In the continuing series on 'Getting Started In Voiceovers', today I'll talk about equipment.
Research buying equipment as opposed to renting studio space; studio space is expensive and you're held hostage to the studios operating schedule. You'll probably find some good deals on used equipment; when voice talents upgrade and buy new equipment they tend to sell their 'old' gear. Here’s a list of the equipment I use:
WhisperRoom- MDL 4242S/SNV
22” ViewSonic touch screen monitor (VSD220)
Mic: (2) EV RE 27n/d
Mixer: Mackie 1402- VLZ Pro
Computer: Dell Studio XPS9100 Desktop with a Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Pro Series PCI Sound card.
Digital editing program: Adobe Audition CC
Phone patch: JK Audio autohybrid
An ever-growing library of royalty free music and sound effects from Sound Ideas.
Keeping in mind...that you're main objective is to make YOUR VOICE sound the best it can. In the voiceover business, you'll absolutely need 4 things: Computer, microphone, recording software and a place to record. Of course...you can't get an 'off the shelf' computer (from one of those popular retailers)...you'll need a computer with a big hard drive...with an upgraded processor; and an upgraded sound card; or you can use an interface (it's the way to go, these days). Do you prefer a MAC or a PC? MAC's are more expensive than PC's; but again, it depends on what system you’re more comfortable with. You can expect to pay from $1200 and up for a computer whether you get a laptop or a desktop. External hard drives are a safe investment; I have 3- 1 for sound effects; 1 for music and 1 for all my backups. I recently picked up the third one (4 terabytes) because I had a virus on my pc and was at risk of losing EVERYTHING I'd recorded; so now I keep everything I record on the 3rd external hard drive. I've also been playing around with video, so I keep it on there, as well.
You'll need software to record your voice onto....and, of course, you'll have to learn how to set it up and how to record onto it. There’s a whole bunch of recording programs that voice talents use and depending upon your skill-level and what you’re looking to do, you should have no problem in finding something to get you started. I use Adobe Audition CC because I can also produce material (meaning add music and sound effects to projects). http://www.adobe.com/products/audition.html
Garage Band is a popular program: http://www.jakeludington.com/ask_jake/20100401_garageband_for_windows_7.html
Audacity is another: http://www.sonicdownloads.net/download/Audio/Audacity/?f=inCAk0Xte&a=7378&adid=742700073
And Wavpad: http://www.nch.com.au/wavepad/index.html
Then there’s always Pro Tools (considered the industry standard) http://www.avid.com/us/products/pro-tools-software (in my opinion- Pro Tools has the biggest learning curve)
Most software will offer free downloads of their programs, but you’re limited to what you can do; some offer a 30 day trial period.
You probably won‘t be spending a whole lot on a mic (for the first time). A decent mic will run from a few hundred dollars all the way up to a few thousand; realizing, of course, that you NEVER, EVER, use the mic that came with your computer. Lol. The best I can tell you about mics is to go into a Sam Ash or a Guitar Center and have the guy show you all the different types of mics that a voice talent can can use for voiceovers. Your voice has a natural ‘sound’ and depending upon which mic you use….will give your voice a different sound. I know people who have a bunch of different mics that they use…each for a different purpose; 1 mic for audiobooks; another mic for commercials etc…
Being able to record on-the-go is booming right now; and the gear needed is getting smaller. You can record your voice on Smart Phones; however, you can’t edit on them (not yet, anyway..lol). Laptops are popular and you can get the same quality as being in the studio; you’ll still need a good mic and a place to record.
...and finally, where are you going to record?
Do you own a home or rent an apt? Is there a lot of outside noise? Do you have kids running around? Pets? Is your phone always ringing? These can all affect how and where you can record. When I first got started, I set up a little space in my basment, it worked well; until the boiler kicked on...lol...I had to wait for it to cycle and shut down before I could continue with the voicoever project. Some people use a closet (with the clothes hanging in it). I saw a picture of this one guy who sets up a couple of high-back chairs and throws some blankets over it...lol. Some people have a booth (either from a manufacturer, or they construct their own)…some convert a whole room, which is expensive and somewhat permanent. Again, your situation is different, so it’s difficult to point you in ‘any’ direction. The room is important and it has to be DEAD (meaning- NO ECHO). Oddly enough, a room ‘lives’. Walk into an empty room with no carpeting….big echo, right? Add carpet and some furniture…and the echo is reduced, but there’s still some echo there, you may not hear it, but the MIC will; and then you’ll hear it on the play back. Youtube has a lot of videos on sound proofing a room.
by Rich Brennan