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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Voice Actor Toolkit: What You Need in Your Home Studio

Home studios are relatively commonplace for voice actors these days. And even a necessity now. Back when I first got in the business, actors did most (if not all) of their recordings in an outside studio. Now, however, many actors have their own in-home studios where they can do everything from recording to editing to the basic practices necessary for managing their VO business. Convenience and comfort are the driving factors behind this shift, not to mention the advances that have made in-home equipment more manageable and affordable.  If you’re thinking of creating a home studio, here are the essential pieces you’ll need:

     Microphone - Arguably the most important piece of equipment, your microphone is your path to being heard. There are several different types, and you’ll absolutely need to research this before you buy anything. Go to your local music store and try out many side-by-side.

     Mic stand - A microphone stand will keep your mic from moving, resulting in even and consistent recording.  Avoid desk stands if possible, as these tend to absorb noise and vibrations that will come across in your recording.

     Pop filter - This goes along with your microphone and helps to eliminate those pesky “mouth noises” that you don’t want in your recordings.

     Speakers or headphones - How else are you going to listen to what you’ve recorded to make sure it sounds perfect? I use both.

     Computer - Your computer will serve as the connecting point for virtually everything in your home studio, and it’s also the piece of equipment you’ll use the most. Used for recording, editing, managerial tasks, communication, and more, this is an essential piece in your home studio. Get a good, quiet computer with lots of RAM.

     Software - You’ll need both recording and editing software installed on your computer so you can complete voice over projects. Check to see what other talent use.

     Acoustic treatments - A home studio usually needs to be outfitted with some type of acoustic treatment to improve the sound quality of your space. Acoustic foam and other noise dampening pieces may be necessary to eliminate ambient noise and ensure that your recordings are free of extraneous sounds. 

* Check online sources for professional standards and anwers to home studio questions. A great source is VOBS (www.voiceoverbodyshop.com)with George Whittam and Dan Lenard with their weekly broadcasts. Also available on YouTube.  

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