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Gearing Up for VO Work

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Gearing Up for VO Work

I often get asked the question of what equipment is needed to do Voice Over work at home: Is a USB mic good enough? Do I need to buy one of the commercial isolation booths?  What software do I need ?…all very good questions and the same questions I had 7 years ago when I started doing VO work. A note before we start: it is VERY easy to get GAS (Gear Acquisition Syndrome!), where you focus entirely on what new piece of gear will sound better on your voice as compared to what you currently own and use.  Be very careful about falling into this trap- the microphone should be one of the LAST considerations- work on your voice first and always!   You don’t have to spend a fortune to get a good setup.  But you are going to need a few things: a microphone, an interface between your computer and your microphone and some software to record/edit with. Microphones: This is the subject of much debate/reviews/and sometimes war of words of the “this one is better than this other one” kind.  The truth is, no microphone is perfect for everyone.I have 2 microphones I use on a regular basis- the Scarlett CM25 (which is a re-branded MXL SP1 microphone); this is a good, all-around medium diaphragm condenser microphone. And I also regularly use the Audio Technica AT2020 (thanks to our good friends at Audio-Technica Canada).  Both microphones have a place in my workflow, but neither one is “perfect” for everything.  AT Canada also sent me an AT4040 for review/testing and in the quick tests I’ve done, I like it for my voice, but am not ready to use it for a production recording.  I simply don’t know the mic well enough to jeopardize a paying gig on a new microphone!  I also have a Samson C01U USB microphone that I use for  that “telephone conversation” sound or if I simply want to show a client the difference between a USB & non USB microphone. Budget between $100-$200 for this – and don’t get caught up in marketing hype- you need to try some mics to find the one that’s right for you.  Purchase from a reputable dealer that will allow you to return (in pristine, un-marked condition) any microphone that isn’t suited to your purposes.  FleetSound here in Ottawa is great for that, as is Steve’s Music. I’ve never personally dealt with Long & McQuade, but I’ve heard good things about their service as well. Some of my microphones A note about USB microphones:  The popularity of USB microphones is simple: they are inexpensive- you can pick up any number of USB microphones for under $100 CDN. In order to answer the question “Is a USB mic good enough?”, I have to ask a question in return: to do what? Are you planning on recording a demo or a production job? For demo’s, USB are “ok”, not great or oustanding, but just OK and here’s why.  A USB microphone uses the power of the USB port on your computer (laptop or desktop) to power itself- BUT the power circuits are in the microphone, right next to the circuits for the diaphragm (the part of the microphone that vibrates to sound waves – the “microphone” part)…and that adds noise....

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