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Friday, May 22, 2020

Do you want to get ahead of the competition as a voice artist?

Well, this is your lucky day, because this article is about to share with you the X-factor that will make you stand out in your voice acting career. It also includes a gift. Yes a gift, just for reading this article!

I am sure you already know the basics, have done your demo files, and are continuously practicing to hone your skills as a voice artist. That’s well and good, for there is no substitute indeed for hard work.   

But what if I told you that no matter how hard you work, you really won’t have a head start in the industry if you don’t have this essential element in your voice actor’s kit. Do you want to know what it is? Are you ready? It’s called...a home recording studio.

The X-Factor

You see no matter how skilled, experienced or even well-connected you are, all these won’t matter if you can’t produce quality voice clips that will pass the strict standards of sound engineers and high-value clients. You know how they tend to be fussy with details and their criteria. Without your home recording equipment, the chances of your demos passing the auditions and you securing those high-paying projects won’t be that high. 

And with the COVID-19 pandemic that we’re facing right now, you don’t want to run the risk of getting the virus on your way to the recording studio. So now, more than ever, you’d want to have the ability to do your demo or audio clips at the comforts of home. Everybody is already embracing the work from home culture, because this is now part of our “new normal”, and it’s about time that you start accepting this change as well.

“But that’s not fair, I can’t afford it!” you may say. Well, life was never meant to be fair, you should have noticed that by now. You know that the people who succeed in life always have something up their sleeves that the others don’t have. You may continue to argue that talent, hard work, and this thing called grit, should be enough to make you win the race called life.

That is correct, I would agree, but it is incomplete. Yes, the Olympic gold medalists and the celebrity athletes that you know all work hard, are extremely talented, and are equally persevering. But if that were the ONLY case, then all athletes should have ended up being Olympians by now. Champions would have been a dime a dozen. Excellence would have become more common.

But that isn’t the case right? You know that these elite athletes have that X factor - that secret ingredient that one has on his/her bag of tricks that isn’t available to everyone. The secret is simple, world-class athletes only use the best equipment in competition, because the slightest advantage, even just a millisecond in a race for example, could mean the difference between a gold and a silver medal. That’s why as voice over artists or voice actors, we should consider it as part of our career investment to have our home recording studio equipment.  

BlaBlaCar's Inside Story 1: Think It. Build It. Use It.
Start with what you have. Build as you grow.

Now before you open your mouth again to complain...don’t. Because I already know what you’re thinking…”I can’t afford it”...”Wala akong budget”...”I need to prioritize more important things”...I get it, I feel you. But let me assure you, it’s not that expensive to build your own home recording studio gear. You can even just start with what you have right now.

For starters, the first thing in your home recording studio list would be a laptop or desktop computer. Most of you would already have this. Since this is the core element in the set, you are well on your way to building your home recording studio.

Next are the microphone and headphones. You can use the headset with the built-in microphone for the meantime if that’s what you have right now. It would be better if you use one that has noise-canceling features, to help keep external noises around you from ruining your recording. Recommended brands include Sennheiser, Jabra, Plantronics and Logitech, all used by established call centers today. Budget-friendly alternatives are A4, Mpow, and Rapoo. Prices start at around 1,500 Php, depending on the specifications.  

Once you have enough savings, you can start investing for a separate USB microphone and headphone. A USB microphone is good for beginners, as it is easy to use and portable. You can focus on the models that are geared for voice recording. For the headphones, please do not use the ones intended for gaming or listening to music. What you need is a closed over-ear model with flat frequency response, specifically designed for monitoring during recording sessions. Brands to take note of are Sennheiser, Behringer, Sony, Audio Technica, Samson, and Shure. A good microphone and headset would start at 5,000 Php each.  

Now after the microphone and the headphone, you would want to make sure that you have a good digital audio workstation (DAW) software to allow you to record and edit good quality audio recordings. For those just starting, the easy-on-the-pocket choices would be Audacity (free) and Reaper ($60 one-time fee).

The real deal

If you are serious about your voice acting career and are in it in the long-term, then you may want to consider investing in a more advanced set of home recording studio equipment later on. You can graduate from the USB microphone to an XLR condenser microphone, as this covers more range and depth in the recording. It is understandably more expensive and harder to set-up, as this would now require a mixer that would provide it with phantom power (48V) to work. Good brands to consider are Behringer, Audio Technica, Rode, Shure, Sennheiser, and Samson. Most also carry the USB condenser microphone. Prices start at 5,000 Php for both types.   

The next thing to invest in is for a USB mixer and USB interface. Your XLR condenser microphone needs to connect to a mixer for it to get the needed phantom power. You will then need to connect this mixer to a USB interface, to connect it to your laptop or PC. Fortunately, we now have USB mixers that also serve as a USB interface, saving us a good deal of money and effort. The Behringer Q502USB & Q802USB, the Yamaha AG03 & AG06, and the Allen & Heath ZEDI-8 are just some of the suggested units that you can include in your home recording studio equipment list. Prices start at around 6,000 Php.

After upgrading your hardware, you may want to upgrade your DAW software too. Hands down, most voice artists and sound engineers alike would recommend Adobe Audition because it is easy to use and for its high functionality. But such features come at a price, at $23/month to be exact. But you can just consider this part of your regular investment to support, maintain, and improve your voice acting career.

In summary, if you want to get ahead of the competition in the voice acting industry, you should seriously consider investing in the necessary tools - your home recording studio equipment, roughly starting at 20,000 Php.

Yes, you’re lucky to be reading this now.

Remember the gift that I told you at the beginning of this article? Yes, I didn’t forget about that. You’re lucky to be reading this article because this gives you an unfair advantage to everybody else who isn’t. Why? Because it comes with a gift worth 20,000 Php.

You see Pocholo “The VoiceMaster” Gonzales, the man also known as “The Man Behind a Thousand Voices”, remains committed to his vocation to help aspiring voice artists get a head start in the industry. He has already conducted 50 batches of his highly successful VoiceWorx workshop since 2005, producing about 2,000 graduates, many of whom have already created their respective marks in the voice acting industry. And while most would already have been discouraged by the current COVID-19 lockdown, true leaders like Pocholo see this as an opportunity to disrupt the waters and create something new.

To continue answering the need for quality training for aspiring voice artists, he and his CreatiVoices team have already conducted 6 webinars since April 2020. This is a testament to his unwavering spirit and commitment to guiding those who want to make a mark in the voice acting industry. This is just the start of bigger and brighter things to come, as he has more up and coming projects to follow in the coming weeks.

Soon, he will be doing another first. This is something that he believes will significantly make a difference in the life of an upcoming voice artist and will complement the learning activities provided by CreatiVoices Productions

To mark the 15th anniversary of CreatiVoices Productions and as a way of giving back to the community, The VoiceMaster will be giving away a complete set of home recording studio equipment to one lucky aspiring voice artist. That’s right, a condenser microphone, a studio monitor headphone, a USB mixer with audio interface and licensed DAW software. Easily worth at least 20,000 Php.

What’s the catch? Nothing. All you need to do is subscribe to The VoiceMaster’s YouTube channel and like the Facebook pages of the Voice Acting Academy, Voice From Home, and CreatiVoices Productions. Details will be posted on these social media channels by June 2020, so make sure to like the pages to keep you updated with the latest news.  

The winner will be announced on October 25, 2020, during the CreatiVoices Productions’ 15th Anniversary Celebration.  

So what are you waiting for? Click “Subscribe” and “Like” now! Share and tag your family & friends too.       

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