hey guys, i have been trying to create the effect of a character talking over a microphone. i used delay, and then eq-ed it, giving a boost in the low-mid section since the character was in a room, then i added a little bit of reverb to it. well, i am not quite satisfied with the result. could anyone please suggest something in this regard? also, how would the use of delay be different if say the character is in the outdoors.
The interesting thing about reverb, at least in my own experience, is it tends to be the same situation as the human voice - subconsciously, our mind is very picky and can easily determine what sounds true, fluid, and natural and what sounds fabricated/altered. It's a high point of our species' hearing sensitivity to nuance.
So this, in general sense, may be why you're facing a lot of frustration with this - it's not easy to replicate believably, it's even a challenge for seasoned pros too. Many times it's finding that happy medium where our ears 'buy' what we're hearing but not spending an astronomical; amount of time and effort beyond what would be reasonable. This is where IR reverbs tend to help, many work quite well in a pinch, but even they need help sometimes. And it also depends on the reverb plugin - some (in their overall algorithms, regardless of what IR or parameters you plug in) sound metallic, some sound lush, others sound smooth and rich. So that's part of the challenge, in knowing which ones you like for which certain occasions - some work well for voice, others sound like they were destined for music treatments. A lot of finding what you like for which occasion just comes with time and experience working with them - it's hard to find a "magic bullet" for something like this. Run a search on here and I know there's a reverb post on here, I believe a post by Tim, which has quite a few responses tossing out a variety of reverb tools, some of which I had never heard of - some reverbs out there which immediately come to mind are TLSpace, TrueVerb, RVerb, Altiverb, Revibe, ReverbOne, Valhalla, but there are many many others.
My guess is that what will head you int the right direction as far as the verb situation you speak of is to set up a slap delay (i.e. short delay with little/no feedback), THEN follow up that slap delay with a reverb (maybe even an IR) to treat the soften the slap and give it more depth - try letting the reverb run on the source dialogue and the slap delay, and also try verbing the slap delay only (this is where Aux sidechains help) and see what you like. The slap delay helps give that perceived feeling of the sound slapping walls (and it even kinda takes into account that believable amount of delay you might get from speaking into a mic and having it go through the signal chain to the speakers). Again, it's really just an experimentation thing, finding what hits your ear right, there is no perfect answer to this - so if this is the method you tried already, trying using a different set of plugins and/or different reverb IRs/parameters).
Also worth noting, if you're doing this treatment with a clean and naked dialogue track it's GOING TO sound very weird regardless of what you do. This is where BGz are critical in giving that bed of existence and 'space' for which the dialogue can interact with. Even dead quiet auditorium or opera/theater environments can contain a lot of sonic texture just with the roomtone layering alone.
A voice recorded by a mic , should look like the natural voice. When you want to give the impression (like in the impressionism paintings) you are pretending that voice was listening trough a sound system ( a telephone , a PA system in a concert or in a moll) besides being recorded by a mic. Meaning, the idea that you want to create comes from the resemblance/memory. More practical , imagine a "bad" mic , something like a 58 , cut below 400 hz with a 24 slope , cut above 10KHz with a 12 slope. Push a beat on mid , put in some kind of reflexion ( a dly between 50ms and 100ms) , ad a beat of splash( a reverse plate , for ex). Listen and tweak.
not to state the obvious but ok I will: play it over a speaker and record that? then to your original sound add a bit of very short delay with just about enough feedback so that the "speaker" seems to be feeding back into the "microphone". you can compute the delay time based on the apparent distance between speakers and mic.
is this on screen? you may want to automate the boosts in low and low-mid EQ so that they're more pronounced when the character is closer to the mic. the viewer's brain will do the rest.
Are you trying to make someone sound close miked? Or speak over a speaker system, or... ?
This may not be the answer you're looking for but re-recording your sound usually does the trick to properly place a sound in an environment. This may be impractical, if you aren't near a matching environment, or need to set up a giant PA (as examples) but there is nothing like acoustics, to create acoustics. If you are trying to replicate the sound of a Voice Over Booth, perhaps put a speaker in a small resonant booth-like room and mic it up.
p.s. here is the thread on reverb plugs, that Stravosound mentioned. What reverb plugins do you use?
Stavrosound and jlew pretty much covered it. Reverb and delay are very important, and re-recording your sound in the desired situation is possibly the best way to get what you want.
Another thing to think about is what's happening to the signal between the mic and the speaker. How is it being amplified? What kind of speakers are being used? Adding a little bit of dirt to the signal with an amp simulator might help sell the effect.
And, to answer your last question, if we're outdoors there'll be less (if any) reverb, and more slap. How much slap depends on whether there are any flat, hard surfaces nearby, how quiet the area is, etc. Even trees in a forest can give some slapback.