September 10, 2015 at 1:31AM


Basic Sound Studio set-up

Hello there awesome NoFilmschool community!

I'm here seeking some advice which should probably not be an issue for most of the professionals here.

I'm a motion designer / director and have my own independent studio. Several of my clients have asked me if I could also provide them with basic sound recording services. So far through the nature of my job I have done a number of sound design jobs and also took care of some recordings a while ago when I was still working as an employee.

So I am basically interested in adding basic but professional voice recording capabilities to my studio. This being said I would like to ask your advice regarding the basic room set-ups and equipment I would need to get started. Any suggestions about individual equipment pieces or kits would be greatly appreciated. Also, would I need a mixer? Or software solutions would suffice (I'm an Adobe Audition user).
So to sum it up. What would I need in terms of:
Additional Software / Hardware solutions

Again, this is just to get me started but it needs to be a solid basic setup on which I could build in the future.

Thank you all in advance!



So this if for voice-over and foley ? Or would you also be recording live sound on location ?

A lot will depend on your budget, but I would look at the new Zoom F8 recorder which costs $1,000. It's getting pretty good reviews. The build quality is good. It has 8 XLR mic inputs with very good quality preamps. The only weak spot appears to be the headphone amp, so your audio sounds better on the actual recording than it does when monitoring live with a pair of headphones.

Zoom F8 Web Page

B&H Photo Page on the Zoom F8 Recorder

For mics it will depend on budget and what you want to record. Studio mics ? Location mics outside ? Location mics inside ?

September 10, 2015 at 1:17PM

Guy McLoughlin
Video Producer

Hey Guy,

I'm mostly interested in recording VO's for some of the spots I'm working on. So no foley, just voice. This being said I would probably record directly into a computer.

September 11, 2015 at 3:53AM

Andrei-Cristian Murgescu
Freelance Motion Graphics Designer / Director

If you are looking to do VO for clients who have done VO, chances are very high they've used the Shure SM7B ( in other studios. And because clients tend to like it when they see familiar gear, having an SM7B will make them more comfortable than many other options you might choose.

Because the SM7B is a dynamic mic, it does not need phantom power. A common pro trick is to split its output across two inputs, one set to normal gain and one set to lower gain. The normal gain input captures the normal speaking voice of the talent. The lower gain channel can be used if the speaker causes the normal channel to clip for any reason.

Field recorders are wonderful devices, but they are expensive because they have to be really solid to remain wonderful when taking abuse in the field. A less expensive option, and one that feeds your computer directly is something like the Apogee Duet ( There are other computer interfaces that are more or less expensive, but you definitely want preamps that are better than whatever is standard in your computer.

The final piece of the puzzle is a room that's large enough and acoustically treated enough so that it doesn't sound like the talent is speaking from inside a bathroom stall. And a room that has sufficient acoustic isolation that you are not constantly hearing--on tape--all the fans that keep your computers, disk drives, refrigerators, and you cool, not to mention the jet aircraft that likely fly over your building every 5-10 minutes. You don't hear them normally because your brain has learned to ignore them. But record 10 minutes of "silence" and you will hear all of this, and a whole lot more. There are many approaches to dealing with such noises in post, but the best way to deal with them is to eliminate the problem in the first place, building a room-within-a-room and keeping everything out of it that's not silent when the talent is speaking.

September 11, 2015 at 12:46PM


Hey Michael,

Thanks for your detailed response, very much appreciated. Back in the day when I was more editor than motion designer I used to record VO's every now and then in the studio I was working for. I know a little bit about room configurations but less about how to set-up the gear (especially the microphone, pre-amps, sound cards, etc.) Btw would I need a special sound card for day to day tasks or a normal off-the shelf card would do?
Like I said, I'm not looking to take the bread off the sound recordist's / editor's table but on small jobs some clients told me they would have prefered to keep everything under one roof.
Again, thanks a lot for your help!


September 11, 2015 at 2:37PM, Edited September 11, 2:41PM

Andrei-Cristian Murgescu
Freelance Motion Graphics Designer / Director

Apogee Duet has preamps for your mics and delivers audio to your computer via USB. You don't need a sound card. Duet plays back sound as well--seen as a USB device to your computer.

Michael Tiemann

September 11, 2015 at 5:34PM, Edited September 11, 5:34PM

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