Creating a Home Studio for Voiceover
During Covid, we all had to set up a home studio for voiceover or we simply weren’t working.
Post Covid, working from home has become the more ‘usual’ way for voice artists to work and has become one of the biggest permanent changes in the VO world.
So, the sooner you can begin to play with gear and begin to refine your skills of voiceover and your knowledge of the business, the sooner you’ll be able to get a return on your investment.
Important first steps are the gear (more information later in this document) the quality of your Microphone and Interface, which is what connects your microphone to your computer, and of course a Digital Audio Workstation (DAW) which is the program you record into.
You can begin to play with Garage Band or try any of the others out there, Audacity, Reaper, Twisted Wave or Pro Tools, which come at various prices for subscriptions, but are sometimes free or offer a free trial.
Here’s a link to a company that has a program and some really easy technical coaching, which is gaining popularity
Setting up gear can feel slightly scary to some, but I am self-taught and once you get over the hump of ‘but I’m not techy’, you’ll find it’s actually pretty easy. And you need to do this sooner than later. Having a home studio for voiceover is now becoming a crucial component to increasing your opportunities for work.
How I Set Up My Home Studio for Broadcast Quality
My ‘booth’, is set up in a corner of my study. It was made simply from pine frames with black fabric stapled to it and at the back I put in cheap insulation held there by tapes. I put two panels into the corner of a wall. 7 feet tall and 3 feet wide. They were connected with metal plates and screws. I also attached a roof, made the same way. I then built a partition to stand behind me when I was in the booth and draped a soft rug from the roof and down across the partition.
Many of my peers created their home studio for voiceover in a wardrobe, either a cupboard style or a walk-in, (softening the sound with clothes is actually quite effective) or built something in a space under the stairs, or just as I did, in a corner of a room in a quiet part of the house.
My very improvised booth is not sound proofed
It’s well baffled though and got the thumbs up from my regular clients.
Sound ‘deadening’ and baffling can take a bit of work. Can’t be too dead, nor too live. Get expert help by sending samples to a sound engineer. They’ll pick up what isn’t working and what is.
The most important thing to remember is both inside and outside noise. Turn the heating off, listen for traffic, machinery, dogs that bark or birds.
If you can hear your computer whirring, you need to baffle that as well.
I’ve created a list of excellent broadcast quality gear to create an affordable but effective Home Studio for voiceover.
This is what I have (as do many of my peers) and it’s just my personal recommendation. You’ll be able to find equivalent quality no matter where you are.
Mic: RODE NT1-A1 Kit $529AUD
The RODE Kit includes the mic, a mic rack, a pop shield and an interface. Excellent Australian product. Here’s an example but look around if you want to find one at a better price. Recommended!
Mic Stand: $100-250
Music stand: from $25 (but you may need to apply fabric or a carpet square across the metal surface for sound deadening).
Interface: I bought a Focusrite Scarlet $300-320 (but there’s an interface included with the RODE Kit if you choose that)
Headphones: Sennheiser $200 + with lead, wireless about $400 + AUD
*Just a note: Don’t think that a USB mic which plugs straight into your computer will suffice, because it’s probably not going to give you a good enough broadcast quality sound. Spend the money on a good mic and interface. You won’t be sorry.
Next I’ll talk about Source Connect (SC). It’s a US based platform that enables remote recording sessions from anywhere with internet access.
Best of all, you don’t need to record yourself into your Digital Audio Workstation (DAW).
SC allows your voice to be captured in real time by the studio you’re connecting to.
It was a little bit tricky to set up, but with patience and some tech help, I managed it.
Workflow within a very short time was brilliant and much of it done in my pyjamas
For those who don’t know about SC, here’s some info about it from tech guru, George Whittam.
***Don’t get Source Connect unless you are already working to such an extent that you would truly benefit from having it.
You need to be established or at least be proficient enough in your practice, to make it viable. If you’re starting out it won’t necessarily translate to work if you send a demo and say, “here’s my demo, I have SC “.
But for those who’d like a great Podcast about Equipment and Home Studios for voiceover, Andrew Peters, a high profile Australian voiceover artist and friend, has a brilliant series of Podcasts, The Pro Audio Suite
So, it’s over to you. Happy VoiceOvering!!!