The last stage of Voice-Over processing is called Mastering, and it is all about loudness. The process of Mastering, in terms of voice-over production, is used to make your voice-overs loud without distorting. The mastering process is necessary to meet loudness standards or loudness requests from a client. Additionally, it can give you a massive advantage if you compete against other voice-over talents for a gig.
The listener always perceives a louder audio file as better than the same recording at a lower level. It sounds better because the human ear is not a linear device. We’re most sensitive to a smaller range of high/mid frequencies at low volumes—our hearing curve changes with increased volume. The louder the audio becomes, the less our “sensitivity differences” between frequencies. The curve flatness out. In other words, as things get louder, we hear the different frequencies more evenly. This change in sensitivity is why music sounds BETTER and more FULL when it’s louder.
The processing used on the audio comprises of Limiting (and sometimes a small amount of EQ if necessary), and it's used to achieve an increased level with minimal audible effect. The tone and dynamics processing previously done to the audio is retained, while only the loudness is increased. The output level is raised as you lower the limiter's threshold (also called the gain on some limiters). The Out Ceiling is where you cap the audio and prevent it from going any higher. Normalizing cannot achieve this significant increase in loudness for an audio file.
Most recording software popular with voice-over production comes with a meter. However, a meter that measures integrated LUFS units is required to measure loudness during the mastering process correctly. A LUFS meter measures the average loudness over time, adjusted for human hearing loudness frequency differences described above. An integrated LUFS meter continues measuring average loudness over time, adjusts for human hearing, and updates the average value on an ongoing basis. Loudness requirements are often different for each platform and are usually listed in LUFS units.
Compare the same unprocessed, processed, and mastered files to hear what Mastering can do.
🔌 Learn more about the L2 Ultramaximizer by Waves
🔌 Learn more about the free Youlean Meter
A custom processing preset for your voice-over is a series of plugins explicitly tuned for your voice, in your room, and on your microphone. If you want to compete in today's voice-over world, you must ensure that your demos and auditions are extraordinary. Voice-over artists at every experience level from all over the world are fighting to win work. However, if you don't have a professional sound, you will lose out to someone who does.
Custom voice-over processing presets can take your audio presentation quality to the level necessary to compete with the pros. Instead of taking it upon yourself to tweak the parameters like EQ compression, DeEssing, and saturation to name a few, you can hire a professional voice-over audio engineer to create it for you. Once you have the custom preset on your system, you have "The Sound" every time you press the record button. The investment pays for itself with the money and time saved. Here are the top reasons why they are so popular:
Once you submit your voice for processing, you will be notified if your audio recording quality needs improvement or if it's ready for prime time. If your production quality needs improvement, you will be offered suggestions to help identify and resolve any issues before being asked to resubmit audio. On the other hand, if your audio recording quality is up to par, you will receive a sample of your custom-tuned processed sound to review for free.