Do you record at home in a small closet or room, buy a whisper room, build a home studio from scratch, or invest in a booth?
I’ve recorded in all kinds of spaces at my house and in professional studios, but these days you MUST be able to primarily record at home. No excuses, no exceptions. There’s no need to spend thousands of dollars; however, that can also depend on your location and outside environment. If you live in a nice quiet suburb, then a good closet space will do fine. But if you’re able to hear a 60 Hz hum in the walls from electricity, planes flying over your house or leaf blowers and lawn mowers every other day, you’ll need to find ways to work around them.
If you have a good apartment space located in a nice district of the city, again, a closet will do just fine or you could turn one room into an office with some treatment on the walls. But if you live in a small apartment downtown and can hear your neighbors chitchatting through the walls. Well…. that’ll be problematic. And you can’t be sure that simply throwing a blanket over a piece of furniture with your microphone positioned underneath will do the trick. It may work, it may not.
And don’t count on being able to record great tracks in a room with zero treatment whatsoever unless you have clients who like hearing your voice echoing against the walls.
It also depends on what you want to do in VO. If you’re reading an audiobook, can you stand or sit in your closet for hours? If you’re working on an action video game that requires a good deal of shouting, can you record without hearing too much resonance, echo or sounding boxed in?
If the answer is no to all the above, you might want to consider investing in a booth or working out a deal with a local studio so you can record auditions and/or bookings. However, keep in mind that your clients will be looking for ways to save money instead of spending. So, if they don’t want to pay for the cost of a professional studio by the hour, they’ll search for talent who have their own home studios to work from.
A well-known VO talent and respected blogger, Paul Strikwerda, explained in his recent blog: An expensive microphone in a bad recording space won’t sound half as good as a cheaper microphone in a treated environment.
He couldn’t be more right.
I know so many VO talent around the world. Some have whisper rooms, some built their own studios from scratch, others found a room in their house or apartment and treated it with sound panels, Auralex foam, bass traps and more, but recently I’m hearing about good friends and colleagues investing in Studio Bricks. I’m highly considering going with this company due to what I’ve seen, read and heard about the product. Before I put time or money into anything I do the following:
-Find as many reviews as possible.
-Watch videos about the product.
-Weigh the pros and cons of why I need it.
-Get opinions from people in voiceover on selected social media groups.
-Get opinions from my closest VO contacts.
-Seek out those who have the product and ask numerous questions.
-And if I’m lucky, finding someone near me who has the product and allows me to test it for myself.
Trust me, I did all the above before considering Studio Bricks. Earlier I had lunch with my family and they offered to build me a studio from scratch. Here’s why I feel that despite their generous offer, it wouldn’t work out:
- The booth would need to be constructed in my bedroom since I share a small house without much space. However, I need to sleep and work from there as well, and I don’t want to breathe in sawdust for weeks.
- No one becomes an expert in understanding the science of what’s involved in building a sound booth with just a few weeks of reading material or watching videos.
- In the end, we’d have to hire someone to give instructions on how to build a booth ourselves and I know for certain that’ll cost A LOT. So, when put together with the needed resources to purchase it would be higher than $15,000!
- It’s not like building a clubhouse in the backyard!
- I already know that I’ll be moving around a lot in the future, whether it be to an apartment or another house in another city or another state. I wouldn’t be able to dissemble something built from scratch, or re-assemble it at a new location.
- It would take too long to do the research, get ALL the materials, and put it together. I’ve seen videos from friends and professionals on YouTube putting together a Studio Bricks booth from a few minutes to maybe 1 or 2 hours with three people, to 4 hours with just one person.
- What happens if a booth built from scratch doesn’t work, even if I do everything possible to treat it? So much time and money will have been wasted and would cost me future jobs!
- If something falls apart how would I fix it? Or what if fixing it makes the situation worse?
- To build something from scratch means gambling with whether it’ll serve its purpose. Whisper Rooms and booths have been tried and tested for their purpose in recording music and voice.
The list could go on and on. I read about a VO talent recently who’s been booking jobs like crazy when only having been a working voice over for 5 years. This person blogged about building their own home studio for thousands of dollars. That’s great! They have powerhouse talent agents, jobs a ‘plenty, and a top-notch home studio. The thing is unless you’re making lots of money like them, or happen to be a carpenter, studio expert or married to a skilled carpenter or studio expert, you’re probably not going to have the same kind of luck as the person above. And that’s ok.
So, if you have a nice, sound-treated closet that doesn’t make you sound boxed in, then use it! If you have the means to adapt a space in your house for the purpose of recording, terrific! If you decide that you want a whisper room and have the money to buy one, awesome! If you have even more money, carpentry skills or have really good friends who can help you build a home studio from scratch, more power to you! And if you want to take an alternate approach by investing in something like Studio Bricks, then do it!
Every VO journey is different. Thoughts will always be scattered. At the end of the day, you’re going to have to realize that what works for someone else may not work for you. So don’t let them bully you with opinions.
Always be careful in what you ask for.