PC or MAC? It really doesn’t matter, as long as it gets the job done – and what we mean here is getting the job done professionally. As the final link in the recording chain, your computer is where the buck stops. Literally.
Laptops appear to be the most common PCs in use these days – and the reasons are self-explanatory. While the term ‘PC’ essentially refers to desktops running Microsoft’s Windows OS, lines have been getting blurred since Macs crossed over to Intel processors and Windows could be run on them. While Macs long held the reputation of being better suited to creatives (and had a measure of snob-value because of it), it’s definitely no longer the case. Laptops have also shrunk in weight and girth – which is why the term ‘notebook’ is probably more applicable!
Desktop PC’s are fine if convenience-and-portability is not your thing. Having said that, desktops – especially older ones – can have noisy fans, which is an absolute dealbreaker if you’re trying to record a professional voiceover and the microphone picks up the whine of the fan in the background. When you’re setting up your studio keep this in mind and make sure you’ve got a tower that runs silently. For voice-acting and online audio work, a laptop should suffice; as a rule they’re quieter, and quieter is better. Even so, whatever you choose to use, remember any kind of computer noise is your enemy.
Apple iPads/iPhones/Android smartphones: There are some great and amazingly cool and convenient gadgets out there. As a voice talent, the most important reason you’d want a mobile device is for calls, social media, checking emails from clients, and browsing websites. Yes, at an extreme push a smartphone can record an audition, but a professional recording chain in a decent soundbooth is the way to go. Clients are becoming more and more picky. It’s rare that an audition recorded quickly on a mobile device will land you the gig – although it has happened. In our experience, clients want to know you’re serious, so record your audition as professionally as you can.
It’s also worth getting a new laptop or desktop every three to four years. Technology ages quickly and software changes rapidly. As a voice-actor, you don’t need to be on the cusp of the wave, but try not to lag. Clients are often inclined to be up to date and will expect you to be as well. Telling a client you ‘can’t do this or that’ because your machine or software is outdated or incompatible is not the way to extend your reach as a talent.
To compete, both you and your gear have to be competitive. Cloud computing is the future – as is working online – and the speed at which one can do business does make a difference. The benefit of being tech-savvy is knowing how to be more flexible when change happens.
Be there when it does.