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  • Writer's pictureRick MacIvor

What is Acoustic Treatment? - Sound Matters

So you’ve been put in charge of creating a video for your company. And you have to do the voice-over! Now what? It’s not as hard as you think.

I’m Rick MacIvor, a professional voice actor, welcome to my series called “Sound Matters”. I will be giving you tips and tricks to make you sound like a professional voice actor. Don’t worry, I’ll keep it short, each article will be about a two-minute read. Let’s get started.

The number one thing you can do to start to sound like a professional is to record in a room that is treated to eliminate reverberation. Reverb may be great for singing in the shower, but for recording voice over it’s a killer. Reverb is caused by hard reflective surfaces that bounce sound around and create something called standing waves. These waves cause your microphone to pick up strange harmonics, delays, reverb and distortions. No matter how much money you have spent on a good microphone, it all comes down to the quality of the sound that goes into that mic.

Offices and homes have reflective surfaces everywhere. It’s a very inhospitable environment to try to record a voice-over. But you can make some simple adjustments and additions to augment the room where you will be recording. You’ll be surprised at just what a difference a little sound treatment can make.

Think soft.

Blankets, pillows, couches, curtains and clothing all absorb sound. The goal is to have your voice be the only thing the microphone hears. You want all the other sound in the room trapped in that soft pillow-y goodness.

If you are recording at home, go stand in a closet full of clothes. Actually, a walk in closet full of clothes is an ideal recording space. It’s usually centrally located in the house, full of absorbing material, and it even has a door you can close! Bonus!

If you are at the office then I have a quick, easy and temporary set up that you can use to create a better sounding space in a matter of minutes. First, find a conference room, or an office where you can close the door. This will eliminate a lot of external office chatter that you don’t want on your recording. Next, find a couple of chairs and lay them on their side on top of the table to form a small alcove. Next, you will need to find a couple of couch or chair cushions to lay over the top of the chairs. Put your microphone inside this area and record away! A bonus is to try and lay a coat or blanket over your head to help isolate the sound that is bouncing around behind you from leaking into the mic.

If you are in a hotel room then use the ironing board to create a scaffolding and drape every blanket and pillow you can find over the top. It's like a voice-over pillow fort!

If you need a more permanent solution because you will be recording a series of videos, you can easily make or buy acoustic panels. I’ll be covering how to make those in a later episode.

Hopefully this will get you going in the right direction to better sounding sound. For more info on sounding great, visit my website, There you can find videos and podcast episodes that are dedicated to helping you find answers to your audio questions. Stay tuned for next weeks article on finding the right microphone.

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© 2021 by RICK MACIVOR.

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