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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Getting The Right Equipment for Recording

About a month ago, I made the decision to build a small home recording studio. I had set aside the money from my various local voice-over jobs, and this seemed to be the next logical step in my journey.

Making the decision was a critical first step - and probably the easiest step as it turns out. If you're not computer savvy (I'm not), it's important to reach out to experienced professionals to help you in selecting the proper equipment for your studio. It's true that you don't need a lot of gadgets to record your voice, but getting the right gadgets for what you want to do, will make all the difference in the world.

I worked with a company called Sweetwater,, out of Fort Wayne Indiana. They are arguably the top company when it comes to recording equipment. They have a home recording package that provides everything you need to get started. It's not inexpensive, but it's also not terribly unreasonable. After all, this is a business you're starting, and most businesses have start up costs, right?

I can tell you that it's very important to make sure you select a computer that is compatible with the recording software you're using. I purchased a pc, only to find out that the software (Protools) is much more compatible with a Mac. I ended up purchasing a refurbished Macbook and the software runs perfectly.

The essential equipment you will need to get started is:

1. A computer (make sure it's compatible with your software)
2. Recording software (I use Protools)
3. An external hard drive (Voice recordings can take up a lot of space)
4. A microphone (I use a Bluebird)
5. A device to connect your mic to your computer (I use an M-Box mini)

You can purchase all of the necessary equipment separately online. E-Bay or Craigs List are two places to check out. I have a producer friend who did this. He had his engineer check all the specs and make sure everything was compatible. He was able to save quite a bit of money by buying the equipment individually.

If you're like me though, using a company like Sweetwater will eliminate all the worry of making sure the various components work together properly. They've figured all that out for you ahead of time. All you have to do is take the equipment out of the boxes and plug them in, download the software, and you're ready to start recording!

In my next post, I'll talk more about the physical layout of the studio. Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Keep talking!


Friday, September 11, 2009

Creating A Home Recording Studio

So, at this point in my journey through the world of voice acting I figure it's a good time to recap. So far I have:

1. Completed my training with one of the best voice training organizations in the country, Voice Coaches,

2. Created my demo CD's, with both commercial and narrative samples .

3. Created business cards and letterhead.

4. Sent out letters and demo's to all of the local producers and radio stations.

5. Started booking local and regional voice-over jobs.

6. Accumulated some money from the work I've done.

The logical next step was to create a small home recording studio. Why, you might ask would I do that? Well, the reason is that having the ability to record in your own studio opens up an entire other realm of possible voice-over work.

In today's fast-paced world, companies are looking to turn their projects around very quickly. In many cases, companies need the voice-over portion of the project done within a 24 to 48 hour time frame. Finding a producer, and a studio to record in, and scheduling time to have the voice talent come in and record can be very time consuming. This process also limits a company to only utilizing talent that is within a certain geographic proximity.

With the internet, companies can now go out and seek talent from anywhere in the world, and that is exactly what they do. Companies such as,, created by my friend Stephanie Ciccarelli and her husband David, have tapped into the power of the internet to bring companies seeking voice talent together with voice actors seeking work. Having a home recording studio enables voice actors to audition online for jobs they would otherwise never have an opportunity to try out for.

So, once you've established yourself in your local market (or before if you have the cash to invest in equipment), and started making some money, a great next step is to expand your market by creating for yourself the ability to record in your own studio. Once you've done that, the possibilities are literally endless.

In my next post, I'll talk more about the details of actually building my home recording studio, and point out some of the mistakes I made so you won't have to. Any of you out there who have built a studio, give me your thoughts as well.

In the meantime...keep talking!