I am known for being blunt and honest. So I'm going to take that same blunt and honest approach towards the necessary essentials needed to put together a home recording studio for voiceover work.
This is a fairly controversial subject in the voiceover community since everyone, it seems, has an opinion on studio gear and equipment. The purpose of this article is not to recommend specific equipment brands and manufacturers. There’s enough of that info available already. Instead, I strive to debunk all the bad voiceover studio advice that will likely waste your time and your money.
Myth #1: You don’t need a studio. You can use a handheld recording device.
Boy, would I like to strangle whoever first thought to advocate this little gem of useless knowledge. Most handheld recording devices are meant to be used in place of handwritten notes at a meeting, or in a classroom. Their recording quality is terrible and they do not produce the kind of audio quality needed for professional voiceover work. No client in their right mind would pay for audio recorded on a Zoom recorder, or cell phone app.
Myth #2: You can build a studio for under $500.
Can you build a studio for under $500? Yes. Will it offer the type of quality necessary to record professional sounding voiceover... probably not. Even if you already have a great computer, the necessary studio
components needed to have a professional quality studio (Audio Interface, Microphone, Pre-amp, recording software, soundproofing, mic stand, headphones, and speakers) are going to cost well more than $500. A studio can be enhanced and added to overtime, that is true, but the final cost of owning a professional studio is usually somewhere in the neighborhood of $1,500 - $2,000 or more.
Myth #3: USB microphones are inexpensive and the quality is great.
Survey says? Wrong! They are not good enough to use for professional-grade recording. Along with this, you can add headset type microphones. Headsets are meant for talk and type software applications on your computer. Not recording. A good rule of thumb is this – if a microphone costs less than $200, it won’t be sufficient for your long term voiceover needs.
Myth #4: This (Insert product name here) is a great BEGINNER’S microphone.
I have a question – what the heck is a beginner’s microphone? If you plan on making voiceover your career and livelihood you need the same professional quality microphones that the pros are using, NOT a beginner’s microphone. Microphones are not meant to be upgraded continuously as your career grows. You are not a kid who outgrew your bicycle. Investing in a great microphone is wise because top quality gear will retain its va
lue and last for a long time. It also makes for better voiceover practice and improves your learning experience.
Myth #5: Soundproofing is optional, you don’t really need it.
Here’s a simple experiment. Go into a bedroom in your house and clap your hands a few times. Listen to see how much echo exists in the claps. Now pull the mattress off the bed (have someone hold it in place) kneel or sit on the floor in front of it and clap some more. You will hear the difference instantly. The sound will not travel as far, and you won’t have as much echo. Soundproofing, acoustic enhancement, sound treatments; whatever you call it, it is essential to a
great recording. There are a variety of different ways to proof a room inexpensively and effectively, but it’s a step you just can’t skip, especially if you are thinking about recording in an “open” room without a voiceover booth.
Gabrielle Nistico, Gabby Nistico, The Voiceover Vixen, The Business First VO Coach, #VoiceoverVixen #VoiceOnFire #BusinessFirstVOCoach Voiceover, Success, Entrepreneur, Marketing Strategies, Home Studio, Recording, Microphone, Soundproofing