2021 Cyber Monday Deals: Voice Actor Gift Guide!
It’s that time of year! Deals and steals on Black Friday and Cyber Monday are always a win for voice actors on the fence about certain items. From big ticket items like headphones and mics, to smaller details like Ethernet extenders and booth lighting- I’ve flagged a bunch of helpful stuff courtesy of Amazon for my annual voice actor shopping list. As I type this, there are some sick deals- especially if you’re a prime member. Links and details below. Happy shopping! And for more information, last year‘s holiday shopping guides are still relevant.
I’m listing items in no particular order- but this first item is a critical one! I’ve previously blogged about the importance of storage and backing up your computer and drives. Right now, LaCie Rugged drives, ubiquitous at studios and editing companies, are on sale for prices that are the lowest I’ve ever seen. A 1TB drive is currently $54.99 , and a 4TB drive is $104.99 For my Mac setup at home, I use one drive for my Time Machine backup, which is a running archive of your entire system to help you retrieve lost documents and other resources. It is also a great way to restore your entire drive onto a new computer should your Mac fail on you. I also have separate drives for my sessions, sound effects and video drives- which are automatically cloned daily for protection. For more details, see my previously mentioned blog post.
The Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro headphones have become the new studio standard. It’s hard to go back to anything else after wearing them. They fit snuggly, sound amazing, and are like having velour covered pillows hugging your ears. If you’re working for hours on end- you understand why this Is important. They normally sell for $159, and are currently on sale for $138.70. If you were on the fence, this might help you decide!
I am an Apple guy through and through. However, it’s hard to justify the cost of some of the newer iPads if you’re not using all of their features. For my home studio, I use an Avid controller that lets you add an iPad or Android tablet for additional features. With the Fire HD 10” tablet on sale for $74.99, it’s a no-brainer for me! For voice actors in the booth, this might be a more flexible and affordable alternative to reading copy if you don’t already own an iPad and also want a silent way to get emails or make copy changes while working. For me, the bonus is being able to watch movies and tv shows on a larger tablet as well.
Voice actors in tight spaces, whether it’s a small closet or a Studio Bricks booth, benefit from shotgun style microphones. Most studios have gravitated toward the Senheiser 416, a staple of location sound recording for film and television, for voice over work. The benefits are many: smaller footprint, more direct sound, required for ADR, and excellent for on-camera auditions. But at $999, actors aren’t always ready to take that plunge. The Synco D2 is amazing- especially since it’s currently just $236! in fact, last holiday season folks were finding it for just $199… so this is one to watch! It is a physically identical and near sonic equivalent mic to the 416 at a fraction of the price. If you’re newer, or on a budget, this is the mic for you! It could very well be your long-term solution too. Of course you’ll need an audio interface as well. Have a look at look at Booth Junkie‘s review so you can see and hear for yourself.
In the height of the pandemic, when everyone was scrambling to get mics like the Rode NT1 or NT1A, I discovered the Stellar X2 from TZ Audio. Not only did they have inventory, but they were super helpful. The mic is currently on sale for just $159.99 Anyone who owns it will tell you how great it is! It’s normally $199, and a value at that! I had a lot to say about it in my review for Pro Sound News.
Whether you’re connecting with clients or studios via Source Connect, Cleanfeed, IPDTL or any of the other services out there- steady internet is critical. Wifi can work- but when it interrupts your signal, it’s a glorious failure resulting in extreme dropouts. If you’re reading this and have attended any of my webinars where Source Elements founder Robert Marshall joined us, then you’ll recall his demonstrations of ethernet‘s importance. The simplest and most direct option is to have your router near your studio for a direct connection. If it’s far away, you can also just run a really long cable. But many have taken advantage of Ethernet extenders that turn your home’s electrical system into a giant Ethernet cable. The TP Link AV1000 Gigabit Ethernet system is currently just $39.99! It lets you plug one end in near your router and the other end near your computer. Presto! Ethernet! Of course you’ll need an Ethernet connection on your computer. Every computer has its own needs these days, so choose what works for your system.
If you’re mostly working from a desk, then there are lots of mic arm options out there for you. If you’re new, or adding a mic arm in addition to your standing rig- I’ve hear great luck with this brand, and at $19.99, this Innogear arm is packed with extra goodies. In addition to the arm and convenient Velcro cable ties, you also get a phone holder (great for those clients on lZoom), a webcam holder, a pop-filter and a shock mount!
Power outages happen, but you can protect your equipment and save your session with a little help from this APC UPS 1500VA battery backup. This model is on sale for $159, with other options for less. I use this to power my computer, audio interface, internet, and control surface in the event of a power outage. It kicks in immediately giving me time to let me clients know there is an issue… save… and safely shut down without damaging hardware. It also offers surge protection and power conditioning. In my opinion, it’s a must-have!
Looking for a way to set the mood- and see your copy? LED lighting strips are a fun way to add a vibe to your VO space. I used to buy the very expensive Phillips Hue strips, but have found the Govee lighting kits to be way more affordable- and every bit as functional. Control them from the included phone app, or your Alexa. They can even be set to respond to sound, which is fun if you’re rocking some vocals too!
In a recording studio, if a mic cable acts up we can quickly replace it with one that’s just laying around. The same can be said for lots of gear: mics, preamps, etc. At home, if a cable fails on your just before - or during- a session, what will you do? It’s always wise to have a spare cable or two on hand- just to be safe! If you’re hearing crackling or suddenly picking up local radio stations in your headphones, it might be time to swap out the mic cable. You can’t go wrong having one around. These are on sale for just $11.89 for a 2-pack.
I hope you’ve found this gift guide helpful. If you have any specific questions about gear, you can always reach out to me via my website- or find me on clubhouse. As always, if you need a consultation on your booth, gear, or getting it all set up- click on the HELP tab on the website and schedule an appointment. I’m always happy to help. Enjoy!