What You Need for a Home Studio

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“Dear Joe.  I’m just starting out in voice over.  What kind of equipment do I need to set up at home?”

Alright, no one actually asked that question right now, but I do get the question a lot. I wrote down suggestions to let you know what you need to start out in voice over.  Let’s get started!

What do you absolutely need to start off?  A quiet room!  What do I mean by a quiet space?  Ideally a vocal booth (I personally invested in a WhisperRoom 2 years ago and love it), but a walk in closet or even a blanket fort around your desk will work just fine to start out.  When I first started voice over, I used my walk in closet (not a huge closet, but enough for me to get in and shut the door) surrounded by clothes, talking into the microphone and using a laptop, and recording to practice.  I even recorded a national commercial with that setup!  You could have a $5,000, $1,000, $200 microphone, but if you have a quiet space it’ll all sound great!  If you don’t have a quiet space, you may not get a job since the client won’t want to use your audio. 

The great thing about voice over is that it doesn’t matter what you look like, it matters what you sound like.

Now let’s talk equipment.  What do you need to record a voice over?  Here are links to equipment I love and I’ve used personally. 

  • Microphone

    • If you’re just starting out:  Rode NT1-A Cardioid Condenser Microphone Recording Package.  This is the exact starter package I purchased when I started my voice over career and I used it for several years. The best value and quality for this price range! I recorded national commercials and network cartoons on the Rode NT1-A and it's such a quiet studio microphone. I highly recommend this for anyone starting out who may not be able to invest in the higher quality mics. It even comes with a pop filter and mic stand. Just don't get a USB mic, please!

    • If you want something a bit better:  Sennheiser MKH416-P48U3 Super-Cardioid Shotgun Tube Condenser Microphone.  The Sennheiser is the industry standard in all studios and I used it as my main microphone for over 5 years. It works great as a travel mic and is great in most environments as it's a shotgun and will only pick up noises directly in front.

    • My favorite microphone:  Neumann TLM 103 Microphone Bundle.  The Neumann is the microphone I use the most right now. It's perfect for my voice in any genre and really picks up the nuances and idiosyncrasies. The majority of the studios I work with have this microphone, so it's definitely worth the investment. But if you’re just starting out, no need to get this one until you’re ready to make the investment.

  • Pop filter

    • Pop Filter.  Pop filters help eliminate B, P, and other hard sounds from hitting the microphone.  Here is the one I use.

    • If you get the Rode as a starter microphone, the pop filter is already included.

  • Mic Stand

    • See which mic stands are compatible with your microphone and situation

    • Here are a couple which I like: Tripod Boom and Desk Mounted.

  • Computer

    • Hopefully your current computer is in great condition and can support recording software.  If you’re shopping around for a new one, I use the Apple iMac MNE92LL/A 27 Inch, 3.4 GHz Intel Core i5, 8GB RAM, 1TB Fusion Drive.  I made the switch from PC to Mac several years ago and haven't looked back. This is my current setup and I'm loving it. It supports all of the software I need for recording and running my business.

    • I also recommend saving all of your work on an external hard drive.  I use the WD 4 TB My Book Desktop External Hard Drive.  Saving recording sessions and ALL my VO related things strictly to the external hard drive keeps my computer from working overtime to keep up with my sessions. Using the external hard drive's memory to save and run things off of is key to keeping your business organized and running smoothly.

  • Audio Interface

  • DAW (Digital Audio Work Station). I use Reaper.

  • Headphones. I use these Sennheiser headphones but these Sony headphones are great too.

And because I’m asked a lot, I wanted to reiterate that I don’t recommend a USB mic for a professional.  Even though they have come a long way in the past few years, if you’re going to buy something, start with a great budget microphone (the Rode) for the best quality. 

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*Please note that some links above are Amazon affiliate links. These affiliate products are at no additional cost to you, but if you make a purchase via these links it will help support my website.