These days hit music is mastered as never before. Louder, richer, more powerful and with (almost) no dynamic. Sure this depends on the format you are working for and if your station plays Stairway to heaven in an endless loop – no need to read this post.
So, the radio producer’s challenge is harder than ever. A voice really cutting through in the mix. What is the key?
1. Good Compression
2. Good EQing
3. Good Mastering
Thats no big deal to you, I know. You heard that thousand times and this is why i say : sometimes less is more. We assume your VO quality is well, you compress and limit the signal proper and your basic EQing is well done, too. (Otherwise it will be hard to cut throughthe mix any way.)
The Less is more strategy…..
First : NO Bottom end –> use filters for your VO. (There is an incredible interview on Ryan’s Blog, Imaging Legend Jeff Thomas explains how he works with filters). Bottom End sounds just nice on your studio speakers, but after on-air compression and in broadcast quality you wont hear it that great anyway. It is a big balls thing and nothing more. Make the test, do a low cut somewhere between 80 and 400 Hz on your VO, compress and limit proper and make the test. ONAIR!
Second: Not every VO is working with every plugIN –> make sure you use the stuff and effect matching perfect to the VO you have. (I like the Renaissance stuff as compression PlugINs f.e. and it works well with Harry, Rachel and Don, I also like MacDSP Filter Bank and the L2)
Third: Lower the level of disturbing frequencies in your music beds by EQing
Fourth: If you beatmatch cut the bottom end of the musicbed or song you are beatmatching, so you dont double the lower frequencies.