Voice Actors’ Tech Wish Lists for 2021
Wondering what to buy for that special voice actor in your life? Or maybe you’re looking to gift yourself a home studio upgrade that will make your voice over recordings more efficient (and maybe even more fun!)? If you need help finding the perfect voice over tech gift for the holidays, a birthday, or any time of the year, we’ve got you covered.
To help ensure your gift-giving is on point, we asked the Voices Insiders to share what’s on their tech wish lists this year, and what must-haves should be on every beginner voice actor’s list this holiday season. The Voices Insiders are a group of professional voice actors who share their insights and expertise with the Voices community every month to help voice actors of all levels grow in their careers.
Read on to find gift inspiration for the voice actor in your life (even if that’s yourself!) and find out what tech top voice actors are asking for to make the most of 2021.
Must-Haves on Every Beginner Voice Actor’s Tech Wish List
Whether you’re rounding out your home studio setup or are in the market for an upgrade, these are the voice over tech essentials that should be at the top of any voice actor’s wish list.
With so many microphone options out there, it seems an upgrade is always on the horizon for voice actors. For beginners looking to upgrade from a USB mic, these are two popular options to consider.
The Neumann TLM 103—a classic—is the large-diaphragm condenser mic praised for being able to handle a wide range of voices. Reported as recording vocals in a ‘bright’ and ‘forward’ way, the reviews say it provides great value for your money, especially for a home recording studio mic.
The RØDE NT1-A is another classic microphone choice. Coined the ‘home studio workhorse’ by SoundGuys, this cardioid condenser microphone is recognized as one of the quietest studio microphones on the market, with a self-noise level of only 5 dBA—making it an ideal entry-level microphone for voice actors and musicians.
Note: Not every mic is right for every voice actor. When it comes to selecting a microphone for voice over, the best way to find the right fit is through trial and error. Read this article to learn more about testing and comparing microphones.
“A good microphone, a quiet room, and pro recording software.”
“I would say coaching is the number one thing for a voice actor to invest in, but if we are specifically talking about the tech and tools, I would say the Neumann TLM 103 microphone is great. If that’s too pricey, I loved my starter mic which was a RØDE NT-1A. In a room treated well acoustically, the RØDE mic can give you some amazing sound.”
“A quality condenser mic with a great pre-amp, of course.”
“A quality condenser microphone is a must-have. If you are looking to get ‘serious’ about becoming a VO artist but have been using a subpar microphone until you can afford to upgrade, use your holiday wishlist to upgrade or request $$ to put towards a new microphone.”
“A good mic. It doesn’t have to be expensive, but doing a little research can ensure your voice stands out with quality audio.”
Recording Software, Plugins, and Remote Recording Technology
Recording Software and Plugins
Next to the microphone, the most important piece of voice over tech is recording and editing software. There are a number of options available on the market, each with a different price point.
Audacity or GarageBand are popular starting points for many voice actors, but sometimes an investment in software can be worth making, especially when it comes to improving workflow and sound quality. Find an overview of the eight most popular digital audio recording software recording programs in this article.
In a Voices survey, 38% of respondents indicated they had their sights set on an upgrade to Adobe Audition. This subscription-based recording software is the most popular brand for voice actors of all levels, according to data on voice actor profiles on Voices. Adobe Audition users praise this software for its ease of use and advanced mixing and editing capabilities.
Audio repair tools, or plugins, like iZotope’s RX Elements are another voice over tech must-have, according to the Voices Insiders. These often cost-friendly tools can fix clicks, humming, and other unwanted background noise quickly and easily.
If you or the voice actor in your life don’t have access to Source-Connect, consider adding it to the top of your voice over tech list!
Source-Connect, which is offered as a monthly subscription, is a way to connect voice actors and clients for a remote live recording session. Enabling clients to participate in a recording session has many perks:
- Voice actors get in-the-moment artistic direction
- It eliminates the lengthy back-and-forth process of revisions
- Voice actors and their clients can get to know each other better, providing an added element of relationship building, which increases the chance of repeat business
- It helps clients to feel more in control and involved in the process of the final output
Read this article to learn more about Source-Connect and other technology for recording remote voice over sessions.
“As a beginner, I highly recommend quality software and plugins. These will help compensate for some of the beginner mistakes like noise floor and mouth noise. Adobe Audition is the perfect editing software for VO artists and novice editors. IZotope and Waves offer great noise reduction plugins. I love Waves Z-Noise, waves NS1, iZotope RX mouth de-click, and RX de-plosive are some of my favorites.”
“I LOVE iZotope for neatly erasing ‘clips, clicks, and crackles.’”
“The first thing I suggest is to get a reliable recording chain without a USB mic. Microphone-audio interface-workstation. You need some form of all three to get started.”
When it comes to booking voice over jobs, efficiency means everything. Waiting for a clunky computer to load or even spending a few minutes removing the hum of an overworked laptop can slow you down and end up adding hours to your workday. While a computer is one of the more expensive items on a voice over tech wish list, it’s well worth the investment in most cases.
Note: Price is just one factor when selecting a computer for voice over. Always ensure the computer’s specs can meet the demands of your audio recording software.
“Besides the obvious (mic, DAW, treated space), I think one key thing when starting out is a solid computer. There’s nothing more frustrating than delays, freezes, and crashes when you’re trying to get auditions or jobs turned around quickly. It can be demoralizing, especially when you’re just starting out and wondering if you can make it in the voice over world.
Many people don’t realize it but your computer can be a major factor in whether you make it or break it in the early days.”
Recording Space Upgrades
In 2019, WhisperRooms topped holiday wish lists of voice actors around the world and are once again a hot item this year. If the price tag of one of these solid sound isolation booths is out of reach, there are plenty of other soundproofing products to fit any budget. In fact, the Voices Insiders previously shared unconventional soundproofing tips to get your creative gears turning. Moving blankets, rugs, and even yoga blocks can be thoughtful gifts for the voice actor in your life—provided you give the recipient context!
To learn more, check out these soundproofing tips from audio engineer Bob Breen. He managed the Voices in-office studio build and has some advice on making the most of your soundproofing budget.
“Anything that will make your recording space sound better! Whether that is new soundproofing tiles or an entire VO booth, starting with the best quality recording SPACE will make your life so much easier when it finally comes time to record your auditions and paid work.
I would put on a wishlist anything that will make your booth more comfortable to record in. After all, it is likely you will spend several hours a week (if not each day!) in that space, so why not make it a pleasurable experience! A new cool lamp, picture frames, even candles or an oil diffuser can help get you in the mindset to deliver your best VO performance.”
“For your vocal booth make sure you have a great pop filter and some absorption. Add things like moving blankets, acoustical foam, and diffusers to your list for sure.”
Voice Over Tech and Accessories Under $50
The most helpful studio accessories don’t always come with a big price tag! In this video, the Voices “Gift Guys” share a few of their favorite gift ideas under $50.
The Voice Over Tech that Voice Actors Are Wishing For
What’s on top voice actor’s tech wish lists this year? Read on to find out.
“I purchased the RX7 Elements package earlier this year and I love it. I’m looking to upgrade to the new RX8. I’m also always researching better microphones. I have my eye on the Neumann U87 or a Sennheiser for something different.”
“A new laptop!”
“I would love to upgrade my computer. I have a solid Mac mini, but it’s starting to show its age a bit.”
“I think I’m going to ask for a travel recording booth, so I can record when (and if) we are ever able to take vacations again. I was also thinking of adding a personal humidifier to my list! The air in Colorado is like -50% humidity during the winter.”
“I’m always looking to upgrade! I would love the next generation of mic/USB set up and a new MacBook Air would be wonderful.”
“My Christmas wish list is ambitious this year with a new isolation booth for my house. iZotope has a new family of plugins that I am eyeing for my audio post-production work. Plugins make me very happy!”
“There seems to always be something to upgrade…so everything!”
What Else is on the Voices Insiders’ Holiday Wish Lists?
Now that we’ve covered voice over tech must-haves, here’s what else the Voices Insiders are wishing for this holiday season.
“This year, I truly want the world to experience a little rest, peace, joy, and normalcy for the holiday season. I also want a new desk for my booth and a cozy sweater.”
“I’ve got three children between the ages of two and seven so the holidays are pretty much kid-centric, so I am wishing for peace on Earth and goodwill for all!”
“Some things money can’t buy: experience, wisdom, kindness, authenticity, compassion, and inner peace.”
What’s on Your Voice Over Tech Wish List?
Is a Neumann mic on your list? Have you been dropping hints about a new Macbook? If so, why? Let us know in the comments below.
If you’re all set and wish for nothing more than finding voice over work in the new year, start by signing up for a free Voices account!