Bad Voice + Good Microphone = Great Voiceover
I have always wanted to be a voiceover artist - that guy you hear in movie trailers saying, "In a world where Hubpage makers are murdered..." (some banging and noise, explosions in the background).
Recently, I got the chance to become a voice artist. A project was given to me to create a wedding video for a friend. The video was a wedding invitation in the form of a movie trailer. It was 25 seconds long and burned on those 2-inch cd discs. I was the voice artist, video editor, director, and producer of the wedding trailer.
The video was great, the music was great, the action was great, but the voice was awful. I have an awful voice to start with. You know, something a like a sick frog trying to impersonate an FM disk jockey. But do you know what further made my voice so bad? I used a desktop microphone - those microphones that cost a dime a dozen.
Still, a lot of people liked the concept of that wedding invitation. Who says wedding invitations should be stuck with cards, lace, and ribbons? A few weeks later, I got another project - another wedding trailer invitation. This time I consulted all my geeky friends and normal friends for microphones they could let me borrow.
Great USB Mic Collection
Audio Technica AT2020USB
Considering price, output quality and good looks... I dare say this one gets my vote. My frog voice was transformed into something short of a disc jockey. No desktop microphon can ever get close to the quality of this. Here is a sample of audio recorded using an Audio Technica.
..Audio-Technica AT2020 USB Features Side-address studio condenser with USB digital output Crystal-clear, natural sound for podcasting, home studio recording, field recording, and voiceover use Custom-engineered low-mass diaphragm provides extended frequency response and superior transient response Cardioid polar pattern reduces pickup of sounds from the sides... - Audio Technica
Marshal MXL USB.008
I also like this usb microphone. It is a lot cheaper than the Audio Technica but... although I go for the output quality... sometimes good looks also matter. This is where the MXL USB.008 fails to live up to my expectations. :-) It does look a little bit professional. One thing I noticed was that my voice through this mic was transformed into something really sexy... you know that baritone ladies always fall for. Unfortunately, my friends say they can still detect the frog behind the voice.
MXL also comes in several flavors. Well of course you can deduce just by the name the improvement of the technology behind the mics. There is the MXL USB .006, MXL USB .007, all the way to MXL USB.009. The USB.009 is the best of all USB microphone, in fact the first 24bit/96khz usb microphone in the world.
Here is the manufacturer's short description:
Producing a 24-bit/96 kHz feature-rich USB microphone for the professional broadcast and music industry meant no compromises on quality. The MXL USB.009 features a large diaphragm, 32mm capsule, similar to what's found on the world's best analog microphones. With zero latency monitoring, hand selected components and analog rotary knobs to dial in the perfect mix, the MXL USB.009 replaces an entire studio. When it's time to listen back to the tracks you've recorded, it will impress with its amazing detail and punch. The MXL USB.009 is a simple, feature-rich, elegant all-in-one recording solution that is nothing short of professional! - MXL
Dave on May 16, 2012:
I need to disagree heartily with MnTed. The Blue Snowball is NOT an excellent mic. It is Blue's first USB mic. Don't get it if you want high quality. I tried it, and I will NOT use it. Blue's Yeti and Yeti Pro are much better and rival MXL's USB009. I have clients using both, and it is hard to tell the difference between the two.
Steve on April 16, 2012:
The great sounding microphones I have heard in studio is the AKG microphones. http://www.martelelectronics.com/119.html
cyber sequencer review on March 25, 2011:
I'm a proud owner of the AT2020 USB. It's one of the best mics I've usb especially for the money and no preamp is needed. I use it for sound designing
MnTed on August 19, 2010:
Great hub! Blue Microphones Snowball USB mic is an excellent mic. I've been very happy with the performance of it.