It’s important to have the right gear for narrating like a pro, even if you do it all in-house! But it doesn’t have to break the bank. Whether you’re an old hand at this or just finding your voice and need to create narration for your in-house e-learning courses, I’ve reached out to Bill DeWees for expert advice to make your equipment choices a breeze. No fancy jargon, just straightforward tips to help you get the best bang for your audio buck! Let’s get started!
Who is Bill DeWees?
Bill DeWees has recorded thousands of projects for many of the world’s leading brands, including Walmart, Coca-Cola, Disney, Chevrolet, Apple, American Express, United Airlines, Kellogg, and Eli Lilly.
Speaking of e-learning narration, Bill and I created this free course titled E-learning Narration: A JumpStart Guide. If you haven’t taken this course, stop by and give it a listen. If you’re looking for tips on script preparation, finding and auditioning professional voice-over narrators, industry pricing, and future trends in e-learning narration, I’m sure you will find it very useful.
Although Bill’s videos are oriented towards people getting into professional voice-over work, he has shared them with me as a resource for those who don’t have the budget to hire a professional voice-over artist or those of us who want to do our own recordings. I’m all about mixing and matching ideas, methods, and techniques from one field into another to jazz things up and get those creative sparks flying (e.g., cross-pollination).
By the way, in the E-learning Narration: A JumpStart Guide course, you will discover that in-house narration has its advantages and disadvantages to consider. So, make sure you give it a listen before you decide to go “all-in” and purchase equipment.
What Equipment Do I Use?
Well, I prefer to use a professional voice-over narrator for the final release of my client’s projects. But I do use my voice for the initial Alpha builds to create scratch tracks. These audio tracks recorded using the equipment below, allow the client to get an idea of the course flow and how the visuals will be used to complement their content. Once a client approves the Alpha build, I will introduce the professional voice-over tracks in the Beta release.
MY Equipment List
Note: I could create an affiliate partnership with Amazon and try to make money from the links below, but I’m not. These are just good old-fashioned links with nothing behind them!
- Microphone: Blue Yeti USB Microphone
- Boom Arm: Rode PSA 1 Swivel Mount Studio Microphone Boom Arm
- Shock Mount: Blue Radius II for Yeti and Yeti Pro
- Pop Filter/Windscreen: PhantAccy Pop Filter for Blue Yeti Microphones
- Computer: PC, Windows 10, 64-bit operating system, 32 GB RAM, Intel Core i7-9700k CPU@ 3.6Ghz
- Monitor: ASUS 27″ PB278QV, 2560×1440 (dual monitor setup)
- Speakers: Bose Companion 2 Series III Multimedia Speakers for PC
Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s turn to the videos!
Video #1: Voice-Over Studio on the Cheap!
In this video, Bill talks about the equipment he used when he first started. He encourages you to avoid investing in expensive equipment, consider the space you have to record in and make the most of it!
Video #2: What Makes a Perfect Home Studio?
In this video, Bill talks about the equipment and setup needed for the “perfect” home studio. He emphasizes the importance of understanding how to use it. In this video, you’ll also get some of his recommendations for microphones, pop filters, shock mounts, audio interfaces, and computers.
Video #3: How to Create a Cheap Home Voice-Over Studio
In this video, Bill talks about the importance of quality audio. He discusses the need for proper acoustic treatment of your recording area to achieve the best quality sound. Your recording room/space should be considered the most important factor in getting good sound quality!
Video #4: Costs to Setup a Home Studio
In this video, Bill discusses his experience setting up a home voiceover studio in 2006 with a budget of $300. He describes the equipment used, which included an old Windows 95 computer, a Marshall MXL 2001 microphone, a four-channel mixer, RCA cables, and a mattress topper to kill audio reflections. Bill stresses the importance of understanding audio editing and space, rather than expensive equipment, in creating great audio. He also mentions his experience purchasing equipment on sites like eBay and Craigslist.
Video #5: How to Turn Your Closet Into a Professional Recording Studio
In this video, Bill acknowledges that achieving high-quality audio in a home studio (or, for that matter, a room in your office building) can be challenging due to factors such as outdoor noises and interruptions. To overcome this challenge, he suggests starting with a soundproofed space and using acoustic foam and other soundproofing materials. He also recommends upgrading to a whisper room, a prefabricated unit designed to block out external noise, if your budget allows.