Breaking into Voice Acting (Part 2):  Studio and Equipment

Breaking into Voice Acting (Part 2): Studio and Equipment

Part 2 of this series on voiceover focuses on creating your studio space and the equipment that can help you put your best foot forward. 


I hope Part 1 piqued your interest in the profession as we’re diving right into the technical aspect! Here, I’ll discuss how to build your “home studio” so you can start booking work!

Studio Space

I recorded my first audiobook in a 2ft by 2ft closet with sweater-covered walls as I sat on a drumkit stool and read from a Kindle I rigged to a music stand. I was hot and sweaty and I learned I live directly under LaGuardia airport’s flight path. (Fun fact: most flights take off between 4pm and 6:30pm.) I share this so to say that your space does not need to be fancy! Since Covid, the quality of your sound file is as important as your read, as most bookings are done remotely. Without a treated space, it doesn’t matter how good your mic is. You can purchase a Studiobricks for ultimate sound proofing, but this is hefty financial investment ($3K–$7K) and isn’t always necessary, especially in the beginning. 

Your space doesn’t need to be pretty. You need a sound-treated space to absorb and dampen extraneous noise. No hard surfaces. Acoustic curtains, acoustic baffles, and acoustic foam are great options if you’ve got the money—but if on a budget, thick comforters, moving blankets, pillows, rugs, and towels will do the trick (and are also great options when traveling). You can upgrade as you go, but absorption and canceling reverb is key. Considering how quiet your space is, you might get away with a few foam panels behind your mic.

I’m personally fond of a treated closet. Two sides of my closet are cement, and it’s in the center of my apartment. Since I’m not competing with noise outside, I simply have moving blankets clipped to tension rods, a rug and rug pad underneath. The shelf above has a moving blanket clipped to it and hung like a baffle. I eventually added acoustic foam to the ceiling and a few rolls of towels to corners and along baseboards. If you live in a rental, noise from neighbors can be a factor. For heavy footfalls, bass traps help because low frequencies below 250 Hertz can break through acoustic foam and carpet.  

As I mentioned in Part 1, Frank Verderosa’s website is full of blog posts on this topic, and he also offers classes and booth consultations. Don’t rush it. Take your time to craft a space that makes you sound your best and in which you’re comfortable—you’ll be spending a lot of time in there. Pro tip: when recording in the summer months and the AC is off for sound, battery-operated fans in your booth that you can turn on and off between takes are great. My personal favorite is the neck fan.


To create professional-sounding recordings, you’ll want the right equipment—specifically, the microphone and recording software. There are plenty of affordable options to get you started. 

A main consideration for your microphone is whether to choose a USB or XLR mic. USB mics require a USB cable to connect directly to your computer. They are great starters and less expensive. The Logitech G Blue Yeti is a favorite. Many come with their own stand that can sit on a desk. 

If you opt for an XLR mic, you’ll also need a preamp. XLR stands for External Line Return—instead of connecting directly to your device, it connects to an audio interface (or preamp) that connects to your computer’s USB. XLR cables allow electrical currents to pass cleanly across your interface through Phantom Power and then converts it to your software as sound waves. Scarlet Focusrite is a great choice for a beginner preamp, and Presonus is a popular brand if you want to use this mic for music as well. 

If you can afford it, there’s no contest that XLR mics produce a higher quality. But in addition to the mic, interface and, likely, a mic stand, you’ll need XLR cables that may or may not come with your interface, a shockmount, and a pop filter. A shockmount connects to your mic stand and cradles the mic, allowing it to float in elastic bands that absorb external vibration for a clean sound. Pop filters distribute fast-moving air away from the mic and lessen any “pop” sounds created by plosives. Your shockmount might have a place to connect the pop filter (which is preferable), or you can clip it to your mic stand directly. 

There are many mic options, and everyone has a favorite. Audio Technica AT2020, Rode NT1, and Rode NT1A are popular starters. The Sennheiser (specifically 416, a shotgun mic) and the Neumann TLM series are favorites for top-of-the-line mics, but definitely mics to upgrade to down the road. While I still use and love my Rode NT1A, it’s worth noting it is not as forgiving for soprano voices. It took time to find the right placement for my voice. 

I highly recommend visiting a store to test some on your voice and see what you think. For those in NYC, B&H typically has a nice selection to try. When it comes to purchasing, I personally love buying through Sweetwater because their customer service is amazing—they’ve helped me troubleshoot my gear over the phone many times and they frequently offer discounts. 

Equally as important as your microphone is your digital audio workstation (DAW) which, simply put, this is the software you use to record. I personally love Avid Pro Tools because of its numerous capabilities, but it can be overwhelming at first and it’s a high price point. With so many more bookings being remote, the DAW possibilities have expanded. 

Audacity is a free open source program that offers all the basic editing capabilities you’d need. It’s a great tool to play with and understand the basics of recording, but you’ll likely want to upgrade later on. The most widely used options include Reaper, Logic Pro (Apple), Adobe Premiere (great if you’re also working with videos), Studio One (Presonus), and TwistedWave. Again, there are even more DAWs out there, but these are the most popular, and for each of these there are many YouTube tutorials. 


While having a demo is vital, I wouldn’t rush to make one. You wouldn’t audition for the Met until you’re ready. As such, you’ll want solid training and the ability to consistently deliver the skills you showcase. Making a quality demo can cost anywhere from $1K–$3K. 

While many can and do make their own demos, I wouldn’t recommend it, especially for your first one. Your demo represents you the same way a resume would. If you want to be competitive in this business, invest when you’re ready and work with someone who knows your voice.

Getting Gigs  

Once you’re confident in your abilities and have a demo to prove it, and your space and gear are set, there’s the question of where to find work. There are P2P (Pay to Play) sites that many use, such as,, VOPlanet,, and, to name a few. There are pros and cons to each of these sites, so do your homework in choosing one. 

I hope this demystifies how to get started and has inspired you to give voice acting a try.  It takes commitment and an investment of time and money—but if it scratches that creative itch, it’s a very fulfilling career. 

Emily Stokes

With over a decade of experience, Emily Stokes has voiced numerous commercials, audiobooks, animated programs, promos, and e-learning projects for Disney, Hulu, ABC, Audible, the Louisiana Lottery, Imagination Station, and more. With a Masters in Voice from Indiana University’s Jacobs School of Music, she’s put her degree to work performing across the U.S. in productions of The Music Man (Marian), Beauty and the Beast (Belle), The Sound of Music (Maria), and Phantom (Christine), among others. Stokes currently lives and works out of her home studio in NYC with her pup, Rosie. For more info and to connect, visit and IG: @em_stoked.