Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

The VO Boss podcast blends business advice with inspiration & motivation for today's voice talent. Each week, host Anne Ganguzza shares guest interviews + voice over industry insights to help you grow your business and stay focused on what matters...

Jun 20, 2023

Anne & Gillian continue their discussion on Boss Equipment Necessities, providing even more valuable insights on what essential audio equipment you need in your booth. They discuss the importance of selecting studio headphones that offer both comfort and accuracy. They also delve into the convenience and limitations of USB microphones, as well as providing a comparison of costs and quality of audio interfaces. Additionally, they share tips on where to get tech support and test gear in person. You definitely don't want to miss this conversation...
It’s time to take your business to the next level, the BOSS level! These are the premiere Business Owner Strategies and Successes being utilized by the industry’s top talent today. Rock your business like a BOSS, a VO BOSS! Now let’s welcome your host, Anne Ganguzza.
Anne: Hey everyone, welcome to the VO BOSS podcast. I'm your host Anne Ganguzza, and I'm excited to bring back to the show today creative freelancer, audio engineer, musician Gillian Pelkonen for another episode in our BOSS audio series. 
Gillian: Hello (laughs). 
Anne: Hey, Gillian. 
Gillian: How's it going? 
Anne: It's going great. So we've had some really intense conversations about our home studios. First of all, talking about where to locate your home studio in your home, where good place is, a little bit about sound absorption. Then we had a really cool, interesting episode, I think, on all the equipment that people don't think about that's required to run our voiceover business. Now we're gonna talk about all the obvious ones that I think people always, they love to talk about these, and --
Gillian: This is the exciting stuff. 
Anne: I think the other stuff is exciting. I think actually people don't get excited enough about the other kind of technologies. So --
Gillian: I mean, (laughs), we know you're gonna marry the internet. 
Anne: Yes. 
Gillian: I have a spiritual connection to unboxing Apple products. 
Anne: Yes, there you go. 
Gillian: But the air quotes exciting stuff that everyone loves to harp on. Yes. 
Anne: I dare say that I have a spiritual connection to my headphones, (laughs) to my headphones, and, and I know that people are always asking me, what are your headphones that you wear? Because I love wearing colorful headphones because it's part of my brand. And I actually have like all different colors of headphones right here with me. 
Gillian: Wow. 
Anne: I've got a lovely deeper blue here. 
Gillian: You guys, if you're not watching, go to YouTube right now and you gotta see this. 
Anne: Then we've got the royal blue here, which I love, and then of course I've got black. I actually have an alternate pair of the red ones and okay. So I think, can we talk about headphones (laughs)? 
Gilliann: Yeah. I mean, let's start.
Anne: I've already started. 
Gillian: So we talked computer, you have your computer, you have your internet connection, you have your isolated space, and it's soundproofed to whatever fits your budget and what you need right now to be isolated. 
Anne: And your internet connection and website. 
Gillian: Oh yes. 
Anne: Right? 
Gillian: Yes. Oh, and website. Yes. 
Anne: And website. 
Gillian: That is definitely important. Headphones. So important because you can't, you can't be playing out loud while you're recording (laughs). 
Anne: Now here's the thing, there's reasons why we wear headphones. Okay? So what are the primary reasons you wear headphones, Gillian? 
Gillian: Well, just in my everyday life, there's the convenience of being able to listen to whatever I want and to be able to hear that. But for recording, when you're recording voice, if you are playing out loud what you are recording, you will get feedback. And I don't think you will on the scale of a small computer, but there are a few studios that I've worked in, and when I was very new and prone to making mistakes -- obviously continue to make mistakes and learn from them — but when we had big speakers and we were recording in the same room, you definitely get a nice ear cleaning with that high pitch feedback. Because having an open source, you're DAW, armed and ready to record, and that -- it just creates a loop of sound, if you think about it, what's going into the mic, coming outta the speaker, into the mic, outta the speaker, and that just ruins it. 
Anne: So well, okay. So there's a big debate in the voiceover world about, do you need headphones while recording? Because there's a lot of people that say you do not. It helps you to sound more natural. Okay? And of course you don't wanna have your speakers on either or your monitors. 
Gillian: Oh yeah. That's what I'm thinking of. But this is interesting. 
Anne: Yeah. So do you have your headphones on while you're recording? Because a lot of times, it's distracting listening to yourself, what you sound like in your headphones. So for me, okay — some people adopt the whole, I'm not gonna wear my headphones at all because it makes me sound more natural. I'm not listening to what I sound like in my ears. Some people do one ear on, one ear off to help that as well while they're recording. And some people wear them. Now I, years ago, started wearing them because I had a lot of sound outside of my studio. And I needed to be able to put my headphones on to hear if it was going to come through in the recording. And some things like my naked ears couldn't hear like the vibration of the truck that was a mile away coming down the road, and somehow vibrationally it came up through my studio. And the jackhammer that was maybe not right outside my door, but down the road because they were constructing new homes. 
So for a long time I got used to wearing my headphones just to make sure I could step in the studio to make sure that I couldn't hear those sounds coming through my microphone. And then I just continued to wear them. Now I've done both, take them off when I'm recording or keep them on. A lot of times, if you think of it this way, (laughs), and this is not a popular opinion, I will have my headphones on while I'm recording because I feel that whatever you hear in your headphones is just you amplified. And if you are an accomplished actor that can act like you, without paying attention to what you sound like in your headphones, you can wear headphones. 
And for me it's something that, it's kind of on a day-to-day basis. I'll probably wear my headphones more often than not, just because I've been doing this for a very long time, and all I do every day when I coach is tell people not to listen to what they sound like and to just be themselves. And so I wear my headphones. Plus I do a ton of editing, I do a ton of coaching, and so I need to, and I don't have monitors, number one for the very technical reason is honestly I just don't have space. I don't have space to put a nice pair of monitors on my desk. So I wear my headphones when I edit. 
And so headphones to me have to be comfortable. And they have to be studio headphones of course. And that should be a given. Anybody, any BOSSes out there that are just starting in the industry, make sure they're studio headphones, and they're not any other type of headphones that's gonna add more base or more treble or that adds prettiness to it. You just need studio headphones so you can hear the raw output. 
Gillian: Yeah, it's definitely an interesting conversation. I think my advice is gonna be the same as always. My advice is just try 'em all and see what works. I personally, when I am singing, I do one ear on, one ear off, mostly for pitch, because how you sound in your head, it's all relative and different. I think that there are some things to be concerned about. Obviously if there is extraneous noise coming on your recording, you wanna be aware of that. But if you're connecting to a client, really if there's an engineer on the session, they should catch that. Like, that's my job when I'm working with talent. Another issue, sometimes I hear the movement of headphones, but I've never really asked talents what they're doing. And maybe it's putting them on and off, but there are a lot of moments functionally during a session when a director is gonna wanna get your attention. And so if you're just rocking without headphones, that's something to just consider. 
Anne: Yeah. You'll have to hear them. And you just said something, I don't mean to interrupt, but you just said something that made me think the physical sound of your headphones. Believe it or not, if like -- these headphones, the exterior is, there's some plastic components here. As they get older, believe it or not, if I move my head, because we're very physical as voice actors behind on the mic, as I move my head, they make noise. And that noise comes in through my recording. And I, I remember for the longest time there was this tiny little click, and I was like, I don't have a mouth click. Where's that coming from? It was coming from my headphones. And so for me, I found a way to, I actually had bought a new pair of headphones so that they didn't -- they weren't really squeaking, but they were making plasticy noises. And I know that's not a technical term, but it's a noise where like if I do this (clacking nails on headphones) --
Gillian: Yeah.
Anne: — you can hear that. It wouldn't be that loud, but it would be something similar to that. And so --
Gillian: Interesting. 
Anne: Yeah. For those of you guys listening to that, I was simply just squeezing the headphone earpiece with the headpiece together --
Gillian: To get that plasticy --
Anne: To get that plasticy sound.
Gillian: — noise sound. Well, there's another thing that I've noticed with headphones that's important to note -- just this is more function than which headphones to get. But, and it could be 'cause people are taking them off. But a lot of times I'll be working with the talent’s audio from a session we just did, and through their recording I can hear everyone else talking. And this doesn't really happen during the recording, but I can hear myself slating things not recorded. So I don't know, if you're taking your headphones off and you're putting them down, you gotta think about, okay, if someone starts talking or if there's other noises, those are gonna get directly into the mic. Or if your headphones are too loud, there's gonna be too much bleed. So just things to think about when we're talking about headphones. 
Anne: Two good points. I wanna actually go back on that, right? If you put your headphones down and obviously you're not hearing (laughs) other things, right, other noises can come through them. And also you mentioned bleed. Bleed is important because right now I'm really, really close to my microphone. And depending on the volume that you have your headphones turned up to, and I'm a little older so I might need a little higher volume. And so sometimes you have to be careful that the sound coming through your headphones doesn't bleed back through your mic. And for that reason I have closed headphones. And that's why I recommend closed headphones for most voice actors, if that's the case. If you're gonna be sitting out just doing editing all the time, I don't think they need to be closed backed. If you're just gonna use 'emfor editing. 
Gillian: If you're watching us, I have open back headphones. But I just got these recently, these are like the Sennheisers, I think the HD 600s. That's what I thought. And I have these mostly for mixing and I I listen through them 'cause they're really comfortable. But my closed headphones, I also have AudioTechnicas. They were my first headphones, like pro headphones; they're amazing. The pair that I had was under a $100. I've had 'em for years. They're amazing. So whoever is saying that you need really expensive headphones for amazing sound, you don't. There's lower models that are great and then you can upgrade. There's a whole range of AudioTechnicas that get more precise or, or just have different features that you can invest in if you wanna spend more. But there should be no barrier to getting, I think they’re $70 or something like that, which --
Anne: Well, I'll have to tell you about mine that have the color. because people are always asking me. And I do have, I do have a studio gear page off of and as well as the VO BOSS page studio gear that I recommend. And by the way, I don't put anything on this page that I don't use or have not owned. And I will say that I love AudioTechnica headphones as well. And of course before this turns into an AudioTechnica podcast -- which it's amazing, there's lots of great headphones out there. The one thing that I love about AudioTechnicas is for me they're super comfortable. I literally wear my headphones when I'm on coaching days and I'm coaching eight hours at a shot. I have them on my head eight hours. Because again, like I said, I don't have monitors in my room and plus my husband works upstairs, and so I wanna be able to keep things at a minimum. And so they have to be super comfortable. I have to be able to hear the talent, right, to be able to direct them. 
So for me, they are amazing. They're a little more than $100 because of the color, the special additions they are the MX 50s and in whatever color -- I don't believe they make the red anymore, but if you're lucky you can find them somewhere, somewhere out there. There'll be an extra pair that somebody has that's still new in the package. I've bought three pairs of red 'cause red is discontinued. My royal blue has been discontinued. Every year they come out with a new color. And so every year I find it necessary to buy another color just because I'm on the camera a lot and I love -- and they make me happy. Right? If you're gonna have on your head for a long time, they should make you happy.
Gillian: And comfortable, most important.
Anne: Yeah, and they should be comfortable.
Gillian: -- don't need a headache. 
Anne: — be accurate as well. Right? So for that reason, the AudioTechnics are my faves, and I do own a pair of Paradynamics. I've owned the Sony, oh gosh, I think it was the 7507s, I believe. And the one thing that I didn't love about the Sonys, although I love the sound, was the actual cable that connects was a twisted cable. And what happened is they never traveled well. They became entangled within themselves. And if you've ever had a coiled wire get tangled in itself, and you try to pull it apart, it's horrible. It just gets twisted onto itself. And so I love the AudioTechnicas 'cause they always have the straight cable that you can use and it doesn't get twisty. And that may seem like a very silly reason to love the AudioTechnicas, but that's one of many reasons why I love that. But it's a viable reason because the twisty turn coiled cables, they're not fun to get them untangled when they get tangled, especially when you travel with them and you're trying to wrap them around --
Gillian: No.
Anne: — the headphones.
Gillian: Definitely not. And something to think about when we're talking, all of these things are essentials. And I'll just tell a brief, brief story, but the other day I was doing a session with a voice talent, and we were having all of these issues. I still don't know -- I was on the session, but I wasn't the head engineer of it. So I don't know exactly what happened. But we think that between when we were testing with the talent to when we pulled the client in, their headphones broke because they magically could not hear us. 
Anne: Oh wow. 
Gillian: And you need to have an extra pair because you can't be on a session without having an extra pair of headphones. It's super — and I'm sure we'll say, and I know, Anne, you've said before in the past, you need backups of your backups. But definitely even if you have your splurge pair and you have a less expensive pair just to use in case of an emergency, there could be a chance that you're on a session, and in the middle it breaks, and you can't continue the session without the pair of headphones. So just don't forget about having some, a little insurance on your sound. 
Anne: Yeah. And you know that, it's interesting that you mentioned that, and I talk about headphones so much because when I'm connecting with students through ipDTL -- and this would be just like me, I would be the studio and they would be connecting through Source Connect or ipDTL — you have to have headphones to avoid that feedback. when you're connecting via those methods. And simply earbuds are not the best because sometimes they don't fit your ear properly. There's bleedthrough and honestly closed back headphones are probably the best for any kind of studio session you're going to have. 
And I just say yes, I totally agree with you, Gillian, about the backup. Because I have had people who like all of a sudden they're like, oh, I can't hear you. And I'll be like, do you have another pair of headphones? And at that point if you even have a backup like set of EarPods works but in a pinch. But really have an extra set of headphones in case that happens. Because the last thing you want is for you to lose connectivity with your client to be able to hear what they're saying and to do your job. I mean it is part of your job. So have a backup, and honestly most headphones are not expensive. I, I'm going to tell you the AudioTechnicnas, even these, the new versions that they come out with are about 160 some-odd-dollars. The navy blue ones I just bought were like $169. So they're not tremendously expensive at all. And I know you can get some fabulous head phones for less than $100 for $99. I think that's what my Sonys were that I bought. So well worth the investment. 
So in terms of headphones, make sure that they're studio headphones. Make sure -- I like to say close back if you're gonna be using them for any kind of recording at all 'cause you don't want the bleedthrough. If you're gonna sit there and edit all day, yeah, maybe open back or others will work fine for you. Make sure they're comfortable for your head. And especially if you wear glasses 'cause you don't want them to push in on the glasses and then have the glasses give you a headache. That's the last thing. 
Gillian: Yeah. 
Anne: All right. 
Gillian: Okay. Should we lightning round a little bit the rest of some of the other things that we might need? 
Anne: Yes. 
Gillian: Because I know, I know what I'm thinking. 
Anne: Microphone. 
Gillian: Microphone. Yes. And we'll do a whole episode on microphones about the different types and and what kind you might need. I personally always say large diaphragm condensers for voice actors. There are amazing -- you know, everyone knows the TLM 103 that's upwards of $1000. There's also amazing mics that if you're a beginner, and you're not ready to invest that much money, that will not sound exactly the same but will be a large diaphragm condenser mic and will do the job, will make you sound great. 
Anne: Absolutely. I used an NT1, a Rode NT1 for at least six years of my career full-time before I bought a 416. Actually I bought the TLM 103 and then I bought a 416 as well. So now I have both of those in my studio. But guess what? Also sitting on my desk here, I have a USB AudioTechnica AT 2020, and that works for some of my other connections. Believe it or not, that works for my Clubhouse connections because my Club Deck software doesn't like my audio interface so I have to use a USB mic and it makes me sound a whole lot better. And so those USB mics, they come in handy for lots of applications. Maybe not for your professional recording but for other applications that help enhance the sound of your voice. 
Gillian: Yeah. And here's the -- I'm not going to say that people shouldn't use USB mics. I mean the audio engineer and me, always, I love an interface and a mic just because. It's so funny, I wrote a whole blog post on this so if you're interested you can go read my blog about the core differences between like the functionality of what a USB mic or like a USB and interface does, and the pros and cons of both, 'cause there's pros and cons of both. When you have the interface, there's more things to know, there's more things that can go wrong. There's just —
Anne: One more thing in the chain 
Gillian: — sensitivity. Yeah, exactly. But if you are interested and you want a USB mic, there's definitely options that will make you sound as good as you need to sound to start out. And I don't wanna get on here and say that you can't book a job or get started in voiceover using a USB mic, because there's so many uses for it. And once you upgrade, if you choose to upgrade to an interfacing mic, then you have that other option to use for things like, like --
Anne: Any mic.
Gillian: Yeah. 
Anne: That's what I love about. I think really if you've got, I say for any voice talent in a pinch if you have to, you can use a USB, if you've got a good recording environment, in a pinch, but it's not recommended. I would say even if you're traveling, I've tried it all. I do have, I've got a great Tula mic, which is a USB mic and it's amazing. So if I have a good space, you know, my little Tula can hook up USB, and I can get a decent audition. I wouldn't necessarily use it for any type of work that you wanna send to your client, broadcast type work, but in a pinch, like absolutely. 
But for every day kind of voiceover I recommend condenser with an audio interface. And again, you don't have to have the $1000 mic. There's lots of great mics and there's so many discussion rooms and forums on what mic should I get? But I also have recommendations that I think work. It really depends on your voice and your comfort level, and work with a vendor that you can send it back if you don't love it. 
Gillian: So important that you can either -- I mean I know in big cities -- I'm not entirely sure ‘cause I haven't done this in a while, but I know I'm in Guitar Center, I went there all the time growing up to play the instruments, and I know that they have a mic room where you can try stuff. I know that -- I'm pretty sure it'd B and H in New York City, you can try mics there, but I love Sweetwater. You can chat with agents there, you can talk to them. I'm pretty sure they have a great return policy because if you get the mic and you're investing all this money and you don't love it for your voice, even though everyone on the forums is saying it's top VO mic, don't keep it. Find something that makes you sound great because no one in the end is gonna know what mic you're using. They're just gonna know how you sound. 
Anne: Well, exactly. And I also think though it's worth mentioning that if you get a mic and you want an assessment of what you sound like, Gillian, my goodness, like what you do all the time, the sound assessments, right? 
Gillian: Yes. 
Anne: Gillian can absolutely give you an assessment of how your voice sounds with that particular mic in your environment. I think there's a lot of things at play here. It's your environment and also the mic, and there will be a difference. So for me, I can say, you know what, I like the way this mic makes me sound, but I haven't recorded a file with it and sent it to somebody. Because again, sometimes if you're just starting, it's very difficult. You don't necessarily have an ear yet. Sending it to someone like Gillian is very important, who is, you know, this is what Gillian does; she's an audio engineer. She listens to sounds all the time and every day so she can make an accurate assessment and also tell you if this suits your voice or this doesn't suit your voice. 
And I really believe that you also have to be happy with it. And don't forget, there's some people who mistakenly think that, well, I can use this mic and then I can process my voice to make it sound even better. And in reality as a voice actor, that's not what we wanna do. I mean, we simply wanna be able to give the cleanest recording that we can, and maybe our mic should, like what sorts of things should mics do for our voice? You know what I mean? They shouldn't change our voice, but they should enhance our voice. 
Gillian: Yeah, they should -- I think I said this in the first episode we did together, but microphones are microscopes picking up your voice. And so every mic has a different capsule in it. It has a different way of processing, whether you're using dynamic mic or ribbon mic, all the different types of mics, they all react differently to sound. And so some people love singing on ribbon mics because it's quieter, it's more sensitive. I have a super cardioid condenser microphone that I, I love using on my voice and I tried the U87, all these other things. So it's really about, and this is a difficult answer because it's like you need to find what works for you because the mic that makes Anne sound great might not make me sound great. And all the processing in the world — obviously you can EQ it and change it a little bit, but really it's like finding a pair of jeans. Like you gotta find one that fits you and makes you look and feel your best. Maybe not look but jean analogy sound like you. 
Anne: Yeah. 
Gillian: You know? 
Anne: Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I don't think that there's any mic that will make you sound better than you. I mean your whole goal is really to make you sound the best that you can sound. And there's lots of mics -- and again, you could have a really like inexpensive mic in a great environment and sound amazing. You can also have a very expensive mic in a poor environment and sound horrible. I remember back in the day before I really had secured my environment sounding as best as it could, I purchased a shotgun mic, and it wasn't a 416, but I purchased one of the knockoffs and I actually hated it. I hated the way it made my voice sound. But I found that once I got the 416 and I had my environment, I love the way it sounds now. 
And it's really interesting because before I was like, well I held off getting a -- it's why I got the TLM 103. And for me now I realize for my voice, the TLM 103 is a little bit of a brighter sound. And the 416 will pick up a little more of the bass sound, and that's typically true for most voices. But again, until you try it, you're not gonna really know, and it really has to be up to you. And again I think sending sound audio files to engineers who have the ear, who this is what they do, like Gillian, is really worth an investment to get the overall assessment on yes, this mic is good for you. Or also it will help you to determine if maybe (laughs) like how many times, I think we talked about this, Gillian, somebody might have had the installation of their mic backwards, and they were speaking into the back of the mic versus the front of the mic. 
Gillian: Yeah. 
Anne: A lot of times people don't sidedress their mic, right? They're speaking right into it. So there's a lot of plosive. So there's a lot of things that, Gillian, you can help talent to assess with their sound. And most people think it might be a mic problem, it may not be a mic problem. 
Gillian: Yeah. Sometimes it's really simple stuff. Your room sounds really loud because your gain is up too high and you're not close enough to the mic. So it's picking up everything. Or it's on omni when it should be on cardioid, or you're facing the wrong way. There's so many things that someone listening could hear if you have a trained ear. Before we go, I know we have to go very soon, but don't forget your pop filter for your plosives. 
Anne: Ah yes. 
Gillian: So important. 
Anne: Oh my gosh. 
Gillian: I know you have like the pop filter shield sort of thing. That's what it looks like. Looks like you have, if you're using an interfacing mic, you need an XLR cable to connect the two. So important 'cause how are you gonna get from mic to interface from point to the other? So you get your mic, you get your interface, you don't have an XLR cable, you can't work. A mic stand. So important. What are you gonna do do without a mic stand? (laughs) You can't hold it. 
Anne: Well, exactly. You really can't. And I think that again, more equipment besides your mic stand, I actually prefer --and this is just me, I always tell my students for me and my studio, I like the boom arms that can be mounted on the wall. Because a mic stand to me, I can't tell you how many times I've heard talent like trip over the tripod-like feet. 
Gillian: Oh my gosh. Lemme show you my cute little stand. 
Anne: With their mic. Yeah. 
Gillian: I have this like, everyone watching, this like cute little baby stand that I just put on my desk. I think that those are really smart, the ones that clip right on. This little guy just sits on my desk and I can take 'em wherever. 
Anne: Okay. Well, that's if you're sitting at a desk. But if you're standing and you have one of those tripod-like standing mic stands… 
Gillian: They're hard to maneuver. Yeah. 
Anne: They're hard. They're hard to fit in a lot of studios. I used to trip over mine all the time, so I basically have boom arms that I mount on the wall in my studio. They save a lot of space at my feet when you don't have a ton of space. And also, like you said, you can't hold it. And then we do need to mention the most important thing from the mic, right, that goes into your audio interface, your audio interfaces, and then everybody has questions. What's the best audio interface? Now I have been through the gamut of audio interfaces, but the main job of your audio interface is to translate the analog signal that comes from your microphone into a digital signal before it goes into the computer. Correct, Gillian? 
Gillian: That's what it does. And typically it does both. It does the analog to digital conversion and then most audio interfaces have a headphone jack. So really we monitor off our computers, but you can monitor off of there where it goes digital right back to analog for you to listen to. 
Anne: Oh right. Absolutely. I wasn't even thinking of that. You're right, because that's where my headphones are plugged in all the time. I started, gosh, I started with the Personas. And I'm trying to remember, I think I probably at one time had a Scarlet Focusrite, which I don't love those interfaces -- and I know we had a conversation in one of our podcasts about interfaces. I then, when I bought my studio here, I have a Mackey because I was intending to be able to do talk back to people in this booth to rent this booth. And ended up having a technical issue with that, which I sent it, it got fixed, it was under warranty that is now my backup interface. 
And then I purchased an Apollo. And my Apollo, I have a mostly love relationship with my Apollo because of the plug-ins that work with it, which I absolutely love. But however, when we talked in our last episode about computer and keeping your computer up to date, well the (laughs) latest version of Mac OS is not up to date with the latest version of the Apollo. So you just have to make sure that you are aware of what's happening. The one that I recommend in terms of like a really great price, and I think works for the majority of people is the Steinberg UR22. And that is like about a hundred and — I wanna say $170. And I had one that I used for years, and it was just a workhorse and I love it. And that does all of the conversion, versus Gillian, if I'm correct, in saying with a USB mic, the conversion happens at the base of the microphone, right? So converting analog to digital. So there's a chip there that's doing that conversion. 
Gillian: The biggest difference between the two is that when you use an interface, the mic just gets to be a mic, but within the USB mic it's all happening. And usually you'll see a little headphone jack too. It does A to D and then D back to A conversion. 
Anne: Yeah. 
Gillian: You pay less and you get everything is gonna be slightly lower quality because you're paying for --
Anne: You gotta fit into a tiny, little --
Gillian: — a microphone — all of the conversion, all of those things in one small device versus, you know, separating them out. So that's kind of where don't use USB mic comes from just because you can get higher quality with the separate.
Anne: You have so many more choices. Right? Because you can have a Focusrite or a Steinberg or an Apollo.
Gillian: You get to mix and match.
Anne: And you can have whatever microphone you want (laughs) connecting up to it. 
Gillian: The other thing that I love about that is that there's room to upgrade. So let's say you wanna splurge on a really expensive mic and you're, just, you know, oh, I wanna start with this interface. Or vice versa. You wanna splurge on an Apollo for $1000, but you wanna use a $200 microphone and then say I'm gonna wait a couple years and then upgrade. Personally I've used Apollos, I've used UAD. I kind of struggle with the software issue even though I've used the plugins. They're awesome. I like Focusrite stuff. I like the Scarlets. I think it's great. I think voice actors really only need one input, possibly two. If you wanna have two mics set up just to switch between, you know, a shotgun and a large diaphragm condenser, if you want 'em at the same time. I like Apogee as well. The Apogee Solo and the Duet, those are great too. Those work really well. So those are my faves. 
Anne: I'll just disagree with you on the Scarlet only because I've just had a lot of voice talent that have had bad luck, and I think mostly it's -- and I myself have thrown away two of them. And I think mostly a few years back, I think they used a bad chip set. I'm not sure what it was. Or they created these bundles where you got headphones, microphone, and interface all in the same package. And I think they used lower quality parts. And what would happen is voice actors would find, all of a sudden they'd get some sort of a noise or hissing, and nobody knew what it was, and it ended up being the interface. So for me that just kind of, I tossed that one to the side and said, I'm not gonna recommend that one anymore. But Scarlet, typically Focusrite had an impeccable reputation there for a while until I ran into bad luck with it past few years. 
I think if you buy a bundled package, (laughs) meaning from a manufacturer or something, especially at Costco, as much as I love Costco, right, there are packages made, packages that are made for Costco. Sometimes they use cheaper parts in those, and sometimes you'll find that the quality won't last as long. Sometimes though you'll buy stuff at Costco, not necessary technical equipment, but you'll find things at Costco that's better (laughs) than you would find at other stores. But that's just my personal experience. 
Gillian: I see. I've never had any bad experiences with Focusrite. I've used the larger hardware as well, the professional studio models of stuff. And those sound amazing. I think I've had a lot of friends and myself who've used the Scarlet interfaces and haven't had issues. So, that's my experience. And it's so funny, I've been wondering why people don't recommend bundles because I wouldn't buy audio gear from Costco (laughs). But there's a few places, like Sweetwater is my favorite place to buy gear.
Anne: Yeah, but they’ll bundle individual pieces together. Now, I'm talking about manufacturers that create whole bundled sets of things together. 
Gillian: Well, Sweetwater is awesome. And B and H, they also have some great bundles. And with Sweetwater specifically, if there's a bundle you like, but there's a piece of gear you don't like, you can reach out to them personally and swap it around and get a discount from sort of buying in bulk. And they have some pre-made stuff so that if someone was trying to set up their home studio, didn't know where to start, it gives you a little place to get started. 
Anne: And one thing I will say before we go, one thing that I love about Sweetwater is you get tech support. Oh my God, that is like unheard of these days. Like if you don't know, if you're having a problem installing the interface, you can call them up and get help. And that to me is invaluable. 
Gillian: They're amazing, 
Anne: They're wonderful to work with. So.
Gillian: Yeah. Very knowledgeable. I love Sweetwater. It's my favorite place to put my money. I have a few friends that work there as well, and all of their employees are highly trained and they know --
Anne: Very educated --
Gillian: — about the gear. It's like a prerequisite to work there. 
Anne: Wow. We could go on forever, but, uh…
Gillian: We could. 
Anne: Good stuff, Gillian, thank you so much. 
Gillian: Thank you. And for anybody who is interested to get your audio assessed by me, I know we did a few episodes about it, but if you missed them, you can just head to my website, It'll, I'll be linked down here and I have some audio assessments. I have a little free course on, on setting up your home studio and a few blog posts or a bunch of blog posts just talking about different audio things if you're interested in learning more. 
Anne: Awesome guys. 
Gillian: So hungry for knowledge, (laughs).
Anne: And Gillian is a BOSS. Otherwise, she wouldn't be on the BOSS — she wouldn't be, she wouldn't be on the BOSS podcast. Anyways guys, here's a chance to use your voice to make an immediate difference in our world and give back to the communities that give to you. Visit to commit. You guys -- oh, and a big shout-out, before I forget, to ipDTL, who is our sponsor. You too can connect and network like BOSSes. Find out more at You guys, have an amazing week and we'll see you next week. Bye.
Join us next week for another edition of VO BOSS with your host Anne Ganguzza. And take your business to the next level. Sign up for our mailing list at and receive exclusive content, industry revolutionizing tips and strategies, and new ways to rock your business like a BOSS. Redistribution with permission. Coast to coast connectivity via ipDTL.