Want to sound better while being more productive and saving some money while you’re at it? Check out these VO hacks from Tommy Griffiths to get started now!

9 VO Hacks to Sound Better and Save Money

Below are 9 applications of ingenuity – common sense, actually – that you might already know, or not know. Chances are, you don’t know all nine. Why nine? Quite simply, I reach my mental capacity for hack-conjuring at nine…

Use them. Ignore them. Whatever you decide, know that these uncommon solutions to common VO/studio issues are curated from many years of experience wasting money on unnecessary gear, and scratching my head over the cause of bad audio. It can happen to all of us. The good news is that you can at least avoid these nine pitfalls.

1) Dump the homemade Microphone Isolation Box.

Sorry, but you know- the plastic bin you lined with household bedding foam. They can actually create an echo-effect, as if you’re talking inside a giant Big Gulp Cup, and ironically cause bad acoustics rather than enhance your acoustics.

2) Avoid Overpaying for Acoustic Foam

Want to avoid paying $5-$25 per square foot for acoustic foam to cover the recommended 70 percent of your wall surfaces to “deaden the sound” of your home studio? Hang an area rug on the wall. It’s not the ultimate fix, but you’ll get a better sound than with than a bare wall. And it’s way cheaper.

3) Cover Wood or Tile Floors

Don’t forget to cover your bare wood or tile floor, too. Rugs are cheap.

4) No Headphones?

Can’t find your headphones? Ear buds with a 1/4″ jack adaptor are better than listening to playback with tiny laptop speakers.

5) Thump! Thump! Thump!

Using a mic with a tabletop mic stand? Merely touching the table or desk often creates low-frequency noise (or Thumps!) that vibrate through the mic, and ruins good takes. Floor-based mic stands are cheap- some starting at $19- and mic shockmount and adapter thread-size is universal. An easy fix, even with a Blue Yeti.

6) Wake up, Sleeping Beauty

Don’t roll out of bed and into the studio. Wake up first. You’re voice is at it’s worst when you wake up, and your brain needs ramping up. Wait an hour to get the cobwebs out of your throat. Do my 5-Minute VO Workout. Eat breakfast. Sing. You don’t sound your best first thing in the morning. Your voice might be deeper, but you’ll also sound tired.

7) Check Your Medicine Closet

Do you know that some medications (over-the-counter and prescription) can affect your voice? Some may actually thin-out the quality of your voice. Talk to your doctor if you think you’re experiencing these issues.

8) Need a Break?

Brush your teeth. Seriously. There’s nothing more invigorating for a voice actor than a fresh clean mouth. Your mouth will be well-moistened too, which helps to reduce mouth-noise.

9) Don’t Print Out Scripts- For Many Good Reasons

Seen the price of printer ink lately? Save a tree. Avoid crinkling paper noise at the mic. When reading off your monitor, you can easily enlarge the text, too. If your mic isn’t near your monitor, attach an adjustable tablet or smartphone mount to your mic stand.

What Are Your VO Hacks?

Be sure to comment and share your thoughts!
Tommy Griffiths

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.

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