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I'm in the earliest stages of starting a 2nd career as a voice professional, and will be working from my home office.

The work involves bidding on, and accepting voice-over jobs from commercial, corp, and private sector clients; the work could entail doing web-page greetings, product descriptions, instruction manuals, event narrations, etc.

I'll be sending protected samples of my voice as resumes, in order to win jobs, and I don't want to use a paying studio. I've explored a few web pages, but have no clue what to purchase first, or any idea of exactly what I need. (Digital voice recorders, microphones, mixers, etc.)

Q&A: (5)
1. What Software Do I need?
2. What Hardware Do I need?
3. What should I know about sending the high-quality recordings to potential employers?
4. Are there recording professionals in this forum who can be hired, or consulted?
5. Are their other resources available for operating a recording studio from my home/pc?

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4 Answers

This is four or five questions in one so it's hard to provide a complete answer. My knowledge can only help you with the technical question, so here it is as an answer anyway.

Hardware: At a minimum, you'll need a microphone, a preamplifier for the microphone, and some kind of audio interface to record it all, assuming you want to use your pc. Most recording-targeted interfaces have preamplifiers built in, which is convenient, although you may want a more specialized sound from a dedicated preamp. The choice of microphones is an art unto itself, although in my (limited) personal experience, a nice condensor through a tube preamp and a bit of dynamic range compression sounds very nice for general spoken voice.

Software: The free and simple wave recorder/editor Audacity is probably going to fulfill your needs splendidly. If you need some feature it doesn't have, you can look into more specialized tools like DAW software, of which there is a ton.

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I agree with Warrior Bob about having a separate microphone and pre-amp. I go both ways as far as recording on your PC - and old, cranky PC can mess up a recording as well, and for single and double track work, a small, dedicated digital recorder can be a real life saver. Plus it gives you the option of recording in the field.

I like the Zoom H4n but its a bit pricey for a basic set up. I also own an M-Audio Micro Track II which is less expensive.

Both those digital recorders have good built-in pre-amps, support a pair of phantom power microphones and removable digital media (SD or CF)... you can still use Audacity for editing, but you stop worrying about a virus scan or flaky driver on your PC messing up your recording.

As far as microphones are concerned, for what you're describing, a large diaphragm condensor microphone will give you a nice rich voice tone. It doesn't have to be hugely expensive, an Audio-Technica AT2020 is about a hundred bucks and sounds great. They do require a decent stand and pop filter though.

One other thing I'd add to the equation if you're serious about making good quality audio recordings - you probably don't have or want a full sized recording booth, you can dramatically improve the quality of your recordings with some sound-deadening gear.

I have a RealTrap Portable Vocal Booth which sits behind my microphone and stops the bulk of reflected sound.

Good luck!

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The VO-BB forums were very helpful when I needed to produce some training videos. There are a lot of pros handing out free advice on that site. The biggest thing I've learned is that technique and practice is much more important than gear.

I spent about $350 on a Studio Projects B1, Presonus AudioBox USB, cable, stand and pop filter. It does everything I need it to do and there are professional voiceover artists that got started with less than that.

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As a sofware there is a lot of different brands on the market, depens on your budget ofcourse. To get the professional sound you'll need a good sound card with mic preamps. As Warrior Bob mentioned you can use seperate preamp too.

In my recording mobile setup pack i use RME Fire Face UC sound card wich has fantastic sound, classic Rode NT 2000 mic, and a Dell Studio Laptop.My main recording DAW is Cakewalk Sonar Producer Edition. I usually record demo for the singers with this setup and very happy with it. This maybe can give you a little idea for what you looking for.Hope will be helpful for you. You can search from net there is thousand's of brands out there!

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