Dear Taji – An Advice Blog For Emporium Readers


So you got voice over problems. You have equipment you’d like to better utilize or you just want advice on how to deal with certain jobs. Or you just have a personal issue that you’d like someone to give you some unbiased advice about.

Who you gonna call? The Ghostbusters? They’re too busy busting ectoplasmic  entities. Try  to drop  Uncle Taji a line instead and see if he can’t hook you up with some solid advice! (I love talking about myself in the 3rd person).

And hey if I can’t answer it… I’ll contact one of my more knowledgeable Voice Over guru buddies to see if s/he can’t help.

you can leave me a question in the comment section or send me an email to the following address: taji [ at ]

Just replace the word at with the email symbol and you’re all set.



  1. I have indeed used a pre-amp but not for my voice work. I used to be a musician and we used pre-amps all the time with our instruments to boost the signal and alter the overall sound.

    With regards to whether you need to have a pre-amp or not. That depends on what kind of setup you have.

    Personally I wanted the simplest most straightforward setup … so I have a microphone to laptop setup (USB microphone to usb port). The audio tuning is all done via the audio software. If I wanted to play with the equalization I can do so with the raw audio file.

    In the case of using a pre-amp. There are a few options out there that allow you to use XLR microphones and plug them through a usb preamp to the laptop. In the Case of the M-Audio that is a pre-requirement to be able to run the pro-tools software in the first place (the software won’t run without the hardware being attached).

    The benefit of the pre-amp also shows itself in that you can boost the signal without adding noise to the mix. My biggest issue is trying to keep outside noise to a minimum on my takes. And having a preamp that has noise gating or noise cancellation greatly helps keep noise down.

    To tell you the truth If it wasnt for the fact that audio equipment is not as readily available in egypt as it is in the states… I would have the pre-amp setup with a few xlr microphones in my home studio and the usb setup for recording while traveling. But I would also have that setup because I love to experiment with the different sounds.

    Price wise having either is not that expensive. Pre-amps can go from $30 all the way to $1,000 depending on how sophisticated you want them. The M-Audio usb ones aren’t that expensive and average around $100.

    Sound quality in either case would probably not be too noticeable between the USB straight to computer or pre-amp straight to computer… multichannel preamps will allow you to have several microphones hooked up at the same time going into the same feed. The ultimate flexibility of the pre-amp that takes in XLR (standard studio mic jacks) and USB is that the pre-amp allows you to connect any kind of xlr microphone to your computer… so that your sound is influenced mostly by the kind of mic you have plugged in. With the USB microphone.. your sound will always be the same going in … and the changes you make will have to be done using the software.

    I hope this helps… if you have some more questions I can get someone who works regularly with a pre-amp setup to write up an answer for you.

    If I made a mistake in this comment I ask any of our pre-amp using VO talents reading this to correct me.


  2. It was good of you to give such a comprehensive response. Since I purchased my mic, I sometimes have “self-noise” coming back on me; this dissipates if I shut down GarageBand, and then restart it.
    One of our members mentioned that it is not necessary to spend the money on ProTools, considered the industry standard. What is your experience with recording software for voiceover?

  3. Thank you, Taj. To answer your questions, my search lead me to the MXL USB 006 Studio Condenser Microphone. My computer is a desktop iMac, and yes, I downloaded Audacity for Mac a couple months ago. I am having the same mic problem with Audacity as with GarageBand.
    I found an online review from someone else who owns the same type of mic and is also having the self-noise issue. Perhaps the room I am recording from is simply not sound-proofed enough.
    I’m checking out the links you sent. Thanks for your research and your help!

  4. You’re welcome Julia. After researching the MXL .006 the only thing I can suggest is that you check the microphone switch setting and make sure that it is on the cardoid setting not the omni directional or the 8 shape.

    As far as I understand it this microphone has several settings so maybe it was accidentally left on one of the other two.

    Sorry I couldnt help more.

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