I had a great question posed by ACM voice-over performer Joe Cali in regards to my recent post Voice Agents: The Need For Speed. His question was “is speed more important than quality in the new paradigm of voiceover?”
Of course, that’s a complicated question. In our case, our clients have consistently excellent equipment and technical skills, so if they then submit an audition on their iPhone, they really stick out among our submissions. While I would make the argument that “sticking out” can sometimes give talent a competitive advantage, I don’t believe that you want to do this with your “sound.” Inevitably, I think it just makes the talent look unprofessional.
What Do I Do When I’m Away From Home For a Few Hours?
So what does talent do when they know they are going to be away from their home studio and a professional portable system is not feasible? For instance, say you are a coach on your son or daughter’s soccer team and a last minute audition pops up during a game. Here are a few of my recommended purchases to help you in that type of situation.
Recommended Purchases for the VO Pro
1) An iPad or iPad Mini. I actually recommend the Mini in this case because it is easier to handle and offers everything the regular iPad does without the bulk.
2) A USB mic compatible with an iPad. For instance, Apogee and Rode make very good portable USB mics for Apple OS products. Are they your Sennheiser? No. But they are more than passable for auditions.
3) Twisted Wave - Everyone raves about the app, which gets exceptional reviews on the App Store. Better yet, it’s only $9.99.
With any microphone, I do recommend you test everything. The Apple Store and Amazon both offer very generous return policies and given how personal sound is, I would recommend you take advantage of them. Buy a couple of mics, test them side-by-side with various reads, and return the loser(s).
A Portable Insurance Policy
A final point to consider is that a truly portable system is an insurance policy if your system ever breaks down. Whether your laptop bites the dust or your mic shorts out, you are protected from scrambling to find a local studio just so you can return that after-hours Ford Trucks or voice of ABC audition. Better yet, because you are secure in your backup solution, the producers on the other side won’t hear the last remaining tinges of panic that you can’t seem to eliminate from your performance.
Two final points:
1) I would recommend you keep the ensemble in your car or in your briefcase so you always know where the kit is when you need it.
2) Keep it away from your kids. Your children can always get your leftovers when it is time to upgrade.