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I'm working on an animated cartoon that has several voice over parts where one the characters are narrating. How do you make a voice sound like it's a narration, or voice over? In my references, the narrating voice sounds a lot closer to the screen, almost like it's coming from inside your head. Is it just that it's dry, and so it contrasts to the other voices on screen that have room? Or is there a trick?

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It is partly due to the voice being mixed differently, but also comes from how the voice is recorded - controlled conditions in the studio, using a large diaphragm condenser with the actor close-in. Recording like this gives more bass and nice crisp highs in the tone of the voice. If you compare that to the way dialog on set is recorded - with a boom, from a distance, that's what accounts for most of the difference in the sound. Try recording your own voice at different distances from the mic (moving in to about an inch away) and you should hear the difference you describe.

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Use a cardioid condenser mic and go too close to the mic so that the proximity effect is produced, then add a little boost between 2-4 kHz and you will have a classic voice over effect.

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Most of it comes down to performance and projection, annunciation etc. Distance from the mic also makes a big difference but I would caution against getting toooo close, you should still be a good 3-5 inches away. One of the biggest give aways for inexperienced VO talent is moving way up close and being an inch away, you'll find a voice recorded that way extremely hard to work with and fit into your mix. The mic makes a little difference but much VO and production sound is recorded with the same mic such as a Sen 416.

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