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Creating your home studio is a very exciting process!! So today in our chat about how to get into voice acting, I thought it would be great to cover microphones, audio interfaces and headphones. If you saw my last post, How to Get Into Voice Acting Part 1 – Training & First Steps, you know that your first focus should be on getting quality training one-on-one with a reputable coach. But when you are ready to take that next step and create your home studio it is SO exciting!
Luckily, creating a quality home studio for voiceover doesn’t have to be crazy expensive. You can create an awesome sound-treated space, get a great affordable quality microphone and produce great results! It is still an investment of course, but it is definitely achievable.
Let’s dive into our first topic of the day… Microphones!
Creating Your Home Studio – Best Microphones for Voiceover:
There are a lot of great microphones to use for voiceover out there. You will need a large diaphragm condenser microphone or a condenser shotgun microphone.
Give “large diaphragm cardioid condenser microphone” a google and you will see a lot of results!
Your voiceover microphone will need to connect to your audio interface with an XLR cable – not a USB cable.
The most important factor in creating quality audio is how you treat your space. IE how you acoustically treat your space to sound “dead”, and also reduce your noise floor. The good news here is that you can purchase a relatively inexpensive microphone if your space is treated properly. We will get more into treating your space acoustically in the next post!
Here are some affordable quality microphones you can choose from. Some have been recommended to me, and others I use and love.
Best Budget Microphones for Voiceover:
Rode NT1-A-MP Stereo Studio Vocal Cardioid Condenser Microphones – https://amzn.to/3UXdvQO ($200-$300)
Sennheiser Professional MK 4 Cardioid Condenser Studio Microphone – https://amzn.to/3E7W6OF ($300-$400)
Audio-Technica AT4040 Cardioid Condenser Microphone – https://amzn.to/3WYEBce ($350)
Audio-Technica AT875R Line/Gradient Shotgun Condenser Microphone – https://amzn.to/3tUiJBm ($169)
Example of AT4040 mic, my regional SuperBowl ad – https://youtu.be/0XiXeLDieiI
Behind-the-scenes of recording this ad on vacation – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f5A2pal315g&list=PLkmGUmGeElqrXBRvZEp_FbsjYm00L851M&index=5
Best Studio Microphones For Voiceover (Higher Quality):
Sennheiser Professional MKH 416 Shotgun Microphone – https://amzn.to/3GouJm2 ($1000-$1500)
Neumann TLM 103 Condensor Microphone – https://amzn.to/3g2lehK ($1300)
AKG Pro Audio C414 XLII Condenser Microphone – https://amzn.to/3UTPOc5 ($1500)
How to find the right microphone for your voice:
There are a lot of different opinions out there for the “best overall microphone”. There are things to consider like cost, quality, a microphone’s frequency response (where it boosts certain frequencies for example), its self-noise – etc.
My advice is to start out with what you can afford, just make sure it is a quality microphone. You may need to save up a little bit more, but you can find a great affordable microphone like the ones listed above.
You can also go down to your local music store and rent a few of these microphones. Test them out with your voice and see which one you think sounds the best.
If you need help narrowing down which one sounds the best with your voice, there are a number of helpful people in the industry to give you their 2 cents. You can also hire someone for an audio consultation!
Another tip for saving money is to purchase the equipment used. Your music store may have some used inventory available for a lower rate. You could also search reverb.com, or eBay to see if you can find a used microphone. Obviously, do your homework and check out the reviews of the seller, but you can find some great used equipment out there!
Creating Your Home Studio – Best Audio Interface for Voiceover:
An audio interface takes the signal from your microphone and turns it into something that your computer understands. It also sends audio from the computer into your headphones and your studio monitors.
There are some great affordable options in and around the $200 range. Two of the most popular ones are:
Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 Audio Interface – https://amzn.to/3GehQuO
The Focusrite Scarlet 2i2 is a great interface that millions of people use every day. It has a great set of preamps in it as well. I bought a lightly used one at the music store and unfortunately, it crapped out on me within a year. I’ve heard others had the same issue where one day it just stops working. BUT that is just anecdotal evidence on my part. I have had nothing but great things to say about the next interface…
Steinberg UR22C Audio Interface – https://amzn.to/3gbVbEO
The Steinburg UR-C series features Yamaha’s highly acclaimed D-PRE preamps so they offer great recording quality and detailed sound. I also like the way the interface is labeled and designed. I think it is a little more intuitive than the Focusrite as well.
A couple of other ones you could look into that I have not tried, but your local music store or other voice actors could speak to are the Audiobox USB 96 and the Audient ID4 MKII.
Creating Your Home Studio – Best Studio Headphones for Voiceover:
You need to be able to hear playback when you are editing if you don’t have studio monitors. You also need a great pair of headphones for live-direct sessions, and when you travel if you plan to record on the road.
You need a pair of “closed-back” studio headphones. Closed-back headphones are totally sealed at the back so it isolates you from hearing other noises while you are listening back to your audio.
You need to hear your audio back with a high-quality pair of headphones.
Luckily, there are some great options around the $100 range. Let’s take a look at a couple!
KRK KNS 6400 – https://amzn.to/3E9dTFi ($100-$150)
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone – https://amzn.to/3hBBDu1 ($100-$150)
How to choose the right studio headphones:
My advice is to go to the music store in person and try on every pair of headphones to find the most comfortable ones. Ask the people in the store what the best quality headphones are within a certain budget range and try every single one of them. Bring a tablet or something you can plug in the headphones to and listen to your favorite song in each pair. Then listen to a podcast so you can hear what it sounds like when someone is talking.
Which ones feel comfortable to your ears? Which ones have the most clarity and detail when you listen to someone speaking? You are looking for clarity and detail and most of all COMFORT!
I hope this is helpful! Check back soon for Part 3 of How To Get Into Voiceover where we talk more about how to Create Your Home Studio. I may have to break this up into 2 more parts, but I want to chat about computers, studio monitors, DAWs, Room Acoustics, and accessories!
See you next time!