The problem with noisy voice-over spaces

Whether you are doing a voice-over for a radio spot, movie character or simply reading a book for the visually impaired, it is essential that the message being transmitted is clear and natural sounding. The first problem is that a microphone cannot discern what is relevant and what should be discarded. It does not know the difference between a voice and noise from the air conditioner.  It simply captures everything and then flattens it out. The next problem is the room itself. If the room has hard surfaces, sound from the voice will echo back and forth between the walls and window creating a dense reverberant field known as flutter echo. At the listening end, facial cues and lip movement is lost. Further, the brain is no longer able to ignore the unwanted sounds. This makes it difficult to understand and strains the listener to the point of fatigue. Improper treatment (prevalent in most voice over booths) colors the voice further exacerbating the problem.

How can Primacoustic help you?

The first order of defence is to create a relatively dead space where the voice can be recorded without ambient noise echoing back into the mic.  The optimal setup would be a quiet room that has been treated with 2” (5cm) thick Broadway™ acoustic panels.  As it is imperative that the flutter echo be removed, we recommend a minimum of 50% coverage to the wall surfaces from the waste up.  It is important to note that most ‘commercially fabricated’ voice-over rooms suffer from a problem known as ‘chest hump’ whereby the room introduces a low-mid frequency to the voice making it sound boomy and unnatural. This is because thin, low-density foam (typically 0.5 lb per sq-ft) has been applied to the walls which only absorb frequencies in the upper register. Broadway panels are made from 6lb glass wool for even absorption down to 200Hz. Using Primacoustic Push-On Impalers™ allows you to but the panels up side-by-side to create a uniform finish on the walls. You can further smooth out excessive bottom end by adding Cumulus™ tri-corner traps to your design.  If creating a dedicated voice-over room is not possible, an alternative option is the Primacoustic FlexiBooth™. This wall-mounted vocal booth is made using Broadway panels and can open up when needed and close like a cupboard when not in use. Broadcasters have been treating their radio stations for nearly 100 years. There is good reason for this. When transmitting a message, ensuring it is being understood is paramount!

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Not sure what products are right for you? Check out our suggested room layouts to see what will work best for your space.

Executive Summary

  • Broadway panels eliminate flutter echo to deliver a clean, clear recording
  • This improves intelligibility and ensures the message will be understood
  • Even absorption at all frequencies will not color the voice and make it sound bad
  • Easy and quick to install using Push-On Impalers for professional looking results
  • Wall-mounted Flexibooth is a functional option that can be added to any room