So you want to read your own novel aloud. No one else can do it the justice it deserves? I believe you.
Let us look at what hardware you need.
Studio mavens, and pretty much anyone else in the recording industry will tell you that a microphone is the single most important item.
If you’re Sinatra, yes, it might be. We’re not. It’s not. Singing is a different art.
Get a SIDE ADDRESS CARDIOD microphone. These work well for spoken voice recordings. A good example is the AT2020.
There’s better, there’s worse. That one will produce good sound and it’s less than $100.00
*DO NOT GET A USB MICROPHONE.
The microphones work perfectly well, but they can be awkward to monitor. People will tell you it’s possible, yada, yada. I’m the Avon lady. People are attracted to the idea of USB mikes, because they plug straight into the computer, no interface.
I am still the Avon lady. Do NOT get a USB microphone.
Get a USB audio interface, as follows.
Getting Sound Into the Computer.
This biz is still in it’s growing phase, and there will be many changes to come in a heat of technological revolution that is kinda frightening at times.
FOR NOW, this is what you need. A decent USB interface, that HAS 48K phantom power. All the units I recommend will have it. If you choose something else, check that it has it.
What phantom power is, is something that will supply power to the microphone in order to enable it to work. Of course, you need to check that the microphone you use requires Phantom Power. *1
All those I refer to will, because that’s where you should be at, where the industry is at. So should you.
Lowest price that I’ve found to work well, is this:
E-Mu Tracker Pre.
It has 48 phantom power, and you can plug your guitar in too. Doesn’t do Midi.
Just over $100.00
IF you have some extra bux, this gives truly excellent sound, phantom, accepts your guitar and Midi too.
The Roland Quadcapture. If you are never going to use its extra capacities, it might seem a waste, but the clean sound you get from this little beastie, is worth the price.
You will need, on top of this, a microphone stand
This one has a shock mount, and an XLR cable 2* so there’s a saving there.
To fit on the stand, microphones usually need some sort of shock mounting cage. This is a decent one.
It will not fit all microphones, and some microphones come with their own cage. Check.
Lastly, you will need a pop filter at least. There are heaps of them on Amazon, and should cost $20 or less. You can spend more, as always.
You can spend a mint on these things and still get tripe. I’ve never found better than the 10 year old pair of Sony MDR professionals that costalot back then.
Headphones need to be comfortable on your head, or you won’t wear them long, and they’ll make you crazy. So, for THIS purpose, comfort comes over quality to a point. You need something that picks up every snort and breath you take. I’m hesitant to advise, because it’s such a personal area. However, if you’re comfortable with Ebay, you can pick up a pair of Sony MDR-V900HD for around $60.00 without auctions.
They’re coming from China, and I’ve had three pairs of ’em delivered without fuss. They’re $190.00 here in the states.
You pays your money.
I use some acoustic foam behind the microphone to further reduce ambient sound. Did I mention I was paranoid about extraneous noises? When I record, my wife says I look like the nodding donkey of an oil rig. I’m keeping my head back at the intake and start of speech, then drawing forward to try and even out the volume:)
The most aggravating ambient noise comes from the thing you are feeding the sound into. The computer.
I’ve fiddled with computers for more years than I care to remember. I build ’em and fix ’em. Whenever I fix ’em, ALWAYS the first thing is to use a full bottle of compressed air driving the dust out of ’em. Most folks ‘puters got more dust than a used vacuum cleaner bag.
If you’re going to do this seriously, eventually, you’re going to have to bite the bullet of changing the fans, getting something quieter and more efficient.
A computer for making THIS TYPE OF audio, doesn’t need a fast chip, or expensive graphics cards. The processing is minimal, and usually some of that work will be taken up by the interface. A pentium or greater will easily handle it. Ivy bridge or Bulldozer CPU’s will eat it for breakfast and spit it out. Graphics cards are hot, which makes the fans go faster, creating more noise.
Do get an aftermarket CPU cooler if heat is an issue. Its always an issue. They are quieter and much more efficient than stock coolers.
Okay, that’s as brief as I can make it. I’ll answer questions as best I can.
Saturday, I will address software.
Sunday, I’ll address what I know of helpful tips.
*1 Phantom Power.
*2 XLR connectors