What Type of Computer Do I Need for Voice-over Work?
By Hans Fredrick
Updated September 22, 2017
Voice-over work allows actors or announcers who don't want to spend 10 hours a day in the theater, on set or at the radio station to find a new way to pursue their craft. The Internet has enabled the voice-over industry to move out of the studio and into the home. In order to set up your home studio, you need the right computer to build around.
Mac or PC
There is an ongoing debate in the voice-over world about whether a Mac or PC is the better type of computer to use. When online voice-over work started, Mac was the clear platform winner here. This is the technology that the vast majority of the creative industry uses, including film and music studios where much of your voice-over work will ultimately be sent. Now however, PC seems to have caught up to Mac in terms of running the software used for audio editing. In truth, the best option now is to select a computer that uses the platform you are most comfortable with to minimize any learning curve.
When shopping for a computer, it is easy to get overwhelmed by all the specifications listed on sales sheets and by salesmen. If you are chiefly concerned with doing voice-over work on your machine, the two specifications you are most concerned with are the processor and RAM. These both determine how fast your computer can work and how much information it can handle at once. Higher numbers will improve your efficiency and your ability to render large audio files quickly. Don't let salesmen pressure you into buying a computer with a very expensive video card, as these are chiefly for gaming and unnecessary for a voice-over computer.
One of the most important things on a voice-over computer is the peripheral ports. The more options you have here, the more options you have when buying the equipment you need to run your business. This includes things like your external hard drives for storage, a direct USB or FireWire microphone or an audio interface. You should have, at the bare minimum, a FireWire port and two USB ports. As of 2011, the Thunderbolt port is starting to show up in hardware, and some predict it becoming the next big connectivity standard.
Laptop or Desktop
The laptop has a number of advantages for the voice-over artist. First, if you travel, while you might not be able to get full studio quality, a few tools and your laptop allows you to record auditions easily from a hotel room or even your car. Secondly, when just starting out, voice-over artists often are unsure about where to situate a home studio, or have limited room to work in. In these situations, a laptop offers more convenience so you can easily relocate your work space, and many laptops have more than enough power to do the job at a reasonable price.
Hans Fredrick has been busy in the online writing world since 2005. He has written on diverse topics ranging from career advice for actors to tips for motorcycle maintenance. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Saskatchewan.