The primary components of a pro home voiceover studio
(in order of importance)
Audio interface / preamp
recording / editing software
recommendations for all budgets Below
Click any item to check price
Acoustic treatment is the most essential tool in a professional sounding voiceover studio. You want to prevent the sound of your voice from bouncing around the room (echo) as much as possible. Smaller rooms, or even closets, are ideal. Because the bigger the room the more hard "echo-ey" walls you have to cover.
A general rule of thumb is to cover as much of the walls or hard surfaces as possible with sound absorbing materials. It's pretty hard to have "too much" acoustic treatment in a voice actor's recording space.
Acoustic treatment will do very little at blocking loud noises. Like traffic, air conditioners, lawn mowers, etc. If you need to block loud noise then I highly recommend saving up for a prefabricated booth. A single-wall booth usually doesn't block much noise and isn't worth the price. Ensure it's at least a double-wall. Studiobricks, Vocalbooth, and LA Vocal Booths are great options.
The thickest pillows, towels, blankets in your house
Any closet. Small or walk-in. More clothes/soft stuff the better
4 moving blankets | cover walls & hard surfaces
2" thick Auralex foam (amount needed depends on room size)
Audimute Acoustic Sheets
2" ATS Acoustic Panels (2-4 minimum)
2" (or thicker) ATS Acoustic Panels (4 or more panels probably be needed)
Tri-Booth (also portable) | Sounds fantastic acoustically. If you need to block loud noises like traffic - you'll need a more expensive booth like a Studiobricks or VocalBooth.com booth
Auralex bass traps for trapping bass buildup in corners. Great for ceiling-to-wall corners
There is no "one size fits all" microphone for voice actors. While there are some industry standards you'll never truly know how any microphone will sound until you try it on your voice and in your recording environment. Your room and acoustic treatment have a huge impact on your overall sound. Get your acoustics right first and great sound from your microphone will follow.
Some USB microphones are ok if you're just getting started in voice-over. They are more simple to operate. But when it comes time to upgrade in the future - you'll have to invest more than just a new mic. You'll also need a microphone cable and an audio interface.
If you're looking to upgrade your existing microphone - Jordan can analyze your current microphone, voice print, and room - and then recommend specific microphone models that will prevent harshness (especially sibilance), and more. Contact Jordan if interested.
Apogee MiC 96k | My favorite sounding USB mic. Sounds amazing but most expensive. Must use a pop filter with it as it's very sensitive to plosives.
Audio-Technica AT2020USB+ | Great for the money and includes a headphone jack which is super convenient.
Rode NT-USB | Lots of features. May be a little too bright/harsh on some female voices.
Audio-Technica AT875R | Very natural sounding good for a not so great sounding room.
MXL 990 | This mic is shockingly good for such a low price.
Audio-Technica AT2020 | My first ever microphone and fantastic for the price.
CAD Equitek E100S | One of my absolute favorite VO mics. Natural, focused, and pro.
Rode NT1 | A very quiet and clean sounding mic for the price.
Shure KSM32 | Fantastic mic that is great at reducing sibilance or harshness. Especially on female voices. Very neutral.
Neumann TLM 103 | An industry standard. Great for character and commercial work.
Sennheiser MKH 416 | Another industry standard used primarily for commercial, promo, & narration work.
Townsend Labs Sphere L22 | One microphone. Hundreds of premium mic models. 416, U87, and more. Higher learning curve but endless possibilities.
Your Microphone Cable may be the most overlooked, and least sexy, piece of gear in your home recording studio. A cheap mic cable can add unwanted "hiss" or noise into your recording, may limit the full sonic fidelity of your microphone, be more susceptible to electronic interference from other devices (making buzzing noise), and won't last long.
Many budget microphones come with a kit (like a cable, headphones, etc) and may include an XLR cable. Usually these included cables aren't very good quality.
Luckily, investing in a high quality cable will last you a lifetime. Do not go cheap on your cable! If you have a standalone microphone you'll want to invest in a high quality XLR cable. If you have a USB microphone, this section does not apply.
PRO QUALITY CABLES FOR ANY BUDGET
Sweetwater Pro Co Cables | Super affordable and they sound great.
Mogami Gold | More expensive but it's what I recommend most. The "gold" standard. Pun intended 😉
AUDIO INTERFACE or PREAMP
The audio interface is one of the most important pieces of equipment in your home VO studio. What do you plug your microphone and headphones into? An audio interface. The audio interface is what takes your voice from the microphone--->into your computer via a USB or Thunderbolt cable.
Think of the audio interface as the "brain" of where your audio is routed, both in-and-out, of your computer. An audio interface has at least one preamp (which amplifies your microphone signal) and one headphone jack. Which lets you listen to both your voice "live," while you speak, and also any audio that you play back through your computer.
Luckily, you don't have to spend a ton of money on an audio interface to get amazing sounding audio in a pro home voice over studio. The difference, in terms of audible quality, between my recommended budget audio interfaces and high budget interfaces isn't HUGE. But medium-to-high budget audio interfaces tend to be cleaner and quieter sounding compared to low budget audio interfaces. Meaning they tend to sound smoother, less harsh, and have less "hiss" or "noise" compared to some low budget interfaces. But again, my recommended low budget interfaces can still produce professional sounding voice-over recordings.