The eLearning industry is booming – and now is a great time to start creating your online courses. The key to success in this field heavily relies on the quality of your eLearning material which will often include a voice over.
While many course creators end up hiring voice over experts to give a professional voice to their content, it’s not a bad idea to do it yourself from the comfort of your own home.
When I started out, I did not have the money to even consider hiring a professional artist so I purchased some very inexpensive equipment and recorded my own voice overs.
If you think you can’t record as good a voice over as experts do, let’s make it clear that you can – with the right voice over equipment. Doing voice overs for eLearning videos helps to personalize your content even more – and it was the best decision I made for my online courses.
If you’re interested in building a home recording studio for your eLearning voice overs, this guide will help you learn about the various equipment you’ll need.
Before I reveal my personal home recording studio package, let’s dive in to discover what tools and equipment you’ll need to record professional-level voice overs from the comfort of your home.
Please note: Some of the links below are affiliate links which means I’ll receive a commission if you end up buying after clicking on one of my links. There’s no cost to you. I only review products I’ve used and believe could be useful to my readers.
What Voice Over Equipment You Need
You may consider buying a ‘package’ including everything you need to record your own voice overs. While it might be a time-saving option, you should remember that one size rarely fits all. You’ll likely be compromising on the quality of the equipment while trying to save some time.
The ideal way is to create your own home recording studio package, consisting of the best-quality equipment you can afford. Here are the things that you’ll require for recording voice overs for your eLearning course …
First and foremost, you’ll need a high-quality voice over microphone. The quality of your microphone will determine the overall quality of your voice overs. Therefore, you don't want to go for a low-quality option just because it's cheaper. On the bright side, a decent microphone won’t break your bank.
While there is a wide range of microphones available in the market, voice over USB microphones are extremely popular. The reason is simple – it is the simplest and the most convenient way of producing decent-quality voice overs. Not only are they the easiest to set up but are also very inexpensive. Plug in, record, and go – they work perfectly with all kinds of devices, ensuring little to no fuss when you’re recording.
2. Audio Interface
The audio interface is the second most important component of any home recording studio. The audio interface allows you to plug your microphone into your computer (although you don't need an audio interface when using a USB microphone which is part of the reason USB mics are appealing). Pairing a good-quality mic with a good audio interface is the key to ensuring excellent quality of your voice overs.
3. Microphone Preamplifier
By amplifying the signals of your microphone, a microphone preamplifier will be an asset to your home recording studio package. It also works as an interface to supply power to your mic as well as converts the signals into a language that can be understood by your recording device.
The interface between your mic and computer plays a crucial role in the recording process. Hence, you don't want to buy a cheap, low-quality preamplifier. Even with the best-quality microphone, everything can go wrong if you have a substandard preamp.
Another thing to remember while buying a preamp is the amount of distortion and noise it makes.
When you’re recording, it's ideal to hear the sound of your voice. That's why good closed-back headphones are an essential item to add to your home recording studio package. Another reason to wear headphone during recording your voice overs is that it will cancel the sound coming from your speakers. When you’re recording in a quiet room, headphones will make it easier for you to hear your playback.
I try to use headphones each time I'm recording. They can get uncomfortable if you're recording for long periods of time so it's best to try them out and go for comfort.
Closed-back headphones, such as the BayerDynamic DT250 prevent sound leakage, guaranteeing a solid and reliable experience. Almost any set of closed-back headphones you find comfortable will do.
5. Microphone Stand
When it comes to eLearning voice overs, chances are you’ll be recording continuously for a considerable period of time on a regular basis. Thus, you shouldn’t have to divert your attention to handling the mic while you’re recording. A microphone stand allows you to record freely and comfortably by holding the microphone in a fixed position.
A microphone stand will ensure that your recordings are professional sounding and free from vibrations and rattling noises.
Adjustable microphone desk stands and general tripod stands seem to work great for recording voice overs.
6. Shock Mount
Using a rubber or elastic band or some other kind of suspension system, a shock mount keeps your microphone suspended. This decreases the chances of vibrations and handling noises causing distortion in your recordings.
Voice overs for eLearning courses should feature a very clear, crisp, and loud voice so buying a shock mount for your mic is always a wise decision.
7. Pop Filter
Many condenser microphones are highly sensitive to unwanted background noises as well as explosive sounds you may make while speaking. A pop screen serves as a filter that diffuses and cancels out such sounds and ensures a high-quality recording. Any pop filter will help cut down on the noise.
8. Recording and Editing Software
There are tons of recording and editing software available in the market. While all kinds of software tend to perform the same function, they do vary in their complexity and ease of use. If you’re a beginner, you want to start with basic software that offers decent quality recordings whereas, as a professional, you’ll be better off with a more advanced recording/ editing software.
My Home Recording Studio Package
My home recording studio package is a complete package that falls into the mid-price range. I’m going to mention a cheaper and a more expensive option for each major piece of equipment to help you modify the package according to your specific budget and needs.
Neither too cheap nor uber expensive, the Blue Spark SL Large Diaphragm Condenser Microphone offers a rich, transparent sound with amazing details. It features a custom-designed condenser, allowing you to capture your voice minutely. It's what I use and mine came with a shock mount.
$ A Cheaper Alternative: CAD U37
If you’re on a strict budget yet want something that doesn’t compromise on the quality of recording a bit too much, you should check out CAD U37. This large condenser mic allows you to record warm, clear, rich voice overs. Featuring a cardioid pick-up pattern, it diffuses background noises and minimizes distortion. Moreover, the extended frequency response makes it an ideal choice for recording voice overs at home.
$ A Costlier Option: Neumann TLM 102
If you want the best microphone for your home recording studio, the Neumann TLM 102 is a top choice among high-end mics. This large diaphragm mic features a pressure gradient transducer to offer superior-quality recordings.
I use an adjustable desk-mounted stand while recording my voice overs. These stands allow you to record good-quality voice overs easily in both sitting and standing positions.
The Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 USB Audio Interface features two input and two output ports with two Focusrite preamps. The preamps offer clear sound with low distortion and low background noise. I've had no problems with this audio interface and highly recommend it.
$ A Cheaper Alternative: Presonus Audiobox
You can save a little money by going with the Presonus Audiobox. It's a lower end audio interface, but will still result in decent sounding audio.
$ A Costlier Option: Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre
The Focusrite Clarett 2 Pre is about three times the price of the audio interface I chose. Some people swear it's a night and day difference with much more clarity available from this interface.
I use Art Tube MP Studio Mic Preamp for the pre-amplification it provides. It features an analog VU meter and an OPL output protection limiter for best results. Additionally, the input and output gain controls offer maximum flexibility while recording voice overs. It's not the most expensive microphone preamp around, in fact, it's one of the least expensive.
–> Shop Art Tube MP Studio Mic Preamp
$ A Costlier Option: Solid State Logic Alpha VHD
This microphone preamp allows you to control second and third level harmonic distortion, offering maximum flexibility while recording voice overs. No other preamp offers this unique feature in this price range. It is very expensive however.
Acoustica A6 Basic Edition Recording Software
The Acoustica A6 Basic Edition is an excellent recording software that serves as the ultimate solution for professional voice over recordings. In addition to its ease of use, it offers maximum speed and accuracy.
I’ve also used Audacity and Camtasia software in the past. Although both of them are decent recording software, I think I made a smart choice of switching to Acoustica A6 Basic Edition.
I hope this guide to creating the best home recording studio package helps you choose the right equipment for your at-home voice over recordings. You may take inspiration from my personal package and tailor the package for your own needs, requirements and of course, your budget.