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Notes from the Field: Improving Diane Merritt's recording quality

The "garbage in, garbage out" rule is especially important in recording voice-overs.   It often surprises me how long my new clients toiled at getting good quality recordings from their home studios.  They buy good equipment, expensive mics, spend years honing their craft, and seek help from friends whereever possible to ensure what they put out is the best sound possible.  Yet despite all of that, some very basic rules of audio engineering are overlooked.  It's not their fault.  Voice actors, even those with years of radio experience like Diane, aren't trained in audio engineering.  

Over the course of an hour I helped talented voice actor Diane Merritt tune her recording chain and get the most of her Neumann TLM103, which was getting lost in a sea of electrical noise.  Basically, we increased the gain at the front end, and backed off the levels along the rest of the signal chain, placing as many controls at the "unity" setting as possible, the theoretically quietest setting on the dial.  Check out the results (both files normalized to -3db).  

Before  After


Diane was nice enough to leave us a testimonial.