Successfully Recording Your Lines At Home

by Bodo Hartwig

1. Introduction

The Need For Good Sound Quality

There are many good audio dramas available on the internet with excellent storylines and talented voice actors. It's amazing how communities and audiences are growing everywhere, even in the United States. You might be a follower or member of a group, too, and listening is both a guilty pleasure and passion of yours. Maybe you want to be part of a production now, and you want to prove yourself as a voice actor. But sounding tinny, hollow or faint, or coming across like a vintage radio recording from the 1950s can be the end of your participation before it started. Or the producer or editor will endlessly bother you for re-takes and re-do's until all the fun is gone and what looked so bright at the beginning becomes annoying and ridiculous for all sides.

Differences in sound quality between actors are the worst possible nightmares in the post-production of every audio project. An audio drama is simply not believable if some actors sound as clear as someone standing next to you, while others do not. If two voices can't be processed by the editor so that they match each other, as if the two characters actually played that scene together in one room, the whole production will be a mess. Regardless of how much effort was put into it.

At the end of the day, it all depends on the sound quality of your home recordings, so be reminded that with sending over lines which don't have an appropriate sound quality, you are partly responsible for either success or failure of a production, no matter how good your acting is.

In this guide I want to tell you: Don't be afraid. You can do it. Even if you don't have much money. Your laptop or home computer is capable of more than you think, and if investing more than 50 dollars (Euros, Pounds) in fancy sound equipment is going to break the bank, don’t worry – you can still achieve quite decent results. To your own surprise, you might even find that you already have everything you need, but you don’t know the first thing about appropriate settings for your soundcard, microphone, and recording software.

This is what this multi-part guide is about: teaching the very essentials to get you started even if you have never recorded anything before in your life. I will, of course, recommend equipment where it's completely up to you to follow, criticize, or use other comparable (or your existing) stuff. What you do with the information is up to you. The main point is that the recording you aim to make shall have the best possible sound quality in relation to what you are willing and able to put into it. As you learn more, you may even find completely different ways to record your lines that are more fitting for you. For now, just be open-minded and follow through the next steps with me. Good luck!