Practically every Voice Over will say they provide “broadcast quality sound” and they should – provide it, that is. But what is it? And why should you care?
Studies by TechSmith and Statisa show:
25% of people will watch through until the end of a video with good quality sound.
Your brand image is seen as inviting, relatable, and engaging when audio quality is good.
33% will abandon the video within seconds if the audio quality is poor.
Your brand image will be seen as sloppy, uncaring, and unprofessional when audio quality is poor.
Broadcast Quality Sound:
- standup alongside other commercial recordings
- recorded within a suitable range
- avoids unwanted noise and distortion
- meets the highest technical standards
- sounds good on all broadcast platforms
Let’s Take a Deeper Dive
Standup Alongside Other Commercial Recordings
Have you ever listened to a string of commercials and had the sound drop to super quiet level for one commercial only to soar back full volume for the next? I just had this happen this morning. It tends to occur more often around the holidays when the broadcast stations are airing more local commercials which may not have gone through professional sound editing. And it doesn’t matter how cute your holiday gift shop is if I can’t hear the shop’s name or location.
Recorded Within a Suitable Range
Don’t worry, I’m not going to get over technical here. Let me just say that a Voice Over professional will record in a good range (-12dB to -6dB) so they can produce final audio capped at -3dB that isn’t distorted, noisy, or overprocessed. This allows the audio to be mixed with background music, sound effects, or other audio in a balanced and pleasant manner. And it won’t shred your ears if the volume’s turned up.
Avoids Unwanted Noise and Distortion
In the world of voice over, sound is everything.
It doesn’t matter if your VO has a “great voice,” or a “cute voice,” or a “deep voice.” Those are branding decisions. But if the recording environment has too much ambient noisy, lets sound enter from other areas, or is full of hard surfaces that create hollow or reverbed sound, the recording isn’t going to be good.
It must start with a good space, the right treatment, good equipment and software, and a VO that knows how to bring it all together when they address the mic.
Meets the Highest Technical Standards
I could get very technical here, but I won’t. The audio you receive from your Voice Over Talent should have a low noise floor. No higher than -60dB, no lower than -90dB. In layman’s terms, find a space in the recording where there is no voice, just background. Select it. Turn up your headphones (not too far) and listen. Are you hearing a ton of background noise? Are you hearing dead silence? You don’t want either. The first interferes with listening and the second makes you feel like the voice attacking you when it pops out of nowhere.
Sounds Good on All Broadcast Platforms
If the audio is created and produced along the points mentioned above, chances are it will sound great regardless of where it is used. Broadcast Quality Sound can be used everywhere: podcasts, television, radio, streaming services, audiobooks, answering machines. So, in summary, here’s a handy checklist for you.
Broadcast Quality Sound Checklist
- Clear, not muffled, or indistinct
- Noise free
- No environmental sounds
- No reverb, echo, or distortion
- No audible edit points
- Loud enough you don’t need to turn up your headphones