Coping With G.A.S.
I've got GAS, but it doesn't have to be a life sentence. GAS is a condition that affects thousands of voiceover artists yearly. But thankfully, with the right treatment plan, GAS can be successfully managed.
GAS - known by its full name, "Gear Acquisition Syndrome" - is a condition that can strike without warning.
Onset of the condition is imperceptible; you don't even know you have it. One minute you're humming along delivering line after line of voiceover with your existing mic chain, when it suddenly occurs to you how much better your voice would sound through that microphone that everyone loves. Or one of those super-trendy tube pre-amps that everyone talks about, or that cool processor that I saw was in so-and-so's rack, or that insanely expensive plug-in for your DAW. Or a new DAW. Or a new booth...
Originally conceived by Walter Becker in 1996 to describe the obsessive nature of guitarsts in their pursuit of more gear, this condition is not limited to only musicians. Photographers, painters, model railroaders, and pretty much any hobby or industry on the planet can give you GAS.
This post is particularly timely, since the latest issue of Sweetwater's Pro Gear catalog was just released and every voice artist I know already has a dog-eared copy, sitting in their bathroom where (as we all know) all the serious studying takes place.
As voice artists, we are all quietly addicted to finding ways to make ourselves sound good. But sometimes we get caught up into thinking that if only we had such-and-such piece of gear that it would make us sound so much better. And that would translate into being more successful.
But as Dan Lenard from Voiceover Body Shop says: "Don't buy the gear to get the job"
Is a Neumann U87 going to sound better than an Audio Technica AT-2020? Probably.
Is it going to sound 3,500% better? Probably not.
Can you run a successful voiceover business without having to have a particularly expensive piece of kit? Absolutely.
Newsflash: A Manley Reference microphone will not make you sound like Don Lafontaine any more than jumping into a Formula 1 car will turn you into Michael Shumacher.
Don't get caught up in thinking you need to have the latest thing, or the newest gadget to be successful. Use what gear you presently have available to you to make your success.
If you really want to spend your money, the best way to improve the sound of your voiceover is to improve your voice first. Get professional training. That is going to help you far more than a new mic, preamp or plugin.
Slash from Guns N' Roses displaying his chronic GAS problem.
About Rob Marley - A Los Angeles native, Rob is an accomplished voice talent, coach, producer and writer, now living in the Hill Country of Austin Texas.