It is important to understand the essential tools for voice actors in this industry. Knowing what equipment is required to support your business can seem overwhelming due to the exhaustive list of voiceover tools, programs, and equipment. However, finding the right balance between quality and cost is crucial. This guide aims to streamline your search for the best voiceover tools, focusing on hardware and audio editing software.
Producing industry-standard sound is more accessible with the right gear. Here are some essential hardware tools every voice actor should have:
A PC or laptop is necessary to send, store, and edit audio files. To avoid using up your computer storage, consider investing in cloud storage or an external hard drive. If your computer fans are noisy, you can set it up outside your booth to avoid interference with your recordings.
Built-in computer mics may not deliver quality sound; thus, purchasing a condenser microphone with a mixer/interface and XLR connections is critical. The choice of mic may depend on your recording location, mic technique, and compatibility with your recording device.
These allow you to hear your voice during a recording and prevent your mic from picking up any noise from your speakers. Closed-back headphones are recommended because they prevent sound bleed and do not pick up noise from the mic.
To keep your mic steady, consider investing in a mic stand that suits your needs; options include a desk stand, a studio arm, or a floor stand.
Shock mounts prevent movement or vibrations from the mic, ensuring smoother audio quality. They usually attach to the end of the microphone stand and are sometimes included with them.
Pop filters are screens that rest in front of the mic to neutralize harsh exhales or hisses of any plosives, leading to more consistent audio levels.
Soundproofing and Acoustic Treatment
Soundproofing keeps outside sounds out and inside sounds in, contributing to a more professional recording environment. Adding mass-loaded vinyl, Sheetblok, or dense rubber can increase sound isolation. Acoustic treatment is also essential to control sound inside the studio by preventing reverb and echoes. Using bass traps, acoustic paneling, and diffusers can significantly improve your studio's acoustics.
There is a plethora of voice recording software available in the market. Here are some that offer a balance of affordability and functionality:
This easy-to-use software is great for beginners. It features a multitrack editor, live audio recording, import/export settings, plug-in support/creation, mixing, and mastering, and supports 16-bit, 24-bit, and 32-bit.
Available for $60, Sound Forge includes all the essential tools needed to create quality audio. It includes multitrack editing, live audio recording, import/export, mixing and mastering, real-time monitoring, and collaboration tools.
This professional-grade software offers various industry-standard features for a $20/month price point. Features include multitrack editing, live recording, import/export settings, frequency splitting, auto speech alignment, and more.
Reaper is a feature-rich, affordable software with a discounted license cost of $60 or a commercial license cost of $225. It includes API, multitrack editing, live recording, import/export, plug-in integration, and more.
Designed for Mac and available for $99, Twisted Wave comes with live audio recording, mixing and mastering batch file processing, pitch shifting, and more.
This Apple-exclusive editor, costing $200, includes mobile support across Apple devices, a workflow manager, a score editor, and more.
Offered at varying price points, Pro Tools boasts a broad range of features including API, live recording, data capture and transfer, import and export settings, plug-in integration, activity dashboard, mixing and mastering, multitrack editing, instrument management, synchronous editing, and collaboration tools.
Cubase is a high-end editor with features that vary based on the plan purchased. The $100 version, Cubase Elements, comes with live audio recording, configurable workflow, file management, project management and workflow, score editor, collaboration tools, import and export settings, instrument management, multimedia support, plug-in integration, and project management.
In the dynamic world of voice acting, the right tools and equipment can significantly boost your productivity and the quality of your output. The hardware and software listed above are essential components to support your voiceover business. The final choice, however, should align with your unique needs, budget, and the type of work you intend to do. As technology continues to advance, always stay updated with the latest tools and trends to keep your voiceover work top-notch. If you have other voiceover tools to recommend, please feel free to share!
Essential Tools for Voice Actors by Alan Shires