Sweet Savory Sound – Making Sure Your Sound is Top Quality
– One mixer
– A quiet Computer
– Make shift or professional booth
– A house, closet or small space
– Acoustic treatment
– Good working cables
We are very blessed that for a small investment, anyone can instantly have a recording studio at home. However just having the equipment isn’t enough to stand out as a professional studio.
Perhaps you have an audition studio set up AND a professional studio set up. You record your auditions on a basic set up and voice your paid jobs on a more higher end quality set up. The problem with this is when clients hear your audition, they are comparing it to other talent that have a perfectly clean sound so even if your audition was the best one, you can lose the job because your sound isn’t sufficient.
There is a big difference between sound proofing and ambient sound. As a voice actor you only need good ambient sound. The best way to test if your sound is good is to record a few lines, then in your editing program insert silence between words or sentences, or make some edit cuts that allow for clean sound between words. When you listen back with HEADPHONES (not speakers) can you hear the drop out between your words and the clean sound, or is it a nice smooth transition? You ideally want a studio that has a nice smooth transition between edits. If you can hear your edit, you have some work to do.
If you want to sound proof your studio, it’s going to cost you. You have to properly insulate the walls, the roof, the floor and buy proper treatment foam etc. I have a sound proof studio, and I’m very grateful, but most of my career I got away with just good ambient sound. Now that it’s sound proof, my family is grateful not to have to be quiet while I record – and so am I.
I know many of you use noise reduction and other plug-in and effects to give yourself a clean sound, but really you shouldn’t have to. I prefer to produce demos for my students from their home studios. If you are selling that you work from home and this is what the client will get, then your studio should be demo worthy.
There are many things to troubleshoot if you don’t have a clean sound. Consider the following:
- Don’t record with your computer in the same room
- Make sure the roof and the walls are lined with acoustic blankets, clothes etc
- The floor needs carpet
- Your script stand needs a carpet or something to stop sound reflection
- Don’t record near windows when possible
- Basements are usually the quietest room in the house
- USB mics are NOT ideal
- Cables can cause noise issues
- Microphone may not be a good one – and may be noisy
- Furnace, dishwasher, washer/dryer, fridge, running water can interfere to cause unwanted room tones
- Outside noises can be problematic
- Use your headphone to listen to your room
- If you can’t hear the unwanted tone – you can’t fix it!
- Understand your sound card set up. Just one click of the mouse can fix things too.
If you’d like me to test your sound, please feel free to send me a sound clip of about 1 min, without ANY processing or edits. We will do our best to troubleshoot your source and get you on the right path to a high quality studio. This is an important part of your business, so don’t hesitate.
Until next time
All my best
VO Chef Deb (aka Deb Munro)