Through-out the years of providing voice overs for people and businesses, there’s been one constant: Struggles with my home studio.
Whether it be a microphone cable going bad, an unknown buzz coming from somewhere, room noise etc. It seems like just when you get your home studio “perfect” – something else pops up! One of the most common – are noises. Background noises that you can’t seem to figure out where they’re coming from. So, I wanted to run down a list of top offenders.
One of the first steps in creating a good sounding home studio is eliminating as much background noise as possible. If your studio is on ground level, a lot of that noise can be coming from outside, such as your neighbor mowing his lawn while you’re trying to finish the last page of that 10 page VO gig – damn him!!!
But – don’t curse your neighbor just yet. There are ways you can minimize or eliminate these without a lot of investment. We’ll get to that in a minute.
Here are the top culprits for that background noise you just can’t identify – and what you can do to get rid of them.
#3 – Your computer tower
Believe it or not, your computer tower is the most likely to be causing background noise issues in your recordings. Your mic can pick up that fan or the rumble from your fan/processor from a mile away. (or at least from the same room!) So – if possible, invest in chord extensions and move your computer to a different room, or a closet, and then have your keyboard, monitor and microphone somewhere else. If that is not possible – at least PLEASE do not put your computer on the same desk as your microphone is mounted. The vibrations will most certainly cause disruptions to your recordings.
#2 – Appliances
Dishwasher running? Shut it off. Washer running? Shut it off. Dryer running? Shut it off. Air conditioner running? Shut it off. At least temporarily while you’re recording. Nothing can ruin a great recording faster than the A/C kicking on in the background.
#1 – Other family members and animals
We love ’em. Most of them, anyway. But they can be majorly disruptive during a recording process if you’re using a budget home studio. So, there are a few ways to prevent a ton of disruption.
A. Ask them to be quiet. If it’s adults – typically this isn’t a problem. If kids are involved, it’s a whole different story.
B. Send them out somewhere. Yeah, I know that sounds kind of cold – but, this is your job… and a quiet environment is critical for success. Calculate how much you’ll be making with your voiceover gig, and give a portion of that to whomever you’re asking to leave to go buy dinner or a cup of coffee somewhere.
C. The 3am VO: If asking family or animals to leave doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, but you need a few hours of uninterrupted quiet to complete that VO – try overnight. In doing VO for clients all around the world, it’s not uncommon for me to have to do VO’s for other countries in different time zones at 2, 3, 4 and 5am. Yeah, you have to wake up a bit earlier, make some tea and warm up your voice – but you can have hours of quiet fairly easily. No birds chirping, dogs barking or kids yelling… OR neighbors mowing the grass. So, if you just can’t seem to get rid of that background noise during the day – try 3am.
Of course, soundproofing and dampening is ideal so you can do your VO’s at any time of day – but I’ve seen VO talents making far more money than me with far less of a setup – they just do their VO’s at 3am and know how to remove any other background noise post-recording.