You can get a professional quality ‘on site’ recording with a small amount of equipment and ‘know-how’. Here are some suggestions for home recordings.
Environment – when choosing where you record, you probably want to think about a quiet space with a carpeted floor, high plasterboard ceilings and window drapes. Avoid squeaky office chairs in favour of solid leg seats at a desk or table and turn off any heaters, fans or computers in the room.
Equipment – always use a quality vocal microphone. I use a Shure SM 58 with a ‘pop filter’ on a boom stand running into a mixing desk with a closed line out to a Zoom recording device. The mixing desk helps you to get a warm narrator’s tone.
Process – it always pays off to do some sort of vocal warm up. We all speak (or sing) 25% louder when we are in the groove. This can result in inconsistent volume (and emphasis) between earlier and later chapter readings. Most narrators choose to sit, but standing can encourage greater intonation and passionate performance. During recording after a throat clear or deep breath take a pause and after a ‘misread’ say ‘Stop’, pause then reread to make life easy for the editor later.
Notes – Jot down time stamps or context references for ‘stops’ or readings that you feel unsure of. Address and re-record when necessary at the end of each chapter – it helps avoid the discouraging cost of additional recording sessions.
A fun relaxed mood always produces a better reading.