So you are about to cast a delightful and pleasant voiceover actress who you have worked with before. Or maybe you have never worked with them before but you are finally ready to start your project and now you need the recording TODAY, or tomorrow, but either way it is now a rush job. You email the talent and they are out of the studio for four days. What do you do? Well, if the talent is really a pro, they likely have a travel rig and that travel rig is likely to be almost as good as their studio set up. In some cases you will not notice a difference AT ALL between the booth and the travel rig, it just depends on what they have at home and what they have on the road.
My travel rig is quite good and as I do a lot of work for Pandora, I have worked with their engineers to perfect its sound and I am quite comfortable with it. There are, however, some key differences between my commercial grade booth and the rig I take on the road. On the road I use an apogee which is a USB mic. At home I have a Neumann that goes through my high-end RME interface. On the road I use a sound treated Kaotica eye-ball for sound proofing surrounded by a pillow fort. At home I have an entire custom built booth. Can I give a quality sound on the road? Yes. Is it the same as the Neumann in my booth? No, but nothing will every be as good as the Neumann. So why not travel with the Neumann? Well, for one, it’s kind of like why a lot of women have travel jewelry. It’s way too expensive. Next, it’s heavy and requires a huge set up. It just isn’t practical.
What other considerations are there when using a talent on a travel rig? What if the voiceover actor has recorded the job at their home studio, they are now on the road, and you need a pickup. It’s up to you to decide if the recording is a close enough match. I’ve had clients decide to wait and I’ve had clients happily use the recoding on my rig without issue. It depends on the usage and how much processing is going with the piece.
Don’t be afraid of travel rigs. Just ask the voiceover actor what their recording chain is and what kind of work they have successfully done on it. If the voiceover actor has made the investment in this, they want to make you happy so that you will work with them again so you are more likely to be safe than sorry.
Mine includes the items below. If you have questions about my abilities to record when I’m traveling, I’d love to talk to you about it.