How to Build a Voiceover Studio at Home

2008-4-13

Building a voiceover studio at home is not as hard as it sounds! I'm a radio chick and have been for over 10 years, but I just dabbled in voiceover work. Finally, I was ready to put a functional voice studio in my house. Even though I have a good knowledge of equipment, I was a bit intimidated. You'll be pleasantly surprised to find that it was easier than I thought and that you can keep your cost low without sacrificing sound quality!

Things You’ll Need:

  • A computer with minimum 1.5MB ram
  • Digital recording software
  • Possibly a sound card
  • A small space in your home
  • Headphones
  • A microphone
  • A shock mount and stand
  • A microphone pre-amp/compressor
  • Cables
  • Soundproofing material

Step 1:
Planning is key. Ask yourself "Do I need Internet hooked up to where I'm going to record?" The space where your Internet connection comes into your home may not be a good space acoustically to record voiceovers. The best solution for this is to get a wireless connection and a laptop. That way your priority is the type of space for the best sound, not where your Internet line is. If you don't need to be connected to the Internet at the same place you record, then you don't have to worry about it.

Step 2:
Figure out where in your house to put your voice studio. A small space is best. The smaller the space the less soundproofing material you'll need and that can be expensive. A walk-in closet is perfect actually. Believe it or not, I use my laundry room. It's concrete and gives me a nice warm sound.

Step 3:
Next, buy equipment. Reach out to anyone that you know who has a voiceover studio in their home or is familiar with sound equipment. There are so many choices out there, it can be overwhelming. I have included a great website, with competitive prices and quick delivery.

Step 4:
Look at microphones first. For voiceover work at home the best type of microphone is a cardoid microphone. These pick up sound when you talk directly in front of the microphone and reject sound from the sides and the rear. This will keep your voice recording clean and virtually free of outside sound. Make sure to get a shock mount and microphone stand as well.

Step 5:
Next, look at microphone pre-amp/compressors. A 2-Channel Tube Microphone Preamp/Compressor is fine, if you don't need 2 microphone inputs than just get a single channel. Make sure it has phantom power and an equalizer. My studio is equipped with the Shure KSM27 Studio Cardioid Condenser Microphone and SM Pro Audio TB202 2-Channel Tube Microphone Preamp/Compressor. I edit with Adobe Audition.

Step 6:
Don't forget headphones and cords! You'll want to go from the microphone to the pre-amp. That's usually an XLR to XLR. Then from the pre-amp to your computer. You will probably XLR to 1/4 inch with a small headphone male adaptor to plug into your computer. Plug your headphones right into the back of the pre-amp, that's the best way to adjust your voice sound directly.

Step 7:
Before you buy an expensive sound card or soundproofing material, test your sound. The best way to do that is go to the website I have included below. Download a few of the best sounding voice files and try to re-create that sound in your studio. Use dry reads, as they will not be masked by music beds or sound effects. Adjust your levels and take your time with this.

Step 8:
I did not upgrade my sound card, and my soundproofing consists of a few comforters! The room alone is a great sound. Finding that right room will save you money in the long run!

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