Alfred Thomas “Al” Benelli (a.k.a. Merlin) began his voice career in radio (1996) (WFIL – Salem broadcasting) talking about money, finance, Wall Street, etc. on his own live, listener call-in show… “Money for Life”… along with his long-time friend and partner Phil Cook. The Merlingroup (their financial services practice) produced the show and Al and Phil (both CFP’s) aired and recorded the show as well as commercials and spot promos.
With Phil Cooks help and guidance, Al went into community theatre acting using voice affectations to re-create such iconic roles as Tevye in “Fiddler” and Oscar Madison in “Odd Couple” impersonating Topol and Walter Matthau. He later landed the roles of Sir Danvers Carew in Jekyll & Hyde impersonating Sean Connery and that of Templeton in Charlotte’s Web impersonating the Muppet’s Rizzo. His best fitting “roles/voices” appear to be those of a larger-than-life character such as a Tony Soprano type or someone in a position of authority. The Merlingroup has produced/narrated/performed more than a dozen audiobooks in the past 10 months with a full plate going forward into the remainder of the year. Try us! We’re addicted to success!
Although my original background education and experience was in engineering and later finance… I studied voice and theatre at The Actors Center of Philadelphia. I am a continuing student of professional voice coach/artist and mentor Charles “Chuck” McKibben, former studio manager and producer for the legendary Mel Blanc. My life experiences include: Computer field-engineer, Chef, Professional racecar driver, Certified Financial Planner practitioner, private pilot, radio-talk show host and stage actor.
Our primary studio utilizes AKG Perception 200, 220 and Harlan Hogan MXL VO1a microphones feeding into a Behringer 802 mixer… which outputs to a Behringer XR-4400 multi-channel noise gate and a BBE 382i Sonic Maximizer… thru a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi USB sound card into a dedicated Dell Inspiron 20 desktop computer running Cool Edit Pro DAW software. I also use Freac for audio format conversions. I have access to two additional studios for “specialized” work which may go beyond my substantial capabilities.
My normal speaking voice is a deep, smooth baritone well suited for voice-over. The ability to switch characters accurately & consistently makes audiobooks a strong area. My voice resides in a frequency range seemingly unaffected by background music, noise or sound effects. I was the SCCA/IMSA track announcer at Pocono International Speedway and thus am experienced in sports interviews and color commentary. I have life experience in the financial services industry (CFP), Series 6,7,24. I am a Vietnam Vet (Special Forces) and so I can relate well to financial and/or military subject material.
Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award
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