5 easy to use plugins that will speed up editing and improve your delivery.
Here are 5 plugins that I've found to be my favorite tools when editing voice-over recordings. They are all exceptionally easy to use and most are also very affordable if you buy them on sale.
1. Accusonus ERA 4 Noise Remover - $59 (often on sale for less)
This noise remover is a one-knob plugin that handles more or less any problem with hiss, hum, buzz, etc. Just increase the value until the problem is gone. In my opinion, it sounds even better than the industry standard iZotope Voice De-noiser on common problems such as hiss and ventilation sounds.
2. Accusonus ERA 4 Plosive Remover - $59 (often on sale for less)
Even though you use a good pop filter plosive sounds sometimes still occur. Bass "bumps" might also be caused by touching the microphone stand or cable by mistake. This plugin can remove such problems very easily. Just increase the reduction level until the problem is gone. Easier to use than the industry standard Izotope De-plosive plugin and the results are in my opinion better and more natural sounding.
3. iZotope RX Mouth De-click - $399 (Part of RX standard bundle)
This plugin is, unfortunately, only available as part of the more expensive RX bundles. It's kind of a mix between a de-clicker and a de-crackler, fine-tuned for the spoken word. In my opinion, it works much better than standard de-clicker plugins. When used moderately it sounds very natural and once you start to use it it's hard to go back. Use the "output clicks only" function to make sure you do not over-process and start to remove any vital information. The default setting often works right away but sometimes you may want to decrease the sensitivity slightly. It will save you lots of time as it automatically removes clicks that otherwise would need manual editing.
4. Waves Sibilance De-esser - $69 (often on sale for $49 or less)
Sharp esses can be unpleasant to listen to in good monitors or earphones. Most voices, especially female voices, need some degree of de-essing to tame sibilance. EQ can be used but as ”esses" are a dynamical problem, a de-esser or a dynamic eq / multiband compressor will do a much better job as they only affect the sound when it appears and not the overall sound. De-essers can sometimes give a slightly "dull" sounding result or if used wrongly even a "lisping" sound. This plugin makes de-essing really easy. It shows the detected esses graphically and you can also monitor the detected signal to make it even easier to dial in a good result. I have found that this plugin is often my go to de-esser as the processing, in my opinion, is very natural.
5. Waves Renaissance Vox Compressor and Gate - $79 ( often on sale for $49 or less)
The Waves Renaissance Vox plugin is a super easy one slider compressor that works well with voices but the real gem in this plugin is the gate function. This "one parameter" gate is the best I've ever tried for voice-over recordings. All you need to do is to set the threshold for when it's supposed to open, usually around -32 dB when working with healthy recording levels. The gate is totally transparent and when necessary, use it in combination with some de-noising first. Editing will be so much easier as any "silence" in-between words will be a real Zero level silence that will make editing click free. It also cuts out any low-level noises in between words for an even cleaner sounding recording and as a "bonus" you will be getting a compressor that's hard to go wrong with.
In voicemachine we will automatically process all files dynamically but you should always upload clean sounding, well-edited files, and then these plugins can come in handy and hopefully improve and speed up your workflow. Use them in the order above. De-noising should always be applied first and compression/gating last. Note: Compression is not necessary for your voicemachine uploads but you can use the Waves RVox output limiter or any other limiter set to -1.00 to prevent overloads.
Special thanks to Alan Pryke for helping me out with proofreading.