Voiceover – The Trouble With Noise Reduction
By Dan Friedman
Often people new to the voiceover business try to mask or correct problems in their recording environments by using noise reduction software. Under certain circumstances music, sound effects and other production elements can hide recording problems in a final production. However, in voiceover, your audio is unlikely to make it to production if it can’t make it past the audition.
When using audio software to “correct” problems, you are not hearing the audio in context with the numerous (often hundreds) of other auditions being submitted by other talent. This is problematic because while you may hear an improvement when comparing one of your own “uncorrected” files to a “corrected” one, when compared to the submissions of others, there will still be a noticeable degradation in quality. Particularly in cases where that processing is used aggressively.
Software doesn’t know the difference between good and bad sound. It removes everything you indicate, including the parts behind and in your voice (the good part) which degrades the overall quality of the sound. Furthermore, let’s say you were to get the gig. What then? You can’t do it from your studio because the noise is still there and you won’t be able to hide it.
When recording, you are in the role of recording engineer. The recording engineer’s job is to capture and record sound with the highest level of quality possible. A microphone will always pick up two things, the source sound (in voiceover, that means us … our voice) and the sound of the environment in which that sound is created. Don’t rely on software to “fix” bad sound. Reduce and eliminate noise at the source. Acoustically treat your environment. This is a must if you wish to compete in this industry.