Holy cats! This one almost killed me. Through sheer willpower I managed to squeak this one out on time(ish..). Enjoy episode four: Big Trouble in Actual China! Meanwhile, at the Skull Base! Episode 4: Big Trouble in Actual China
Get this in your earholes, via
Firstly, and probably most importantly, my mic is an Audio Technica 4040. Not the greatest mic in the world, but it's an affordable wide condenser with a 75 hz rolloff and a nice, flat response. So it gets rid of the low band energy and doesn't make any bumps in mid or top range, which makes it easy to sweeten without too much corrective EQ. Good times.
Next, that runs into one of a pair of API VP 26 preamps (which you can have custom built for you by the incomparable Michael Zucker). These are class-A preamps, so they're super clean, lots of headroom, and sound great without adding too much color. In fact, I have a red and a blue one for different, albeit subtle, levels of aggressiveness. Great for guitars too.
Next, we have the Apogee AD8000 that I picked up for a song at the Nice Package Recording Studio (a song being several monies) during their renovation. This AD/DA (Analog/Digital and vice versa) converter is a powerhouse. It sounds fantastic and I've never had a single issue with it.
Finally, we run into my Lynx AES16 sound card, which gives me sixteen channels of audio. The Lynx was recommended to me, so I got it. That's the end of that.
On the PC side, I custom built a tower that runs Cubase 7 artist, mostly because Pro Tools is too damned expensive and it limits what kind of hardware you can use with it. I didn't have money for an Aurora converter, and I'd been using Cubase more and more over the years, so here we are.
You may notice that this sounds like overkill for voiceover. It is. I also record my band, so it was important to me to have versatility and options for expansion down the road. If I had the space, I could probably record an entire band with this setup. You don't need all this. A simple (but decent) mobile preamp with a USB out, a solid mic, and a laptop are all you really need. But where's the fun in that?
Oh, be sure to use decent cables too. A Mogami sounds a hell of a lot better than some kinky, no name cable from Radio Shack. Definitely worth the investment. Mike Z can build those for you too. He's a handy fellow.
For audio sweetening, I use a handful of plugins for EQ, compression, mastering, delay, reverb, and any other effects I may need. More on those later.
Expert of Nothing went really well! This season is shaping up to be their best yet. Tons of talented folks have come out for every episode I've seen or been a part of, and each one has been better than the last. Look for season three when it drops on iTunes later this year.
Meanwhile, at the Skull Base is moving right along. We're prepping the site for launch and the first episode should be available very soon. Like, by the end of the month soon. I'm super stoked for this to finally drop. We've had so many awesome people join in on this project and we couldn't be prouder of the results. I'll update this post with links when theskullbase.com officially launches.
You don't even know how much your life is about to change.
No improv this week. Boo. Oh well, at least I got to flex my improv muscles on a new podcast I guested on earlier this week which may or may not feature certain characters from a certain aforementioned project...
My new comic book-based prog metal band, Uatu, has its first gig in January at Friends Fest 6 at the Sidebar. This is my first original band since Remaking Eden back in college. Expect tricky guitar work, crazy time signatures, and the amazingly beautiful vocal stylings of one Derek Brown. Also expect Tyler Merchant to be drunk and disorderly.
WNUF Halloween Special has its world premiere on the 18th at the Creative Alliance. I highly recommend you go see it if you have the means to do so. It is so choice.
That about does it for this week. I've got some cool new voiceover gigs coming up in the near future that I hope to be able to share soon. More on those as they develop.