(note: this blog is directed at voice over artists, not recording engineers – that’s a different story) It’s a new world…this is not the same place our parents worked in…or even most of us in generation x. When i went to college, computers were relatively new to the curriculum by about 5 years. Of course we learned our craft on them, but as with any transitional period, we also learned our craft on the old gear. In the end, it turns out, however cool, the old gear was just that…old gear. The new is where we should be pointing, holding on to the past is all it can be, holding on to something that isn’t there anymore. The same can be said with voice talent voicing from home. Of course everyone has a computer, great software and a great mic. And in this day and age, that is all you need – literally. Anything else is holding on to the past as if it’s still relevant. And ironically, when you try to incorporate what worked in the past into the present, it will sabotage your efforts. Case in point, many voice artists over a certain age feel the need to add things to their recording chain, ie: all the things between your great microphone and the computer recording them. The point of recording digitally (and analogue as well) is to have more signal to noise…or more voice to hiss. Every set up has some noise/hiss…either your cables, your room noise, the fridge from downstairs…it all contributes to what we call the noise floor. Other contributors to this unwanted noise are things we USED to need in the past, such as external pre-amps. External pre-amps are/were very useful for many recording situations…setting the initial level of your microphone to it’s optimal level before it enters the recording process. But if it were up to me, they would be illegal for 99% of any voice over artist to use them. As it takes a very skilled hand/ear to use these tools to any advantage, and a very normal hand/ear to mess it up entirely. In the old days, the external pre-amp was there because it had to be. There was no digital world in which to have a digital (and much quieter) pre-amp already installed on your existing system. The pre-amp regulated your input before it got to the console, and so on and so forth. This is no longer a necessity, at least with almost all home voice over set ups. The computer, audio program, microphone, usb connection, all obliterate the need for any such device…adding one to your chain does virtually nothing except add noise and tells us you are of a certain age. Nothing wrong with that of course, as i am 40 , AND i started off with a pre-amp as well, thinking i needed it, simply because we used to need it. We don’t…and as a voice over artist…neither do you. Bottom line? The only thing you need is a clean vehicle to get your uniquely great sounding voice to tape…uh, i mean to your computer.