Compression or automation – How do you get your VO…

Automation vs. Compression

Not every voice file comes in perfectly leveled. In many cases you have to do some additional work to make it sound equal.

We’ve been asked a lot recently on how to keep levels equal and we figured out two common techniques.

Using compression is a simple way to get your VO on a constant level in your mix. A bit of compression helps keeping it all together and make it more audible, but there’s that part, when the VO is ‘gone’ and hard to hear.

One way would be to just use more compression to bring it on an equal level and everything’s right, isn’t it?

Unfortunately in most cases it is not that easy…

More compression might make your VO sound even, but also crushes it and makes it sound flat. Sometimes you need to leave your hand away from the compressor and do it the classic way — equal your levels with automation.

You don’t always need to draw curves for hours to get a good result. Selecting certain sections and drag them up or down.

Automation Section Up

Add one point before and after the dragged up section.

Automation Section Dots

Remove the lower dots by holding ⎇ while clicking them and there’s a nice curve making the volume automation sound less harsh.

Automation Section Curve

And that’s it. In eager to make the VO sound equal, we also use automation instead or more heavy compression.

How about you guys? Is using automation on every VO too fiddly for you or are you loving details and spend a moderate time on automation? How do you get your levels equal, especially for longer type of productions like audiobooks ,etc.

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