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How to make your voice sound better

Learn how to make your voice sound better by using expert tips to improve your audio post-production skills, with the help of audio engineer Jairo Pineda and helpful video tutorials!

 Voice123’s Customer Success team has been assisting voices actors not just with customer service but also by troubleshooting audio issues and addressing related concerns. We’ve noticed some common issues on the topic of how to make your voice sound better. So, with the help of audio engineer Jairo Pineda, we’ll be providing helpful post-production tips and tricks to make your voice sound better!

Jairo Pineda

Post Producer, Musician & Audio Engineer

Work experience: Spotify, Pandora, Netflix, Publix, Disney.
Specializes in: audio restoration, radio tag mixing, post-production for TV and cinema, music production, Binaural 3D sound.

To help you learn how to make your voice sound better, we’ll be covering the topics below in greater detail. We also have video tutorials from our “How to edit voice overs” series.

Before diving in, please allow us to stress:

  1. This is not a one-size-fits-all industry. Not all voices benefit from the same processes. Some recording techniques are more useful than others. And some audio post workflows will suit you better than others.
  2. It’s about the processes, not the tools. It’s more important to understand the concepts of what you are doing. Whether you’re using Audacity, Ableton, Pro Tools, Audition, Reaper, or even GarageBand; tools are only as good as your application. 
  3. Planning is key. By recording in the best environment possible and with proper technique, you can eliminate the need for extra work during post-production. Always address the cause, not the symptom.
  4. Invest in yourself. Honing your craft means investing in yourself through education, equipment, workshops, coaching, etc.

With that said, let’s get to it!

What’s the difference between editing, mixing, and mastering?

  1. Editing is the clean-up process. It’s removing unwanted silences and noises, deleting mistakes, removing breathing noises, and so on. 
  2. Mixing is when you set volume levels (and stereo placement, if applicable) correctly. This allows all the individual elements to come together like pieces of an audio puzzle.
  3. Mastering is when you apply finishing touches to the whole project. Such as EQ, compression, normalization, and limiting. While some of these processes may be involved during mixing, they enable everything to fit together seamlessly. It also ensures that your finished recording meets all the necessary technical and quality specifications like digital format and overall volume. 

How to reduce mouth clicks

This is not a one-size-fits-all industry. Not all voices benefit from the same processes. You may find some recording techniques more useful than others, and some audio post workflows that will suit you better than they will someone else. Click To Tweet

Mouth clicks are noises that naturally occur in our mouths, especially when they’re dry. They happen as our tongue, teeth, and saliva interact. This causes little slaps, clicks, and pops. It’s always better to try and avoid, or at least lessen them before the recording process even starts. The solution is to make sure you’re really well hydrated. Also, avoid drinking beverages like coffee just before you record. Certain types of medication can be a problem too. There are many potential remedies, but they don’t all work for everyone.

Tips and tricks to reduce mouth clicks in your recordings

  1. Drink plenty of water at least 2 or 3 hours before recording. Keep a glass of water handy.
  2. Avoid drinking diuretic beverages such as soda, coffee, energy drinks, or tea.
  3. Avoid smoking.
  4. Drink sips of water in between takes and phrases to keep hydrated.
  5. Mic positioning and vocal projection can help reduce mouth clicks.

Additional Reading 

The secret to preventing mouth clicks – Gravy for the Brain 

Producing professional voice overs at home – Pt. 1 & 2 – Sound on Sound

Ultimately, if there are audible tongue slaps as well as mouth clicks and pops in your recording, you’ll have to carefully edit them out. Here’s how:

DAW + Plugins Used: 

iZotope RX 8 Standard and Elements

iZotope mouth de-click 

Mouth Clicks Tips - How to make your voice sound better
Tips from the community

How to reduce plosives

It’s about the processes, not the tools. Understanding the concepts behind the purpose of why you’re doing something is far more beneficial than the ‘how’. Whether you’re using Audacity, Ableton, Pro Tools, Audition, Reaper, or even… Click To Tweet

‘Pops’ are caused by plosive consonants like p, t, or k. They happen when a rush of breath hits the mic’s capsule because of the lack of a pop filter. Or using an inadequate one.

Practice and perfect the production of plosive consonants by positioning the lips so you force your escaping breath downwards rather than straight at the mic. It takes getting used to and you have to practice it well. Otherwise, your plosives will always sound strained or tentative.

A great exercise is to practice talking with a pencil in your mouth. This helps to project your breath to the sides of your mouth.

Tips and tricks to reduce plosives in your voice over recordings

  1. Nothing beats a good pop-filter and no voice actor should record without one! The mesh is designed to prevent plosives from reaching the mic capsule by effectively dispersing your breath. Double-layered pop filters are recommended, as they work better than single-mesh or a punched-metal one. 
  2. Practice your pronunciation by trying to redirect the airburst to the sides of your mouth instead of to the front.
  3. Move your head slightly away from the mic capsule when pronouncing plosive consonants, so that the mic doesn’t pick up the airburst. This takes practice so you don’t go off-mic. 

If, despite your best efforts, you end up with ‘pops’ in your recording, you can either reduce or remove them with careful editing. Here’s how:

DAW + Plugins Used: 

Ableton Live 10

High-pass filter – de-plosive

iZotope RX

How to reduce sibilance

Sibilance is the excessive high frequency sound that’s produced with letters like ‘s’; it’s that hissing ‘s’ sound. It’s the result of a combination of factors involving your lips, tongue and teeth, and can be worsened if you have a lisp. You can reduce sibilance by adapting your recording technique in front of the mic. 

Tips and tricks to reduce sibilance in your voice over recordings

  1. Move your head away ( mouth approx. 1 inch to the side) from the mic capsule when pronouncing an ‘s’ sound.
  2. For some, placing a popsicle stick vertically in front of the mic capsule can slightly disperse the incoming air and reduce the sharpness of the hiss. But this doesn’t work for everyone!
how to make your voice sound better

If you end up with troublesome sibilance in your recording, you can reduce it while editing. Here’s how:

DAW + Plugins Used:

Pro Tools

De-esser

Sibilance Tips - How to make your voice sound better
Tips from the community

How to remove breathing noises

Breathing is vital. But breaths can be intrusive and distracting in voice overs. Soft, gentle breaths are fine, but loud harsh breaths can really irritate a listener.

As always, it’s best to address this issue while recording. Adding to our ‘move away from the mic’ tip, we also suggest breathing exercises.

Tips and tricks to reduce breaths in your voice over recordings

  1. Practice breathing softly and gently. And avoid sharp intakes of breath. 
  2. Start breathing from your diaphragm. This will give your voice the support it needs for better endurance, projection, and tone.

Additional information on how to make your voice sound better 

Tara Platt and Yuri Lowenthal explain diaphragmatic breathing on Voice over voice actor.

If you find there are troublesome breaths when you listen back to your recording, you can either reduce or remove them while editing. Here’s how:

DAW + Plugins Used: 

Pro Tools

iZotope RX 

De-breath

How to remove rumble and background noise

By ensuring you’re recording in the best environment possible and with proper technique, you can eliminate the headaches that inevitably reveal themselves in post. Always address the cause, not the symptom. Click To Tweet

Background noise comes from external sources like lawnmowers, cars, airplanes, children, dogs, air conditioners, computer fans, etc.

Rumble is created by vibrations and movements. In some cases, these can be the result of traffic passing by. Or if you move your mic stand or cable while recording. Figuring out how to make your voice sound better also involves limiting these noises in your recordings. 

Tips and tricks to reduce rumble and background noise in your voice over recordings

  1. To reduce rumble, avoid contact with your mic stand or cable when recording. If you live next to a busy street, you’ll probably have to build an insulated false floor. Then you can set up your mic stand to isolate it from the floor vibrations.
  2. Another factor indirectly related to how to make your voice sound better is eliminating background noise. So be sure to record in a silent room. And aim to have your computer in another room or far away from your recording space to limit the amount of fan noise. Be sure to remove any electric devices that can produce unwanted noise. You can check out our ‘equipment for a home studio set-up’ post for more information on acoustic treatment. 
How to remove rumble and background noise - How to make your voice sound better
Tips from the community

If, despite your best efforts, you have rumble and background noise in your recording, you can reduce them. Here’s how:

DAW + Plugins Used: 

Ableton Live 10 

Noise Gate

iZotope RX 

De-noise

Audio post production is not one-size-fits-all

Investing in yourself is the next step in your professional growth. Honing your craft means investing in yourself, whether it's via education, equipment, workshops, coaching, or more. Click To Tweet

These tutorials are not meant to be a comprehensive audio post-production guide. We’re simply addressing the most common concerns our team helps with. 

Learning how to make your voice sound better might require more time than you were hoping to invest. But you’ll be glad you made the effort to improve the quality of your recordings as it will help you stand out from the crowd. After all, it’s sincere care and customer service that gets you repeat clients and referrals!

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