BOSS Audio: Modern Acoustics

with Tim Tippets

Anne welcomes industry icon and VO Tech Guru, Tim Tippets, for an all-new series on Audio! If you want to rock your business like a #VOBOSS, you need to have BOSS Audio!



About Tim

Tim Tippets is a voice-over pro, a composer for film and TV, and is highly regarded as a leading audio tech expert and teacher in the voice over community. Our BOSS Audio series kicks off with the fundamentals of modern acoustics.

Takeaways

Quick Concepts from Today’s Episode:

  1. What works for YouTubers might not work for your voiceover studio

  2. 2-inch foam only handles early reflections and high frequencies, not low frequencies. The room can sound “boomy”

  3. When we voice inside of a box that isn’t properly treated, it will talk back to the microphone. We hear the room talk back.

  4. Modular booths with 2-inch foam were designed for musicians, voiceover requires a different sound

  5. 80 percent of auditions probably end up in the trash for high-end projects, due to bad audio or bad reads

  6. 10 percent of people get 90% of the work. 

  7. If you have pristine audio, you’re really only competing with 10% of the auditions


Referenced in this Episode

Direct links to things we brought up ++


Tim Tippets (AKA “VO Tech Guru”) is a voice-over pro, composer for film and TV, and he is highly regarded as a leading audio tech expert and teacher in the voice over community. From amateurs to pros, Tim has helped literally thousands of people up their game by working with them one-on-one to get them sounding their very best; or even teaching them how to do the same through his online audio course. Regardless of the hardware or software you use, the current space you voice in, the mic or interface you use, Tim’s unparalleled knowledge in the field of voice over tech can help place you and your audio quality in a truly competitive position. Contact Tim at info@votechguru.com
Tim’s Audition Ready Online course
See Tim’s Video on Making DIY Acoustic Panels
Learn more about Vocal Booth To Go and use code votechguru-5 for 5% off.
Read about Anne’s Experience with the Tri-Booth
See Joe Cipriano’s Ironing Board Booth he set up!
Recorded on ipDTL


Transcript

>> It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premier 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: Okay, hey everyone. Welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I’m your host Anne Ganguzza, and I’m here along with my special guest cohost, Mr. Tim Tippets, AKA the VO Tech Guru, my good friend and amazing voice over talent and audio engineer. Thank you so much for joining me today, Tim.

Tim: Ohh go on. Really, go on. No, it’s my pleasure. Glad to be here.

Anne: I’m so excited. So I want you BOSS listeners out there to know that I’ve been after Tim to have him on the podcast for a very long time, and I’m so thrilled that you’re here because you just have – you’re a wealth of information, and I’m so thankful for you and grateful for you to share with our listeners, because I know they just want to hear everything audio that you have to say. So I think we should maybe start at the beginning. What do you think, Tim? We should talk about –

Tim: I think it’s good, yeah.

Anne: Yeah, talk about the importance of acoustics. And by the way, for those BOSSes out there that don’t know, Tim just recently completed building me an amazing studio. I know I’ve talked about it before, but in case it’s your first time here listening, Tim just built me an amazing, custom booth in my home, and finished in, what, March, was it? Early March?

Tim: Yeah, the beast, the beast.

Anne: Yes, affectionately termed the beast. So Tim, let’s talk a little bit about acoustics, and why it’s so important for us obviously in our industry.

Tim: Well, they are mega important. One of the things that I’m seeing a lot lately unfortunately is people coming to me for help with a pretty clear misunderstanding of what good acoustics are. That’s okay because they don’t know what they don’t know, but to give you examples of what I mean, you’ve seen a lot of people on YouTube using like two-inch foam, right?

Anne: Yes.

Tim: That somehow translates into, that will be good for my VO booth. And that’s not true. So like Anne, for instance, what did you start out with? When you first started doing VO?

Anne: When I first, oh gosh, when I first started – [laughs] I started recording like in my closet back in the very beginning, and then after that I hunted around and tried to build my own booth, and then my father helped me, and we ended up with a moving blankets, carpet, moving blankets, and then we just tried to add things on top of it so that we could have good absorption material. But like I said, back in those days, I’m not, I was not really aware of what I was doing or even knew what I needed at the time.

Tim: Right, but at what point did you determine that you were going to need something else? Did someone of you feedback or?

Anne: Oh gosh, yeah. I got feedback and I was mortified! I remember.

Tim: What was it?

Anne: One of my first auditions that I sent in, it was like, “hmm, it sounds like you’re talking in a hollow tube. There’s a lot of echo here. You’re going to have to fix that.” And I was like –

Tim: Okay, that’s a great jumping off point.

Anne: – ughh!

Tim: Because the thing about too much foam that people don’t understand is that it only handles early reflections and high frequencies. It does not do a good job of absorbing the lower frequencies in the voice. And since we all voice essentially inside of boxes, that box is going to talk back to the mic. Right? Like you can imagine, if I had a box I was voicing in and I kept shrinking and shrinking and shrinking that box, right, what’s going to happen if I’m in – if my head is inside that box and that mic is in there with me, and that box gets really, really close to my head? Well, then it’s going to sound super boxy, right?

Anne: Yeah. And it’s going to be hot, just saying.

Tim: Yes. It’s going to be hot.

Anne: [laughs] It’s going to be hot.

Tim: But when we – so I want to be clear about something, because I don’t want people getting the wrong idea about this. I hve not only auditioned before, but I’ve executed projects, you know, and I voice for a lot of the usual suspects. When you’re doing VO and you’ve got a highly that fairly high-end client, you want to be in the best possible situation that you can be in.

Anne: Absolutely.

Tim: Now what I’ve done, because I had no other choice, is I have actually taken my car, drove away to a really quiet area and my car has fabric seats. I took my 416, my Sennheiser, and voiced, and it sounded great. But that’s because I knew what I was doing, right? The acoustics in a lot of cars aren’t really that bad. Of course you have glass and all that other kind of stuff, but if you positioned yourself correctly, you can get yourself sounding pretty decent. Now in a closet, what will end up happening is, and we all know this – we hear, surround yourself with clothes. Okay. Well, what does it mean? I’ve seen people put in the corner, you know, they will go one angle and then the other, and they’ll voice in that direction, but then they have a wooden floor.

Anne: Yes.

Tim: They have a door that’s right next to them, they’ve got a ceiling that’s not treated. Right? And so we’re hearing the room talk back.

Anne: My first closet didn’t have clothing in it. It was like a storage closet, and it had shelves in it. And so I said okay, I can, you know, I can hang blankets. Well, that did not work very well, just saying. [laughs]

Tim: When we talk about blankets, like Vocal Booth To Go makes the best blankets on the market that I’ve found, vocalboothtogo.com, and by the way, they are sponsors of mine, full transparency. If anyone wants those blankets, VOTechGuru-5. I don’t know if that can be dropped anywhere, probably can’t because it’s a podcast.

Anne: Sure, we’ll put that on our show notes.

Tim: It’s better than nothing, and they’re real great people over there. It saves you 5%, right? The point is I’ve been to the testing labs with these guys over at Riverbank here – it’s near me in Geneva. And the performance they got out of those blankets was absolutely astounding. In fact I’ve heard many PVC booths, DIY PVC booths where they used those blankets, and they sound better than $7000 or $8000 professional modular booths.

Anne: Well, I have to say, when you were here building my custom booth, and I was able to try out a Vocal Booth To Go, I have to say, those blankets, they’re like, they’re luxury. [laughs] They’re so heavy ,and they really, really worked well for me up in our loft area. I was able to continue working, which is so important, while you were here for, you know, a couple of weeks building my own booth, and I had a lot of work to do. I needed to continue working. So it was, it was like a lifesaver for me. Those blankets are amazing.

Tim: Well, I’ll tell you – yeah and when I got in there, I’m going to be honest with you, even though I knew the blankets performed as well as they do, you have this massive vaulted –

Anne: Oh yeah. [laughs]

Tim: – foyer, right?

Anne: Yes, I do, 16 foot. [laughs]

Tim: And this thing is sitting right at the top of the stairs, right where that massive volume is, and I could not believe we weren’t hearing that.

Anne: I know, I know.

Tim: That like really blew my mind. As much as I believed in the product, I mean, come on. We’re talking about a massive vaulted space. And the fact that we didn’t hear it, I was just like okay. I don’t know what to say. But to get on point with this, what ends up happening with some of these modular booths is they were originally built for musicians, right? I mean, the idea was you could play guitar or trumpet or whatever. The sound mitigation, in other words sound coming in and out, they do a pretty darn good job, especially the double layer and the triple layer booths, right? But for an instrument – if I played guitar in a booth that had just two-inch foam, I would be okay with that. And I have. I’ll do it out here in my control room where I’m voicing right now, for instance. I’ll just take my guitar and play away, have no problem with the acoustics. But if I voice, to give you an example – if I’m too far away from this mic – let me show you what I mean. Okay, I sound very different now compared to the entire room. But this room is meant to be live. This room is meant to be live because I need to mix. I compose for film and TV in here at times, right, and also listen to you guys, right?

Anne: Right.

Tim: When you send me samples and I’m creating presets. So the thing is, is that when you take two-inch foam and you put it inside of a box, AKA a booth, what ends up happening is it absorbs the high frequencies, but then you have a lot of low frequencies hanging around, and they’re not being absorbed by that two-inch foam. Blankets for instance will cover a very large spectr