'The real voice of Siri explains the art of voiceover'

Phil Edwards, writing for Vox:

When Bennett recorded the voice for Siri in 2005, she had no idea it would end up on the iPhone. She recorded it well before the company that built Siri was bought by Apple, and she didn't even know she was the voice of Siri until the product debuted in the App Store in 2010 and then appeared on the iPhone 4S in 2011. But as seamless as Bennett sounds as Siri, it was a surprisingly difficult project to capture her voice.

A fascinating read that offers a glimpse behind the curtains on a variety of subjects that aren't just specific to Apple. Susan Bennett offers a candid look into what goes into recording voiceover specifically for instances where computers talk to us, and Vox also provides some featured video and audio clips that are fun, giving a perspective on this person that we'd normally not hear when we hold the home buttons on our phones.

The article starts to explore something that I think fits into the Apple narrative really well, but falls short of going too in-depth.

She's invested seriously in her studio because a majority of her recording occurs at home, typical of many voice actors. Thanks to worldwide high-quality connections — begun with high-quality ISDN lines and extending to today's fiber-optic broadband — it's possible for actors around the world to record from home and compete with one another. Like so many industries, technology changed everything for voice actors.

"You could choose a talent from anywhere and record that person from anywhere else," Bennett says. "All the people from any city no longer were limited to their local group of actors. They could go anywhere in the world."

She installed her ISDN in 1996, and to remain competitive, many voice actors did the same. Technology has brought big opportunities to the business, as well as stiffer competition.

The Internet has been a huge factor for people like Bennett, sure, but it's also important to consider just how central a role the computers and software play themselves. 20 years ago, home setups like this would've been costly and time-consuming to set up and learn. Today, a hundred dollar microphone, a 2.3 lbs. notebook computer that costs less than a grand, and free software included with the operating system is all anyone needs to create professional sounding recordings. A walk-in closet stuffed with clothes is also helpful. That's how I do it.

Apple has pushed for this ease-of-use in their software from the beginning. Much to the chagrin of the "professionals" out there, they've slowly helped blur the line of what's capable by the highly-trained compared and the novice. I think it's interesting that the company that has inadvertently helped Bennett become one of the most recognizeable voices today is making it easier and easier for others to compete with her.