“Can I use this picture for my blog?” I asked my wife.
“If you want to look like a silly person who’s crazy about gear, you can,” she answered with refreshing honesty.
And that’s why you have me grinning, holding a Polsen USB microphone with a fun, retro design.
Now, if you follow my Instagram account (@nethervoice), you probably know that I post a micro blog every single day. One of my most popular entries last week, was a post featuring a gorgeous new stainless steel microphone.
That’s not just a gimmick, but a tool of the trade. Just as photographers need a professional camera to do their job, voice overs need professional sound catchers to make money. As a blogger and occasional gear reviewer, I’ve made it my job to find out how professional these new tools really are.
You know as well as I do that manufacturers feel they have to come out with new models all the time, just to stay relevant, whatever that means. But every once in a while they surprise me with something that’s really innovative and impressive, such as Austrian Audio’s OC18 and 818 microphones.
REVIEWING MY REVIEWS
One of my very first reviews is still my most popular. It’s the one about the CAD E100S microphone. Not to pat myself on the back, but prior to my review, very few in the community had ever heard of Conneaut Audio Devices, let alone of the weird looking E100S.
Today, many of my colleagues own one after reading my review, and it’s hands down the Booth Junkie’s favorite mic. Every other microphone he reviews on his YouTube channel gets tested against the ultra-quiet CAD.
By the way, if you see blue text in bold on this blog, it means it’s a hyperlink taking you to content I’m referring to.
Back in 2012, I was the first voice talent to discover StudioBricks, the Spanish company making game-changing vocal booths that have rapidly become the new standard in our line of work.
Over the years I have also reviewed preamplifiers such as the Audient iD22, and the SSL 2+. I’ve written about studio monitors, acoustic treatment for home studios, shock mounts, headphones, and the hidden dangers lurking in your VO studio.
Next week I hope to introduce you to two new microphones from Earthworks Audio, a company in Milford, NH.
WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME
As you know, most voice overs love talking about gear, but some people are strangely suspicious of my motives. They seem to think that I’m in it to get free audio equipment. Let me give you four reasons why this is complete and utter hogwash.
1. If I need new gear, I’ll pay for it out of my own pocket. Period.
2. A majority of the gear I review, I actually own. The rest usually goes back to where it came from after my test is concluded.
3. I really don’t need more gear that would only be gathering dust. I guess I could give it away in a raffle as an incentive for people to subscribe to my blog. However, that’s a bribe, and I want people to subscribe for the right reasons. Not because of free stuff. Those subscribers never last.
REVIEWS SELL GEAR
4. My last point needs a longer explanation. I think the reviews I write are pretty thorough, and well-respected in our business. They reach thousands of interested people who trust my opinion.
I know that when I make a recommendation, colleagues listen, and they will make a purchase if and when they’re in the market for something new.
My reviews stay on my blog for many years to come, attracting not only voice over talents, but thousands of other people who are researching audio equipment.
This type of publicity is more valuable than any expensive advertising campaign coming from the manufacturer. Ads are by definition biased and manipulative, making people suspicious.
The makers of the products I review are very much aware of this. They also know that I usually spend several days reviewing and writing about their gear. During those days, I could have been making money recording voice overs.
So, as a sign of their appreciation, manufacturers will sometimes tell me to keep whatever it is I review. This, by the way, never influences my opinion.
I once reviewed the Microphone X by Aphex, and a company rep didn’t like what I had written. He got mad at me, and asked for a retraction which I refused. Unsurprisingly, they wanted their mic back, and I was more than happy to oblige.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Please remember: with every recommendation, I put my professional reputation on the line. If I write enthusiastically about something that’s crap, people will find out soon enough and blame me for misleading them. So far, my track record has been pretty good, and I intend to keep it that way.
I don’t review audio equipment to get free microphones and such. I’m just one of those silly, crazy gearheads who is always looking for the next best thing. And oddly enough, there always is a next best thing!
I also know the readers of this blog, and my gear reviews are among the most popular stories I write. So, I give my audience what it wants, while satisfying my twisted curiosity.
That’s a win-win in my book!
One last thing.
As you can see in the sideline of every blog post, I am a member of Amazon’s Associates Program. What does that mean?
When you click on, for example, a microphone link and you decide to buy it from Amazon, I get a very small percentage of that sale. To be honest, it doesn’t amount to much, but every little thing adds up over time.
Now, if you’ll excuse me… I have another microphone to test!