You may have noticed that in the radio, advertising, and movie industries, deeper voices just seem to sound better. Low tones get all the gigs. Maybe it is because low-frequency waves can travel farther than high-frequency waves, but whatever the reasoning, humans seem to love a good, low, Morgan Freeman-esque voice.
If you are in the acting industry for movies, theater, or voice acting, you may be interested in deepening your voice to make it sound smoother and more pleasant for your work. All you need is practice, so here are 8 helpful tips to get the most out of your voice and how you can coax it to become a bit deeper, if only for a temporary time.
Use Technology to Deepen Your Voice
It is essential to understand that it is not possible to permanently deepen your voice without the use of hormone therapy or surgery. If your fully developed voice naturally wants to be at a certain octave, you can absolutely fake it ’til you make it, but long-term effects can and will only occur with more permanent treatment.
That being said and disclaimers out of the way, giving the impression of having a deeper voice is not impossible, and there are a few ways you can create this illusion. One of the most popular and easily managed voice deepening methods is found with the use of voice-altering technology that can make you sound as low as you want.
This kind of effect is used a lot in voice-over work for animation or advertising as it is easy for the editors and producers to influence the sound backstage either during or after the actor is recording their part. There are plenty of animated television shows or kids’ movies where one character turns evil and their voice goes monstrously deep.
Many standard bundles from editing software will include the tech necessary to help you get this sort of effect at home. This is a great option for you if you are interested in doing voice acting from home for commercials and things of that nature. Some of the best options for voice editing software can be found:
- Voxal Voice Changer: a free program
- Voice Changer Software Diamond: has a free trial and then has a fee later
- All in One Voice Changer: a free program
These programs can be used to alter your voice after it has been recorded, but they will not work to deepen your live voice in real-time.
Deepening Your Voice with the Tech You Have
It is worth mentioning and you should always keep in mind that most inexpensive microphones will make your voice sound completely different from how it sounds in real life. Although the microphone on your current tech may not be the best, it is a good place to start and it is likely that you have one of these things already. Try:
- Using the microphone on your smartphone
- Comparing your smartphone to your computer’s microphone
- Juxtapose those two with the microphone on your friend or family member’s tech
Unfortunately for novice actors or vocal enthusiasts, the best microphones can cost lots of money and you may not have access to the best equipment that is going to help your voice sound as deep as possible. A good microphone can cost you thousands, but can also pick up on the lower notes of your voice, which make your vocals sound deeper.
Investing in your hobbies is much like investing in yourself and while you may not need any encouragement to “treat yourself,” it is a good idea to make sure you will actually use the equipment you want to buy before you pull that trigger. A good thing to consider is how you can utilize the tech you already have to start where you are.
Your smartphone may have a decent microphone, so it is best to start there. If you get to the point in your career where you are ready to invest in some more expensive, better quality sound equipment, that will be great, but try not to get ahead of yourself. You may already know someone in the industry that has access to the good stuff you can use.
Make Your Voice Louder
Since the earliest humans retold and acted out skits for one another around fires and in caves, performances have been a huge part of mankind. The need for projection in theater has long been a requirement for actors as some of the original playhouses were actually outdoors, or at the very least, very large and full of echoes.
To ensure that the person sitting in the very back of the performance hall can hear you, you will have to learn and practice something called vocal projection. Vocal projection is essentially just using your diaphragm and other muscles to ensure that you can be well heard without yelling, screaming, or straining or damaging your vocal cords.
If you are a naturally shy person that tends to speak at a lower volume, you may have to first address any underlying anxieties to overcome first. You may be a soft-spoken person, or you may need to overcome some level of shyness or nervousness to learn to project. To properly project your voice so you can be understood, you will have to:
- Practice breath control
- Explore your vocal range in both pitch and tone
- Learn how to safely access different sound levels to avoid hurting your voice
Many actors and singers practice yoga and other breathing, body-opening exercises to get the most out of their vocal control. By breathing correctly and speaking from your belly, you are able to produce a much more powerful sound that can also help you access deeper tones for your vocal or stage acting.
Deeper Voices and How They Relate to Louder Voices
People seem to gravitate toward others that have deeper voices. Think of the last time you saw a trailer for a particularly intense or action-packed movie. The voiceover actor likely had a very deep and powerful voice, which adds to the drama. Learning to speak with a lower voice will ultimately help you to have a louder, more easily projected voice.
By accessing your diaphragm, you are less likely to strain your vocal cords or hurt your throat in any way. You can access a more powerful and deeper sound. Your diaphragm is a small muscle that helps you breathe and is located right under your sternum. By finding and isolating this muscle, you can use it to control your breath and speak louder.
It is best to practice breathing with this muscle in mind and train your diaphragm before you attempt to perform anything serious. This way you can feel free to make mistakes and really play around with your sound. By flexing this muscle as you speak, you put less strain on your voice while still projecting a louder sound.
There are a few vocal exercises to help strengthen your voice once you find the diaphragm and become a little more comfortable with using it while speaking or performing. The best thing you can do for yourself is to consider your voice like an instrument. You can play stronger and better with practice. Try:
- Breathing in as deeply as you can, holding your breath for a few moments, and then releasing your air completely by imagining you are flexing your belly button
- Making a siren noise with your tone going higher and lower
- Singing a familiar song softly at first and then growing in volume until you are completely accessing that diaphragm muscle
Learning to make your voice louder can present similar effects as deepening your voice.
Utilize a Condenser Microphone
There are many different types of microphones, and depending on how long you have been in the acting business, you may know that not all microphones are used for the same activities, and not all microphones are created equally. Condenser microphones are not used on a stage production of something, nor are they used on a movie set.
Condenser microphones are more typically found being used in a recording studio, so either for vocal acting with advertising or voiceover work in animated movies. These microphones give a superior level of sound quality, which allows sound editors and producers to have an ideal canvas for the editing and layering portions of their work.
Condenser microphones can also help you to capture a lower sound for your vocals. Microphones that have a lower quality sound will make your voice sound high and tinny, so a good quality condenser mike will capture a sound that is closer to your real vocal tone. Combine that with a little vocal training and your voice will sound lower than ever.
Condenser microphones actually have a diaphragm that vibrates when you speak or sing into it. This allows the sound that is recorded to be more true to what you sound like to other people. If your microphone’s diaphragm is too small, it will not even pick up your lower tones and the spectrum of your sound will be lessened.
Work Out to Produce Testosterone
People typically tend to associate testosterone with bulked-out bodybuilders, gym memberships, and tons of supplements. What you may be surprised to learn is that every time you work out, regardless if you are a man or a woman, your body naturally produces testosterone. Testosterone is an essential steroid hormone for everyone.
For men and women, high testosterone levels will help to lower the voice, which is why so many people transitioning from female to male will take additional shots of testosterone to help them physically appear and sound more masculine. Testosterone will also help synthesize proteins, build muscle and tissue, and increase bone density.
It is recommended to naturally increase your testosterone levels by working out at least two to three times a week. The type of workout you perform, however, can either have a positive or negative reaction to your T levels. Endurance training, like tons of running, can lower your testosterone levels, while resistance training will increase them, like:
- Trade the treadmill for weight machines
- Throw around a medicine ball
- Pump some free weights
Testosterone, while naturally found in higher levels in men, can also be increased for guys by high-intensity interval training and steady resistance training. Testosterone can have more beneficial side effects than just lowering your voice; it can also help you to feel more masculine, have more energy, and have an overall healthier body image.
Best Ways to Increase Testosterone
Working out is not the only way you can naturally boost your testosterone levels to help lower your voice, although it is likely the healthiest and most natural. There are so many things that can help you to boost this natural hormone, from the things you consume to the things you put out.
Testosterone is a steroid hormone that is naturally found in the ovaries, testicles, and adrenal glands. If you are alive, your body contains some level, be it high or low, of testosterone. The things you eat and drink can have a huge impact on boosting this hormone. Getting healthier, working out, and even losing weight can help your T levels.
There are quite a few different foods you can eat to naturally increase your testosterone levels. All pre-workout supplements contain ingredients that help you to have more energy to want to work out, but most also include ingredients that can help boost your testosterone levels, such as caffeine, creatine, and fenugreek.
The most popular foods you can eat on a regular basis that boost your testosterone levels are high in magnesium and zinc. Some of the easiest ways to get those vitamins are by eating foods that you may already know and love. Taking the time to get these foods into your diet in higher amounts will help raise your T levels and lower your voice:
- Clams and other seafood
- Red meats such as beef and lamb
- Lots of leafy green vegetables, especially spinach. Turns out that manly, muscly Popeye had a point!
With these natural testosterone boosts, you can avoid introducing unnecessary chemicals and supplements.
Slow Down Your Natural Vocal Speed
When people get nervous, they tend to speed up their talking and talk really high and soft. One thing you can consciously do to deepen your voice, especially if you are nervous at an audition, is to take a very deep breath before you begin, breath out completely, and think low and slow. Repeating that to yourself should steady you.
It is also worth mentioning that slowing down when speaking or singing allows you to really focus on your pronunciation, which will help you be better understood when speaking into a microphone or when being recorded. Taking a little bit of time prior to the gig to really center yourself will help you stay focused and keep your voice low.
This is an inexpensive way to lower your voice as you will not require any sort of fancy equipment, but it will most likely take some time for you to make a habit of focusing on deepening your voice and slowing down your vocal speed. Think of some of the most famous actors in Hollywood with deep voices such as:
- James Earl Jones
- Sam Elliot
- Vin Diesel
All of these actors speak methodically and slowly. Taking time to speak slowly and deeply will automatically keep people riveted. When these individuals speak, people really listen to them and are drawn to their vocal sounds. As you practice speaking slowly, clearly, and in a lower tone, think of these actors and their styles of speaking.
Consume Dairy Products to Coat the Throat
This little vocal trick of using dairy products to coat the throat is every vocal coach’s nightmare. If you are taking singing lessons or are part of a choir, the first thing most choir directors or singing teachers will tell you is to avoid drinking or eating any dairy products prior to a performance, as it can alter your sound.
If you are trying to deepen your voice for a singing role, this is obviously not a good choice of method for you. Dairy products can almost clog your throat while singing and while the result will be a deeper voice when speaking, the coated vocal cords will make your singing sound a lot messier and not as pleasant as you had practiced for.
You can use this tactic in acting, however, to grease up your vocal cords and make your voice sound huskier and lower. Keep in mind that your sound will be different from normal, so you will want to make sure to practice with different dairy products and how they will affect you to avoid embarrassment should the dairy catch in your throat.
If you are a fan of coffee with cream, this drink is a double whammy for lowering your voice temporarily. If you try to avoid coffee for whatever reason, however, drinking warm milk with honey will get you a safe result. Avoid drinking these beverages too hot as this can actually irritate your vocal cords and will give the opposite effect.
Other Consumables to Change Your Vocal Cords
Drinking plenty of water is recommended by pretty much every doctor, trainer, and vocal coach in the world. In addition to being necessary to sustain your life, drinking extra water will make your vocal cords happier and more relaxed, which will help your overall sound quality and allow you to reach lower tones than dehydrated vocal cords would.
Although this is not necessarily a recommended tactic for vocal artists and singers, alcohol is another substance that will relax your vocal cords and allow you to speak or sing in a deeper, huskier tone. Because alcohol is a muscle relaxant, it allows your vocal cords a little more slack, like loosening the strings on a guitar.
Some studies have said that smoking is another way to get a lower, huskier voice, but partaking in alcohol or cigarettes for your occupation is not necessarily the healthiest choice. If you are serious about singing in addition to vocal performance, cigarette smoking will give you a raspier sound and wreak havoc on your vocal cords over time.
It is better to treat your vocal cords well and take care of them so you can continue to perform in your later years than to try to get a quick fix by consuming something that will harm your body over time. While alcohol and cigarettes will lower your voice, they can also cause cancer, liver problems, and phone calls to your ex.
Warm Up Your Throat
In addition to warming up your voice literally with a hot dairy drink, you can use vocal exercises to make sure your sound is prepared. Many singers will tell you that they would never think of performing without first warming up their voice. That would be like performing in a ballet orchestra without first taking the time to tune up your violin.
Vocal teachers will tell you that their students can grow their vocal range, or they can be born with a more broad range naturally. It would obviously be nice to have a superior vocal range like Ariana Grande or Celine Dion, but for the rest of us mortals, working toward reaching higher and lower notes does not have to be out of range. Pun intended.
You can train your voice to reach higher and lower notes when singing and the same is true for your speaking voice. Some of the greatest vocal talent on earth is found on stage at Broadway. These performers will tell you that they have vocal stretches, tongue twisters, and mandatory vocal exercises that they do before every performance.
Humming is an excellent way to warm up your vocal cords before performing. Starting at a normal mid-range note for you is the best, and then slowly sliding down the scale will help you to stretch your abilities. An easy way to take the pressure and focus off your vocal cords would be to play with a few things as you do this exercise, such as:
- Blowing bubbles through a straw
- Buzzing your lips
- Blowing raspberries with your tongue
These exercises will feel silly at first, but they are effective. Plus, you can have fun while doing them.
The Piano Step Method
An easy way to practice some vocal exercises if you are not a singer or are not familiar with any specific routines involves a book, a piano, (or piano app on your smartphone), and a little patience. Basically, you take your favorite book, fan fiction, newspaper article, or whatever you like to read and start reading the first paragraph with your normal voice.
- Using a piano or piano app, find a note that is only slightly lower than your normal, comfortable reading voice.
- Read the next paragraph with that note in mind until that note begins to feel more comfortable for you.
- Using this method, keep going down the piano until you can no longer read due to the lowness of the notes.
The best part about this exercise is that once you get familiar with how the steps go down, you can do it anywhere and anytime. Give your voice plenty of rest in between practice sessions, and always keep your instrument hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Warm water is better than cold water, and drinking warm tea will help soothe too.
Vocal exercise is much like any other exercise you would do in a full-body workout. In order to make your muscles stronger, you have to exercise regularly, and during the process, you will likely have some soreness. Maintaining the lower range once you have it is equally as important so that the muscles in your throat do not atrophy without use.
Consider an Acting or Vocal Coach
There is nothing wrong with looking into finding and hiring an acting or vocal coach to help you figure out how to lower your voice. While the best and easiest tactic would be to just let nature and time lower your voice, if that option has come and passed for you, or is not possible due to your gender, getting an outside perspective would be helpful.
It does not matter if you are trying to lower your natural speaking or singing voice for a specific role, in anticipation of an audition, or if you just want a deeper, richer sound. Deep voices sound more powerful and commanding than higher voices and they tend to pick up better on a microphone or recording equipment when you are working in acting.
While there is, unfortunately, no way to truly lower your voice permanently without medical intervention, there are a handful of tricks you can use to mimic the same effects. Sometimes the best tool to lower your voice is to just practice a few tactics with a seasoned pro. With time and repetition, lowering your voice can be safe and easy.
Vocal and acting coaches will likely have more tips and tricks that are not found in this article. Having an expert’s opinion and advice on your side and having someone able to help design a routine or system that will not only work, but that is specifically tailor-made for you and your current vocal abilities would be utterly priceless.