Broadcast quality voice over: what it means and why it matters

2 min read

Broadcast quality voice over has been a reference term since the advent of radio. Over time, of course, what exactly it entailed has changed. Today, the overall meaning of ‘broadcast quality’ is a bit vague.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The upheaval brought about by the fast-changing and constantly-developing information technology revolution has impacted every aspect of our daily lives. It’s also impacted both our interpretation and expectation of what the ‘quality’ is of what we listen to.

What goes out on air gets data-compressed in some way — Mp3‘s for example. This means ‘broadcast quality’ isn’t a specific technical benchmark anymore.

Nevertheless, most professional voice actors understand ‘broadcast quality’ to mean audio recordings that compare favorably with commercial recordings of the highest technical standard.

So what does the ‘highest technical standard’ mean to you as a client? What if you really have no interest in technicalities or technical jargon? After all, you want a recording that sounds as good as anything else out there. It doesn’t matter whether the voice over goes out via streaming video services, or via podcasts, radio, or television. The maxim applies: if it sounds good, it is good — right?

Kind of.

‘Broadcast Quality’

If you want to know whether the voice over you received from a voice actor is ‘broadcast quality’, ask yourself these questions when you listen to the recording:

  • Does the voice over sound clear, as opposed to muffled and indistinct?
  • Is it noise-free, as opposed to a recording with electrical buzz or hiss in the background?
  • Are there environmental sounds like people talking or dogs barking?
  • Does the voice over make you think the voice actor recorded it in a bathroom because it sounds reverberant and echoey?
  • Is there any distortion?
  • Does the recording flow seamlessly or can you hear editing points where the voice actor removed mistakes or breaths?
  • Is it loud enough, or do you have to turn up the volume?
  • Is it nice to listen to?

Although ‘nice to listen to’ may seem ridiculously subjective, it’s an important distinction.

Photo by Leo Wieling on Unsplash

Simply put, if your audience can’t hear the voice over well or it’s irritating to listen to, they won’t engage with your message. If you’re in the business of selling a product or service, that’s the very worst thing that can happen.

According to a study by TechSmith, 25% of the respondents watch a video till the end because of its good quality audio. Another study by Statista, suggests that 33% of people abandon a video within seconds if the audio quality is poor.

Don’t underestimate the power of great audio. Remember your company’s message and brand voice will lose impact if the voice over is poor. Your target audience and current customers are likely to start looking for what they need from your competitors. Your brand image will take a hit because you come across as uncaring and unprofessional.

Always use a professional voice actor

As an online voice-casting platform, Voice123 hosts some of the finest voice actors in the world. In many instances, they will be able to guide you. If you request ‘broadcast quality’ they will understand exactly what you mean. Why? Because it’s their livelihood.

Professional voice actors invest in top-notch recording equipment and editing software. They know how to use these tools and provide you with audio recordings that meet the nebulous ‘broadcast quality’ standard. They will take care of breathing sounds, incomprehensible audio, ambient room noise, and such almost instinctively.

In the final analysis, you as a client don’t need to know precisely what ‘broadcast quality’ entails. You are, however, entitled to expect what it stands for from every voice actor you work with.

We know you’ll find them on Voice123!