Setting Up Your Equipment

By Darryl Green

  • Equipping Your Home Voiceover Studio

    To make a living, voice over talents used to have to physically go to gigs recorded in commercial production facilities. Now, gigs can come to them-in home studios and through the Internet. But for many voice over talents, newbie and old pro alike, outfitting a home studio is technically baffling. So, how do you make that spare bedroom or corner of your studio apartment (no pun intended) into a functional voice over facility, with decent acoustics and the appropriate equipment? Let’s take a look at the basics involved in setting up a home voiceover studio.


    Selecting your studio space

         A studio of any size or recording purpose starts with the space in which it will be located. Isolation from outside sounds is important. If you live in a studio or one-bedroom apartment, then try to locate your “studio” in a corner as far from the door to the hallway and away from windows. Also, a closet can work well as a recording booth. Set up your recording equipment just outside the closet and your microphone inside the closet.

    If you live in a two-plus bedroom unit or a single-family home and can dedicate an entire room to your studio, then you’ll have more options available for controlling the acoustics of the space. You’ll want to make sure the room doesn’t sound too “echoey” or “hollow.” Treating these problems can be as simple as putting some overstuffed furniture in the room, along with a rug and some drapes over the windows. Have a lot of old clothes sitting in an attic or basement? You can use them to create a recording “booth” around your mic. Fill three or four rolling clothes racks with clothes and then position them on the sides and back of your mic position.

    Of course, you can use professional acoustic materials to control sound reflections. You’ll find an excellent primer on acoustical treatment-in plain English-at Auralex. Check out these acoustical treatment production companies, too: HSF Acoustics;  Silent Source.com; Vocalbooth.com; Whisper Room.


    Selecting your equipment

         Once you have your studio space selected, you’ll need to properly equip it in order to deliver pro quality voiceovers to clients. With the latest in digital recording technology and reasonably priced pro microphones, you could spend as little as $1000 for a very basic, yet serviceable, home voiceover studio. That’s assuming you have a decent computer sound card and speakers. The list is quite short: $200-$250 for a microphone. $40 for a mic pop filter to prevent “popping” your Ps, Bs, and Ts. $45 for a mic stand. $200-$250 for a USB or Firewire digital recording interface. $65 for shareware recording software. $45 for headphones. $40 for cables. $100 for sundries. Bare bones, but it will work.

    Plug your microphone cable into the digital recording interface, which is a little box that amplifies and processes the signal from the mic. Plug the interface into your computer’s sound card. Plug your headphones into the interface. Load the recording/editing software. A couple of adjustments to volume in and out and you’re ready to record. Voice the copy. Clean it up with an edit or two. Then convert it the voiceover sound file to an .mp3 file, attach it to an email, and send it off to the client via the Internet. To learn more about the equipment listed above, search the web or visit online pro audio dealers. A few good ones are: Full CompassSweetwaterB&H Pro audioBoynton Pro audioBSW.

    This simple studio set up is serviceable, but it has its limits. If a client wants to direct you via the phone, then you’ll have to either hold the phone to your ear while you record, or get a hands-free headset. You could also buy a gizmo call a phone hybrid that allows you to speak through your mic down the phone line to your client as you listen to the client’s direction through your headphones.


    Learning more

          As with any investment, you’ll need to research the equipment you’ll need for your studio, and how to install and use it. See if you can locate a voice talent in your area that may let you visit his or her studio. Visit Mix Magazine or EQ Magazine and check their archives for articles on home studios. Local production houses may be willing to make suggestions, but, remember, by setting up your own studio, you’re indicating to clients that they can cut out the production house by working directly with you. That may not sit well with some production house owners, because the home voiceover explosion has had a detrimental impact on many commercial recording facilities.

    That’s a basic home voiceover studio in a nutshell. If you can operate a home stereo and have experience in front of a computer screen, then you can put together and operate a home voiceover studio. With a little practice recording and editing, and some promotion of your home studio, you can quickly recover the cost of your studio and add to begin to add to your bottom line. Happy voicing!

    © Peter Drew, 2005

    Peter Drew, a freelance voice-over talent and copywriter/producer with decades of experience, is heard on radio and television stations, corporate presentations, web sites, and messages-on-hold across America and countries around the world. To send an email regarding this article, please visit Peter Drew Voiceovers at http://www.peterdrewvo.com.

    Recommended Posts

  • Ad

  • Do Actors Have to Swear?

    Question: Do Actors Have to Swear? (By Carmichael Phillips) The use of swearing or explicit language by actors in film, television, or theater depends on the script, the nature of the characters, and…

    Do Some Actors Refuse to Kiss?

    Question: Do Some Actors Refuse to Kiss? (By Carmichael Phillips) Yes, some actors may choose to refuse or express discomfort with on-screen kissing scenes for various reasons. These reasons can be personal, professional,…

    Why Do Actors Not Kiss on the Lips?

    Question: Why Do Actors Not Kiss on the Lips? (By Carmichael Phillips) In some film and television productions, actors may not engage in on-the-lips kissing for various reasons. There are several factors that…

    Are Actors Lip Syncing?

    Question: Are Actors Lip Syncing? (By Carmichael Phillips) Yes, actors often engage in lip-syncing, particularly in the context of filmed performances such as in movies, television shows, or music videos. Lip-syncing, or “lip…

    Do Actors Feel Awkward Kissing?

    Question: Do Actors Feel Awkward Kissing? (By Carmichael Phillips) The experience of actors when it comes to on-screen kissing can vary widely. Some actors feel comfortable and at ease with performing intimate scenes,…

  • Ad

  • Can Actors Dye Their Hair

    Can Actors Dye Their Hair? Here are some reasons why actors may choose to dye their hair (By Ashley Graves) Yes, actors often dye their hair to suit the requirements of a role…

    Can Actors Have Nose Piercings

    Can Actors Have Nose Piercings? Here are some considerations (By Javier Guerra) The acceptability of nose piercings for actors depends on various factors, including the preferences of the production team, the specific requirements…

    Do Actors Need to Shave?

    Do Actors Need to Shave? It depends on various factors (By Ray Reese) Whether actors need to shave or not depends on various factors, including the specific requirements of the role, the creative…

  • Ad

  • Can Actors Wear Their Own Clothes?

    Question: Can Actors Wear Their Own Clothes? (By Ashley Graves) In many film and television productions, actors typically do not wear their own clothes during scenes. Instead, the costume department is responsible for…

    Do Actors Remove Body Hair?

    Question: Do Actors Remove Body Hair? (By Nathan Sullivan) Question: Do Actors Remove Body Hair? Answer: Yes, actors may choose to remove body hair for various reasons, depending on the requirements of a…

    Why Do Actors Shave Their Chest?

    Question: Why Do Actors Shave Their Chest? (By Ray Reese) Actors may choose to shave their chest for various reasons, depending on the requirements of a specific role, personal preferences, or the expectations…

    Do Actors Shave Their Armpits?

    Question: Do Actors Shave Their Armpits? (By Ray Reese) Question: Do Actors Shave Their Armpits? Answer: The grooming practices of actors, including whether they shave their armpits, can vary based on personal preferences,…

    Do Extras Ever Get Noticed?

    Do Extras Ever Get Noticed? Beyond the Background (By Javier Guerra) Extras, often referred to as background actors or atmosphere performers, play a crucial role in setting the stage for film and television…

  • Ad

  • Can Actors Forget They’re Acting?

    Question: Can Actors Forget They’re Acting? (By Ray Reese) Acting, at its core, is the art of creating a convincing illusion of reality. The most accomplished actors are capable of immersing themselves so…

    Can Actors Get Stuck in Character?

    Question: Can Actors Get Stuck in Character? (By Javier Guerra) The transformative power of acting lies in an actor’s ability to embody diverse characters, bringing them to life on screen or stage. While…

    Is It Too Late to Start an Acting Career?

    Is It Too Late to Start an Acting Career? Embracing the Spotlight at 27 (By Javier Guerra) Embarking on a career in acting can be an exhilarating yet daunting prospect, and one common…

  • Ad

  • Why Can’t Extras Talk to Actors on Set?

    Why Can’t Extras Talk to Actors on Set? The Unspoken Rule (By Javier Guerra) Film and television sets are bustling hubs of creativity, with actors, directors, crew members, and extras all working in…

    Is 25 Too Late for Acting?

    Is 25 Too Late for Acting? Breaking into Acting at 25 (By Tonya Tannenbaum) The question of whether 25 is too late to embark on an acting career is one that often crosses…

    The Hardest Thing About Being an Actor

    The Hardest Thing About Being an Actor Navigating the Complex Landscape of a Demanding Craft (By Javier Guerra) Becoming an actor is often perceived as a dream profession, filled with glamour, fame, and…

    Is Acting Harder Than It Looks?

    Is Acting Harder Than It Looks? Why the art of acting is a complex and challenging craft (By Ray Reese) Acting, often portrayed as a glamorous profession, has the ability to transport audiences…

    What are the Odds of Becoming Famous Actor

    What are the Odds of Becoming Famous Actor The Path to Becoming a Famous Actor (By Javier Guerra) Becoming a famous actor is a dream that many aspiring performers harbor, driven by a…

  • Ad