Hello everyone! Its been awhile since I have posted. However, I have moved across country, worked on quite a few productions, and moved again into a new apartment. Busy times. Glad to be back conversing with you all.

So I have some V.O. questions. I have recorded/edited ADR, VO, production audio and wild lines. Worked with a slew of microphones and experimented with mic placements. But there is nothing like getting other professional opinions and experiences to put in your back pocket. Feel free to answer any one, or all, of these questions as you feel inclined to do so. These are actually questions in an email I have sent to a few people already.

Do you often spend time trying out different mics with the talent during the session? Or do you just throw up more than two or so for safety? Is it a strategic pick before session start based on talent and/or target voice characteristics?

Is your normal setup a large diaphragm front and shotgun above? How often do you reposition these in different areas according to where the character would be on screen, or do wait for after to world-ize/reverb to match their proximity in post-processing?

Beyond editing out non-performance based emissions from the VO actor, top and tailing, removing gaps between lengthy pauses, and such - what editing redundancies have you experienced? Whats your normal (not including special cases based on theme or genre) processing chain for mastering? Compression, EQ, Harmonic Excitation, and the like.

Do you have usual conveniences for the actors when they show up? Throat Coat, magazines, lemon water, green apples/apple juice?

Is the session as simple as just hitting record and stopping after each line's takes are finished and edit afterward? Or do you edit some just by the nature of the recording session?

How do you name your tracks? Simply by character name, then rename by character name and line number/name after the recording session as finished? Or by the name written on the script/take sheet given to you, director, and talent to be burnt into the region upon recording?

Have at it you all!



1 Answer 1


For the fast turnaround, low budget dubbing/audio tour records:

  • Our talent are pretty experienced with us, so they basically walk in and start belting out the cues. We have water and coffee for them, but it's pretty casual.
  • In the studio where most of this happens, we just have an Audio Technica large diaphragm (not sure which model). I'll quickly adjust the mic to get a good balance between avoiding pops and clicks, while still picking up good presence from their mouth.
  • For dubbing, i'll quickly cut the line into place if i want to check sync, although after a while you can intuitively tell whether or not it's usable. Some of these sessions we record 60+ cues per hour, so there's not much time to mess around.
  • During the record, we have a different track for each character. Because it's so fast, there's no time to rename for different cues (if we even had different cues to go off), so all we need is for the files to carry the character's name. The rest i can find out with time stamps and file creation time/dates.
  • For the dialogue chain when mixing, i use an EQ (mainly for hi/lo pass), followed by C4 on noise reduction (a/c... embarrassing, but it's either that or let the actor cook), then some compression, then an L1 so i can squeeze it into broadcast spec.

For ADR with talent and director:

  • We brew up some coffee, have tea available (this is in a different studio to the first), magazines, honey, lemon, sweet n low, etc etc etc.
  • I rent mics specifically for these sessions, but i'll usually go for a Neumann KMR81 because of its similarity to on set shotguns, and its wider pattern with less off axis coloration. This is so i don't have to cut/repo the mic whenever the talent moves, and so i'm not telling them to hold still while they're doing their creative thing. I'll also use a lapel clipped on around mid-chest. I used a TRAM last time; no complaints. These go to discrete L and R in a stereo track to give the ADR crew options (although, for playback, i pan them both to C).
  • Because a director is involved, i cut the lines roughly to sync for approval before we move on to the next cue. I keep some fill or FX library ambience around to help sell the take.
  • I name the record track for each cue, as per the ADR cue sheet. So if the cue is "PAO087", that's what i'll name the track. Pro Tools will automatically append take numbers eg. "PAO087_01", "PAO087_02", etc. And, seeing as i just deliver these to an ADR editor, there's no signal chain at my end.

So that's just my system, cobbled together from my old teachers, my current job, and things that generally make sense to me. Hope there's something interesting there!

  • Sounds like a pretty good setup to me. I'm probably going to set up like this when I get to that point.
    – g.a.harry
    Jun 29, 2011 at 19:38

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