NT1A, TLM 103, LCT 440, U87 … which microphone is best?! The right question is, which mic will make YOU sound great? Anne welcomes Tim Tippets back to the BOSS Audio series, and they talk mics and interfaces. Discover tips for finding the mic best suited to your voice. Your microphone and interface are essential investments in your voiceover business. Listen to this week’s episode to make sure you have the tools in your booth to help you rock your audio #LIKEABOSS!
Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:
The microphone can pick up on mouth sounds we don’t hear with our ears
The pandemic has made it essential to have quality studio equipment
If you buy an inexpensive microphone, you can’t expect to sound like the top pros
Sibilance is a whistle inside of an “S” sound
Pursing your tongue and pushing it toward the back of your teeth will create sibilance, relaxing the tongue will create less of these sounds
Find a peer that sounds like you, and ask them what microphone they have
XLR Microphones typically allow for better sound than USB mics
USB mic technology is getting better, however, an XLR microphone plugs into an interface that allows for more quality controls that cannot fit into the microphone itself
The diaphragm of the microphone is the “ear” of the microphone, and USB mics cannot fit as much technology into this diaphragm due to the limited size
Large condenser microphones will pick up on more noises
Invest in quality XLR cords to allow for the best quality sound
Top-level interfaces run plug-ins live while you record instead of having to do these effects in post-processing
Be cautious of package deals, as they don’t typically include top-quality components
A quality interface and microphone will help your voice sound the most like “you” in real life
Everything in your audio recording chain should be top-quality to produce top-quality sound
Referenced in this Episode
Direct links to things we brought up ++
Look at all of the gear that Anne recommends!
Find out the one microphone Tim thinks is the best for the most voices at an affordable price point!
Check out all of the equipment that Tim recommends
These cables are studio gold!
Recorded on 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 amazing VO Tech Guru and audio engineer extraordinaire, Mr. Tim Tippets. Hello Tim!
Tim: Good morning, good morning, Anne.
Anne: [laughs] How are you?
Tim: I’m doing ok.
Anne: So Tim, I have the question which you probably get all the time.
Anne: And the question is, I have a lot of students who are, you know, that I work with on a day to day basis, that they’re just starting out — or even if they’re not starting out, they want to know what microphone should they get that would make them sound good. And so, you know the answer to that is probably as varied as [laughs]. I have my own opinions, but I figured we should have a discussion about microphones with you today.
Tim: Ok, sounds good. First of all, how are you doing this morning?
Anne: I’m doing awesome, thank you! [laughs]
Tim: You’re welcome. I forgot to return the favors. That was rude of me. Ok so yeah, microphones. I think you hit right on it when you said “I have my own opinions.” We see it on boards a lot in Facebook and elsewhere.
Tim: What microphone should you get? “Well, I own the TLM 103. You should get that.” Or “I own the 416,” or you know, “I have this or that, so you should get that because they’re great.” Well, no because for each voice, there’s the right mic. I’ll give you an example. So someone heads into Guitar Center, and they say hey, you know, they go to Pro Audio, this happens a lot by the way.
Anne: It’s always Guitar Center too. I’m just sayin’.
Tim: Yeah, it is.
Tim: Well, it makes sense, it makes sense for someone who’s not in the know.
Tim: So they head in there and they talk to Pro Audio staff. These people are usually musicians and producers. So the question is asked, “hey look, I need a mic, and I need an interface because I’m going to be doing voiceover.” And they say, “hey, well, come over here and look at this Rode mic. It’s the quietest mic in the world. It’s called the Rode NT1A.” If I get on that mic, it’s gonna be ok, but only for one reason, because, and it has nothing to do with talent. What it has to do with is, I’m not a sibilant speaker, ok?
Anne: Ohh. You know, I had a Rode, I had a Rode NT1A when I started.
Tim: And I bet you weren’t sibilant on it because you’re not a sibilant speaker.
Anne: No, not typically, yeah. I had a, I actually used it for quite some time before I, you know, got a couple of different microphones, but yeah. It served me well.
Tim: Yeah, well the NT1A has a very, very big boost on the top end, the high end of the frequencies, where, which is where sibilance lives. And sibilance, just to be clear, is not an S sound, it’s a whistle inside of an S sound. Ok? When it’s very, very sharp. And I’m gonna make a comment about females. Do not take it the wrong way, ok, because it’s just the nature of females versus males in the way that we speak. Females tend to be more sibilant, simply because, I mean they grow up listening to other females. So they mimic them. Makes sense, with everything else. But females will tend to purse the front of their tongue and curl it just slightly, push it towards the back of their teeth, which makes a stronger S sound like thisss.
Anne: Right, right.
Tim: Ok? Males, we tend to have a very relaxed tongue when we say S’s, so snakes, silly, things of that nature, so we don’t tend to get in trouble.
Anne: Very interesting.
Tim: But when you — yeah, but when you have someone who is already sibilant — we don’t notice that they’re sibilant in real life, right?
Tim: But the microphone is super sensitive to it. So what it ends up doing is it takes a situation and makes it much, much worse. And then these people aren’t getting the feedback that they’re sibilant until someone listens to their audio, and then someone tells them, “hey, you are sibilant,” and maybe then, then maybe they’ll be clued in.
Anne: I’m so glad you said that, because I’ve always like, people have always talked about females being sibilant, and I’m like, well nobody’s every complained. I wonder — and then I thought, well, maybe I don’t know what it sounds like. And so I’m glad that you explained it like that, because I was like, nobody ever said I was sibilant or complained that I needed to, you know, do something with my audio. And so I always wondered if I knew exactly what it meant, so thanks for that clarification.
Tim: Yeah, no problem, and there are, and there are things that can cause sibilance. We can go from not being sibilant to sibilant because when we get older, our teeth will shift for instance.
Tim: But anyway, it’s easy enough to get rid of that just by making sure that you don’t have a mic that’s super hyped on the top end, to where sibilance is going to be an issue.
Anne: Now, is there — I know that there’s a bunch of people who say the Rode NT1 is better. Is that a…?
Tim: Well, yeah, it’s a completely different microphone, and that is true, it is better, right, and it has more options, etc, if I’m thinking of the right mic; I believe I am. But overall, here’s what it comes down to. If you’re looking for the right mic for you, first of all, do not buy a $60 microphone and think that you’re going to be competing with someone like you, Anne, who has a $1000 Sennheiser.
Tim: Ok, that microphone, and you also have a 103 that’s around —
Anne: I do.
Tim: The Neumann, around $1200, right, with the, with all the gear that comes with it.
Tim: They’re that price for a reason. Right?
Tim: We’re talking about — and the 103 is a large diaphragm microphone, and we know how sensitive that thing is.
Anne: Oh my goodness!