Happy New Year everyone!
While on vacation last week in Southern California, I had the rare privilege of meeting with my good friend, coach and mentor, Marc Cashman, at his beautiful Santa Clarita home.
Marc, with the help of the late Mike Sommer, designed and built what is surely the best state-of-the-art, professional HOME voiceover studio in the world. Its truly magnificent! Marc wanted a totally isolated environment, and he achieved it. Unique in its construction, it was built out into his existing garage, employs sophisticated double walls, insulation, a floating floor, door seals and custom built acoustical panels. The craftsmanship is superb. Mike Sommer knew his stuff, and this was to be his showpiece, but he tragically left us this past fall, a loss immeasurable to those of us in the home voiceover studio business.
What Marc now has, is a perfect and versatile environment. A main work station area (Using all the same stuff I use) and a separate, isolated recording booth. But he can record from either position or direct someone else in the iso-booth through a huge, triple thick glass window. (But single pane!) Both rooms are silent. Nothing, I mean nothing comes in from the outside. Yet neither room has a dead sound. The perfect balance of liveliness and and isolation. It is what I refer to as “acoustically sterile.” This is the type of environment for a $10,000 microphone. But like me, he uses the workhorse Neumann TLM 103. The air handling system is also state of the art. Hardly a whisper from it. I won’t won’t tell you what it cost him to build it. Lets just say that he’ll never be able to move. I left that day truly inspired to make some adjustments here in the “Black Hole Of Calcutta” studio.
So, is this possible in your home? Not a chance unless you are a successful, established voice talent making 3 figures or more. It’s the only way you can justify this type of investment. Marc is the perfect example of not getting great equipment and facilities to get work, but working hard for many years to get the opportunity to create a perfect environment to carry on his trade. He did fine without it before. But he “earned” his little piece of private recording paradise.
Marc Cashman’s show piece is an exception. (And exceptional) The reality is a home voice over studio for the average voice actor shouldn’t be prohibitively expensive unless you’re making back the investment immediately. Yes, you need a “very quiet” space to record, and there’s lots of economical strategies to employ to get as isolated from exterior noise as possible. I always insist that a home voice over studio’s sound quality is far more dependent on the acoustics than on the cost of your microphone or interface. Yet all to often, beginners to a home studio miss that piece and go for the high end gear, thinking that will make them successful. High-end gear is useless in something that sounds like an empty hallway. (Like an empty hallway)
In this blog I’ll continue to talk about some of the economical strategies you can employ to get the best acoustical environment possible in this challenging place. Your home.
Do you have any specific questions about acoustics or home studio technology you’d like answered here?