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AJ's ISDN for voiceover work

This is part II of my interview with Voice123 talent AJ McKay. In part one of my interview with friend (although I rarely admit that in public) and colleague, AJ McKay, he talked about how and why he made the decision to leave his full-time gig in radio to become a full-time voiceover talent. Now in part two, we talk equipment, engineering, and yes, the epic battle for ISDN in his home studio!

The Voice123 team gets asked frequently about ISDN, “What is it?”  or “Do you think I should get it?”.  When AJ posted his ISDN struggles to Facebook, I convinced him to share his story here so we could all learn from his mistakes as he discovered ISDN is not a nice four-letter word:

Please listen to Part II of AJ McKay’s Interview

Read more below!

Me:  Does every voice talent need to have ISDN in their studio?

AJ:  It’s not for everybody…but for me, I want to do network promo, TV affiliate work…in order for me to do that and live in Louisville, Kentucky, I have to have ISDN.

Me:  So really it’s about finding your niche and figuring out what jobs you want to go after.

AJ: Absolutely.  If I were doing audiobooks, narrations, elearning, that type of thing…they don’t use ISDN as much, maybe in the bigger markets, but for what I want to do, it’s a must.

Me:   So, you’ve decided that ISDN is a necessity, what do you do next?

AJ:  Well, I went the cheaper route.  Well, not really. I have spent about $5,000 so far, but that’s on everything, mics and other stuff too.  But, probably about $3,000 toward ISDN so far.  I’m using Audio TX…you can use it as an ISDN portal if you will, but it also has voice over internet capabilities.  The problem is getting the ISDN lines installed in your house! I called the number for residential ISDN.  You have to leave a message and wait for them to call you back.  They called two days later, we got the ball rolling.  A month later, still nothing, so over 3 days I spoke to 12 different customer service reps, 3 of which knew what ISDN was, and I pretty much got nowhere.  So, I hired Dave Immer from Digifon.  He sets it all up [with the phone company], tests out the equipment, makes sure it all works.  Dealing with Dave has been a piece of cake! But, trying to do it on my own, a nightmare.  He got done in a couple of days what I could not get done in over a month.

Me:  Well, hopefully your ISDN woes are over!  I wanted to ask you, what’s your advice for voiceover talents new to Voice123 and new to voiceovers in general?

AJ: You have to have good audio. If you sound like you’re talking into a soup can, then you’re never going to book any work.  You could have the greatest voice and the purest sound naturally in the world but, you won’t make it if you don’t have a good mic, good setup, good soundproofing…there’s nothing worse then getting an audition and it sounds like they’re in a church hall or something.

Me: It is an investment, in both time and money.  Just like a contractor needs to invest in quality tools and equipment, so does a voice talent.

AJ:   I don’t mind discussing money, I’ll be very candid.  I spent about $6,000 so far this year getting set up so that I can service my clients to the best of my ability.

Need to come back to this later? The full voiceover interview is available here.

Special thanks to friend and pro-wrestler wannabe, AJ McKay.

Do you have questions for AJ or a home studio story to share about ISDN?