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I have a horrible, absolutely non-radio voice, but for some reason I have to do a series of voice recordings to be used by other people. Of course, even though my voice is horrible, I'd like to make it as approchable for the users as possible. What is the better approach - speak naturally (loud) with lower recording volume or speak quietly with a higher recording volume? Or maybe there's another way of making a voice listenable?

I use a Rode Podcaster.

Thanks in advance.

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    There isn't really a general solution here. Try both and see which one sounds better to you. – wwww Oct 29 '16 at 15:16
  • I agree with @wwww but would add one more thing. [too long, I'll drop it into a sort of answer...] – Tetsujin Oct 29 '16 at 16:54
  • depends entirely on your target material and audience. You will generally want to use varying pitch and energy so you don't put your audience to sleep, but the amount that you use this technique will depend on your intended material and audience. – Mark Nov 29 '16 at 5:58
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So long as you don't actually wear out your voice [very unlikely when just speaking normally] you should find each take is better than the last, up to a point.
That's the point at which you decide to keep that take.

Consider that somewhere between 15 mins & an hour of this warm-up ought to be getting your voice into a constant state, best for voiceover work on an untrained voice. [A trained voice will get it on take two, one run at it getting both engineer & performer ready, a couple of 'notes', another go, thank you, bye... that's why we employ them ;-)

By this time you'll also have forgotten your voice is 'bad' & you'll only be looking for the right take.

Also consider proximity effect - do you sound best when up close to the mic [assuming you have some kind of pop shield], or a foot away?

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You might also want to play around with post-recording compression to see if it makes your voice sound more like radio.

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As for recording technique, it is an equal balance of what makes you comfortable and the necessities of your recording environment. If you are in a noisy place you will need to speak up as boosting the volume boosts the noise from your PC, etc...

Making use of the proximity effect (bass is boosted by staying close to the mic) can help give you more of a 'radio voice'. Reduced distance boosts the level of your voice too.

All the usual hints about good recording spaces apply, but don't get too obsessed.

The best hint of all though is to stop worrying about it. The vast majority of people find the sound of their own voice unusual and for good reason. As long as your words are clearly audible, spend the time considering what you are going to say rather than what you will sound like.

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A lot depends on how energetic the voice should sound. If your voice is being used to motivate or to excite people, I would speak louder and stay a bit farther away from the mike. (Unless you WANT to get in their faces like a drill sergeant--then get close, yell, and record at a low level.) If the voice should be an unobtrusive or calming presence, closer and quieter would be best.

The basic quality of a person speaking loudly or softly (and what that implies about emotional state and arousal levels) is hard to fake with EQ.

Hard to know what aspect of your voice doesn't sound as good as you'd like. You can try tweaking the EQ. Some people on radio have absolutely terrible voices. A fellow with a really loud, raspy, nasal voice on Sports Radio comes to mind. But he can be reasonably coherent and entertaining, so I don't mind him in small doses.

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