Software featured in this Article:
What You Need to Consider Before Recording Audio at Home
There was a time when recording and editing voices was purely the domain of professional sound engineers and the process required a big budget. Nowadays, practically anyone has access to the equipment needed to record their voice using a computer, convert the audio file into an MP3 and email it anywhere in the world. But the basic preparation for the voice over artist hasn't changed that much.
You'll still need to map out the production and make informed choices based on the script you're working with. You'll need to have some knowledge of the microphone and how to get the best quality sound out of it. You'll probably need a pop filter to accompany your mic of choice. You'll also need to make sure the environment you are recording in is somewhat sound-proofed; no echos, hums or background noises.
When it comes to working with software for voice overs, if you're looking to do full production for commercials, documentaries and presentations, you'll need to learn how to add sound effects, music and other multi-tracks. This can't be achieved overnight. But, as voice talent, most of the time the only thing you'll actually want to do is record your voice and have it accurately reproduced, achieving the most natural sound possible. In order to make this happen, you'll only need to learn some very basic audio-editing skills. The software featured in this article makes it simple; they all have the capability to import, insert, cut and paste in a fairly user-friendly way.
What is the Best Software for Voice Overs?
Let's take a look at the range of software available that will get you on the road to offering voiceover services.
Free Voice Over Software
Audacity (Mac and Windows)
Audacity offers all you need to get started recording and editing audio at home; it's compatible with Windows and Mac, it's simple to use and has a logical interface featuring familiar functions like play, stop, record and pause. Best of all, it's completely free.
Audacity works by recording live sound using a microphone or mixer. Users can edit sound files, mix, and change the speed or the pitch of the recorded voice.
It's the perfect tool for beginners as the basics of using this programme are extremely easy to pick up.
If you're a Mac user, you have all you need to record voice overs at home. GarageBand is simple, intuitive and the design has the user in mind. It was originally intended to record music and podcasts, but professional voice over talent are now using it to produce great results too.
Officially, GaragBand is a digital audio workstation and music sequencer and has the capability to record and play back multiple tracks. If you were tempted to give production of a commerical a go, the built-in audio filters let you enhance the track with a multitude of effects including echo, reverb and distortion.
Again, a fantastic piece of software for beginners looking to learn while they work.
WavePad Free Version (Windows and Mac)
This free software for voice overs is an audio-editing system and comes in versions for PC and Mac. Once you've recorded your voice file, WavePad's intuitive system lets you cut, copy, paste, insert, silence and auto-trim parts of recordings, and tinker around with effects like amplification and noise reduction.
The free version of WavePad never expires and is perfect for the novice, but is only available for non-commercial use and has a few less features than the paid version. It supports virtually all audio formats.
See the premium version of WavePad
Premium Software for Voiceovers
The products featured below are the choice of many voice over artists looking for professional voice recording software as they generally produce higher quality results. All of them will require a period of learning and getting to grips with the interface and features offered.
Adobe Audition (Mac and Windows)
Adobe are famous for creating innovative and exciting software and Audition is no exception. The quality of sound production is clear and crisp and the range of tools available in the latest version allow audio recording of the highest quality, meaning that you have the capability to produce professional-sounding premium voice overs in your own home.
Great new features include Sound Remover, which can repair and enhance the recording, removing unwanted background noise from an entire sound file, meaning that you don't necessarily need a completely sound-proofed home studio to make the audio sound clean.
Soundbooth is perfect for the purposes of becoming a voice over artist. It is specifically designed for recording the voice on a single-track audio editing system. Unless you're a musician or a sound engineer planning on adding lots of fancy production values, why would you really need multi-track software?
Like Audition, Adobe Soundbooth has the capability to cancel out background noise and distractions, edit away mouth clicks or stumbling over words without having to delete an entire track.
The editing tools are logical and user-friendly and the online video tutorials mean you'll get to grips with it in no time.
Avid Pro Tools
Avid Pro Tools is the cream of the crop; we really are in the domain of the professional sound-editor now. Avid Pro Tools is a wonderful bit of kit widely used in the voice over industry. For the person with the necessary skills and knowledge, it really is the best software for recording and editing voice overs available. It enables users to record, edit and mix with speed.
To really get to grips with the programme, Avid Pro Tools will require some training, but there are plenty of free video tutorials available to get you started on the road to creating premium voice recordings.
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