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3 Ways to Create a Podcast Voice Over

Struggling to produce a worthwhile voice over for your podcast? One (or more!) of these three production methods is sure to work for you.

March 20, 2024 by Amy Foxwell
Woman using recording equipment to create a podcast voice over

Podcasts are a great way to connect with your audience, but it’s hard to stand out in a crowded marketplace—and the podcast market is very crowded. There are more than 4 million titles listed on the global Podcast Index. More show up every day.

To get noticed and grow your listenership, you must focus on quality. That’s true for every genre, whether you make business tutorials, workplace training resources, audio documentaries, or just fun reviews of the latest TikTok trends.

In an audio-only medium like podcasting, quality requires the perfect voice over every time. So how do you create one?

Industry veterans rely on three techniques to produce voice overs:

  1. Recording themselves speaking
  2. Hiring professional voice actors
  3. Generating voice overs with text to speech (TTS)

This article will explain all three, so you can pick the one that’s right for your production.

Here’s a quick hint: Don’t dismiss the power of synthetic speech. Thanks to new, lifelike AI voices, TTS provides audio quality that may surprise you.

Curious what your podcast voice over might sound like with an AI voice?

Explore TTS voices from ReadSpeaker
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Let’s get into it. This guide will help you create a truly captivating voice over for your podcast.

The Podcast Voice Over: A Definition

Podcasts are made of speech. It’s a talking medium. But that doesn’t make every word you record a “voice over.”

As a technical term within the podcasting industry, voice overs refer to a particular type of podcast content.

Here’s our definition of the term podcast voice over:

A podcast voice over is a scripted recording of a speaker sharing relevant information with podcast listeners.

That italicized word explains the key difference between a voice over and other podcast content. Voice overs are scripted, not ad-libbed. They’re not conversations. A podcast voice over almost always consists of a single speaker, authoritatively telling listeners something they need to know about the podcast’s topic (or the podcast itself).

You may interview guests on your podcast. That’s recorded speech, sure, but it’s not a voice over. You may play background sound, music, or conversation. That’s not a voice over, either.

But if you record a scripted explanation to play over other audio, that is a voice over.

Common uses of voice overs in podcasts include:

  • Intros and outros. To preserve brand consistency (and avoid having to say the same thing over and over), many podcasters use voice overs to introduce and/or wrap up their shows. These parts of the podcast explain the program, list credits, and provide other meta-information about the show.
  • Explainer segments. You may need to take a break in the narrative to explain a topic in detail. Voice overs provide an audio equivalent of the textual sidebar, signaling to the listener that this is a brief aside.
  • Context for background recordings. Documentary and news podcasts often play field recordings of events. Adding a voice over on top of this audio can help listeners understand what they’re hearing.

Intersperse regular podcast hosting with top-quality voice overs, and listeners will feel they’re in the hands of a professional. That just leaves one question: How do you produce a voice over for your podcast?

3 Ways to Produce a Voice Over for Your Podcast

List of 3 ways to create a podcast voice over

You have your voice over script. How do you turn it into sound?

The three options are:

  1. Record it yourself
  2. Hire voice actors (and/or recording engineers, and/or a professional studio)
  3. Generate speech instantly with a TTS tool

Here’s an introduction to each of these three methods.

1. Recording a Podcast Voice Over on Your Own

Many podcasters start by doing everything themselves. That includes recording your own voice overs.

You may think this is the most affordable choice, but that’s only true if you already own plenty of recording gear. If not, the first step toward recording your own voice over is to start buying stuff.

(This is assuming you’ve done the background work, like researching your target audience, picking a compelling topic, and writing a great voice over script!)

You’ll need a decent computer, of course. You’ll also need some specialty recording equipment, including:

  • A Vocal Microphone

    There are many simple, USB-connectable mics designed to capture clear vocals. Top-reviewed models for podcasting include the Blue Yeti and the Audio-Technica AT2040USB.

    But for more control over your sound (and potentially higher quality), you’ll need a vocal mic that connects via XLR cable—and the next item on our list.

  • An Audio Interface

    Audio interfaces include pre-amps that give you total control over your recording sound. They also convert your microphone signal into a computer-readable format.

    Professional audio engineers don’t use USB microphones; they use XLR mics with high-quality audio interfaces. If you’re just getting started, however, you might try an affordable model like the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 or the ProSonus Revelator io24.

  • Microphone Accessories

    To use your microphone effectively, you need a few more items. First, get a microphone stand. Many podcasters prefer desktop boom stands like the Rode PSA1+, but you can get decent mic placement with affordable options like the On-Stage DS7200B, too.

    Podcast voice over: Checklist for recording your own podcast

    Microphone signal tends to spike with sibilants (“s” sounds) and plosives (“p,” “k,” and “t” sounds). These spikes sound bad. To avoid them, use a pop filter like the PS101 from Royer Labs.

  • Headphones

    Headphones keep reference audio tracks from bleeding into your recording mic. They let you hear what you’re recording as your audience will, not as it sounds in the room. In short, they’re essential for high-quality voice over recordings.

    For podcasters, PC Magazine recommends the high-end Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X, or the more affordable Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones.

  • Recording Software

    Finally, you need the software that turns your computer into an audio production center. That software is called a digital audio workstation, or DAW.

    Many podcasters prefer Adobe Audition. If you’re looking for free audio editing software, try Audacity.

    Apple users always have access to Garageband, which works pretty well for podcast voice overs (despite being optimized for music production).

With all these tools assembled, the next step is to learn how to use them. That’s beyond the scope of this article, but it helps to explain the main disadvantage of recording your own podcast voice over: It takes a lot of time and expertise to do a good job.

Why not hire experts instead? That’s the second way to produce a podcast voice over.

2. Hiring A Voice Over Artist

Voice acting is an art. You’ll realize how much skill goes into professional voice over audio if you try to do it yourself. Inconsistent speech leads to an unpleasant listening experience, and inconsistencies are way more common than you might think—unless you’re specially trained to speak pleasantly.

For the best voice over in the business, hire the experts. A good voice actor pretty much guarantees you’ll get high-quality voiceovers.

As an added bonus, many voice over recording artists maintain their own professional recording studios. You send them the script and get a voice over audio file in return, without ever having to hit a record button!

So how do you go about finding these specialists?

Voice over websites like Voice Crafters, Bodalgo, and Voice123 match professional voice actors with podcast producers.

But professional quality doesn’t come cheap; the Global Voice Acting Academy’s informal price guide recommends a rate range of $300 to $400 for a podcast intro.

Besides, it can take a long time to book a voice actor—and they might not be available for future recordings, wrecking your podcast’s consistency when you need an edit.

Those aren’t challenges you’ll run into with TTS voice overs.

3. Producing Podcast Voice Overs with Text to Speech

Until relatively recently, you wouldn’t consider TTS for a podcast voice over. They were simply too unrealistic. But that was before AI voices.

The latest generation of neural TTS voices sound astoundingly lifelike. They speak expressively, so you can pick a voice that matches your topic—whether the right speaker is excited, warm, all-business, or just about anything else.

These AI voices are already being used for audiobooks. They provide a powerful accessibility tool for websites, video games, and social media posts.

There are plenty of good reasons to add an AI voice over to your podcast episodes, too:

  • A TTS production tool allows you to create a voice over nearly instantly. Just upload your script and download the audio file.
  • With AI voices, you can choose the ideal speaker for your topic—without scheduling headaches or wrestling with problems like background noise. It’s a true DIY process.
  • Content updates are a breeze with TTS. You can fully customize your scripts, rewriting them as often as you like, and get audio speech files without delay.

It’s easy to get access to TTS tools and AI voices—just contact ReadSpeaker. We offer TTS production tools, as well as streaming TTS for websites, apps, and more. That flexibility helps you maintain a consistent voice across all your speech channels, from podcasts to ad campaigns to AI assistants.

We also have more than 200 TTS voices in a stunning variety of speech styles and over 50 languages and dialects. If you’re ready to take your podcast international, TTS can help. We even build custom AI voices tailored just for your brand.

Ready to start generating amazing podcast voice overs as simply (and affordably) as possible?

Start by contacting ReadSpeaker today
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