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Home Recording And Voice-Over Studio Design Basics

Updated on October 13, 2010
A Home Recording Studio Sound Booth
A Home Recording Studio Sound Booth | Source

A Home Recording Studio? It's Easier Than You Might Think

          Many years ago, when I began my radio career, I would have never dreamed of such a concept. Well, on second thought, I believe many of us in the business dreamed about the idea. However, the amount of specialized equipment a home recording studio would require, as well as the even larger amount of money it would take made the dream almost impossible.

          Way back when, as I begin to date myself here, we recorded using large and bulky reel to reel machines. These required boxes and boxes of reel tapes. And as for editing, it was done by way of a careful, steady hand, a grease pencil and a razor blade, gently taping the two ends back together. If a mistake was made, well, we had to start the recording process all over again.

          Around my work at the radio station, the on-air shifts and production room duties, I eventually found myself being asked to provide voice work for outside agencies. These agencies hired recording studios, which meant jumping in the car, trying to allow time for traffic and arriving at a designated time. While voice-over work can prove lucrative, the traditional studio venue could be less than enjoyable at times. I am not knocking studios and still, on occasion, return to one for recording. However, for so many years, those of us in the business wished for a better way. Guess what, the better way has arrived.

          In this day and age, our incredible world of technology has made it possible for anyone to design a home recording studio. Long gone are the days of the far too expensive recording equipment. When it comes to price, unlike the tens of thousands of dollars that would have been necessary, anyone can create a simple, basic home recording studio with under $1000 dollars. For personal use, I have seen home recording studios put together for as little as $500.

          So, what are you looking to do, record radio and television commercials? Maybe you would like to narrate an audio book? Are you a musician, wanting to record your work or create a professional demo? All can be done and more, without ever leaving your home. Now, before you quit your day job to launch a home-based opportunity, unless you are already familiar with such work, or a musician, I would advise you to look before leaping. While this article is primarily about setting-up a home recording studio, there are a number of factors to consider before launching a professional endeavor. In a follow-up article, I will cover all the first steps that are essential before putting yourself out there. I am always open and available to speak with anyone considering a recording or voice-over career.

          So what do you need to set-up a home recording studio? First, for any type of voice-over work, you need to find a quiet place in your home. Look around for a place, preferably a corner, away from windows. I know many who use a walk-in closet. While I now have a sound booth in my home, I started in the corner, followed by a walk-in closet. Before I could afford professional audio sound foam, I used foam mattress pads. Blankets or that quilt your grandmother made you will work fine too.

          Once you have your quiet space, take a look at your computer. If you have a fairly new computer, with plenty of hard-drive space and available memory, you already have one of the main components. Whether you prefer Mac or PC, either will work fine, considering you have enough hard-drive space and memory. Next, if you want to record your voice, you need a microphone. I do not mean the regular computer, plug-in microphone, but a professional microphone. Wait, before you panic, the word professional does not necessarily mean expensive. There are quality studio condenser microphones and dynamic microphones starting in between $100 to $350. Microphone choices are subjective and depend on your intended use, so homework is important. Just perform a Google search for studio condenser microphones, or dynamic microphones and let the studying begin. Alan Swenson offers his thoughts on microphones, especially if you are in the beginning stages, in his article How To Choose The Best Voice Over Microphone.

          The next item you will need is an audio interface, to convert the analog signal from whatever you are recording to digital for your computer. The average price, as of this writing, begins at around $300 and connection choices vary. Once again, homework is important. The term you want to search for is digital audio interface. The next item to consider is recording software. There are a number of choices out there, depending on your intended use and offer a free 30-day trial. For basic recording, Audacity recording software is available online for free. Again, homework, homework, homework!

          I will be writing follow-up articles, which will provide more in-depth information on home recording studios, software and such. For more information and daily tips, I would like to invite you to visit my voice-acting blog.

J.C. Shelton 2010 All Rights Reserved

Before Home Recording Studios
Before Home Recording Studios | Source
Today's Home Recording And Voice-Over Studio
Today's Home Recording And Voice-Over Studio | Source

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    • AlanSwenson profile image

      AlanSwenson 6 years ago from Las Vegas, NV

      I was just reading your article and saw my name mentioned, thanks for the props.

    • profile image

      Fred 5 years ago

      How about a simple design for a studio hookup using a podcaster USB and a Mac with Garage band.

    • profile image

      Mena 5 years ago

      Thank you for your very informative post. I found most useful were the Google search terms and some out of the box thinking, thanks again!

    • JCShelton profile image
      Author

      JCShelton 5 years ago from Seattle, Washington

      Fred, that absolutely would work fine. Also, a great way for someone to get started.

    • TrahnTheMan profile image

      TrahnTheMan 5 years ago from Asia, Oceania & between

      Another really informative hub Sam--thanks. A couple of other excellent sources are Jay Rose and Ty Ford.

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