- I’ve tried everything.
I’ve tried everything.
Well, almost everything. It seems like everything.
Over the years, I’ve designed about a dozen studios, in every possible location, with all kinds of different gear and all kinds of configurations. Every single one is unique – as unique as the space they were built in.
I’ve personally had three studios thus far, 4 different locations and 3 different configurations. The voice over home recording studio I have setup now is, I feel, is the trend-setter for the home-based voiceover talent of today.
Having tried virtually every possible combination, I can safely say that the overall design of my current studio is what you want – or a variation thereof – as you start on your way to setting up your own voice over home recording studio.
The good news is….it’s pretty affordable nowadays. I spent $10,000 on mine. Today, you can do the same thing for half that, less – if you’re smart.
What’s involved in setting up a voice over home recording studio?
A staggering amount of details.
Just deciding on the space alone involves plumbing, electrical, framing, flooring, appliance and fixture issues, along with a plethora of sound (acoustic) considerations.
Then, after a space is chosen, we go into the design phase which is roundly dictated by budget and the space your studio is in. Design involves what the “concept” of the studio is going to be (open or booth), the gear you’re going to choose to complement the chosen concept and then addressing details like cable runs vs. location, dedicated power and location, network issues, telecommunications, ISDN (if applicable) and so on.
And we haven’t even chosen a mic yet! That in itself may take as long as getting the studio built…if you’re “smart” about it, of course ;-)!
Oh…I almost forgot. You’ll need 2 CPU’s at minimum, 1 for your DAW, the other for Admin. You may already have one, so I’ll need to assess that. Depending on where your studio is located, we may have to address a router or hub, because you’ll be running a file server……which reminds me, who is your ISP? That will affect your file server……and the list gets longer and longer and longer and longer……
- Studio consulting.
Smart people get a voice over home recording studio consultant.
The “smart” part is where you can save the most amount of money and time. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve talked to people who went about setting up their voice over home recording studio entirely wrong, or made costly errors that still to this day haunt them.
No word of a lie…I know a guy who paid thousands to get his basement renovated and had a soundbooth built. Still to this day, everytime he has to record, he has to unplug his refridgerator upstairs – because the audio engineer built the booth right underneath it.
Having someone consult you on setting up your studio is a very smart move, it will save you not only a lot of money….but also a lot of time. You benefit from my mistakes and mistakes I know others have made. You benefit from the knowledge I’ve learned from setting up a dozen other studios of the same variety. You succeed, the first time, where others ultimately fail….if your smart, of course…;-)!
- Beware audio engineers.
Beware the audio engineer.
The one that will convince you to buy a Pro Tools rig, because that’s all he knows….and it will take you 2 years to learn how to use it properly. The one that will insist on you building a booth that will cost thousands…only to find out later that he built it under the refridgerator in your kitchen. The one who insisted you buy the $2500.00 microphone, when you find out later that you could have gotten the same sound from a $450.00 mic.
Yes, audio engineers know audio……this much is true.
What they don’t know, is the unique business that is voiceover, it’s workflow, required applications, subsequent configuration and more often than not, budget constraints unique to the business.
They don’t know that you can’t integrate a phone patch in Pro Tools without a mixer. They don’t know the ISDN shortcut that can save you thousands of dollars. They don’t realize that soundproofing foam not only leeches chemicals into your environment….but it can be replaced for 20% of its cost by something far more effective and safe to live with.
- Don’t buy anything….
Don’t buy anything until you talk to me….
….or I may decide to just let you do it all on your own.
It’s not that I’m some kind of control freak; I’m not. It’s just that I’ve witnessed so many people, so many times…who get excited about setting up their voice over home recording studio and make the unwise choice to go out and buy a bunch of useless, inappropriate gear and set the whole process back by about 2 weeks.
Choosing the right gear and making informed purchases saves you tons of time and money in the long run…..and, it’s HALF the battle. I’m not kidding. One thing I take pride in, is talking to my clients a year after I’ve set up their studio and asking them if they need anything else. When they say:
“No, everything is fine… :-)! “
I know I’ve done my job well.
- Consulting costs.
Consulting doesn’t cost as much as you think.
I charge $150.00 an hour. You may think…”ouch!” But really, it’s not as expensive as it sounds.
Now, if you’re smart about it…..you’ll only need about 3-6 hours of my time. If you’re racking up more time than that, then you’re asking me the same questions and/or you’re not reading the e-mails.
And yes, e-mails. I prefer to write stuff down. Though it takes slightly longer, it’s better that you have a written record of my consultation rather than the memory of a phone call. Oh, we’ll talk every now and then, but beware….I have a sense of humor….and those jokes will cost you…LOL!
That said, I invoice you when you’ve used up an hour of my time, to keep you (and your budget) in line. This way, you’ll find out very quickly how to manage your consulting budget and therefore, spend money wisely.
- Speaking of budget….
And speaking of budget….
What is your budget? Some folks have a whack of cash available…others not so much. If you have very little money to spend, then I recommend that you go out on your own, do a pile of research on the web and design the studio yourself. You’re going to need the cash to buy recording gear and computers.
If, however, you happen to have some money to throw at consulting, I would recommend doing just that. Consulting removes a lot of the headaches associated with the learning curve of sound recording; there’s a lot more to it than simply buying a microphone and stand.
I take pride in coming under budget for a voice over home recording studio, by being innovative with gear, soundproofing and design. As I mentioned earlier, If I had to build my studio all over again today, it would cost 1/2 of what I originally spent. Yes, because prices have gone down…..but mostly because I learned a lot more tricks.
- Computers and Software.
What about computers and software?
Everyone calls me “tech-boy”….just ask my friends…lol! I’ve been building new machines and repairing CPU’s since I took apart my first 286 in 1994.
I can build your DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and Admin machines from scratch and ship them to you, if you like….or, I can tell you what to get and where to look for it, if you want to do it yourself. I’m up to speed on all the latest in software and will point you in the right direction the first time.
There is one, small caveat. I’m PC boy – not Mac boy.
I have a love-hate relationship with Mac. I love it for the product; it’s stability and functionality. I hate it for one simple reason – it’s cost. Mac over-prices everything, from their hardware to their software….not to mention the extremely limited choices regarding the latter.
That said, if you are a Mac person, I’m sorry, but I will be unable to provide you with a myriad of great, inexpensive software and hardware choices which are only available for the PC. You’ll probably be stuck with Garage Band.
However, if you decide to go the PC route, then you’ll be looking at spending about 80% less on computer equipment and software than you would a Mac and choices abound when it comes to editing software.
- Getting started.
How do we get started?
Well, if you have little or no talent for the work, I won’t be offering this service to you. I need to first listen to your demo (if you have one) and we can start from there.
Why the review of your demo? Well, there’s not much point in me setting up a voice over home recording studio for someone who won’t generate any revenue from it, because they have no talent. It’s tantamount to a musician spending $5000.00 on a recording studio….but he can’t play the guitar.
Then, if we get past the demo review, you need to decide on a space, take some pictures (only if you’re out of town) and together we’ll assess the space, your budget, goals…..and go from there.
If you’re interested, please feel free to drop me a line.