A Guide To Editing Your Voice-Acting Recording

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In voice-acting, voice editing is an important step in the voice actor’s workflow. It can be used to make voice recordings more professional and polished, or it can fix technical errors such as a missed word or a repeated line. 

Editing a voice-acting recording takes a few steps. First, make sure the environment is cleared for recording. And then, after finishing the recording, edit for: 

  • Background noise 
  • Volume control 
  • Overall audio quality

This can easily be done with an audio editing software like Adobe Audition. 

In this blog post, we are going to talk about what editing your recordings entails and how you can do it properly so that you get high-quality voice-acting every time! Keep reading to learn how to edit your voice-acting recordings. 

How Do You Edit Your Voice-Acting Recording?

One of the biggest voice-acting mistakes is not editing your voice recording. When you are voice-acting, it is important to record in a quiet environment that does not have any echoes or background noise. 

The voice actor needs to be able to hear themselves clearly and make sure they are speaking at just the right volume level so that there are not any sudden peaks or valleys in their voice. 

If you do not edit out these problems, then your voice-overs will sound choppy and amateurish, which is not good for business! 

In the following sections, we discuss our step-by-step guide to editing your voice-acting recordings.

Step One: Install A Voice Editing Software on Your Computer

There are a lot of options out there. Choose the best software for you, which you can learn more about in the next section. Follow the application’s prompts to install it on your computer.

Some of the popular features to consider in your editing software are the following:

  • Ability to cut out certain parts of the voice recording and paste them together for a smoother transition
  • Ability to remove background noise 
  • A vocal equalizer that lets you choose the amount of bass you want your voice to have 
  • Voice enhancing/dampening features 

And once your software is fully installed and up to date, you can move on to the next step. 

Step Two: Connect Your Microphone to the Editing Software 

You need a quality microphone to have quality audio recordings. We let you know some of the best microphones later too! 

It may be tricky to connect your microphone properly, so double check your settings in the software and on your computer to make sure everything is connected properly. 

You want to make sure that the audio input is going through the microphone you connected. And it can be: 

  • A hard-wired connection, 
  • Via a USB port and plug, or 
  • A wireless connection via Bluetooth

A dedicated connection will give you the confidence that your recording is going directly into your editing software. 

Step Three: Begin or Upload Your Recording 

Most audio editing software will let you record in the app, or you can upload a file you previously recorded. If you record in the app, watch as the audio track peaks in different places where you raise your voice or use an inflection. 

The following are some key questions to ask yourself and keep in mind as you are talking through your recording:

  • Are you enunciating properly?
  • Are you mumbling at any point? Or speaking too loudly at times?
  • Are you rushing? Or going too slow, perhaps?
  • Did you trip over your words? If so, did you repeat the entire sentence to make the editing easier?
  • Have you pronounced every word correctly?

It is important to be thoughtful as you are recording because while you do have unlimited times where you can record at home, you do not want to be editing and reediting for too long. 

Remember that if you were in a studio or on a live audition, you would not get all this wiggle room to make adjustments over time. 

Step Four: Cut and Edit Your Voice Recording 

Once you have your audio file completed, it is time to cut the audio track down from its original length and piece together what parts work best for your final version.

This is the time where you should listen to your entire clip from start to finish. This allows you to hear everything that may need changing. You can take notes as you go to remember where edits need to be made. 

Then it is time to cut the parts you do not need and improve the areas you are keeping. 

Pro Tip: During the editing process, you want to avoid using sound effects (bells ringing or a car honking) with your voice-acting tracks. Sometimes these added effects can distract the listener too much from your voice and may have you losing a role to a more voice-focused actor. 

Step Five: Control for Volume Changes During Editing 

To help reduce any distortion or unpleasantness caused by high volumes, look over the decibel levels throughout your recording. Most recordings sound best at -6 dB, but a range of -10 to -20 dBs is common among many professionals. 

The easiest way to manage your decibel levels is by normalizing your audio. This feature can usually be found under the effects tab of an application. Select normalize to max peak and enter a value below 0 dB. As we mentioned, -6 dB is a common standard used in audio editing. 

Another way to lower the volume is by applying compression and limiting, which are detailed in the sections below. 

Using Compression While Editing Your Voice-acting Recordings

Compression puts a limit on how loud your voice can be. This means compression can help with reducing distortion from being too close to a microphone that does not have enough power for vocals at their highest volumes. 

Using a compression ratio of 2:1 or 4:1 is common and will not distort your audio recording much.

Using Limiting While Editing Your Voice-acting Recordings

Limiting does the same thing as compression but will cut off audio entirely if it reaches its maximum limit of dBs per second. This means that once you set your limit settings, audio captured above that level will not be heard on your recording. 

Limiters are usually set for a 10:1 ratio or higher, so they are only good to be used in the following situations:

  • To help prevent clipping
  • To apply gain reduction
  • To use a fast attack approach

Controlling the volume of a track is one of the main forms of audio editing when you are working on voice-acting recordings.

Step Six: Add Three Final Editing Effects to Your Recording 

To help give voice recordings an extra edge on professional quality soundtracks, apply voice effects. These can be done through voice-altering software or by using an audio production application to:

  • Delay the sound waves – A delay can be used to make voices sound farther away than they are. It is also sometimes used to create effects like experienced in a chorus where many voices blend for harmonic sweetness.
  • Reduce background noise – Noise reduction helps remove unwanted background noises (such as fan hums or additional unwanted voices), so your voice stands out on its own for your demo. 
  • Reduce echo and reverb – An echo is the reflection of sound off a surface, such as a voice sounding from behind or in front of it. Reverb is an audio effect that simulates echoes reflecting off walls and surfaces. You want to diminish these effects as they can distract a listener. 

Many times, it is as simple as selecting the proper effect, and the software automatically makes the proper adjustments. The voice of an actor or voice talent is a very important part of any production. If you have trouble editing your voice recording, there’s no need to worry. 

The software on the market can be tricky to use at first, but we recommend playing around with all of the features of your favorite app and then watching some detailed tutorials. 

Step Seven: Review Your Audio Recording 

Before submitting your recording for an audition or job, listen to the entire recording from start to finish. And better still, have another set of ears listen over it too. 

Listen with headphones so you can pick up on any of the following things:

  • Poor quality audio
  • Unwanted noises
  • Weird or unnatural sounds

Then proceed to make the final adjustments, save your recording, and export it. 

Once you have gone through these seven steps, your audio recording is ready to be exported and delivered to wherever you need it to go. These days, companies will accept a USB flash drive with your files on it, or even better, you can submit them online via email, their official website, or another chat service. 

Best Editing Software to Use When Voice-Acting

A voice actor needs to have the right editing tools to create a professional voice-acting recording. And the main tool in a voice actor’s toolbox is proper editing software. While many voice actors prefer to take different approaches to their editing process, it all ends with using the software. 

The best way to edit your voice is with audio editing software like the following:

  • Adobe Audition – Adobe Audition has all the features you need for voice-acting recording like noise reduction, equalization, voice restoration, and more. However, if you are on a budget, then this may be too costly of an option to consider. 
  • Adobe Premiere Pro – Adobe Premiere Pro is another voice editing software that has a multitude of voice-acting features like voice-over recording, voice double, and restoration. 
  • Audacity – Audacity is a good voice editing option because it is free and does not require any expensive add-ons. It also has a large community of voice actors and voice-over professionals that will help you with any questions or problems, as it is an open-source editing application.
  • Final Cut Pro – Final Cut Pro is a great voice editing option for those who are serious about their voice-acting recordings because it offers advanced audio tools with everything you need to create professional-sounding voice-acting recordings.
  • Garage Band – Garage Band is good for editing voice-acting, but it requires an Apple device or computer. And it has features like voice enhancement and voice cancellation for removing echoes and reverberations. 
  • Wave Pad – Wave Pad has many options to edit your voice, including splitting tracks into mono or stereo channels which can make speaking easier depending on what type of microphone setup you have (mono vs. stereo). It also has a more robust set of options than Audacity.

These programs will allow you to remove unwanted vocals, add sound effects and music that matches your style, as needed, and tweak any other problems like uneven volume levels throughout your voice-acting recordings! 

Here are some pros and cons of each of the software:

  • Adobe Audition is an industry-standard and one of the most robust audio editing applications on the market, with many features to meet various needs for voice-acting recordings. It also gives you excellent control over effects like pitch adjustment and timing correction as well as voice distortion settings, so this option would be perfect for someone looking to have complete creative freedom over how they want their voice recordings edited.
  • Adobe Premiere Pro will allow for video production and editing as well, but it does not come in the standard package of other software titles by Adobe, so make sure this feature set meets your needs before purchasing. This is especially true if you are primarily looking to edit sound recordings rather than work with video content.
  • Audacity is a free program that is available on Windows or macOS. 
  • Final Cut Pro can do voice editing as well but is more geared towards video production and editing.
  • Garage Band is an Apple-only application but has features like voice enhancement and voice cancellation for removing echoes and reverberations. 
  • Wave Pad is a great option for Windows users who want to pay a one-time fee rather than monthly payments like with the Adobe applications. The software does allow voice enhancement and voice cancellation to remove echoes, reverberations, or other background noise.

The software at the top of our list is Adobe Audition. Adobe Audition offers all of the following features:

  • Add sound effects
  • Easily reduce background noise
  • Mix and master your audio
  • Restore damaged or poor quality audio
  • Use a combo multi-track, waveform, and spectral display

This editing software has all the features you need to create voice-acting recordings that are professional and studio quality! 

Four Voice-Acting Editing Mistakes to Avoid 

Many professional voice actors say that one mistake people often make when recording themselves is not properly preparing before they begin editing their voice-acting recordings.

Generally, a voice actor who is doing their own editing should take extra care to reduce the time they will spend editing their track. This can be done by taking note of the following four things. 

Forgetting about Background Noise Before Starting to Record

A common mistake you can make as a voice actor is forgetting about or ignoring background noise. You should not rely on editing to removing all of the background noise on an audio track. 

For this reason, you should choose a quiet environment and reduce echoing as much as possible. 

If you record voice-overs at home, remember to turn off the TV and any other distracting sounds, like an air conditioner, fan, or dishwasher. 

You should also remove pets or small children from the room during voice-acting recording sessions. 

Doing these things will make it easier for your voice-over recordings to have a clear sound without background noise interference.

It can be near impossible to have no background noise when recording, and taking these steps will help reduce it tremendously. The key is to edit as little as possible in post-production, which will speed up your overall voice-acting process, too!

Not Investing in the Proper Equipment for Voice Recording

A lot of times, voice actors think they do not need high-quality equipment because they have the voice. Why would they need equipment that compensates for that?

This can lead to a voice actor having their voice sound too tinny or nasally when they are recording themselves. To fix this common mistake, invest in a high-quality microphone. 

You can purchase a high-quality microphone online. And the following table highlights some great options to choose from:

The Penny Pincher’s Option for Those On A Tight BudgetThe Mid-Range OptionThe High-End Option
Blue Snowball iCE USB Mic for Recording and Streaming
*44kHz sample rate
*Comes with a two-year warranty
*Good for Mac and PC
*Includes stand
*One condenser
Only has Cardioid pickup pattern
*Two different color options
*USB plug-in
FIFINE Studio Condenser USB Microphone Computer PC Microphone Kit
*20kHz sample rate
*A bonus of a tripod stand
*Adjustable scissor arm stand with shock mount included
*double pop filter included 
*One year warranty
*Perfect for Mac or PCs
*USB connected
Blue Yeti Nano Professional Condenser USB Microphone 
*48kHz sample rate
*Cardioid and Omni pickup patterns
*Five color options
*No-latency headphone output, headphone volume, and mic mute
*One year limited warranty
*Two condensers
*USB connectivity

These are the top-quality microphones on the market currently. Do not be fooled. These microphones will produce a voice that is as clear as can be, without sounding too tinny or nasally in the recording.

And they are all under $100! So, you do not have to break the bank when it comes time to buy one of these high-quality pieces of equipment. 

These microphones are made for voice actors and deliver the best: 

  • Sound
  • Range 
  • Comfortability 
  • Recording quality 

And do not neglect the notes about microphone placement. 

Most mics need to be positioned at a certain height and distance as described in their specifications. As a general rule, place your microphone about six to twelve inches away from your mouth. 

Many in-home microphones have an integrated pop filter built-in that will make your voice smoother on playback while also reducing plosives from popping. Your voice is more likely to come through with clarity and less mouth noise when you use this type of microphone as well!

In addition to a microphone, you should invest in or create a space that limits echoes and still allows sound to carry well. Some rooms with carpet can be alright for recording, and some without any dampening assistance can cause the sounds to become muffled and difficult to distinguish. 

Forgetting to Hydrate Before and During Recording

As we mentioned briefly in our last section, choosing a good microphone can also reduce mouth sounds. Mouth sounds during a conversation are natural and not anything to get hung up about. 

However, when you are recording, your mouth sounds become more pronounced. But before we continue, you may be wondering, what is a mouth sound? A mouth sound can be any of the following:

  • Clicks
  • Extra or exaggerated breaths
  • Pops
  • Puffs
  • Smacks

These mouth sounds can be caused by the following parts of your mouth:

  • Lips
  • Saliva
  • Teeth
  • Tongue

All of these mouth sounds are a normal part of speaking, and we need them to understand the meaning behind the words we are saying. 

However, when you voice act, these mouth sounds can be distracting for the listener because it takes away from your performance. It is important to reduce these noises as much as possible since they will distract the audience.

Not Preparing Before You Read for Your Recording

Many first-time voice actors do not think they need to prepare and craft their sound before auditioning or recording for a demo. Making sure you take the time to prepare will save you quite a bit of time in the editing studio. If you have practiced your script before you hit record, you have a better chance at a quality result.

The easiest way to prepare before recording is to read over the script several times out loud. It will help you get into your voice and understand the emotions behind what is being said so that when you are finally recording, it flows easily.

Acting requires practice. You may have a lot of talent, but if you have not practiced or done voice-acting before, then there is no chance for success in making a demo reel that catches an agent’s eye with just one read-through.

Everyone needs to take the time to practice their voice-acting before they hit record. Otherwise, there is a high chance of missing a key inflection or misinterpreting the cadence of a script.

Should You Hire Someone to Edit Your Audio?

While you may have guessed the answer to this question by now, you should not hire someone to edit your voice-acting recordings. By outsourcing the editing, you can incur a steep cost when it will be more affordable in the long run to do the editing yourself. 

Voice editing is not just for people who are highly skilled at using audio editing software. Even if you are new to voice-acting, there are several additional online tutorials that will teach you how to edit your recording.

In addition to the cost, here are some more reasons to avoid hiring an editor: 

  • As a voice actor, you have a more intimate knowledge of what it is like for an agent or casting director to listen and critique your voice work
  • Voice actors are in tune with their voice, which is essential to having an authentic recording, and editing it yourself gives you that control
  • Voice actors have a better idea of the voice-acting market and what will work for a specific project or client
  • Voice actors will have more opportunities to make necessary changes to their diction, pace, and pronunciation

As we can see, there are some compelling reasons why you should not hire someone else to edit your audio recordings. Instead, it is best for voice actors to do this themselves. Audio editing is just one more skill you can add to your resume.

There are some great resources out there that can offer professional-grade software for free that are used by professionals every day, such as Audacity. And while the learning curve can be steep, it is well worth all the money you save in the long run.

In Summary: Editing Your Voice-Acting Recordings Is Easy

By now, it should be apparent that voice-acting editing is not just a luxury but an art form. It can take hours of practice to get the hang of it, and it is one more skill you will have under your belt when auditioning for voice work, so why not invest in yourself? 

Editing software like Audacity and Adobe Audition can offer professional-grade software for low or no costs that professionals use every day. As you know by now, you may need some time to learn how to use these powerful tools effectively, but if you are a voice actor striving for success, then there are no excuses for skipping this critical step!

Sources:

https://bunnystudio.com/blog/library/voice-over/voice-over-editing-a-primer/

https://www.voices.com/blog/3_common_yet_avoidable_audio_editing_oversights/

https://www.techsmith.com/blog/voice-over/

https://www.voices.com/blog/voice-over-mistakes/

https://www.wikihow.com/Edit-Audio

https://blog.accusonus.com/edit-audio-adobe-premiere-need-know-1034/

https://www.soundsnap.com/blog/editors-guide-to-audio-compression/