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Author Topic: The NPR/BBC sound  (Read 3741 times)

RescueSociety

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The NPR/BBC sound
« on: April 22, 2011, 08:58:56 pm »

I'm a designer and sometime music industry hanger-on (journalist) trying to share what I know about recording through an infographic. I know a lot less than all of you, but more than many of my podcasting peers. I'm trying to make sure the information I publish is good and am here for help.

What I want to know is how - specifically - you'd advise someone with limited equipment to produce a good voiceover sound.

Most advice about 'radio' assumes AM or FM transmission. It's all about dbx and symetrix hardware pushing massive compression ahead of multiband Optimod units in the stations themselves. There's also a weird cult of AM, all about replicating the EV RE20 over AM sound (noise? I jest - but I can't stand it).

What I'm trying to learn and share are tips for the lighter, more hi-fi, NPR and BBC sound. I'm assuming everyone will have a mic or two (and I'm already on top of the pros and cons of dynamics and condensers) running into a DAW (often Audacity or Garageband) which gives access to basic plugins.

So questions. If you have anything to add, thanks. You can feel free to answer some, none or all.

1. How do you structure the gain?
2. How can you record well WITHOUT being able to compress your input signal
3. Multiband or single channel compression? How much? Typical bands etc.?
4. EQ settings. When and how? Are male and female voices treated the same or differently? How and why?
5 Tricks for recording in non-ideal rooms.

Anything else?
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Tim Halligan

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Re: The NPR/BBC sound
« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2011, 12:05:47 am »

The biggest factor in all of the various broadcast formats that the BBC transmit, is that the announcers are TRAINED.

I find it to be an absolute pleasure to be able to work with a trained voice - it's so nice to be able to turn the compression down or off, and to not have to go on a rescue mission with eq to make the voice sound like something.

If it isn't happening at the talent's gob...no amount of audio tomfoolery will get you that sound.

HTH

Cheers,
Tim
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An analogue brain in a digital world.

tooold

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Re: The NPR/BBC sound
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2011, 03:33:46 am »

The biggest factor in all of the various broadcast formats that the BBC transmit, is that the announcers are TRAINED.

I find it to be an absolute pleasure to be able to work with a trained voice - it's so nice to be able to turn the compression down or off, and to not have to go on a rescue mission with eq to make the voice sound like something.

If it isn't happening at the talent's gob...no amount of audio tomfoolery will get you that sound.

HTH

Cheers,
Tim

+1 to what Tim said.  It's astounding what good v/o talent can do; years of accommodating ad agency guys asking for more "smile" on the word "the" will do it.  :o

If you go for a clean recording with moderate compression on a good voice, you're done.  The broadcast stuff does the rest.  The three v/o mics I kept in the booth were an 87, a 421 and an RE-20.  Never EQ'ed.  I spent most of my time keeping track of the edits - this was back in the days of tape... I used to dream of a digital system, it came in as I was getting out.
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Dominick Costanzo

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Re: The NPR/BBC sound
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2011, 05:57:40 pm »

++1

Voice TALENT

U87 or RE20 or MD421
no eq, no compression
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Dominick Costanzo

Bob Olhsson

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Re: The NPR/BBC sound
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2011, 06:40:35 pm »

++1

Voice TALENT

U87 or RE20 or MD421
no eq, no compression
I'm utterly amazed by how many people don't realize this. I'd add, if the announcer has a favorite mike, use it if at all possible.

0dbfs

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Re: The NPR/BBC sound
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 10:07:56 am »

NPR pretty much exclusively use U87's for all their in-studio on-air talent. Not sure about processing but it's available. "The Sound" is mostly in the cadence and delivery though.

Not sure about BBC.

Cheers,
jb

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Jonathan Burtner
Music is Everything!
Audio is Everything Else!
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