GEAR UP FOR VO SUCCESS

Having a properly equipped voice over home studio is crucial so don’t let your gear be the weak link that holds you back from getting an agent or booking more jobs. My 30 plus years of professional recording experience coupled with recommendations from my go-to home studio tech gurus, offers YOU the best gear options for your home studio, from microphones and preamps to software and accessories. So whether you’re on a tight budget or ready to GEAR UP like a pro, below are some of my trusted recommendations.

I’ll let you in on a little secret… You only need 8 essential pieces of equipment to set up a professional voice over home studio.

Microphones

You’ll want to go with a cardioid large diaphragm condenser microphone for your home studio. Cardioid microphones reject sound from the rear, so they are a great choice for less-than-perfect recording spaces. I would stay a way from USB mics. USB mics are better suited for podcasting and are not intended for professional broadcast high quality applications. Here are my Best Picks for voice over microphones.

Mic Preamps

Most voice actors choose a USB audio interface. This important piece of studio equipment allows you to connect your microphone, headphones, and speakers to your computer - but it’s also an essential component to your sound quality so don’t skimp here. Below are my Top Picks for audio interfaces and preamps.

Microphone Stands & Accessories

Well, this little ditty is not very exciting but it’s an essential piece of gear. You don’t need to spend too much here but you’ll need a good quality balanced XLR cable. A great cable will contribute to the overall quality of your sound while a cheap cable may add hiss and unwanted noise. And whether it’s a floor or desk mic stand, stay away from the super cheap options out there because they’ll wear out and break and you’ll find yourself quickly replacing the stand. Below are my Top Picks.

Pop Filters & Headphones

If you’re recording voice over or vocals you’ll definitely want to invest in a pop filter. These aren’t very expensive but they will stop plosives from ruining your recordings. And for headphones you basically have two options: closed-back or open-back headphones. Closed-back are typically for monitoring audio when you are recording and open-back are more suited for mixing. For voice over you’ll want to go for the closed-back headphones.

Acoustic Sound Treatment

One of the biggest issues voice talent have when setting up their home studio is badly underestimating the importance of room acoustics - And assuming that just because they have a nice condenser microphone and expensive preamp, great sound will automatically be present. The truth is… the acoustics of your room have more-to-do with sound quality than perhaps anything else in your studio. If you don’t have a professional vocal booth you’ll need to acoustically treat your room, closet or designated recording space with foam, fiberglass panels or sound blankets to soak up the natural reverb ambiance of the room. When recording voice over, you want to be using as “neutral” of a room as possible. That way your results aren’t being colored by the sound of your recording space. Here are a few of my Top Picks for sound treatment.

Portable Vocal Booth

Computer & Recording Software

Your last and final piece of gear you’ll need is a computer. Any modern computer will work for recording voice over but go for a Mac or PC with a powerful CPU and at least 8GB of RAM and a quiet SSD drive for best performance. You also need to consider the operating system. Personally, I have found that Apple computers are much more reliable and stable when working with audio. Once you have your computer, you will also need to choose and download recording software before you can actually record. As for recording software, there a few DAW’s (Digital Audio Workstations) that I recommend for Mac & PC. All though there are many other DAWs on the market, here are a few recording software platforms that are most often favored by voice actors.

  • TwistedWave is super simple to use and a lot of voice actors including pros use this audio recording and editing software. Mac only, 30-day free trial. Cost is $99.90
  • Reaper is full of great features for voiceover with all the bells and whistles.You can evaluate REAPER in full for 60 days. Mac & PC. Cost is $60
  • Pro Tools is the industry-standard audio production software so if you already know how to use it, stick with it. If you’ve never used Pro Tools, it’s going to take some time to really learn how to navigate this beast. Mac & PC and it will cost you $299 for a 1-year subscription then $199 per year.
  • Adobe Audition is a comprehensive toolset that includes multitrack, waveform, and spectral display for creating, mixing, editing, and restoring audio. Mac & PC. Free trial available. $240 per year subscription.
  • Audacity is an easy-to-use multi-track audio editor and recording software for both Mac & PC. This software is Free.