Johnny had a bad day

Professional potential lost in hiss and hum

Just because you think you are a professional does not make your audio sound any better. Think that is of no concern to you? Think again…

This is a feature by me, Johnny Hatebait, CRO (Chief Rant Officer) at bodalgo. My views are extreme, and so is my language. If you are offended easily, stop reading now. You have been warned.

If I had to choose the three things I hate most in the voiceover industry, the top spot would have to go to amateurs believing they are professionals because they have been "accepted" by a pay to play website. So here is looking at you, Mrs. "Does this USB microphone make me look fat?" The only thing that has been accepted was your money! Online casting websites accepting amateurs don't give a damn about quality and could not care less about your chances nailing a job no matter how often they tell you: "We want to create the best user experience for talents and clients." I swear I will chop last night's Bandeja Paisa in their face if I hear this marketing jibberish one more time. The good news is: No, the microphone does not make you look fat. Just stupid.

The runner up on my list could be… you!

Yes, you! Do you know how many professionals out there have no idea how bad their auditions sound? Not because of their read, not because of their voice acting! Don't you read? I am talking professionals, real professionals like you, sometimes with decades of experience as a voice actor. But no clue whatsoever when it comes to… recording! Just like amateurs who are oblivious to the fact that their voice acting makes me want to light quarter sticks in my ears, many professional voiceover talent's recordings are at least as painful.

What's wrong with you? Are you all deaf? Or did you get used to the hiss and hum of your recordings so much that your brain developed a neuronal noise gate? You are no inch better than amateurs, in fact, you are worse: Amateurs do the things the way they do because they don't know any better, an excuse you can not come up with because you claim to be a professional.

Are you wondering right now whether I mean you, too? Good on you! Questioning yourself is a way to start improving. But I will not tell you how to create a flawless audio chain. Not because I don't know but because I don't know your situation, your equipment, your room, your voice. Apart from that, I have far better things to do than teaching professionals stuff they should know in the first place if their claims of being a professional are worth more than a Samson C1 USB microphone.

But I will give you an excellent way to start determining how bad your recordings might sound: Put on some damn decent headphones. Grab a set of Beyerdynamic DT-770 PRO, hit play and listen carefully to a recording of your bare naked voice: no music, no atmo, no effects, no gate, no nothing. Just. Your. Voice. Got it?

It is important to wear the headphones before you press start, so you can distinguish between the different noise floors if there are any. And actually, there shouldn't be any in the first place. There shouldn't be the slightest amount of hiss or hum or room ambiance. Ok, a tiny, tiny amount of hiss is impossible to avoid (pre post-processing), but you get the message.

50 percent of you will fail. Of those, 50 percent will start whining and trying to escape in excuses and explanations. I can't help you wussies; your case is hopeless; you will never reach your full potential. The other half will hopefully do the right thing: Get professional help and be done with quality issues for good. It can be so easy if you have the guts to accept the truth.

Regarding the bunch of you that passed the test: Don't you relax or even think about giving yourself a pat on the back just because your audio chain might be hum-free heaven. There is much more to great sounding audio than getting the basics right. If in slightest doubt whether you are getting the best result possible, pick up the frickin' phone and call a pro to check it out for you. Trust me: It is one thing to believe your recordings sound great. It's a different ballpark to … … know.

Finally, the third thing (You forgot already? Do you listen to me at all? Above, I was talking about three things that I hate most about the voiceover industry):

Nobody ever listens anymore.

Disclaimer: Johnny's views are not necessarily the ones of bodalgo. If you want to give Johnny personal Feedback, you can do so writing to If Johnny can be bothered at all, he might even reply.

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Johnny Hatebait  voice over professionals  amateur voice talents  hiss  hum