Picking a mic for voiceovers
Author: Mike Cooper
Date: 12/22/2008
I'm currently using an Audio Technica AT 4040 in my voiceover booth, with a Focusrite Platinum Voicemaster Pro preamp. I'm quite pleased with it overall, but there are times when it sounds too harsh at the top end and can tend towards sibilance.

I'm also after that "Neumann Sound". Every studio I visit for work has U 87s (and a variety of preamps, of course), but the U 87 generally works for me. Unfortunately it's out of my price range.

One studio I work in has a TLM 193 running through a Neve 8801 preamp (again, that's a lot of preamp) and I'm pleased with how I sound there too. At the BBC World Service we use BCM 104s in our newer studios, but I've never thought I sounded that great through any of them and I find the "sweet spot" a bit limiting for voiceovers, where I need more room to move than when I'm newsreading.

The TLM 193 and TLM 103 are, therefore, my options at this point, but I'm unable to find a dealer to audition them with. I understand that the TLM 193 sounds "darker" and that the 103 can sound "harsh", but I'm a bit stuck as to trying to work out which will work better with my voice and with my preamp (which I haven't the money to change as well).

There are clips of my voice on my website at www.mikecoopervoiceover.com/listen - some of these (the second two trainings and the audiobook) were recorded at home using my 4040, for reference, but the whole page will give you an idea of what I sound like and the material I work with.

Your help and thoughts are greatly appreciated!  
Mike Cooper
Martin Schneider/Neumann
John Willett
Mario Iannacci