Voice Over Work For Dinosaurs

As you might have read I do voice over work from time to time. There are several websites out there that are sort of social networks for people who do voice over work and those looking for voice over talent. It’s a good gig if you can get the work, but nowadays just about anyone with a decent voice can do voice over work.

Back when I was in college it was pretty much unheard of for people to do voice over work from their home. It was far too costly and computers were just starting to be looked at as a possibility for recording audio. Now, just about any computer you get can do it for you. One of the things that has been puzzling me though is that all of these websites for voice over talent ask if you have an ISDN set up. I was thinking about this one and remembered that ISDN was the precursor to DSL and Cable Modems and it is far more expensive with you having to purchase a $3000-$5000 box and pay between $50-$150/month, but for some reason voice over artists swear by it.

WHY? I have yet to get a good argument for why ISDN is necessary for good voice over work. It’s more than a tenth slower than DSL, The G.722 codec it uses is far inferior to say, Skype’s SILK_V3 codec and the whole process involves the artist sitting at a mic and it being recorded [usually] outside their home studio at another recording studio. Why not just record the raw voice over tracks and share a dropbox folder with the studio so they can pick them up? I actually provide finished audio files to my clients using dropbox and that has been working out just fine for them.

Many of the podcasters today have never had formal training in voice over work and many times they create the shows as a conversation over Skype that they record. These people aren’t even using a good microphone and they sound pretty good. The current voice over community is living in the world of the dinosaur. If you have a decent set up you don’t need all the professional sound booth materials to effectively record a voice over. You just need a quiet room and a good mic with high rolloff [that means the farther away you get the more the sound lowers].

I decided a few years ago when I was asked to do some voiceover work to deliberately use GarageBand just to see how it would work out. I could have used Pro Tools, or my favorite Digital Performer, but I wanted to see if GarageBand could hold up to it. Here’s what I got: California Academy of Sciences.

This was all created with a free program, royalty free music and a mic that costs about $150 [actually more like half that because it was a two mic set and I used the MXL 2001A]. I don’t have any form of sound insulation in the room I do the recording in, but it still turned out very good. So now I still don’t understand why the industry is sticking to these outmoded ways to doing business. If there are any voice over artists out there that read this please comment because I’d love to understand why.

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