A place where newbies to the voiceover world may come together and talk about being new,anyone wanting to give newbies advice and anyone that remembers what it felt like to be new.
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1. You gotta have a COMPUTER. This is what drove me crazy and put off the start of my voice over career for years. I had a super fast high powered PC. Yeah, and noisy like the 405 at 5. I kept trying to make it more quiet by padding it and getting quieter fans - no go. "Luckily" I was robed. The replacement is not powerful, in fact it is an industrial computer without any fans (and its bolted to the wall now). So now my monitor hum makes more noise than my PC. Should you get one of these? Probably not, but keep that noise factor in mind when you go shopping - otherwise, almost any computer can get you started.
2. Then there is SOFTWARE. I like Adobe Soundbooth ($199) for when I'm doing straight voice and Audition ($349) when I want to spice up a demo with some background music or effects (Audition does multi-track - Soundbooth doesn't) - but for price, you cannot beat Audacity - cuz its FREE.
3. MICROPHONE: lots of good mics, lots of opinions. My opinion is that even if I haven't been doing this long enough to hear the difference, my customer probably has. But I didn't want to break the bank, so I got the mic that the reviews all said was a budget mic with the sound of a Neuman U87 (probably an exaggeration, but still a good reference point). Its a Studio Projects C1 - Sweetwater sells it for $240.
4. Its a condenser mic though, so I had to get a PRE AMP. Here I got an M-Audio Fast Track pro. Its really just a glorified sound card that connects to the computer via USB and gives phantom power to a condenser mic. Its sound quality is solid and at $200 it was within the price range of me sayin "How little can I spend to get that first job?"
5. Next of course is a quiet area with no echo.
6. In the end, my "quiet area with no echo" wasn't quiet enough and had too much echo and I got frustrated doing the dynamics processing in the software, so I got a Behringer dynamics processor for $100.
Thats it. You might want to get some good headphones, too, but studio monitor speakers can wait 'til your paying from them from your VO pay checks.
I did a s---load of research before I got anything, so I'm pretty confident that I'm getting the biggest bang for my buck here. But the proof was in the pudding. Of the first 3 demos I ever did on the first day with that setup, I landed one of them and over the following 2 months made several times of the price of this equipment doing that ad campaign for a Hollywood production company. If there were a week link in this system, they would have heard it. Now the weakest link is me, over a year of home VOing behind me and I still feel how green I am compared to the REAL pros. Just gotta keep on movin.