Should you work with pro voice talent or use a voice over app? Many of these tools promise to ease the process of creating rich, engaging media, but they aren’t always the ideal marketing solution. Although apps seem like the go-to answer in our modern world of instant gratification, they’re not the only tools that can help your brand paint a brighter self-image.
Voice over apps include a range of software tools designed to make recording easier. Commonly geared towards DIY dubbing and basic audio capture, these programs come in many forms and are available for mobile, desktop, and other platforms.
You know that you need to get your marketing act in gear by realizing the stunning audio to go with your amazing visuals and branding concepts. Now, you have to choose the best voice-over creation option. Be sure that you mind these key concerns if you want the final product to impress.
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This post was updated in May 2021
A Quick Intro to Voice-overs
Voice-overs are vital elements of modern multichannel marketing. These snippets of carefully crafted audio make your message stand out from the background by imbuing it with a unique voice that captivates audiences. They also help you decide how to portray your brand in a way that appeals to listeners of all types.
Looking at Classic Voice-overs
The term voice-over, or VO, comes from the realm of film. You’ve probably seen at least one movie, show, or play that included an unseen narrator — someone whose voice you could hear while the events before you unfolded. These kinds of voice-overs help set the stage, clarify what’s going on, and draw the audience into the action by revealing the inner thoughts of the characters they’re watching.
Embracing the Broader Modern Definition
Today, voice-overs have taken on a far broader range of purposes. Instead of just being framing devices for larger narratives, they commonly serve as the guiding focal points that tie everything together. For instance, in many commercials, the events depicted by the actors and setting are just incidental elements designed to attract and hold attention. Super Bowl ads are notorious for using non-sequiturs and random storytelling elements to win viewers over with humor or shock value. Many do so right before launching into voice over monologues that have nothing to do with the portrayals onscreen.
Voice-overs can also refer to vocals recorded for non-visual media, such as radio commercials. VOs include any vocalized narrative written and recorded for marketing, engagement, creative, or other purposes.
What Does a Typical Voice Over App Offer?
At a minimum, voice-over apps should let you record your own voice overs. As you might have noticed, however, that’s a pretty broad task. Somewhat fittingly, many of the VO apps you’ll encounter can be just as vague.
If you search for “voice over app” on GooglePlay or the App Store, you’ll get a massive range of results. Don’t feel like filtering through all of that mess? We’ve identified three of the most common varieties that you can expect to run into:
- Everyday recording apps: These tools are the same as any other recorder app. Depending on their pricing models, they may restrict you from using your files in specific ways, such as by blocking your attempts to share raw recordings. One of the biggest problems with these apps is that they don’t always support convenient file formats.
- Voice changer apps: Voice changers bridge the gap between entertainment and useful performance tools. They could theoretically be used to record DIY voice overs without hiring a professional voice actress who’d usually bring different characters, accents, and other personable elements to the table. Unfortunately, most of the voice-changing options on the market are decidedly unprofessional. It’s usually better to search for human talent.
- Audio editing apps: Numerous audio editing tools let you create VOs and polish up prerecorded vocals. For instance, you might use a desktop program, such as the well-known open-source app Audacity, to eliminate background noises or trim audio samples to specific lengths. These kinds of technology are valid professional tools. Many mobile versions, however, lack the capabilities required to implement effective recording, editing, and postprocessing workflows. Some software options, such as Adobe Audition, are also known for their tradeoffs — though they’re extremely powerful, they also come with a considerable learning curve.
As you can see, voice-over apps are available for practically all computing platforms. The big problem is that they typically focus on the audio to the exclusion of all else. Yes, great takes and good edits contribute to easier listening, but they’re only part of compelling VOs.
Why the Human Approach Beats Most Voice Over App Options
What can’t voice over apps accomplish? Here are just some of the reasons that most branding experts stick to the human-powered option:
Your Success Rests on Proficient Scripting
All voice overs begin with a written script. This fundamental creative element lets the voice actor know what they need to say. It also guides them on how to craft their delivery for the desired impact. Good scripts include notes about timing, musical cues, and other elements that your voice actor needs to sync their words with.
Scriptwriting is a complex task that demands expertise. While it’s tempting to do it all on your own, this isn’t the best way to establish a healthy, diverse brand voice. Working with a professional writer is faster, and it lets you explore a broader range of messaging options.
Need the ideal script done quick? Hire an expert scriptwriter here!
A Voice Over App Can’t Help You Pick the Ideal Rate of Speech
It’s simple to record a barebones voice-over, but it takes a lot more than willpower to guarantee quality. Furthermore, what’s needed isn’t always readily apparent. For instance, you might not know that the average rate of spoken American English falls between 110 and 150 words per minute. You also might be unaware that many publishers recommend different speaking rates for different types of media. A podcast might get away with a variable rate that hovers around the upper end of this spectrum. A commercial VO, on the other hand, could sacrifice speed in exchange for enhanced clarity.
Experienced voice actors specialize in finding the perfect happy medium. By reviewing your script and trying it out a few times, they can help you create something that has genuine personality. With human help, your content will remain pleasant to listen to without running over the allotted time limit.
Your Favorite Voice Over App Probably Won’t Give You Essential Feedback
VO professionals are also extremely good at predicting how others might receive your content. A voice actor might clue you in on the fact that certain types of language sound unprofessional or overly eager. They can also suggest more acceptable alternatives.
One of the biggest dangers of restricting yourself to DIY apps lies in creating an echo chamber. If you do anything in-house, it’s hard to maintain an honest perspective. Although you might feel that your idea can’t get any better, that’s no guarantee that the public will be equally enthused. A good voice actor could serve as your first focus group before you start marketing your audio ads.
A Voice Over App Might Not Deliver Premium Quality
Many voice over apps are limited by the platforms they run on. Admittedly, you wouldn’t have much to worry about if you were recording on a PC or Mac equipped with the best capture software. The same definitely can’t be said, however, of the phones and tablets that many apps target.
Voice actors who pursue their craft professionally know the value of flawless sound. They also understand the many steps needed to achieve consistent quality. Why deal with learning a new app workflow, soundproofing your recording space, and editing when a pro can tackle everything for you?
Sadly, such problems are typical when you’re recording on a mobile device or in a shared space. What’s more, the background noise always makes itself painfully apparent in the later editing stages. In other words, you might end up having to do a lot more takes than you anticipated.
Most VO Apps Are One-trick Ponies
One of the most frustrating aspects of using a typical VO app is that it can bloat your workflow. For instance, even if you find a great mobile recording tool, you’ll still have to export the audio into a separate editor.
Marketing is about striking while the idea is fresh. Bespoke voice over providers let you go from a concept to a tangible outreach asset quicker. They also handle the incidentals so that you can concentrate on what’s essential — strategizing your outreach.
Should You Use a Voice Over App?
VO apps have their place, but they’re not optimal for creating marketing materials that you want to debut in public. While a voice over app might be fine for recording a quick idea that you later share with your marketing team or voice actors, that’s about as far as it goes. Whether you’re making radio commercials, viral videos, or an interactive guerilla marketing experience, professional VOs are the way to go.
Ready to get serious? Hire a pro voice actor at Bunny Studio!