We get several questions a month about how to make killer “trailer voice overs” with plugins and microphones. Of course, having the right talent to do the voice over is critical. Having the right microphone is about 30% of the process, and being able to record in the right room is about 40% of the process. If you have the right talent, mic and room, you’re about 75% of the way there. But what EQ, compression, reverb et al should we use to make killer deep powerful trailer voice overs? I have my own cocktail of plugins that I use, but Accusonus came out with the ERA 5 Voice Deepener plugin which when used with the Voice Auto EQ plugin creates some powerful results. Let me show you what I’ve done to make a well recorded VO sound amazing with the Voice Deepener plugin from Accusonus.
It’s pretty simple really: a well recorded VO track, insert the Accusonus Voice Deepener plugin (AU/VST) and then insert the Voice Auto EQ plugin after it in the Effects chain. Done.
“Wait, what does that do and why?”
Good question. Like nearly all Accusonus plugins, both the Voice Deepener and the Voice Auto EQ (reviewed here) are “one-knob” type plugins. This means you don’t need to know what’s going on under the hood to be able to use them well.
In the case of Voice Deepener, there’s a TON of things going on under the hood. The biggest and most obvious is a subtly pitch shift which retains the formants of the voice. This means you still “sound like you” but with a deeper tone: more trailer-like instead of trailer-trash(at least that’s what I think about my voice when I hear it back). There’s also some not-so-subtle dynamic compression and companding so that what comes out of the Voice Deepener is pretty level-headed and smooth if not quite a bit louder than what you sent it.
And with the twist of a knob, all of a sudden you sound a lot like James Earl Jones.
From here, you need to add some contour EQ and you’ve got a great sound. But Contour EQing takes skill and experience to get right. And although you can use the talents of Adobe Audition’s Essential Sound Panel to assist with this, Accusonus has its amazing Voice Auto EQ plugin. Just play your file, let it analyze the sound, and what comes next is truly remarkable.
One of the reasons we put the Voice Deepener second in the plugin chain is in order to give the Auto EQ plugin a true sense of the sonic tapestry of the audio – which it wouldn’t get in a position after the Voice Deepener. It EQs the sound, and the Voice Deepener does its work on the resulting clean/crisp audio. It seems to work better this way.
From here, you can move the triangle control of the Auto EQ all around to get the perfect contour you’re looking for.
Take a listen to the raw, Voice Deepener with Auto EQ on a Body bias setting. Notice the difference between the Voice Deepener settings of “normal” and “punchy.”
After this, I’d simply add some bass frequencies around 95 Hz, and you’ve got a killer sound. Always remember to roll off anything below 90 Hz with a high pass/low cut filter BEFORE any of this or else you’ll end up wearing a subwoofer speaker cone in the mix.
As you can tell from our other reviews of Accusonus plugins, we love them on the whole and the ERA 5 update is a great addition in ease of use and sonic capability to the venerable ERA 4 plugins we’ve used in the past. This cocktail of plugins makes trailer VO sound a breeze.
Our only issue with the ERA 5 bundle is the monthly cost – instead of a fixed purchase cost. And we find that the middle and larger bundle provide the best value.
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