Gear Recommendations

Voice-over Gear Recommendations for Students and Aspiring Professionals

It’s hard to know where to spend and invest in recording equipment especially when you are just getting started as a student or working professional.  We hope this guide provides a decent selection of product options and how an increase in spending leads to a huge increase in quality.  Keep in mind this is designed for students and newer professionals, and does not include the usual ultra high end professional recommendations, aiming at a range of between $500 – $1000, whereby you can assemble a competitive home studio setup.

Packages $250 - $500 CAD

The advantage of these bundles are their starting places: as your career grows you can upgrade item by item as needed, the interface and headphones will still work if you end up getting a better microphone down the road.

SCARLETT SOLO STUDIO PACK MK2 Gen 3

$329

I’ve heard of working professionals using what’s in this box years into their career with no issue. This is a fantastic starter bundle that future proofs you for a while as you can upgrade any part of the kit individually over time.

AIR 192|4 Vocal Studio Pro

$269

M-Audio is a great brand for making solid audio equipment, I have heard some good things about this bundle as a good starter option.

AI-1 Audio Interface

$499

Rode is a fantastically reliable brand with amazing customer service and the NT1 microphone in the box is an amazing microphone for the price. What’s really cool is that you can go directly into a lightning input with this mic for ipads and macbooks.

AudioBox 96 Studio

$299

A good option that is made by a really well known company, I would put the Scarlett and Rode bundles ahead of this package only because I’ve had a lot more positive reviews from previous students.

USB Microphones $140 - $350 CAD

USB microphones are great for newcomers but don’t necessarily future proof you due to the all in one nature of the microphone and preamp.

Yeti

$179

This is a solid option for a USB mic since it has a large body diaphragm which actually gives it a solid sound for a usb microphone. My only knock on this microphone is that you end up spending more on the Blue accessories over time than on the actual mic.

AT2020USB+

$219

I’ve used this as my go to office microphone for 2 years, it’s solid but wouldn’t recommend it for anything more than casual recordings. I find that the small body doesn’t allow for a really full sound through recordings.

ATR2500x-USB

$179.99

A solid entry level USB microphone which is a little more price suitable to compete with the yeti, rode, and M-audio USB microphones

NT-USB Mini

$139

This is one of my favourite sounding USB mics on the market, it also happens to be the cheapest of the main companies listed. I have heard a half dozen recordings off these little microphones and they provide a really rich sound for a little mic.

NT-USB

$225

This is a great microphone for a USB mic and I love that it comes with a solid pop filter. I’d say if you were dead set on a USB mic and willing to go up a notch on price this is a great mic.

MiC+

$259

If there is any USB microphone that comes within shouting distance of a regular mic + interface setup it’s this one. It’s the priciest USB mic on the list but definitely the best. I think the best thing about this mic is the mobility it provides since it can connect to a phone or ipad.

Uber Mic

$149

A reliable and cheap alternative from a good audio equipment manufacturer that has some really cool features.

Cardioid Microphones $250 - $600

Condenser cardioid microphones are amazing for voice-over they give the performer a rich quality which is fantastic for animation and commercials. Just be aware that with a cardioid microphone you will want to acoustically treat the room really well to get the best sound possible.

AT2020

$149

An amazing microphone for newcomers to voice-over. I find that every at2020 has a slightly different quality but you get some that really do sing and sound great even amongst microphones 4 times their price. My one knock on the AT2020 is that it doesn’t come with a shockmount, just a basic stand attachment, which is fine for the price.

AT2050

$339

A great mid-level microphone with a warm sound, it has a nice build quality and will stand out from the $200 – $300 microphone range.

AT4040

$449

We have used these mics in our studio for 4 years and they are durable with a bold and warm sound. I can’t recommend these mics enough as a solid entry level professional microphone.

AT4033a

$589

This mic is fantastic for the price, I mean really fantastic. For my money it gives a sound that competes with mics a few hundred dollars up in price range. It’s well made and has a great voice profile that works exceptionally well in both animation and commercial records.

NT1A

$329

A true workhouse microphone that I cannot recommend enough to students and new professionals alike. What’s not to like, the build is solid, the sound is robust, and the extras that come with the microphone give it amazing value.

NT1000

$469

This is a great in between mic from the NT1A and NT2A, it’s incredibly well made with a low noise floor. It gives a rich vocal tone. My only knock for a mic of this price range is no shock mount included, just a simple ring mount. This means you’ll likely have to buy one which brings the price up to bring similar to the NT2A.

NT2A

$569

If the NT1A is a good first step, the NT2A will last you years into your pro career and beyond. It comes with great extras and has a 10 year warranty. The sound is great and the body of the mic has a ton of on board options to get you the right sound for whatever job you’re work on.

AKG

P420

$199

A good entry level microphone that beats out the AT2020 on features and options.

AKG

C214

$399

Well made, great sound, good accessories, and a super low noise floor for a cardioid.  I don’t have as much experience with these microphones for voice-over but AKG is a fantastic brand.

WA-47jr

$299 USD

Based on the famous 47’ style microphones that have been a staple of recording for decades. This is a great alternative to some of the other $300 CAD microphones on this list at a slightly higher price point. Solid build quality, good parts, and most importantly a warm sound on vocals.

WA-87r2

$599 USD

I have used quite a few of the 87’ style microphones and this one definitely stands up to some of the even more expensive alternatives. These have such a clean but distinctive sound that just pops on certain vocals. Definitely worth a look even though it’s the most expensive microphone on this intermediate level list.

CM47fet

$295 USD

I love the advanced audio microphone sound, it’s super clean. And this 47’ inspired microphone is absolutely amazing for the price. Plus it’s great to support a small Canadian microphone company that constantly makes amazing products.

CM87

$395 USD

Just like the CM87 the sound on this microphone is just amazingly clean. I love using this microphone for animation voice-over but it’s just as good for more announcers like reads in a good room. Great on body options and delivers a super professional sound.

MK4

$389.5

Sennheiser makes excellent audio equipment and this cardioid microphone has a great tone and super low noise floor. Sennheiser’s part of the microphone market is generally very much on the high end so consider this microphone a kind of first step into their product line. This microphone will do good work for a newcomer into voice-over and probably handle any job you through at it.

Shotgun Microphones $250 - $800

Why choose a shotgun microphone for voice-over? The beauty of a shotgun microphone is the noise floor is incredibly low, which means recording voice-over at home or in an apartment even with the odd sound from neighbours, roommates, and family you can get a good record without worrying too much about having the perfect recording setup. My only knock on using a shotgun mic for voice-over is that they are very prone to plosives due to the directional sensitivity.

AT875R

$349

This is a solid entry level shotgun microphone that I’ve found to work great for home studio recording. The cost is great and the shorted body makes it great for smaller home booths.

AT897

$369

This is also a great entry level shotgun mic from Audio Technica, a little longer than the AT875R but this is a great solution for home studios where you might not be able to get away from outside sound 100% of the time.

NTG2

$379

The Rode line of shotgun microphones is known for being great value for money, if you can’t afford NTG5 then this is a great starting shotgun for recording at home and on the go.

Interfaces $150 - $400

ID4

$279

Why this interface? For the price this interface has a great sound. Audient might not be the most well known company but their products have fantastic features and great quality. This interface comes highly recommended as an alternative for the Scarlett series.

Scarlett Solo

$169

Why this interface? It’s rugged and has amazing sounding preamps for the price. This interface has two channels but the second is only for trs (tip ring sleeve) cables plus its really well priced.

Scarlett 2i2

$239

Why this interface? Like the solo it’s rugged with great preamps but for the extra money you get 2 inputs that can take either an xlr or trs cable. Which means you can have your two microphones plugged in and ready to go for any session.

SSL

SSL2+

$399

Why this interface? This is one of the best interfaces on the market before you make the jump up to some of the premiere Clarett and Universal audio interfaces and external preamps. It’s well made, has 2 inputs, and a ton of onboard features to make your voice really pop.

Headphones $99 - $200

It’s really important to have a pair of headphone monitors that gives you an accurate representation of your voice and level when you record and when you listen to takes.

ATH M20x

$69

A super solid set of headphone monitors, well built, with accurate monitoring. As a testament to the build quality of these headphones, we’ve used these in the studio for over 3 years and only had a couple sets of headphones fail.

ATH M40x

$149 – An outstanding set of headphones for the price, they have an amazing frequency response and really accurate sound. Comes with multiple cable options.

ATH M50x

$219

A step up on the M40x’s in build and options, although from testing in studio they sound very similar. These are really known for their comfort over the M40x’s.

HD 559 Pro

$129.95

Rugged with amazing sound, these directly rival the ATH M40x’s. You can’t go wrong with either.

(Optional) Monitors - $99 - $200

Sometimes it can be challenging to get a good feel for your reads through headphone monitors, this is where having a pair of studio monitors comes in. Don’t feel like you need to break bank on studio monitors, unless you are going to be mixing fully produced projects on them, a basic $100 – $200 set will allow you to hear your voice accurately outside of your studio.

  • M-Audio 
  • Mackie 
  • Eris 
  • Yorkville 
  • Kirk 
  • Yamaha

Microphone Stands - $30 - $250

I highly recommend looking for a floor stand with an adjustable arm as it will allow you to get the perfect angle for your microphone when you use it. Some voice-over professionals love desk clamp stands from companies like Rode because of the space saving but in most cases a floor stand is standard.

  • Gator – Frameworks
  • K & M
  • Rode
  • Ultimate

Music Stands - $30 - $100

A music stand is an important addition for a voice-over artist, it helps you not lose takes due to paper ruffling sounds

  • Gator – Frameworks
  • Yorkville
  • Manha Set
  • K & M

Digital Audio Workstations

I’m not going to list prices here since there are so many different subscription styles and such but I really put this up to personal preference.

Free

It’s free, it’s easy to use, it does everything that’s needed for voice-over. Sure it could have more functionality and a cleaner ui, but it’s everything you need for voice-over at the best possible price.

Garageband

Free

It may come pre-installed on your apple device, but it still allows you to record voice-over, edit, and export.

Audition

Yearly Subscription

Audition is a rock solid DAW for voice-over, a little pricey considering the recurring license, but the default plugins are absolutely outstanding and updated year over year.

Pro Tools

License

Amazing functionality and pretty much the industry default DAW. Just be aware that it’s a challenge to make full use of this DAW without formal training. The big selling point of Pro tools is the amazing array of plugins that can be installed to allow for easy post production workflow.

Reaper

$60 USD

Reaper is fast becoming the go to alternative to audition and Pro Tools. It’s affordable due to its one off license and has all the functionality of the two. More and more I hear of engineers and talents making the move over to Reaper.

Got a recommendation? Send it our way and we’ll add it to the list.

*Prices listed as an average price listed for major Canadian retailers in November 2020

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