Los Angeles–based voice-over artist Joe Cipriano (pictured) has used a Neumann U 87i large diaphragm microphone in his work for more than 20 years. Cipriano’s voice is heard in promos for series such as The Simpsons, Everybody Loves Raymond, King of the Hill, Mad TV and Family Guy. His voice also represents NBC shows such as Deal or No Deal, ER, Medium, Heroes, Las Vegas, Crossing Jordan and Biggest Loser. Cipriano is also the exclusive announcer for the Food Network.
"I'd always talked about building a studio in my home,” Cipriano says. “In 1984 I was working in voice-overs and my wife, as a surprise for my birthday, with the assistance of the owner of a studio I was working at, bought a Neumann U 87. She threw a surprise birthday party for me and said, 'Now go build a studio around it.'"
Cipriano also travels with his U 87, frequently recording voice work from hotels for his radio, television and motion picture clients around the world. "The last thing I wanted to do was dumb-down what should be broadcast quality sound," he says. "For me, it's utmost to keep the quality of sound from the source, wherever you are, as high as possible. Then it can be manipulated and colored in the post room. And the Neumann is the best source that I've found."
He relates that experience has taught him how to turn any hotel room into a makeshift vocal booth. "I get an ISDN line put into the hotel room and send the equipment ahead. I always set up on a desk and put a towel down on it. I'll usually pull the curtains closed and put my back to them. I'll take pillows from the bed or the sofa and put them angled in a ‘V’ behind the microphone, so I'm talking into the microphone with pillows behind it and drapery behind me. It works out well and sounds pretty good."
Over the years, Cipriano has also learned how to pair the Neumann U 87 with different microphone preamplifiers. "Right now I'm using the Avalon M5,” he says. “It's so real and crisp and full. The pairing is really good for me."