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.

  1. Raul Segura says:

    That’s true…! I think its a common error to turn up the volume of a VO just to make it more “in your face”… That’s no the best solution, it can be even the worst one, but EQing and compressing it in a proper way will make the VO stands out surprisingly… And as posted here, try always to lower frequencies more than loud them up.

    Good post!

  2. radiojingles says:

    exactly, i hope a lot of producers will get to learn more of this. i was so surprised one time a client asked me why my voices sound so thin because of the filtering, he wanted to put more bottom end. i told him, wait till you hear it via the transmitter.

  3. mert says:

    Hi everybody, thanx for this topic. I use sony soundforge or Adobe Soundbooth on my production pc. What is the order of voice editing process???

    I mean for the best male voice what is the ideal eq settings for 20 band eq?
    I use audio technica studio microphone and digital Yamaha studio mixer.
    But even the recording room has good condutions i cant have the voices how i want. It is like dead voice or something missing. Not strong, not deep and not atractive even i have the good voicers. Please help me. What can i do?

    Best regards.

  4. Hi man, my buddy Andy from Canada is working on something that might help you right now. He is also a Adobe user and his post will be published soon. Cheers

    • mert says:

      thanx man,

      I need some basic methods to be successful at sound recording and voice editing by using Sony Soundforge and Adobe Soundbooth. I need clean, powerful and atractive sound records. Thanks alot

  5. mert says:

    Also guys, what do you offer me on voice editing?

    For eq settings, filtering or any other process for radio productions…

    Thanx already for answers

  6. […] As a result to Merts request on the Cutting Through Experience I reached out to my Adobe based Canadian friend Andy from Astral Radio to help out. I expected a short answer – see what he has been up to! He shares his tricks, shows a ton of screenshots, has his latest demos and even delieverd a second part where he digs into Rock Imaging. Perfect stuff for a relaxed Thanksgiving weekend – enter Andy McBeth. Radio Imaging – Rock.CHR.Sports – FINALMIX – REV by Benztown Branding Blog […]

  7. Nic Kelly says:

    I use the REQ 6 band EQ… I do a high pass at around the 300hz mark (changes from voice to voice) and then I think I boost it a bit at the 1.4k, 7k and smash it at the 12k.

    I tend to drop things in the mix rather than boost it, otherwise it can start to distort and compete and the listener can get confused.

    I always like to use a really fast 2-tap delay (fastest setting and down really quiet) just to give it that nice rounded sound. I find with EQ and comp that it just starts to sound all mono and in some cases fake.