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Thursday, October 15, 2020

Home Studio Equipment a Voice Over Talent Must Have


No matter how good your voice is, the script, the nest editing, there is one more ingredient to having the best voice-over clip, good equipment.  The quality of your recordings will separate you from the rest.  While prior to recent years options of going into studios were readily available, now your home studio needs to be fully equipped.

Here is a guide to help you get your home studio set up.

High-Quality Microphone and Accessories

A high-quality microphone is the first place to start when setting up your studio.  Investing in a quality mic is one investment that you will not regret.

Microphone stand, shock mount, and pop filter can enhance the sound quality.  No matter how good your mic is outside noises can easily ruin your recording. 

The microphone stand will keep the mic steady and free your hands up, no matter how you attach it, keep in mind that movement of the stand will cause vibration.  So, placement is important.  A shock mount will support the mic and help with vibrations and handling.

A pop screen will reduce and eliminate the popping sounds in vocal recordings.

Condensor microphones, most often used by the pros, require 48 volt "phantom power" from a PreAmplifier. There are many outhere to choose from. In many cases, the preamp is part of the computer interface you will need to connect to your computer with. See DAW below, as well.

Studio Headphones versus Standard Headphones

Studio headphones are a necessity.  They give a more realistic... "flat" sound your audio, versus standard headphones that tend to automatically modify the audio.  As a voice-over talent, you need to know how your voice truly sounds.  They also can detect background noises, unwanted clicks, pops allowing you to remove them later or record over.

Studio headphones are also made to be more durable, longer-lasting, and more comfortable than standard headphones. 

Digital Audio Software (DAW)

Recording and editing software is a must, along with a fast, quiet computer will improve your quality and productivity.  It is worth looking into the different types of software, the computer requirements to run them, and what is going to be easiest for you to use.

Mixer Options

This is one that is a preference of some voice-over talent prefer a hardware mixer, while others want a DAW or program that has the audio mixing capabilities mixed in. 

Mixers are meant for multi-source, live production, so live broadcasts or webcasts definitely need the options.  Mixers tend to add an analog step to your audio chain, which is not necessary or always a good thing.  However, your decision will be based on the type of work you are doing or planning to do in the future.

Remote Recording Platform

When working from home you need to have an Integrated Services Digital System (ISDN) that enables recording studios to connect with clients and other studios. However, conventional ISDN is no longer as popular, nor as easily available as it once was. Today there are more options for sending/receiving HIGH quality digital audio. There are several other platforms that offer remote recording sessions for recording studios and voice over talent.  These options include Source Connect, ipDTL, and others.  Not to be confused with platforms that allow audio/video transfer in LOW quality. Such as Zoom, Skype, Facetime and others. You will need to look at the pros and cons of each to find the best one for your skillset and needs. Just make sure you understand limitations of each. 

Studio Set-Up

Where you set up your studio is a big consideration especially since you need to keep external noises out, a dog barking, doorbell ringing, etc.  Professional audio quality really begins with the quality of the room you are recording in. It should be as "quiet" and as well insulated from exterior noise as you can make it. While you can edit out some noises it is not always possible to do that. Even the best editing software and operator can't make up for a "high" noise floor level... or noise tolerance level. Which should be kept as low as possible.

Things that you need to think of when choosing the room are HVAC systems, water pipes, buzzing lights and outdoor noises.  There are many acoustic treatments for walls and ceilings available for "deadening" the sound within a room. If you build your studio with these considerations and equipment you will be set to produce high-quality recordings at home.

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