12 Mar

Voice Over plugin chain

“Voice Over plugin chain” describes the order and types of plugins used on a voice channel. In this article we will describe the specific order that we choose to use. Furthermore, we will describe why we have chosen these specific plugins. This article assumes that the voice has already been recorded. What we are looking at, therefore, is the raw edited audio file. These plugins will sit on the channel strip within your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation). Read on to learn more about the audio plugins we use on our voice over chain.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Low Cut Equalisation

The first plugin that we use is an EQ that will take out any unwanted low end rumble that exists. This is extremely important. This low cut filter will immediately improve the clarity of the vocal. I use the channel EQ in Logic Pro X very often. It’s easy to access and have a great visual analyser so you can see what’s going on.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Broadband Compressor

The next on the voice over plugin chain is the broadband compressor. This is simply a compressor that compresses the entire vocal. I learn towards the UAD Teletronix LA2A because I know it well. It’s an emulation of the famous UA unit that has a slow attack optical attenuator. This has earned a name as being great for the compression of a vocal. It was originally used as a broadcast compressor and works perfectly for the spoken word. This helps control the vocal and stop the volume from jumping around.

RX 7 Spectral De-Noise

The RX Spectral Repair plugin is a real game changer for getting good clean voice overs. It is the noise reduction stage of the voice chain. You’ll need to find a clean piece of room tone on the audio file. Once found let the plugin run over that section while on the ‘learn’ mode. Once it analyses the room it takes a grab of it and can then easily remove the hiss and room sound of the audio. This is a must have, in opinion, to achieving great voice over recordings.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

RX 7 Mouth De-Click

By now you can see that izotopes RX advanced is a very useful suite to own for getting good voice overs. The RX Mouth De-Click is a new addition to the RX Advanced 7 suite. It looks at the audio and removes annoying mouth clicking that is all too common on voice over recordings. We can’t recommend this plugin in highly enough. Another serious game changer.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Noise Gating

Now that we have a good clean voice over recording we look to reduce the noise between lines. You need a good noise gate. We use the UAD API Vision channel strip. We can adjust the settings so that the breaths and noise between vocal lines is completely removed. You’ll only be left with the spoken words. It’s important to listen through the voice over recording to make sure that there are no words that cut off. This is the downside of setting a noise gate as opposed to manual cutting the audio in between the lines. Most of the time the noise gate handles the audio very well.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

De-Essing

Harsh sibilant frequencies are common on voice recordings. This is where the ‘s’, ‘t’. and ‘ch’ sounds can be too loud. The de-esser plugin removes these ferocious sibilant frequencies. We use the Sonnox De-esser. This is a precision de-esser that is effectively a compressor for sibilant sounds. it was recommended to me by Michael Brauer himself when he was mixing one of my client’s tracks in New York. Ever since getting it I’ve been extremely happy with the results. You can see when the frequencies are and visually place the compressor component in the right place.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Limiter

The Limiter is the final plugin that we use on our voice over channel strip. This simply boosts the overall volume of the vocal to the required level. The UAD Precision Limiter is a very reliable limiter and hasn’t failed us yet.

Voice Over Plugin Chain

Voice Over Plugin Chain Complete!

And so you have it! Our voice over plugin chain. This particular iteration of the voice over plugin chain has been about fifteen years in the making. It has developed in conjunction with technological advancements in the audio industry. This is particularly true for the plugins by Izotope. Their plugins are really making big improvements to our audio voice over capability. For that we thank them warmly.