If you’re like me and you’re just getting started in voice acting, you might be wondering what recording gear and other voice acting resources you’ll need. I’ve been doing ongoing research on this and so that’s what this page is all about: Everything I’ve found, shared in one convenient place.
Note: I’ve only used a few of these products. The rest are popular recommendations from the voice acting community. (Found on blogs & videos by professional voice actors.)
Table of Contents:
Before we get started, you should know that some of the links on this page are affiliate links. Which means that if you buy something, I’ll get a small kickback. This doesn’t cost you extra and it helps me keep researching and writing about voice acting. (I’ll only recommend what I’m using or what my research says is a good recommendation!)
Recording & editing software
Audacity (Free, opensource)
Audacity is a simple (but powerful) opensource audio recorder and editor available for Linux, Windows and Mac.
I’ve used it on Linux and it gets the job done. All of my research suggests that it’ll work well for a voice actor. A full DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is probably overkill for voice acting. So this is probably the best place to start. Download it free from AudacityTeam.org.
Ardour (Opensource, pay what you like)
Ardour is a full-featured DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) and it’s open source. I’ve used Ardour on Linux and it was jaw-droppingly good.
But I can’t recommend it for macOS. I just can’t get it to work. So if you’re on Linux or Windows, give it a shot at Ardour.org.
(Although it’s open-source, you’ll still need to pay something for it. Might be worth it if it works on your computer because it’s pretty powerful.)
Adobe Audition CC (± $21 a month)
This is what all the pros are using. There are also a ton of tutorials on YouTube on how to use Adobe Audition. If you want something that’s well-supported, and you can afford it ($21 a month), this could be the right option for you. Check it out on Adobe.com.
Before you spend a fortune on a mic, remember that a cheaper mic in an acoustically-treated space (studio, closet, blanket fort) will sound better than an expensive mic in a space that hasn’t been acoustically-treated (tiled floors, bare walls, anywhere with lots of hard surfaces for the sound to bounce off of.)
Samson Meteor USB (± $50)
This is what I’m using right now. It’s super affordable and feels well built. This review goes into detail on it:
Hot Tip: He says the legs get in the way when the mic is mounted on a boom arm. You can just unscrew ’em! Check out this pic of mine:
Check out the 990+ ratings on Amazon and see if it’s a fit for you.
Keep in mind: Most pros will advise against a USB mic. They’re considered to have a thin sound. So if you’re more focused on quality than affordability, one of these other options might be better for you.
(Just keep in mind that you’ll need an audio interface if you’re using a non-USB mic.)
- MXL V67G on Amazon (± $50)
Amazon reviewers were surprised by how good the quality is. Value for money. Very sensitive, so you’ll need a quiet space.
- MXL 990 on Amazon ($70+)
A lot of happy Amazon reviewers here. Key takeaway was that some reviewers have had their MXL 990 for half a decade or more and still going strong.
- Apogee Mic Plus USB on Amazon (± $260)
Folks on Amazon say it’s plug and play, and gives you studio quality. Like the Samson Meteor USB mic, it has a headphone jack for zero-latency monitoring.
- CAD Audio Equitek E100S on Amazon (± $500)
This one can be noisy but, if you contact CAD directly, they’ll fix it and send it back to you. Once it’s fixed, it apparently holds its own against mics double or triple the price. “Does exactly what a voice over artist needs to do”, said one buyer.
- Neumann TLM 103 on Amazon (± $1,100)
Some buyers complained about the shock mount arriving broken or not fitting well. That aside, this is a great mic. One reviewer said it’s a good budget alternative to the Neumann U87. (Which is about 4x the price.)
- Sennheiser MKH 416 on Amazon (± $1,000)
Great shotgun mic that will, “suck the sound out of anything you point it at and leave the rest behind,” according to one buyer. Another buyer said you can get similar performance, from mics half the price.
If you’ve got the cash and you’ll be auditioning on “high-end” work then you could get one of the mid-range mics and upgrade later as your business grows.
For me, doing this as a side-gig, I’m pretty happy with my “dinky” Samson Meteor mic for now.
Unless you decide to buy a USB mic, you’ll need an audio interface. This is just a device that you plug your mic into that connects to your computer for recording the sound from your mic.
I’ve never used an audio interface, so these are popular options I’ve found in the VO community:
- Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 (3rd Gen) on Amazon. (± $160)
No other interface has come up more often in my research than this one. It’s got a 4.5 star rating on Amazon with over 530 ratings. This is probably a no-brainer but go check out the reviews on Amazon and decide for yourself.
- Shure X2U on Amazon. (± $99)
Also has a 4.5 star rating (from 178 ratings). Seems like a great budget option.
- Universal Audio Apollo Twin MKII Duo on Amazon. (± $799)
Definitely not a budget option. Folks who started on the Focusrite say that upgrading to this is like night and day. It’s not cheap but it’ll take your audio quality to the next level.
Apple EarPods 😱
I’m committing the cardinal sin of recording: Using phone earbuds for monitoring . I even wrote about why you shouldn’t do this in my article on why voice actors wear headphones. I should know better, right?
But the thing is that I’m starting out on the cheap. And these things (the earpods) plug right into my Macbook Pro and my Samson Meteor mic. So I’m just gonna use ’em until I can do better.
Some professional voice actors recommend these:
- Sennheiser HD 280 Pro on Amazon (± $100)
- Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro on Amazon (± $178)
Fiverr (Free to set up, 20% fees on gigs)
Probably a good starting point for absolute newbies. The general consensus in the VO community is that Fiverr clients are crappy. That being said, the more you charge, the better clients you’ll get.
A key difference on Fiverr is that you don’t audition for jobs. You set up your profile, with a profile pic and some demos, and then hope to get work. There aren’t jobs posted that you can audition for. So success here might depend more on your marketing chops (and willingness to start off cheap) than your skill.
They take 20% of every sale.
UpWork (Free to set up, sliding scale fees)
They have a screening process. Your application might get rejected if you don’t have much experience.
They take 20% of your first $500 earned. 10% of anything after that, until you hit $10k. At that point, they take 5%.
You can find gigs that you like and audition for them. Which means your success is based on your audition, not necessarily your profile.
Voice123 (Free – $600 a year)
Their membership is based around the number of “project invitations” you get to use each month. Want to bid on lots of projects? You’ll need a higher package.
Voice123 is one of the best-known marketplaces for voice work online. Used by well-known brands like Coca-Cola, AirBnb & NBC. So if you’re serious about your voice career, don’t let the premium packages stop you from getting started. Start out with a free membership and work your way up.
Voices.com ($499 a year)
Also one of the best-known voice marketplaces online. Used by brands like Hulu, Discovery Channel & Microsoft, it’s an important source for getting high-end work.
You can start free but that just gets you a profile and zero auditions. They don’t seem to limit how many gigs you can audition for, so to me, this looks like a better option than Voice123.