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Monday, February 21, 2011

What's the Best Voice?

You will notice that almost all male narrators fall into a certain range between bass and baritone.  Most of the most sought-after voice-over artist’s  voices are distinguished not so much by pitch as by resonance and nasality – which adds a very distinctive quality. 
Take a look at 
A very clear voice generally sounds “younger”.  A deeper rougher voice sounds older --and more authoritative.  Some narrators, of course, have quite amazing range and  can do both kinds of voices although this is rare. .
 Of course, the pitch of a voice can be altered technologically too, with clever use of the microphone and sound processing. And music often somehow changes the way the voice is heard.  Add to this content – which establishes parameters for mood.     
Inevitably, opinions differ about voices, as they do about physical attractiveness in general.
 What a client instinctively”feels”is the right voice may actually be totally wrong!  This is particularly true of Japanese clients, whose hears are tuned to the distinctive and very different music of the Japanese language - -and all the cultural associations that go with it.
A good voicecasting director can help prevent mistakes – especially when the client is Japanese.  Remember the famous “It’s a Sony” CM.   Many companies tried to produce similar logos with a similar effect.  All such attempts in Japan failed.   – with the exception of “Honda Prelude” perhaps, which I recorded.  I was able to reproduce the effect simply because I understood how it had been done – not to mention the kind of sound processing that was needed for the “right sound”.   

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