Read on to find out just exactly what is needed for a great recording studio
If you are looking to become a voice over artist or podcaster, you will need a few essential pieces of equipment. The quality of your recordings can make or break your success in these industries, so it is important to invest in the right tools.
The Tools of the Trade
First and foremost, you will need a good quality microphone. A condenser microphone is the preferred choice for most voice over artists and podcasters, as it is highly sensitive and captures a wide range of frequencies. Some popular options include the Neumann tlm 102 or 103, a Sennheiser MK4 or a Rode NT1. There are many to choose from and some shotgun microphones work really well too especially if you are recording in a slightly noisy environment because they pick up mainly your voice and less background noise.
Condenser microphones are a popular choice for recording studios and live performances due to their ability to capture detailed and accurate sound. They work by using a thin diaphragm that vibrates in response to sound waves, which creates an electrical signal that is then amplified and recorded.
One important aspect of recording with condenser microphones is the use of XLR cables. These cables are designed to provide a balanced connection between the microphone and the recording equipment, which helps to reduce unwanted noise and interference. XLR cables also have a locking mechanism that ensures a secure connection, preventing accidental disconnection during a performance or recording session.
It's important to note that not all XLR cables are created equal. Higher quality cables can make a significant difference in the sound quality of your recordings, with features such as gold-plated connectors and low capacitance wiring helping to minimize interference and signal loss. When choosing XLR cables, it's important to consider the length of the cable, the quality of the connectors, and the overall construction of the cable to ensure the best possible sound quality.
In addition to a microphone, you will need a pop filter. This is a mesh screen that attaches to your microphone and helps to eliminate popping sounds and plosives that can occur when you speak. A pop filter will ensure that your recordings sound clear and professional.
Another important piece of equipment is a mic stand. This will allow you to position your microphone at the optimal distance and angle for recording. A stand can also help to reduce unwanted noise from handling the microphone.
Headphones are are a critical tool for audio professionals, musicians, and music enthusiasts alike. They provide an accurate and detailed representation of sound, making them ideal for recording, mixing, and mastering music and I like to use studio quality headphones.
One of the main reasons studio headphones are so good is their ability to reproduce sound with a high level of clarity and detail. Unlike consumer headphones, which are often designed to enhance bass or treble frequencies for a more enjoyable listening experience, studio headphones are designed to provide an accurate and balanced representation of sound across the entire frequency spectrum. This makes them ideal for critical listening, allowing you to hear every nuance of a recording and make informed decisions about how to adjust the mix.
Another advantage of studio headphones is their ability to isolate sound. They are often designed with closed-back ear cups that seal around your ears, which helps to block out external noise and prevent sound from leaking out. This makes them ideal for recording, as it allows musicians to hear themselves and the other instruments without interference from outside sources.
Overall, studio headphones are a valuable tool for anyone who wants to create or enjoy high-quality audio. Their accurate sound reproduction and ability to isolate sound make them an essential part of any recording or listening setup. I searched on the internet for a second hand pair of studio headphones and they are magical.
The next piece of equipment you will need is an audio interface. This is crucial for creating high-quality audio recordings. An audio interface is a device that connects your computer to your audio equipment and allows you to record and playback audio with excellent sound quality. It also supplies 48v to your microphone.
A microphone converts acoustic sound waves into electrical signals. In order to do this, the microphone requires power to operate its internal electronics. Some microphones are designed to be powered by a 48V electrical current, also known as phantom power. This is a standardized voltage used in professional audio equipment.
The reason why a microphone needs 48V to power it is because it requires a higher voltage to operate its internal amplifier circuitry and to produce a strong enough signal to be recorded. This voltage is typically provided by an external power source such as a mixer or audio interface, which sends the voltage down the microphone cable to power the microphone.
It's worth noting that not all microphones require 48V phantom power. Some microphones operate on lower voltages, while others are designed to be powered by batteries or external power supplies. It's always important to consult the manufacturer's specifications for your specific microphone to determine its power requirements.
One of the most significant benefits of an audio interface is that it reduces the latency that occurs when recording audio with a computer's built-in sound card. Latency is the delay between the time you speak or play an instrument and the time the sound is recorded. This delay can be frustrating for musicians and podcasters, as it can disrupt their performance and make editing more difficult. With an audio interface, you can record audio with very low latency, making it easier to get a good performance.
An audio interface also provides better sound quality than a computer's built-in sound card. It allows you to record at higher sample rates and bit depths, resulting in audio that is more detailed and accurate. Additionally, most audio interfaces have high-quality preamps, which help to amplify the signal from your microphone or instrument and ensure that your recordings are clear and free from noise.
If you are serious about creating high-quality audio recordings, investing in an audio interface is essential. It can help you reduce latency, improve sound quality, and make your recordings sound more professional. With the right audio interface, you can take your music or podcast to the next level and achieve your creative goals. I use a Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 3rd Generation. Different audio interfaces colour the sound differently but the Scarlett 2i2 is simple to use and creates impressive results. .
Finally, you will need a recording device. This could be a computer with recording software, a digital recorder, or a smartphone with a recording app. Make sure to choose a device that is compatible with your microphone and allows you to record in the format you need. Some great recording software or DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) includes Pro Tools, Reaper, Ocenaudio and Audacity. There are also very good teaching videos on how to use them, you just need time to take in the knowledge and time to put your skills into practice.
If you are recording in a noisy environment, you may also want to invest in a soundproofing solution. This could be as simple as a blanket or duvet draped over your recording area or as complex as a dedicated soundproofing booth. Soundproofing can help to eliminate unwanted background noise and ensure that your recordings sound clean and professional. If your studio is in a quiet space then you probably only have to treat the sound rather than sound proof it. I have made my own sound treated studio out of thick curtain material, duvets and carpets attached to a wooden frame in the shape of a large changing room. Inside I have acoustic panels and lights, a bookshelf desk and electricity for all my equipment. It was easy to put together and came to about £200 altogether. It treats the sound by stopping unwanted sound reflections and absorbs the sound so that your recordings are clean and crisp, free from echo or reverb. All of the surfaces in the studio are covered by thick material and my chair is covered in material too which prevents the sound from reflecting off of the hard surfaces.
Overall, becoming a successful voice over artist or podcaster requires dedication, talent, and the right equipment. By investing in a quality microphone, pop filter, stand, soundproofing, audio interface, a pair of headphones and recording device, you can ensure that your recordings will sound professional and will help you stand out in the competitive world of voice over and podcasting. I wish you luck with your recording endeavours.
Sarah Jackson is a trained professional voice artist living in the UK. She loves playing the violin as well and walking her "Long Haired Lurcher from Liverpool" dog who doubles up as her booth buddy!