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The options for recording voice over remotely

I'm a professionally trained voiceover artist, broadcaster and copywriter. I have worked as a voiceover artist since 2013 on projects for films, radio & TV.

‘Remote work is the future of work.’
Alexis Ohanian

It used to be the case that to be a voiceover artist you had to travel from studio to studio to work. An audio engineer would set up the equipment, record the session, and edit the resulting sound file. All the voiceover artist had to do was turn up and talk….

Not so these days.

Nowadays – and especially since March 2020 – if you haven’t got a home studio you’re going to miss out on a lot of work. I’ve had a home studio since I started my voice over career and I wouldn’t have got as far as I have without it!

However, it is still the case that sometimes clients want to be able to hear you while you’re recording so they can give direction, and make sure they’re getting what they want. They also sometimes want an audio engineer to do the recording and editing, rather than the voice over artist themselves.

This is all perfectly possible thanks to modern technology, and there are a few options:

  • ISDN (integrated services digital network) – A few years ago, any serious voice over would have had this installed in their home studio so that they could connect remotely to other studios. It was the industry standard method of connection, but it is expensive and is now becoming obsolete.
  • ipDTL – this is a replacement for ISDN and runs in a web browser. It is actually higher quality than ISDN, and is the favoured connection method of a number of audio production studios. 
  • Source Connect – this seems to fast be becoming the new industry standard, especially in the US. Again this is an ISDN replacement and works over the internet. I have Source Connect myself – largely because my American agent insists on it!
  • Source Connect Now – is free and accessed via a web browser. 
  • CleanFeed – another free service, accessed through the Chrome browser. There is a paid-for service too which has more bells and whistles.

All of the above can be used for remote direction and recording. The paid for services are the most reliable when it comes to remote recording, but if you have a stable internet connection then the free ones work fine, and there are several others in addition to the two I have mentioned.

I have actually used the free version of Cleanfeed to record a whole radio play with my drama group, and we had 6 or 7 people on the line at once. It worked surprisingly well!

If a client wants to listen in, but is happy for the voiceover artist to record locally (which to be honest I always do anyway just for safety), there are some simple solutions including:

Or just a phone with the speaker on!

In all cases, the client needs to mute themselves during recording, to keep the recording clean.

Some clients will probably always insist on recordings taking place in a London studio, but most work can easily be recorded from home these days – which is one of the things I love about my job!