4 Must-Have Voiceover Equipment Needed to Start Your VO Career

Voice over Equipment

Disclosure:  Some voice gears listed uses referral links. If you grab it, I get a small commission. However, there’s no extra cost to you

So you’ve decided you are going to pursue a career in voiceover. Now you need to get a microphone!

No doubt you are sifting through a ton of information and trying to figure out what is the best voiceover equipment and tools you’ll need to get started.

It can be overwhelming.

That’s why here I keep things simple.

After scouring the various blogs when I started out, I noticed there was a popular sentiment in the microphones and recording equipment people recommended.

What’s more, many of the trusted sound/audio engineers in the voiceover industry echoed the same opinions.

 

Thus, you’ll find the essential voiceover equipment you need to consider to purchase when you get started.

It’s broken down into 4 categories (see below).

Each category, you’ll then find a curated shortlist of recommendations.

Once you’ve got your gear, sound treatment for your recording space is critical and this is addressed in a separate article.

Let’s get started.

Microphones

Before making your decision, know that you do not need to break the bank!You can get a good, reliable microphone at a reasonable price.

Here are a few pointers to consider before making your decision.

1. The physical space you are recording in has far more important than what microphone you use. Ensure the space you are recording in gives you broadcast quality sound. To read more about this click here -Acoustic Treatment for your Recording Space.

2. While equipment matters, don’t analyze too much. Don’t spend months and months choosing a microphone and feeling you need to get only the best equipment (especially if you are just starting out). There will be people who will superficially look at the type of microphone to determine whether or not you are a ‘professional’ voiceover.

Ignore them.

Define being a ‘professional’ voiceover actor by the coaching, training, and the ability to take directions, deliver high-quality audio in a timely manner. Don’t define it by the type of microphone you own. You can invest in the best microphone but if you don’t know how to use your microphone properly and can’t deliver broadcast quality sound and connect with your audience in your home studio then nothing matters.

What matters is getting good decent equipment that can get the job done and upgrade later.

Learn and upgrade as you go.

So grab the one you think is best for you. Learn how to use the microphone properly. Test and try it out. If the microphone you bought, doesn’t work for you, send it back and buy another one.

Tip: Keep all packing materials so that if you have to return something it’s a lot easier to do so and it helps to re-sell your used gears to when you decide to upgrade.

3. Avoid getting a dynamic microphone for voiceover. Get a condenser mic.  Why? With voiceover, we want to sound like we are talking into a microphone to one person without leaning in too close to the microphone. The rule of thumb is 5 to 7 inches away. We want it to sound like we are having a personal conversation with one person and not addressing a crowd. With a dynamic microphone, being 5 – 7 inches away is too far. It doesn’t pick up your voice in a natural-sounding way.

Keeping the above in mind, here’s a list of condenser microphones. Broken down into three categories. Cost-Effective Starters, Higher End Microphones and USB microphones.

Cost-Effective Starter Microphones

(~$100 USD to $300USD)

High End Microphones

(~1000 USD to ~3700)

Neumann TLM103
Sennheiser MKH416
Neumann U87

USB Microphone

I started with the Apogee Mic Plus USB Microphone as I’m on the move a lot and wanted something that was portable that can do the job recording where I can plug and go into my laptop.

Even though this microphone is a USB microphone, it is a cardiod condenser microphone, so it doesn’t give you the broadcasting sound.  And if you know how to use it properly and know how and what goes into creating a good sounding recording space, it is an excellent microphone. I got my first job recording on this microphone and have booked several jobs before purchasing a condenser microphone.

When should you upgrade your microphone?

As you develop your skills as a voice actor and you start to find agents who wants to represent you. Or your booking auditions that are being directed. And the sound engineers you are working with during your live sessions are asking about your equipment. These are all signs that it may be time to upgrade.

Audio Interface

What is it? It helps you get sound in and out of your laptop. It’s what helps you record good quality sound. A condenser mic does not contain an audio interface so you need one to plug your microphone and to connect it to your computer. And you’ll need to get a XLR Cable.  

The popular audio interface brands that are recommended are the following:

  • Focusrite (Either the Scarlett SOLO or Scarlett 2i2)
  • Steinberg (UR22C / Steinberg U12)
  • PreSonus Audiobox iTwo M-Audio-AIR

 

I currently have the Scarlett SOLO but am also eyeing the CEntrance Micport as they are small and sleek.

Whereas, a USB microphone contains an audio interface so you can just plug the USB mic into your USB port on your computer.

DAW

DAW is short for digital audio work station. It’s your recording equipment and editing software

wavelength
  • Audacity – Mac & Windows (Free)
  • TwistedWave – Mac Only
  • Adobe Audition – Mac & PC
  • Reaper – Mac & PC

Headphones

A set of quality headphones is important while editing so you can hear subtle details like breaths, mouth noises, and background noises. For starting out, I’d recommend the Behringer Studio Headphones as it’s the most budget friendly.

Behringer High Performance Studio Headphones

Sony MDR-7506

Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone

Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO 80 

Other Accessories

Mic Stand for floor or desk

A Microphone Stand can make your recording space more ergonomically friendly.

There are countless things that can distract your focus on your performance, from your audio cables being too short to your booth being too dark, to worrying about your neighbors being too loud. Don’t let sacrificing your body’s posture as one for them. This is something you can choose to have control over.

Having your microphone set at the appropriate height will make it more comfortable for you to stand and sit in your booth, when needing to record for long periods of time. You want to keep your body neutral, grounded in a relaxed position as much as possible, and align your microphone’s diaphram to the level of your lips. And have your mic about 6 to 12 inches away from your mouth. Think an aloha handwidth away or imagine the hand loose sign or the hand gesture for the number 6.

Pop Filter 

Get a Pop Filter to help eliminate popping air sounds when you are reading word that starts with ‘p’, ‘b’, ‘t’

Places to Buy Your VO Gear

Aside from Amazon or from the company direct.

In the US, Sweetwater and B&H Photo Video is popular

Across Canada, Long & McQuade, Guitarworks, Steve’s Music Store.

There’s also a VO Gear Exchange FB group you can check out where you may find a deal.

Tip: Best time to buy and upgrade your equipment is Thanksgiving as you’ll often find sales

Once you have these 4 essentials voice over gear, what’s next? 

Photo by: Will Francis

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