How To Record Spoken Word

For most of us, talking seems so natural — until we come to record our voice. As soon as we hit record, we can suddenly find it hard to speak naturally and can trip over easy words. Don’t worry though, even the most seasoned voiceover artists struggle with recording. That said, there are some things you can do to make the job a little easier.

Accurate listening pays dividends

To start, you’ll want an interface with clean preamps and plenty of gain on tap, so you can capture your voice as naturally as possible, and without any colouration. It’s also important to be able to hear clearly, so make sure you have some good closed-back headphones for monitoring when recording. Focusrite interfaces have high-quality headphone outputs with plenty of gain to ensure you can hear your voice clearly and without distortion, so with the addition of good headphones you can be sure you’re hearing your voice accurately. When setting up for recording, it’s well worth trying out the Air button; it can often add that radio-ready sound to a voice.

Room to record

Have a script and mark it up if you need to, it can also be helpful to use a music stand to hold your notes. If possible, record in a room that’s not too lively, with lots of soft furnishings and curtains. Make sure there’s as little noise as possible in the room; Focusrite interfaces are designed to pick up every detail of a recording so the quieter the space you have, the better. Finally, take time to practise what you are going to say. Most people speak too fast when recording spoken word, try to make sure your pace is slower than usual.

Minimise pop and make your sound rock

Use the best-quality microphone you can afford, one designed for spoken word is helpful. Also, you’ll want a desk stand to mount it on so that you can put all your focus on what you are saying and prevent any noise created by the mic moving during recording. Some microphones come with a shock mount to reduce sounds such as the desk the mic is on, but if yours doesn’t, it’s worth investing in one. A pop shield is also a must-have for reducing plosives — the popping sounds that can occur in recordings when saying words beginning with the letters P and B.

Following these steps, coupled with a good audio interface — such as any from the Focusrite range — means you can plug in, relax, and concentrate on giving your best performance.