BOSS Audio: Audio Processing

with Tim Tippets

Have you ever tried to unscramble an egg? It’s impossible! The same is true with audio. Raw audio can be processed by a trained engineer, but over-processed audio cannot be fixed. Anne welcomes back VO Tech Guru Tim Tippets to discuss how to process your audio like a #VOBOSS. We discuss when to process your audio, what you’re trying to remove (never add!), and how to ensure your audio processing gives the listener “nothing to notice.”


Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. Whether you run audio effects on your audio depends on your unique situation

  2. For basic voiceover, you generally only need to apply effects that don’t change the raw audio except for removing undesirable sounds, such as clicks and noise

  3. Only run filters if you truly know what you’re doing

  4. Do not over-process your audio

  5. Some talent may not need to run any filters to their audio – but only if you have no mouth noise, a silent booth, and an ideal recording environment

  6. If you can get rid of a distraction without “hurting the audio”, then you should process it

  7. Do not take a “music” approach to voiceover. Many youtube videos show how to process audio for music, not for a voice to be heard cleanly

  8. Many auditions are now requiring talent to have “broadcast-ready” students

  9. From a VO perspective, broadcast-ready means it is nice, clean audio

  10. Your goal is to make the voice sound like it does “in your head” 

  11. Voiceover is all about gaining repeat customers, and sending in quality audio is a good way to do this

  12. The closer you can get to audio where it is easy to plug into the final product, the easier you make the lives of those hiring you

  13. If you don’t know what you’re doing, you can benefit from getting custom audio effects stacks set up by an audio engineer

Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++

Hire Tim to create a custom stack for you!
Check out Tim’s Audition Ready Classes to learn about audio processing
Recorded in ipDTL


>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a boss, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.

Anne: Hey everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host, Anne Ganguzza, along with the audio VO Tech Guru extraordinaire, Tim Tippets. Hey Tim!

Tim: Hey, how are you?

Anne: I’m doing good. So Tim, I have another audio question for you. [laughs]

Tim: What, what?

Anne: I do, I do. So Tim, I have clients that require me to clean up my audio all the time, and by clean-up, I mean I have some e-learning clients that need like my breaths removed, they need my clicks gone. They need it like split files ready to go, because to be honest with you, they’re not the audio engineers. All they really do is place the audio into the module, and so there’s a lot of stuff that I have to do, and I have an effects stack from yours truly that really helps me do my job much more efficiently. And also I do have a lot of students that ask me, “well, what, how do I — do I take the breaths out, do I not take the breaths out?” And I know that this is just a question that is constantly on the forums, so I think we should talk about to effect or not to effect? [laughs]

Tim: Yes, yes, well-put. With your particular effects rack, we — and by the way, this is a “it depends” is the answer, which is a horrible thing to say.

Anne: [laughs]

Tim: I hate giving answers like that. But the reality is that most people are referring to, what it is that you’re talking about, as “broadcast quality.” And exactly what does that mean? And it could mean any number of things to any number of people, but in your particular case, like your e-learning clients for instance…

Anne: Right.

Tim: Most of your e-learning is not going to have music in the background.

Anne: Correct.

Tim: Right? And so it’s going to be just you and your voice. So if someone were to ask me, “well, should you effect that audio,” well, it depends. So let’s talk about what it might depend on. Let’s say that your mic has self-noise to it, like it has a light hiss or something like that, or you have some background noise, we know that — for those out there who may not, may or may not know what a high-pass filter is, it’s usually referred to by most of us as rolling off the low end, 80 Hertz and below, because this is an area in the spectrum, in the EQ spectrum, where there’s a lot of low-end what they might refer to as rumble or noise, and it’s just not stuff that’s in our voice anyway. So if we filter that out, and we’re getting our noise floor lower than it otherwise would be, then why wouldn’t you do that, right? So the answer there, if you know what you’re doing, would be yes, you should effect your audio. Right? Now that’s not really effecting your audio in the same manner which a lot of people might refer to effecting audio, which is, you know, a lot of compression, messing with the EQ, limiting and all those other types of things. But in your case, you use what? A de-clicker and de-noiser?

Anne: Yep.

Tim: And you use what we have in there, a downward expander to push the noise floor down.

Anne: Yep.

Tim: And when you run those, there is no noticeable difference between the raw and the effected aside from us removing the things we don’t want in the first place, isn’t that right?

Anne: Right. Exactly.

Tim: Ok. So in your case, if it’s not affecting the audio, clearly the answer is yes, you should effect your audio. Ok? Now if someone has a really, really clean signal, a really let’s say expensive or high-quality microphone, a high-quality pre-amp, the acoustics are great and all of that, and there are no other issues, like they have no mouth noise, or clicks, or hiss, or anything like that; then the answer could easily be no, you shouldn’t effect your audio.

Anne: Right, but that’s not, that’s rarely the case. I think most everybody I speak to have some form of mouth noise that they want to get rid of.