Here is my “holy grail” story. As a dedicated voiceover talent intent on continuous improvement, I sought a new microphone suitable for the highest quality sound. Clearer and more vibrant recordings will help me to better meet the rigorous sound quality standards for audiobooks and long form narration.
What was wrong with what I already had?
Nothing was wrong, per se. I wanted to 'up my game'. When I began voiceover, I purchased a decent and practical microphone to start my business It was an Apogee Mic Plus. I love it (and still do). I especially appreciate its quality vis a vis its light weight, compact storage, and minimal set-up for ease when traveling.
But now I needed more.
As I continued to build my skills and improve business, I realized that I needed a large diaphragm condenser mic to better enhance and complement my voice and make my performances 'pop'. I also wanted to upgrade from a USB mic to an XLR with an interface to allow me better quality control for cleaner and faster editing. The time was right. After talking to a lot of VO experts and doing research I selected the sE2300 mic with a Focusrite Scarlett Solo interface.
Change isn’t always simple or easy.
As soon as it arrived I set it up and began learning how to use it. Complications arose. I observed was that it was highly sensitive and picked up every background noise in and around my studio. That did not happen with my first mic.
So now it wasn’t only about the mic and pre-amp, also was about the room and its surfaces. This required more adjustments to the sound dampening features in my workspace.
Uh-oh... the sound had become “boxy”. I also had to tweak the settings in my digital audio software to compensate for the higher sound quality I recorded. I tweaked the variables with more precision (loudness, compression, normalization). That required watching several YouTube videos and consulting with sound engineers. In retrospect, I’m glad I made the equipment changes, but as often happens when changing your set up, you can open yourself up to unexpected challenges that require, time, and money to address.
My words of advice to others who haven’t gone through this yet are:
Don't be afraid.
Talk to experts.
Do your research.
Seek constant improvement.
Be prepared for unexpected consequences.
Roll up your sleeves work hard and figure out what’s happening.
Then spend a little money to fix issues.
Go down a few rabbit holes; you may find more issues.
Spend a little more money (maybe).
Be grateful when you start getting the results you desire.
Realize you learned some new things and you’re better than you were before.
My search to find the perfect microphone has been a quest - to bring out the best in my voice. Not different - just me.