I love the conversations about the voice over studio. When it comes to opinions, everyone has one. I have debated the issue of what you should have in your studio since I first got in the business. The two greatest debate pieces in the industry seem to be “What Mic to Use” and “Mac vs PC”. Here are my takes on both of these questions.
There is nothing more important for your career as your sound. Building the right voice over studio is essential because when you start auditioning, prospective clients are not only comparing your abilities but also how your audio sounds. Some clients are real experts on background acoustics and signals and other technical stuff that is above my pay grade. You have to make a good impression on them and the clients who are on the lower scale of technology. For me this starts with a great mic that really accents your voice.
Finding a great mic wasn’t easy. My first mic was a gift. It was a Rode NT1A. It sounded good to me at the time but I had not explored many other mics. But in my comparisons with other talents, I could hear the difference. I started to get microphone envy. So I visited guitar center and played around with some things. Lesson 1) Play around with some things. I checked out a few set ups and had a few mics in mind. The next thing I tried was research. Lesson 2) Research. I found out what other talents were using. Ultimately I found the mic I love at the price I could afford. At around $1000 I purchased the Neuman TLM-103. Its a great voice over mic.
But the debaters couldn’t settle with that. While I have had rave reviews on my sound for years, there have been a few trouble makers who have attempted to stir my boat. One guy with lesser production and voice over abilities said that my mic had too little bottom end and was made for a woman. I laughed as I listened to his work with his sennheiser 416. By the way, that’s a great mic, but for some people, not even a great mic can save them. But the mis-educated gentlemen was smelling his own smoke, while ignoring the nuances of the production in it’s entirety. Great sound comes from several sources. It involves the mic, pre-amp, software plug-ins and most importantly, it starts within you. To produce a great sound, the two things you must have are a great voice and passion.
The next debate is always, Mac vs P.C. I have to again take this back to my roots in voice over. My brother was an engineer and advised me to get a mac mini to start. I trusted his opinion and was heading that route. But a friend and professional in engineering, graphic design and cinematography, James, steered me in another direction. At the time I had never recorded myself. In fact James did much of my recording and even designed my website. He used a PC for everything. It was a rather unimpressive PC at that. He took me to websites he designed and played work that he engineered for big talents and asked me this one simple question “Did I create that on a Mac, or a PC?” I shook my head at the $300 PC that he had created tons of great work from. From there I knew the answer. Neither one was better than the other. They both are more than capable of creating the same things. It comes down to what you feel comfortable with. Both Mac and PC come with their issues. When building a voice over studio, just make sure you have a computer.