V.O. on the Go: Setups and Solutions for the Traveling Voice-Over Talent

by Bryant Falk

With the continuing progression of technology in the recording industry, the 24-hour availability of voice over talent has almost become the rule rather than the exception. V.O. talent can be needed ‘anywhere’ in many ways. From a narrator in a drama or documentary, to a corporate industrial or television host. When I say, ‘anywhere,’ that is exactly what I mean. One of my V.O. talents is constantly traveling to third world countries where setting up a full studio is very prohibitive if not impossible. Having V.O. clients caught in this situation requires research into a number of portable solutions.

Another big obstacle when coming up with a portable system is the technical ability of the talent. Remember, voice talents have their jobs because of how they master their craft, not because of how they push buttons. So, I’ve gone through a few possible set-ups a traveling V.O. talent can use depending on their technical skills and depending on the situation.

(1) The first is a pro user option. A laptop loaded with audio software, a pre-amp/slash converter to get audio signal into your computer and a high end microphone. This coupled with some remote software would let you patch into your ISDN at home, and no one would even know you are out of the studio!

(2) The second is a derivation of the first. This one is you recording directly into the laptop using a combo USB microphone. Less equipment to carry but not as good a quality.

(3) Our third option is with a free standing recording device. Some of these devices include the Yamaha Pockettrak 3G, The Tascam DR1, or the Zoom H4. These stand alone recorders allow you to record on a very portable platform and then transfer the files straight into a computer. Very handy for emergency pickups.

Two more things to mention is the room you’re in and the noise in the room. A space you’re looking to record in should have as few reflective surfaces as possible. Soft surfaces or even uneven surfaces would be more ideal. (‘Uneven’ meaning a bookshelf with books all randomly stacked). The less reflections the better.

The last issue is room noise. The quieter the room, the cleaner the recording! Turn off all A/C and any other constant noise-making devices when recording (like the compressor on a refrigerator). Don’t forget to turn them back on when your done!

Bryant Falk has been a producer and engineer for over 12 years working with such clients as The Ricki Lake Show, Coca-Cola, Sports Illustrated, Valley National Bank, and MTV’s The Shop. His company Abacus Audio ( handles many aspects of the audio production field from creative and production to mixing and final output.