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For beginning actors, a home voiceover setup is a crucial tool. Many voiceover jobs require actors to record and submit their own vocals, especially for freelancers. 
People often ask, “How much should I spend on recording equipment for my home studio?” The answer depends on your budget. Studio equipment can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to five- and six-figure amounts. Although the costs of audio equipment can build up quickly, it is possible to build a home voiceover studio on a budget. 

Essential Equipment: How Do I Set up a Voiceover Studio at Home?

To set up a home recording studio, you need some essential equipment: 

  • Microphone and Pop Filter
  • Audio Interface(s)/Signal Processing
  • Software
  • Closed-Back (or Closed) Headphones
  • Accessories

You will also need to think about soundproofing to create clean recordings. 

Microphones/Pop Filter

When shopping for voiceover studio equipment, you will come across two common types of microphones: condenser mics and dynamic mics. For vocal recording, a condenser mic is the best choice, as it is more sensitive and captures more of the color and tonality of the voice. While dynamic mics are cheaper, they are less sensitive than condenser mics and are better suited for live performance. 
Microphones can transmit a digital signal directly to a computer via USB, or transmit an analog signal via connection to an external interface through an XLR cable. Most professional studios use analog mics, but for a beginner home voiceover studio on a budget, a digital connection via USB can provide a professional sound while eliminating the need for an external interface. There are many quality USB microphones out there. Blue and RØDE make some great USB microphones. 
When choosing a microphone, it is important to choose one with a cardioid pickup pattern, as it picks up sound from the front while rejecting sound from the back, making it ideal for voiceover work.  
Terms like “hyper-cardioid” and “super-cardioid” are not a better type of cardioid pickup, as they are designed to pick up sound over long distances, such as a shotgun mic on a film set. Omnidirectional pickup patterns should also be avoided unless you can switch between pickup patterns on your microphone. 

A pop filter is necessary to reduce plosives. It is a nylon mesh or metal screen that is placed between the artist and the microphone. While it won’t completely eliminate those hard “b,” “d,” “g,” “k,” “p” and “t” sounds, it’s a great help. A nylon pop filter will likely be the most economical choice if only one person is to use the filter. If more than one person will be using the filter, paying a little extra for metal may be a good idea, as the metal is easier to clean. 

Audio Interface

A computer is essential for your home voiceover setup. With a USB microphone, no other interface is necessary. However, if you use an analog microphone, you will need an external interface that accepts analog connections and can power the condenser microphone via phantom power. This interface turns the analog signal from the microphone into a digital signal that the computer can understand. PreSonus and Focusrite make some good beginner audio interfaces for analog microphones. 


There are several free digital audio workstations (DAWs) available for voice recording and minor edits. Audacity, found on, is open-source software that is good for recording simple tracks, but isn’t great for editing. GarageBand is a free multi-track recording and editing software that is available on Apple products and it is great for beginners. Adobe Audition is available for Adobe Creative Cloud subscribers and is good at both recording and editing. Pro Tools Intro, found at, is a limited version of Pro Tools software, which has been an industry standard for audio software. 
When looking to buy software, there are software-as-a-service programs, such as Pro Tools and Adobe Audition, where subscribers pay a monthly or yearly fee for access, or there is Apple’s Logic Pro, which requires a one-time purchase for a perpetual license. It is important to know that Logic Pro is only available on Apple operating systems, while Pro Tools and Adobe Audition work both on Mac and PC. 

Closed-Back (or Closed) Headphones

When recording yourself it is necessary to monitor your sound by wearing headphones that prevent sound leak. Closed-back (or closed) headphones are ideal for this purpose as they are designed to minimize sound leak so that your microphone does not pick up what is coming out of them. They come at multiple price points, and it is a good idea to find a pair that is comfortable to wear. Some headphones come with a removable cable, which can be helpful—if the cable gets damaged, you can buy a new cable, rather than a new set of headphones. 


Leave room in your budget for accessories, including microphone stands and cables. Even if you purchase a USB microphone that comes with its own cable, you may want to buy a slightly longer cable to distance your microphone from your computer so that it doesn’t pick up any computer sounds, such as fans. 

Soundproofing: How Do I Soundproof My Home Studio on a Budget?

When looking to soundproof your home studio on a budget, it’s important to find the right location. Look for a room with minimal reflective surfaces (hard surfaces that sound can bounce off of) and avoid rooms, such as bathrooms, that may create unwanted reverberation. A small bedroom with curtains or blankets covering the window or a closet with clothing to dampen the sound can work. If the room has hard flooring, laying down blankets or carpet remnants can help. If possible, avoid recording in corners, or cover them with blankets to reduce sound reflection. 
While there are many acoustic treatments available for walls, such as bass traps for corners, diffusers and foam panels, there are less expensive options. A reflection filter, which attaches to your microphone stand and uses acoustic foam to dampen sound, can be an affordable way to reduce unwanted noise if blankets are not enough.  

What to Prioritize: How Much Does Voiceover Equipment Cost?

Sound quality is the most important consideration when planning your home voiceover studio. As they say in the audio industry, Garbage in = Garbage out. 
This means that if the sound that enters your sound system is bad, there is no amount of editing that can make it sound good. Therefore, a good microphone is a top priority for achieving high-quality sound. The next priority would be closed-back headphones so that you can accurately monitor the sound coming from your system. 
Assuming you already have a computer that can handle your recording software, your microphone is a good place to spend a little more. You can expect to spend about $100-$250 each for a reliable USB microphone and closed-back headphones. Accessories such as stands, pop filters and cables can vary in price, and a good reflection filter will cost you about $70. You can find some good budget bundles, such as a Blue Yeticaster Bundle, which includes a microphone, cable and boom arm that connects to a table, shock mount and headphones for around $240. With a pop filter for $14, you are all in for $254.
Reading reviews from reliable sources such as B & H Photo and Video, Sweetwater and Full Compass can be helpful when selecting equipment. All three retailers have excellent customer support, and Sweetwater and B & H also sell used gear at discounted prices. All three retailers also sell equipment bundles that help bring costs down. 
When shopping in person, checking out local music shops or your local Guitar Center can be helpful. Sometimes they can offer a small discount if you buy several pieces of equipment at the same time. 

Key Takeaways:

When designing a voiceover studio at home, it is important to have the right equipment: 

  • Condenser microphone with a cardioid pickup pattern
  • A pop filter
  • Computer with sufficient processing to run your DAW software
  • If using an analog microphone with an XLR connection, an interface that connects the microphone to the computer
  • A good set of comfortable, closed-back headphones
  • Accessories, including a microphone stand, any necessary cables and a reflection filter
  • Many retailers, such as B&H, Sweetwater and Full Compass offer voiceover equipment bundles for home recording.


The best voiceover equipment for beginning actors is the equipment that you can afford now. You do not need to start with an expensive setup, you just need the right tools to get started. Start small, and as you grow your career you can invest more in your equipment. And remember to have fun! 

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Written by Shannon O'Neill