Need a cheap/easy voiceover recording setup?

A few people have asked me some audio questions in regard to recording voiceover's on the cheap- so here is my solution-

To get high quality recordings you DO NOT want to use a built in mic OR built in sound card- now it can get a bit tricky and more expensive to purchase and setup a new mic AND a soundcard so I have a solution that solves both problems in one low cost($160) device ^_^

Enter the Zoom H2 or H2n

I have the older H2 which isn't available anymore BUT the H2n looks even better-

So it looks like a standalone audio recorder which it is, and it does a great job at that so you can record anything you want without a computer- so you could just record your voice acting straight into the Zoom then transfer them to a computer with the Sdcard

The awesome thing is that you can plug it into a PC or MAC and it will function as a soundcard AND a microphone!

So you can use the Zoom H2n to record into any audio recording software that supports it- on the mac I use this free barebones program to record voiceovers- on the PC you can use something like Audacity

I use the Zoom on my PC to record voice overs for my tutorials- its MUCH higher quality than any headset mic you could use for that purpose-

If you're looking for the cheapest/easiest way to get high quality recordings for your animations I recommend the Zoom H2n- its going for $160 right now on amazon

When recording voiceovers for animation you want your tracks to be as clean as possible- no background noise, no reverb or echo's- in professional settings expensive sound absorption panels and bass traps are used-

BUT most of us probably all have a great sound absorber in our rooms right now- a closet full of clothes! Comforters and heavy blankets are also good for absorbing/blocking sound-

In a professional setting you would use a vocal booth to record your voice overs- here are some poor man vocal booth solutions that will give you some ideas

Cheap Soundbooth

The Zoom has a threaded bottom so you can attach it to a tripod or other stand to put in your closet or where ever-

So you want to get the sound to be as dead and as clean as possible- as you can see in the above images with a little creativity you can come up with a decent solution-

Voiceovers for animation are usually heavily compressed after their recorded- so what does this mean? It means that if there is any hiss, background sound, or reverb in your takes it is going to get even louder when the audio is compressed- you can remedy some of this through the use of gate but you should still try and minimize the noise.

NOTE- the Zoom operates fine as an audio input source when plugged into a computer BUT I've never tested it as an audio output for a computer- I would imagine that it would not be something you'd want to use for heavy audio use

If you want to spend a little more and have a more robust input and output solution for a computer you're going to want to buy a sound card and a microphone.

This is what I use for my setup

Audio card/interface: Presonus Audiobox $130 - Not the best in the category but works for me

Here's two other cheap options that look good Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 and M-Audio Fast Track USB

Microphone: Shure Beta87a $250 - I bought this mic ten years ago for live performance and recording- can get a cheaper $100-$150 mic for pure recording- I wouldn't recommend this for voiceover recording as its a bit too expensive for that purpose

I also own this Studio Projects B1 mic $120 which is a good low cost solution for recording

I hope this is helpful!


  1. Incredibly helpful. I've been lost for this type of thing for a while. I have my school's equipment for this type of thing, but not when I go home. I'll be getting me an H2n. How about recording acoustic music (like a guitar or drums)? Is it the same as voice recording, or is there a special way to do that?

    1. Yes the H2n is a pretty versatile little tool- would be fine for recording acoustic music as well- So if you were only going to have one piece of audio gear- or two with the H2n and headphones you could do a lot

  2. very nice post! Can you use it to record sfx too? saving the cost on hiring sound designers..

    1. Yes you can also use it to record sfx- it has a thread at the bottom so you can attach it to a mic stand or a tripod to position it to record different sounds

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