Voice Recording for Animation

Voice recording is an area where many Toon Boom and Flash animators fall short. You know that long thin microphone that came with your computer? It is a horrible instrument for recording for your animations. It does not have the power to capture the necessary highs and lows of normal speaking patterns.

A much better alternative is to use a preamp to power a good condenser microphone. This hardware can be a bit pricey, but the quality is certainly worth it. Homestar Runner uses a similar setup and their success can not be denied.


Click to enlarge

A preamp is a device that connects your computer to the microphone. Part of its role is to provide power to the microphone. A good preamp will also have settings to adjust volume, and may even have two inputs for multiple microphones. The model I use is pictured on the right, and is a M-Audio MobilePre USB preamp. This model has the benefit of being extremely portable and can draw its power from a laptop.


Click to enlarge

There are many brands of condenser microphones available. I chose the Audio Technica AT3035 model, as the reviews I read before buying recommended it in the price range I had budgeted. It does a great job of picking up every little nuance, something you need to be aware of if you have a vocal cat who likes to meow when you’re trying to record. Mine does. If you listen carefully to the Wii animation (and turn it up), you’ll hear our cat in the background right after the Wii falls. Gina’s laugh was too perfect though, so it stayed in.


So now that you have the hardware what software should you use? This is going to be a platform dependent question. For the Mac I currently use Garage Band, which comes with the computer these days. It has great presets that filter out most of the recorded static. For the PC I use AVS AudioEditor. Of the two, I do prefer Garage Band.

So that’s it. Committing the funds for quality sound is no small task, I don’t deny it. However, the results can really set your work apart from your peers and your audience will appreciate the extra quality.

One Response to “Voice Recording for Animation”

  1. Vman8 Says:

    Good tutorial, swift and to the point. I like the Mic I think I’ll need to get one of those myself.

    I would like to know if you know a good GarageBand for PC alternative which is as good? I tried AVS but really didn’t like it and it doesn’t seem to like running without crashing constantly. I don’t have a Mac to work with most of the time. :( I saw suggestions on http://djtouchbeats.com/garageband-for-windows.html but that’s more for music making rather than animation work.