Old Lyme, Conn., – December 20, 2011- Dave Fennoy is the “Voice of Hulu,” heard each day by 35 million viewers over the Internet. His voice is full of rasp and character, deep and instantly recognizable. To accurately capture every nuance of his voice, Fennoy is uncompromising and relies on a Neumann TLM 103 as his ‘workhorse’ microphone.
Fennoy, who began his career as a musician and then moved into broadcasting, recognized the importance of choosing the right microphone early on. Once he broke into voice acting in the early ‘90s, he noticed Neumann U 87 microphones in all the studios he was working in: “I learned that this was in fact the industry standard and that it reproduced sound very accurately,” he recalls. The other microphone he noticed was the Sennheiser MKH 416 shotgun microphone. “This was one of the favorite microphones in Los Angeles — they were being used for on-air promos at all the networks.”
Since then, there have been a few changes in the voiceover industry — the biggest one being that voice acting work has gradually migrated into the home studio with the advent of the Digital Audio Workstation (DAW). As a result, many voice actors have been acquiring Neumann microphones to ensure the best possible audio signal — Fennoy among them: “If your home studio is going to be professional, you’ve got to have the right equipment. For me, that meant it needed to have Neumann and Sennheiser.” First, Fennoy acquired a Neumann TLM 170 and Sennheiser MKH 416, before adding a TLM 103, a U 87 and a TLM 102 to his collection over the course of several years.
A Tough Business Demands Timeless Microphone Technology
Early in his career, Fennoy learned a valuable lesson from his friend and mentor, Don LaFontaine, a legend in the world of voiceover acting. “I remember Don telling me that there are essentially five phases in someone’s voiceover career. The first is ‘Who is Dave Fennoy. The second is ‘Get me Dave Fennoy.’ The Third is ‘Get me Dave Fennoy at any price.’ The fourth is ‘Get me a younger Dave Fennoy.’ Finally, the last phase is ‘Who is Dave Fennoy,’” he says. “These days, the temptation is great to get a lower priced microphone, but I believe it is much better to acquire a microphone that has lasting value and will carry you through each phase of your voiceover career. Maybe even to help avoid that fifth phase.”
While Fennoy has an enviable collection of Neumann microphones to choose from, his mic of choice is now the Neumann TLM 103, which he likes because of the detail, clarity and “because it picks up all the nuances of my voice.” He also appreciates its sensitivity to dynamics: “With the TLM 103, you can get very, very quiet, but it can also handle the sound pressure levels when you want to get loud.” While travelling, he takes along his Neumann TLM 102 — a compact large diaphragm microphone with uncompromising audio quality — recording into an iPad running TwistedWave editing software.
Say it like “The Hulu Guy” with Neumann
While Fennoy has enjoyed ongoing success doing voiceover work for Hulu and other clients including National Geographic, The Discovery Channel, several high profile video games, and a recurring part in “Star Wars: The Clone Wars,” he is very cognizant of the role that microphone technology has played over the course of his career: “I’ve had the good fortune of doing a variety of projects throughout my career, and Neumann has been alongside me every step of the way. There are many other mics out on the market now, but they are still all compared to Neumann,” he concludes.