Q: What tweaks have you made to your set up that work well?
When I first built my professional home studio, I worked with my MacBook Air in the booth. For years I did this without issue. About two years in, I noticed that after very long recording sessions i had a lot of fan noise. I had gotten a great tip from Jack de Golia, a brilliant voice actor in Las Vegas, to always have ice packs handy, but after a while this became burdensome so I upgraded and put an iMac outside the booth and a monitor in the booth. This works MUCH butter. Here is a video made from a recent instagram story based on this very set-up question. If you can have this kind of set up, it’s great.
I also recommend having practical hooks in your book. I have a hook for my cans and a hook for my wires. It helps keep things neat and organized.
Q: What is your favorite way to connect for live sessions?
I have a new favorite way to connect: Zenncastr!! I have used this quite a few times recently, especially for long, guided eLearning sessions and it is great. There are no latency issues and it is very easy to connect, even easier than Source Connect. If only one person who is connecting has it, you can send them a link so it eases the financial burden as well. There are multiple price points, all of which are affordable. I love that when we speak during the session, all participants are recorded on separate tracks. So, if you are a coach recording a demo, or a voice over actor recording for a client, you never have to edit out any back and forth as you might on zoom. Then, at the end, you simply upload the audio.
I also do love having Source Connect. So many clients and agents require it. I occasionally need to have support sessions, and they do offer great support from Source Connect. Again, like with Zancastr, there are no latency issues. There are, though, sometimes quirks connecting. Sometimes people are confused with how to use it. If you are not both connecting with the same sample rate, for example, you won’t connect smoothly and it will be an issue, so that all needs to be decided ahead of time.
I also do still like to use zoom for the ease of use. Sometimes, even with the latency issues, it is great to just throw up a link and go! Especially this year, everyone knows how to use zoom, and it is nice to have a stress free connection for a live or guided session.
Q: If you could change anything about your studio, what would it be?
This might sound trivial, but it is not meant to. My booth is a rectangle and I have all this wasted space behind me. I could have saved a lot of money by making it a smaller square. The space behind me goes unused and is just a waste. I have to work with an acoustic board behind me, so I don’t even get to enjoy the roominess.
I have blogged about this before, but I would also choose a different color foam if I had the option. I hate that my white aurelex foam has turned yellow. I would either do panels or grew foam next time around.
Q: Can a voice over coach help with your studio set up?
A good voice over coach is still not an audio engineer. While I love to talk about gear with other voiceover actor and with students, it it is fun to talk about set up, I did not go to school for sound engineering. I do not have a degree in audio engineering. Everything I know about my studio, I know from having training with various audio engineers. As a voice over coach, I do work with students on microphone technique, but that is NOT the same thing is telling you how to set up your studio. Dave Scott, who do demo production with, can give you expert advise on how to set up your booth and guide you about what to invest in and how to actually set it up.
Q: What do you wish you knew when you first started your voice over studio?
I wish I know how important a good travel rig is. It took me five years to get my travel rig to sound as good as my home set up. That is WAY too long. If you are just starting in voice over during the pandemic, I realize it is hard to imagine actually packing up and leaving home, but when we do, the rig matters.
I wish I know how important my website was. I spend so much time working on inbound marketing through my website now, but my business was going for several years before I figures that out.