Building a professional voice over studio from scratch...in Iceland.
Updated: Sep 11, 2021
Thanks to Covid I haven't been able to travel, and so I have set up a permanent voice-over studio in my apartment in Downtown Reykjavik.
For those of you who have never lived in Iceland - or don't even know where Iceland is (I wrote an article to help you with that one) - it's important you should know that it is very hard, and sometimes impossible to get everything you want here. Even when we order things from abroad it can take literally months to get here...and comes with a hefty 25% import tax. Ouch. So no importing a modular sound isolation booth with free overnight shipping for me.
Despite that Iceland has one major benefit - they LOVE the arts, and they support all kinds of performers totally, but especially musicians. Crucially, as they support their artistic people, they let them be free to create what they want, they don't have the same pop music factories like the UK does. That means Iceland is full of a lot of...unusual art that may never be released worldwide, but it means we also get ground-breakingly awesome work as well.
We also don't have companies like Amazon prime, or so many big chain companies. So we have loads of independently owned shops, where the staff really have passion! Incidentally we also have a lot of record shops, not just surviving but thriving, people still buy vinyls regularly.
For my studio I bought a Rode NTK tube condenser microphone - I was recommended it by Will M Watt (www.willmwatt.com) and I really love the warmth and the versatility of it. I paired that with a PSA-1 studio arm, bought from Reykjavikfoto - it was actually their display model and I was lucky to get it. Of course I could have gone with a different brand, but I wasn't prepared to go for a lesser arm, and every time I adjust my microphone I appreciate it more and more. It. Just. Stays. Exactly. Where. I. Put. It.
I grabbed the Rode SMR shock mount and filter - doubly crucial thanks to the number of earthquakes Iceland has - and a Focusrite Solo from Tonastodin. I also got loads of valuable knowledge from the staff at Hljodfaerahusid but they didn't have the stock in, and it was a month before the next shipment came. So despite not buying anything from them I really rate them. I grabbed a pair of Sennheiser HD300s and I was good to go.
With the gear in hand it was time to convert our windowless spare-room into a voice over studio. Luckily for me it had several foam mattresses stored in it already, so combining them with other noise insulating materials, and some yoga mats on the floor I had my own recording studio. Crucially I had space for a desk and a chair, but also space to stand up and move around, for those really dynamic character parts!
The last thing to go into my personal recording studio was my huge vintage Icelandic flag. I love where I live and I am delighted to have made a home here.
How do you personalize your recording studios? Do you think I've missed anything out...maybe fairy-lights?