Home Studio Hardware & Components
Building Your Booth
Purchasing the components for a home recording studio for VO is an important professional investment, but doesn’t necessarily require a ton of cash. There are good options to get fantastic professional results on a budget.
DIY Vocal Booth: $200-$300
Yes, you can purchase a proper two ton vocal booth from vocalbooth.com or whisperroom.com or other companies. These typically cost three to six grand. Mercifully, there are now way more affordable options with some potential limitations, that may still fill the bill for professional at-home recording.
Here’s a DIY Vocal Booth (the 4th option he talks about). His PVC + sound blankets setup requires a modicum of DIY grit, but it’s simple and cheap (hardware stores are still open in California). It doesn’t deaden all louder ambient sounds, but seems good to kill room echoing. CLICK HERE
For the acoustic blankets mentioned above, CLICK HERE
For even cheaper moving blankets: CLICK HERE
Ready-to-go portable Vocal Booth kit: $1200
CLICK HERE for a nifty ready-to-assemble portable PVC-frame vocal booth kit along with some insightful articles about home recording. Just add your own recording hardware.
“How to Build a Home Studio for Under $350.”
Hard to believe, but listen up! Here’s helpful engineer-producer, Graham (therecordingrevolution.com), with a quick walk through of basic pro-level studio hardware. Most everything (but the booth) and he offers other options to upgrade this configuration on his website. For his run down of all his recommended inexpensive quality components, CLICK HERE.
“Booth Junkie:” Another inexpensive, movable home recording rig:
Here’s yet another take on an at-home recording rig. It’s a nimble, light set up and a coat closet doubles as the recording booth: CLICK HERE
CLICK HERE for the components he recommends.
Learn from those who know!
Sound engineer extraordinaire Randy has excellent insight into home recording, updates to come! CLICK HERE
Engineers Dan & George at Voice Over Body Shop also have lots of helpful insights: CLICK HERE
Connect your XLR mic to your computer with an interface.
What’s an “interface?” You need to connect your microphone with your computer. High quality XLR mics can’t do this alone. They require a digital to analog converter “interface” as a bridge to your computer. You plug your XLR mic into the interface with a cable, then plug your interface into your computer with another cable and set your sound recording software’s inputs to that. (An interface isn’t needed for a USB mic- more on that below.)
We are voice actors not musicians: The fewer the features on the interface the better.
Here are a couple inexpensive recommended interfaces you could use to connect any XLR microphone to a computer:
Focusrite Scarlett solo $110 (+recording software, a bonus!)
Senal XU-1648 XLR to USB interface $90
XLR Condenser Microphones
For animation work, get a decent XLR condenser microphone. (Promos favor shotgun mics, such as the Sennheiser 416. Not for animation, really.)
Here are some more affordable XLR mic suggestions:
SE Electronics sE2200 -$300 (recommended by Corey Burton.)
Studio Projects C1 Condenser Mic $250 (Also recommended by Corey Burton, what I use.)
AT 2035 $150
AKG Perception series $150
For a great pop filter for your mic, use the Stedman PS101.
USB mics plug directly into your computer and don’t need an interface. This is convenient but you often sacrifice sound quality, though this is improving. USB mics often don’t produce high enough quality of clean sound for final use due to built in pre-amps that are less than adequate and can’t be overridden.
Apogee makes good USB mics that have great pre-amps built in, that may be good enough for on-air use. Their Hype ($350) and Mic Plus ($250), for instance. Some like the Blue Yeti USB mic, though some don’t.
A USB mic should have a separate “gain,” level dial, a headphone jack and a separate dial for that sound level as well.
Get flat headphones that fit “over the ear” to contain noise bleed while recording- not ones that rest “on ear.” You want wired not wireless, not bluetooth headphones. A couple of recommendations:
Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 250 $150 (what I use)
Sennheiser HD280 Pro $100
OneOdio A71 $40
Source Connect requires a strong, consistent internet connection with your computer, preferably ethernet (wired). A steady, strong connection along with a sufficient upload speed are what matters.
For Source Connect, they prefer you have an ethernet internet connection to maximize sound quality and minimize sound dropouts, but an upload wifi speed of 25-50 mbps may be adequate if you can’t connect your computer to an ethernet cable.
Conferencing software such as Zoom should be fine with a good wifi connection.
You can test your internet/wifi speed here: speedtest.net.
Where Do I Purchase?
I shop around on sweetwater.com, B&H Electronics, zzounds.com and even Amazon, though Amazon may delay some shipments substantially these days.