If you’re a voiceover artist you know how hit or miss a session can be. Sometimes you walk in and nail your work on the first take and sometimes a single word seems to take hours. While most studios are comfortable and full of great gear, including microphones and outboard gear that make your voice sound silky smooth or incredibly powerful, other studios aren’t exactly set up for comfort. Instead of a live room you might find yourself crammed into a tiny, dark isolation booth that feels more like a closet inside of a sauna than a comfortable working environment. If you’re sick of the back and forth, there might be another option for you. Putting together a home studio for your voiceover work isn’t as hard as you might believe; with just a few pieces of equipment, including Kaotica’s revolutionary microphone sound shield called the Eyeball, you can have just as good of a studio as the ones you have to travel to.
In this blog we will go over some ways that you can do your work from home where you’re comfortable and without the quality of your V.O. work suffering. The first step to take is to purchase an Eyeball from Kaotica. This incredible foam sound shield will block out any unwanted sounds why you’re recording and instead let your microphone capture the full range and timbre of your voice.
Consider yourself lucky if you’re a V.O. artist — you’ll need a lot less gear than a band or producer needs in order to do your job well. What that doesn’t mean is that you can just grab whatever microphone or DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is just laying around and expect the quality to be the same as a studio setup.
Here are the most basic items you’ll need to be able to record yourself:
The Kaotica Eyeball - The Kaotica Eyeball allows you to record in any room without having to worry about sound reflections (echoes) or outside noises like traffic, your dishwasher, or anything else, being picked up by the microphone. By using special foam and a built in pop-filter, the Eyeball creates the perfect environment for capturing your voice.
A microphone - Converts analog signals (sound) into electrical signals.
Microphone cables - Takes the electrical signal from the microphone and inputs it to a microphone pre-amp.
Microphone preamps - Boosts (amplifies) the electrical signal captured by the microphone and sends it to a DAW. Sometimes a mic preamp has a D/A (Digital to Analog) and A/D (Analog to Digital) converter in it and sometimes your DAW will have an interface that either incorporates preamps or is where your D/A and A/D conversions will take place.
A DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) - A DAW is the program that you record and edit audio with. Think Pro Tools, Nuendo, Garageband, and many others.
Monitors - Monitors are studio speakers that allow you to hear your audio. While any speakers will work, studio monitors are designed to playback your sound at a close-to-flat frequency response. This means that, unlike consumer speakers that boost the high and low end of any sound played through them, what you hear through studio monitors is as close to the sound that was recorded by the microphone as possible.
Headphones - Headphones are necessary for when you’re recording. You want to be able to hear yourself clearly so you can adjust your technique without having the audio from monitors leaking back into the microphone.
You’ll notice that the section above follows what is called “signal flow.” Signal flow is just a short way of saying how the sounds gets into the DAW. If you remember to hook your microphone up to a mic cable and then run that cable into a mic-pre which then goes into the DAW, you’ll never have a problem getting everything to work correctly. If you do have a problem, go step by step and eliminate each possibility until the faulty/malfunctioning piece of gear is revealed as the weak link in your chain and then replace it. (And don’t forget to turn everything on. We’ve all forgotten to do it more times than we’d every admit, so don’t feel bad if you forget, too.)
One of the best ways to start putting together a home V.O. studio shopping list is to pay attention to what gear in other studios works best for you. Talk to the engineer about the gear that they use and why. Engineers love talking about gear so it shouldn’t be hard to get as much information as you can. Maybe a certain ribbon mic that works for 50 percent of the people they record makes your voice sound too weak, while a large diaphragm condenser mic usually reserved for other applications is a perfect fit. Take notes about the mics the engineer prefers for you and if you agree, look into them and other mics that are similar. The same goes for microphone preamps and outboard gear like compressors.
Seeing the price tag on some of the gear you’ll need is where the idea of having your own V.O. studio can start to feel less and less appealing. Microphones, preamps, and DAWs are not cheap (at least not any of the high-quality ones) but you shouldn’t let this deter you. If you’re a working professional, consider it an investment in yourself (and a tax write off.) There’s no rule that says you have to have every piece of gear at once, so sock money away and put a plan in place to buy a new piece of gear every few months when it’s reasonable.
The best thing you can do for yourself when your studio is up and running is to spend as much time as you can playing with it and getting to know it inside and out. The more you use your recording gear the easier it becomes to complete complex projects. Read blogs about recording, watch YouTube videos that explain the basics, and just familiarize yourself with how everything works.
If you’re ready to start building your voiceover recording studio, don’t forget to pick up the incredible Eyeball microphone sound shield from Kaotica! It is one piece of gear that is worth a lot more than its weight and gold and it will help your studio put out recordings that sound as great as much bigger, much more expensive studios. Shop with us today!