus their IsoMic), Glide Gear Portable Isolation Sound Booth, Snap Studio Ultimate Vocal Booth, or even something like the Aston Halo in a reasonable space. Has anyone used these?

Edited to fix links - JP
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by ef37a »

I can't help you with this exotic microphoni Sky but can perhaps allay your fears about valve reliability and replacement longevity?

Double triode valves are very long lived, decades for old Mullards in radios and audio kit. The 12AT7 used in the Manley Reference is the third most common valve of the 'big three'. The 12AX7, 12AU7 and 12AT7* in order of usage.
Another valuable property of valves is that they do not degrade, buy a couple of decent samples (they are ALL going to get vastly more expensive in a decade or two!) and put them somewhere safe and they will still be bang on original spec 20 years later.

Transformers are, if anything even more long lived. I stripped out a 1950 radio a year ago and the power transformer was still in perfect working order (OK, the output traff was shot but that was a regular fault back in the day anyway, valves used to bugger them)

*I have never understood why the 12AT7/ECC81 came to be used in audio gear? It was a television/oscilloscope bottle! But then, what do I know?

Dave.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »


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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by skyace888 »

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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by Ariosto »

I thought both these recordings to be good and found no problem with them. The Manley recording was a little more "in your face" but not exceptionally so. Maybe it had a bit more bass timbre, or you were closer to the mic. I certainly found both recordings to be of a professional quality and a hell of a lot better than some of the examples one can hear on radio and TV (In the UK that is ...).
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by skyace888 »

Thanks Ariosto for your feedback! Hope to test a few more microphones and then make a decision shortly.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by Tomás Mulcahy »

Agree with Ariosto. Both are fine recordings fit for production. There is a slight "hardness" that sounds to me like it's caused by a resonance in the mic stand or maybe a local reflection, such as from that corner.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by James Perrett »

Both sounded good but the Manley had (to my ears) a slightly exaggerated top end that initially sounds impressive but can be more wearing over time as it is can be down to a capsule resonance rather than a characteristic of the mic electronics.

Out of those two I'd save your money and go with the Neumann.

One other thing I noticed was the occasional popping 'P'. The best way to overcome this is to position the mic to one side or above your mouth so that your breath isn't going straight towards the mic.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by skyace888 »

Thanks guys. Yes I'll need to work more with the positioning of the mic. I was using a small, unstable mic stand for these tests.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by Ariosto »

Tomás Mulcahy wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 6:12 pm Agree with Ariosto. Both are fine recordings fit for production. There is a slight "hardness" that sounds to me like it's caused by a resonance in the mic stand or maybe a local reflection, such as from that corner.

Yes, I agree totally. Also I think I would go with Jame's suggestion that the Neumann mic is fine and that the Manley could be a bit tiring over time, and of course it would be cheaper, always a good thing.

P S On listening again I actually prefer the Neumann mic as I think there is a slight edginess with the Manley. The Neumann seems smoother to my ear.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by The Red Bladder »

James Perrett wrote: Wed Sep 15, 2021 10:32 pm Out of those two I'd save your money and go with the Neumann.

One other thing I noticed was the occasional popping 'P'. The best way to overcome this is to position the mic to one side or above your mouth so that your breath isn't going straight towards the mic.

1. The TLM 103 is my go-to VO mic. Other great VO mics are M149 and U87 - but they can be a bit too 'warm' and they cost real money!

2. Use a pop filter on a gooseneck to avoid popping.

3. The TLM 103 really does need a treated room. In fact, the room will be the most important part of the overall sound.

4. The MKH416 is one of my other go-to mics for VO and not just to match production sound for ADR work. Last VO gig, I mixed the two.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by John Willett »

skyace888 wrote: Wed Sep 08, 2021 2:04 pm Hi Experts,

I do voiceovers for tech videos (among other things) and am looking to up my game from my present setup. Currently have:

- Yeti Blue USB mic with boom arm and pop filter
- Untreated room/office in below image (carpet floor but computer fan noise and some street noise at times)
[url=https:*?*?*/wcqSvvh]Image[/url]
img upload free
- MixPre 3 II (used for non VO work on location presently)
- SM58 and other dynamic mics

Looking for suggestions on...

- How I might treat the room or if I should move my VO work to my walk-in closet. I am planning on remodeling the computer room anyways shortly.
- Which XLR mic might be most ideal. Top contenders are SM7B, TLM103, MKH416. I’m in South Florida and would love to test/rent these before buying. Plan would be to use the mic with my MixPre (either direct or as an audio interface)

Any other tips or suggestions greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

The MKH 416 is mainly for voiceovers for replacement dialogue that was originally made with a 416 or similar.

The TLM 103 is a good VO mic., as is also the U87. But I would also add the Gefell M930 to your list to try as it is superbe on speech and in the same price bracket as the 103 - there are several dealers in the US who may be happy to do a loan.

(Note - I distribute Gefell in the UK but have nothing to do with any sales in the US, or any other country)

Hanging a duvet behind you would improve the acoustics, and maybe also one behind the monitor screens.
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Re: Upgrading my VO Setup

Post by skyace888 »

Thanks again everyone. I’ve been doing more research and have plans to test various mics at studios in Denver and at the Sweetwater store in the coming weeks. Here is my latest list:

Austrian Audio OC818
Gefell M930
Warm Audio WA87 R2
TLM103
U87ai
Soyuz 017 FET
Josephson C705
Lauren Audio Atlantis

Thoughts welcomed. I’ve used Audio Test Kitchen which has most of these but no vocal samples. Also tough to tell even with studio monitors.
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