When I was ten the English teacher said "don't use 'said,'there are so many other word you can use!" Now that I'm twenty and going to writer's conferences they say,"use 'said,' the rest you paint as a picture with your words. If they're angry have them throw a plate or a fist!" So what I actually do is a mixture, I'll say "said in muted tones" or "in a voice that was barely audible." Then sometimes I'll just straight out use a word like "mutter," but it's sure nice to use "said," again, sometimes it's just cleaner than all this "yell, shout, whine" nonsense.