Mark Magdich from Fort Wayne, Indiana flew in and gave a whirlwind talk featuring audio recording equipment and basic concepts of home recording for voice actors.
Discover the benefits of investing in quality gear and learn about standard technologies you should have in your studio.
If there’s anyone who knows the scoop on hardware and software for home recording, it’s a hardcore rock musician, and the audience at Voice Coaches certainly had access to one of the most knowledgeable people in the business, Mark Magdich of Sweetwater Sound.
With the advent of new, more efficient technologies the costs associated with building a top tier audio recording studio have plummeted, making some aspects of the previously unattainable multi-million dollar studios of a decade ago available for somewhere in the neighborhood of a few thousand dollars today.
Now, you’ll find that you can “plug and play” with the aid of simplified digital audio recording devices, specifically using USB microphones and cables.
Essential Audio Recording Studio Equipment:
- Audio Interface
- Pop Screen
- XLR Cable
- Music Stand
- Blank CDs
- Recording Software
- High-speed Internet Connection
Now, having the equipment is one thing, but understanding how it works is another.
Something you should be aware of is “Signal Flow” sometimes referred to as the “Signal Chain.” The Signal Flow encompasses a series of steps that begins with your voice (reading a line) all the way through how your voice is recorded using recording software.
The Signal Flow operates as follows:
Voice — Mic — XLR Cable — Audio Interface — USB / Firewire Cable — Computer
With proper equipment and studio setup, you’ll get good, clean audio which is a very good investment if you are going to take voice acting seriously and work in this friendly yet competitive industry.
Recording is Just Like Using a Word Processor
Mark elaborated on some basic recording techniques and practices including editing and exporting your audio, likening it to a word processor.
As he put it, there are many parallels such as:
- Creating data (Recording your voice / Typing words)
The beauty of digital audio recording is that you can start and stop the process at your leisure and combine the best parts of each recording into your final take.
Once you’re through with the editing of the file you’ll want to export it from your recording program. Once exported, the audio is ready to send to your client via email or bounce down on CDs to mail out and promote your voice.
- Cakewalk Sonar
- Digital Performer
- Pro Tools
Interfaces / Hardware Suggestions
- M-Audio FastTrack
- Digidesign MBox
- Edirol AudioCapture
- Lexicon Lambda
- Audio Technica AT 3035
- Neumann TLM 103
- Shure SM-7B
- Rode NT1-A
For reference purposes, I’ve included the current US pricing (May 3, 2008) for certain items listed here courtesy of Mark Magdich’s presentation notes as provided in the Voice Coaches 2nd Annual Advanced Marketing and Conference workbook:
- Cubase ($149, PC only)
- Garageband (Mac only but comes free with most Mac computers)
- Cakewalk Sonar ($100, PC only)
- MOTU Digital Performer ($500, Mac only)
- Digidesign Pro Tools ($295 for the MBox mini 2 audio interface with Pro Tools LE included, for PC or Mac)
One of the sweet things about Sweetwater Sound is that they have fanatical support and many of the products they sell have long warranties, long meaning 5 years of coverage!
If you are interested in purchasing audio recording equipment from Sweetwater Sound or learning more about how they can serve you, check out their website as linked in this sentence.