Microphones and Software

Two technical questions I’m often asked are, “What microphone should I buy?” and, “What sound editing software should I use?”  The best answer is, “it all depends on how much you’re willing to spend.”As with most technology, the sky’s the limit.  So it’s important to set a budget.  When you’re starting in VO, you want the best possible mic for the lowest possible price.  I always recommend the AT2020 USB Mic.  It plugs right into your computer, bypassing a pre-amp or mixing board, which used to be required to let the mic talk to the computer.  The AT2020 USB Mic has the best quality of any USB mic I’ve tried.  If you’re in a quiet room, there’s not much else you need to do, except to make sure you have a pop filter or sock to guard against popping those ‘plosive Ps.

If you have a computer from 2007 onward, you should have a high quality enough sound card, sufficient memory, processor speed, and hard drive space to record without any problems.  If your computer is slow to check email and type a word doc…well…you’re definitely going to need a new computer for sound recording, so factor that into your budget.

As for software, I always recommend Audacity to those getting started.  It’s free and runs on all computer platforms.  If you are ready to pay for software, I recommend Sound Studio and Twisted Wave for Mac (both have a very efficient, user friendly interface that won’t confuse you with extra features).  For Windows users, I’ve liked WavePad and GoldWave.  While I was still a Windows user, I adored using Adobe Audition.  I would invest in Adobe Audition if they ever came out with a Mac version.  ProTools is the studio standard software for sound editing, but I don’t recommend it if you’re just starting out.  ProTools is more costly and loaded down with extra features that you won’t need for a good, long while.  Most audio editing software has a free trial period, so try a few different programs and see which one works best for you.  But start with Audacity if you’re on a tight budget.  It’s free!

Anna Vocino

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