Hello from the new host!

March 17th, 2011 by VoxMan

I was having a lot of trouble with my previous hosting provider, which caused my site to be unavailable from time to time- not a good thing! So, if you ran into trouble accessing the site, that’s a thing of the past and I thank you for your patience!

Updated the Demo

March 3rd, 2011 by VoxMan

Scott Burns was kind enough to adjust my demo for me based on some feedback and discussion. It’s a bit longer at 70 seconds, but the flow is better and I think it much more effectively showcases my voice.

Give it a listen, or hop over to the Demos page and listen to the full pieces used in the reel.

[audio:http://voxman.net/audio/demoreel.mp3]

Demos!

February 27th, 2011 by VoxMan

As I discussed in a previous post, I recently did the booth work for a brand new demo reel. The producer for the reel is Scott Burns and he sent the edited and mixed reel yesterday! I’m very pleased to have it completed and able to showcase it.

Give it a listen!

[audio:http://voxman.net/audio/Corey_Snow_Demo_60_Sec.mp3]

Also, see my Demos page for a longer version and complete versions of each of the pieces on the reel- along with a link to just download all of them in one archive.

My New Commercial Site

February 26th, 2011 by VoxMan
Stylized image of Corey, with a microphone and the text "Vox Man" superimposed on the microphone.

Corey "Vox Man" Snow

This site has been a great place for me to discuss my work to become a professional voiceover artist. As part of that effort I’ve been working quietly on a commercial site for my voiceover talents and I’m pleased to be able to say that it’s now “open for business”. Take a look at VoxMan.net, give a listen to the demos and check out the blog.

Now hire me!

I am extremely grateful to everyone who’s helped me out with feedback and suggestions on the design.

And what about this site?

Not to worry- I’m going to continue blogging here, where I can be a little less formal and have more fun while I talk about voice acting and my continuing journey in this fun and fascinating field. My commercial site has a blog also, which I use to discuss my projects and such but this is and will always be my personal and informal place to get things off my chest, share insights and frustrations, you know- the usual.

Audiobook: The Heart of a Dragon by David Niall Wilson

February 24th, 2011 by VoxMan

I’m pleased that I was recently tapped to do the audiobook version of David Niall Wilson’s book Heart of a Dragon, by Crossroad Press. It’s an urban fantasy with some horror elements and a great read. I’m really enjoying doing the audio version of it.

As I told David when I first read it I was surprised I hadn’t seen any of his work before now (an error I intend to rectify, by the way!) as I’m a major fan of urban fantasy and gothic horror. I even produced a horror stage play back in 1999, which is not something everyone can say!

I’ll post more updates once the audiobook version is getting closer to completion- in the meantime, read the ebook version! ūüôā

Character Studies

February 19th, 2011 by VoxMan

Had a good idea this morning, and plan to put it into action shortly. Character studies!

See, I’ve had a challenge with my audiobook demos and work. I can do male voices passingly well, and can narrate like nobody’s business. However, my female characters really need some work, and I also want to be able to have a “stable” of character voices I can implement on demand.

With that in mind, I’m going to spend part of this afternoon behind the mic recording the same piece of copy in various character voices, working on getting each one consistent, different and (the hard bit, I think) believable.

I’ll see about putting up some excerpts, and I’m looking forward to the exercise.

The List of Must-Haves for your Studio

February 18th, 2011 by VoxMan

I’ve been a bit quiet lately, but there’s good reason for it! I’ve been working on a new web site, which I hope to “launch” officially very soon. I also cut a commercial demo reel last week, which should be through post-production shortly.

And of course there was a meeting of the PSVAC, which went very well! It continues to grow, and we’re all as pleased as punch at the return on the time and energy investment we’ve put in.

I’ve also been neglecting my blogroll – bad Corey!¬†I added J.C. Dunn’s blog today, and look for more to be added soon, I have a bunch of blogs I read but haven’t linked here yet.

Speaking of Mr. Dunn, he posted an interesting piece today- A list of “must-have” items for any studio.¬†If you do voice work, go read it, because it’s exactly right. I have another piece to add to his list that I consider invaluable: A dog clicker.

Ostensibly a training tool for dogs, it’s just a little plastic geegaw with a metal piece inside that you can “click” with your thumb. It makes a very sharp snapping noise. When I’m recording long-form pieces, I keep it in my hand or nearby, and if I make a mistake during the read, I pause briefly and click it twice, pause again and pick it up.

Audio Waveform showing a dog clicker used between passages

The dog clicker "snaps" are very obvious.

¬†Later, when it’s time to edit, I can instantly locate those places I need to make changes, removing the stumbles or whatever. For a keychain widget, it’s invaluable!

Another piece of equipment I’m finding more and more valuable as time goes on is my iPad. I hate working with printed copy as every time I change pages there’s rustling and so forth. What I’ve taken to doing these days is saving the copy as a PDF file and sending it to my iPad. Using an app like Cloud Readers you can even annotate the document with a stylus. A stylus is about 15 dollars at a computer store and worth having.

Now I just set the iPad on my copy stand and any page turns are utterly silent. Bliss.

Using the iPad on a copy stand in the booth

Me with the iPad on the copy stand

Your Turn

What do you consider the “must-have” items in your studio?

Cutting the Demo Reel

February 17th, 2011 by VoxMan

¬†I’ve got a demo reel in the works- last Saturday I spent most of the morning working on it. I had a really great time- Scott Burns, the (extremely talented) guy helping me produce the reel, was kind enough to take a photo or two for me.

I discovered something that day- being “on” for hours at a time is bloody exhausting. By the time I was done, I was… done. That night I slept the sleep of the dead, it was amazing how much energy I spent behind that mic.

Corey in the Booth

In the Booth!

It was worth it, though. The session went great and I really felt like I nailed it- like, hard. I knew I must be doing something right when Scott literally grabbed me and hugged me, saying “That was GREAT!” after a take.

Here’s Scott reacting to one of my takes:

What was that?!

What was that?!

I kid, of course- Scott was an absolute joy to work with and I had a great time. If you get a chance to work with Scott, take it. He’s a talented guy and genuinely good people, and I consider myself lucky to have been working with him.

Good times!

Good times!

¬†I also need to give a word of thanks to my friend Carrie, who was kind enough to come up from Tacoma to Seattle on a Saturday morning simply to be the female part (with a total of two, count ’em, two¬†lines) in¬†my demo reel. I can’t thank her enough for the help.

Welcome!

February 16th, 2011 by VoxMan

Welcome to my new site. It’s still under some construction, and if you’re reading this you probably got the link to the site from me or via a forum or two where I’ve been soliciting feedback on it.

Let me know what you think and check back soon- I’ll be posting demos and updating the site over the next few days as I prepare for a “launch” of the site!

Thanks again for being here!

Setting Up a Phone Patch, Part Deux

February 5th, 2011 by VoxMan

If you read my previous post about setting up Skype as a phone patch, you may have had some questions.

Spock detects win

Well, make it so!

Well, so did a few others! I’ve been helping Amy Snively¬†(the driving force behind FaffCon!) get her studio set up with a Skype patch. After a few hours on Skype walking her through plugging all the cables in and doing tests of one sort¬†and another, we¬†had win.¬†

Based on what we learned, there turned out to be a couple of issues with the setup I proposed before. Nothing truly major, but I thought it would be worthwhile to make another post detailing what an on-the-ground setup actually entails and how it worked.

Issues We Ran Into

Here’s some of the things we hit:

Recording and Editing on Separate Systems. Amy uses a different system for recording on than she does for editing. Also, Skype doesn’t run on the recording system, it runs on the edit box.

Playback of Recorded Audio During a Session is Required. My original setup doesn’t support the ability to play back anything you’ve recorded without disabling your ability to hear the other end. Somewhat less than optimal!

The Setup

Here’s what we set up with Amy’s studio, using a MicPort Pro and an Allen and Heath ZED-10 mixer.

Skype Patch Setup

The Whole Enchilada. Click the picture for a larger version.

The microphone runs to a MicPort Pro, which in turn is the interface used on the recording system. The MicPort has a headphone connector, a 3.5mm (1/8″) standard stereo jack. For this setup, we ran a 3.5mm stereo to 1/4″ mono cable from the headphone jack on the MicPort Pro to the line in on Channel M1 of the mixer.

Next, we connected the mixer to the mic input for the system that Skype runs on. This system in Amy’s case is also her editing system, using an outboard M-Audio MobilePre USB interface. We don’t use that for Skype, but rather the onboard soundcard (the cheap generic pretty much every motherboard sold has built-in). A dual RCA to 3.5mm stereo cable runs from the Monitor Out connections on the mixer to the¬†Mic In connection on the Skype system.

We needed to get sound from the Skype pc back to the mixer, so we took a 3.5mm stereo to dual 1/4″ mono cable and ran it from the Headphone Out on the Skype PC to the Left/Right inputs of the ST1 Channel on the mixer.

To hear what’s going on during recording and to hear the remote party on Skype, the headphones are plugged into the Phones jack of the mixer. The overall volume in the cans is adjusted with the headphone level knob.

The signal coming in to Channel M1 of the mixer is the combination of the monitor and any playback from the recording PC. Channel M1 should have both the Record and Listen buttons punched on- on many other mixers this would be like having the Mute/Alt 3-4 button punched off (thereby sending the signal to the main bus). The level of the signal from the recording system can be adjusted with the fader knob.

The signal coming in to Channel ST1 of the mixer¬†is what’s coming from the other person(s) in your Skype call. The level of this can be adjusted with the fader knob on that channel. It’s critical that the Record button be OFF, while the Listen button be on, or the remote party will hear a loopback of their own audio and you’ll have feedback. For other mixers, this would be the equivalent of setting the Mute/Alt 3-4 button punched to on, thereby sending the signal to the secondary bus.

The overall signal sent to the Skype system can be managed with the Monitor Level knob. The Monitor Source switch must be set to Mix, or there will be a feedback loop for the Skype user on the other end.

For this setup, once the live recording is done, people on Skype hang up and the files are transferred to the editing system. To prevent problems with feedback, the Record button on the M1 channel should be punched to off, or the mixer should be turned off or the Monitor Level knob turned all the way down. Otherwise the signal from the microphone can be routed to the editing system and back to the mixer through the monitor speakers, resulting in nasty feedback.

Scenarios and Settings

I want to mute the other people on Skype. Punch the “Listen” button off on¬†Channel ST1 or turn down the fader on it.

I want to keep the people on Skype from hearing me while I talk to someone else. Punch the Record button to off on Channel M1 or turn the Monitor Level knob all the way down.

I use a different interface for recording, not a MicPort Pro. If your interface has a 1/4″ headphone output you can get a 1/4″ stereo to 1/4″ mono cable, or you can run from the line outputs of your interface to the line of the mixer. If you have specific equipment questions, post them in the comments and I’ll offer what suggestions I can.