Richard Di Britannia is a British born, Yorkshire voice actor who has been heard by thousands across the world. His Voiceover studio is on a Narrowboat. We asked him the history of his studio and how he started out.
As far as voice overs go, being on a Narrowboat means that my only real space was 44” wide by 9’ long. Thus, my initial voice over setup was that of a real amateur!
Starting out, I bought a Shure PG42 USB microphone (based on the fact that a famous YouTuber used it) and balanced it precariously on an antique German camera tripod of all things! Thankfully after seeing the light (and almost dropping it three times), I upgraded to a real microphone stand. This has been one of the best investments I’ve made so far, as it’s a very heavy duty, old, full metal stand with a cast iron base, enabling me to support the weighty mics I use now. I bought it from a local firm, rather than online (something I recommend, supporting your local stores) and they’ve supported me ever since.
I later read online that sound-treatment was imperative, however due to my (at the time) cheapskate nature I thought that by buying a pond bucket and lining it with mattress wadding would suffice! You really can’t make this stuff up… Of course, I was wrong and the entire setup sounded muddy and cheap. After this failure, I finally decided to bite the bullet and buy an XLR microphone and I’ve never looked back since.
My first purchase was a Violet Design Black Knight, a Focusrite Voicemaster Pro Platinum Channel Strip & a Focusrite 2i4 audio interface. Of which three of those interfaces died from faulty USB connectors in the device! Touch wood, this one is fine…
To deaden the sound from my wooden lined room, I built a huge cloth box, lined with auralex foam panels as shown in this YouTube guide: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rWgLCPaOAzo
It worked out well for a while, however after my ears became used to the sound of the new microphone, I realized that the small recording space was making my recordings ‘boxy’ and ‘boomy’. Therefore I once again bit the bullet and chose to dampen the walls of my room with acoustic foam. After many trials and errors, I finally found the areas of my room that needed most treatment; I was left with a lovely sounding room for spoken word voiceover.
It was then that money started slowly rolling in, therefore I upgraded my microphone to a Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun, I found that it flattered my voice quite nicely and it went on to be the mic of choice for recording a 90,000 word audiobook due to its non-intrusive nature. However, I later wanted something that really represented my voice as naturally as possible; therefore I upgraded once again. My last purchase would be a huge beast of a mic, a Lauten Audio Clarion bought from the legendary videogame narrator Kevan Brighting & a Focusrite ISA One preamplifier. These have been in use ever since, only rarely changed to do pickups on ADR or the odd bit of audiobook narration from past works.
I did once have a chance to buy a Neumann U87 with providence as used in the old Casino Royale film, but that’s another story!
Richard Di Britannia is a full time voice over talent on a Narrowboat in England, you can hear him at www.RichardDiBritannia.com or contact him at Booking@RichardDiBritannia.com for all inquiries.