Caroline Ashby is the voice behind numerous TV commercials, radio promos, explainer videos, game characters, corporate training and children’s toys, many of which were created in her fully equipped home studio. Relying on her two Audient interfaces, iD22 and iD4, she can produce quality, clean studio recordings in the blink of an eye, and has provided sparkly voiceovers for a range of international clients including Costa, Twitter, eBay, and Microsoft.
Caroline confessed to a love of gaming, country music and “…anything a bit geeky”, so Audient was keen to find out about her setup. Before that though, we asked which came first: iD22 or iD4?
The iD22 came first. I was in the market for a new audio interface and after way too many months researching online, asking questions and hanging out in audio techy forums, I finally took the plunge on the iD22.. and wasn’t disappointed! I was looking for something clean, robust and fuss free and certainly hit the jackpot!
Can you give us an example of how one – or both – of the iDs have made things easier?
Routing! Using the mixer software for the iD22 I’ve been able to set up a mix-minus so clients can listen in to sessions if they like and direct live. They get to hear exactly what the Audient hears but the computer doesn’t record their voice, only mine. So useful!
Your clients are many and varied. What are you working on right now?
Today I have a language e-learning project to get through, and when I’ve finished that I’ll be recording a couple of sponsorship idents to be aired on Nickelodeon. Yesterday, I voiced an artificially intelligent beer canning system!
What else have you got coming up?
Tomorrow evening I have a live directed session with a studio in California for a children’s toy TV commercial. That’s what I love about my job, you never know what you might be working on next!
“I particularly love how I can just plug in the iD4 and start recording immediately […] just plug in and away we go!”
What gets you up and motivated to work?
Not knowing what the day will hold. I thrive on variety and each day holds something new. Whether it’s auditioning for a corporate video or recording a character in a computer game. As Forrest Gump said: “You never know what you’re gonna get!”
It definitely sounds like it. OK, so where did your voiceover journey begin?
I used to work in IT years ago. We’d set up phone systems and was always known as the go-to phone greeting voice. I’m also a singer and would record myself at home for fun and host live online radio-style shows. It just seemed a natural progression to move into voiceover. It’s almost a decade since I decided to take the plunge and do what I love as a career – talking and singing into a microphone and, well… here I am!
What are you most proud of?
My voice is used in a couple of installations at the UK’s National Space Centre, teaching visitors about the stars and the big bang. Being from quite a space geeky household, I’m rather proud of that one!
Also, for the past five years I’ve voiced television commercials for a brand named Lovehoney. They have seen their sales soar in recent years and are such an innovative company that they received the Queens Award for Enterprise in 2016. The latest ad campaign that I voiced for them was voted Creative Work of the Year by marketing and media industry website, The Drum. I like to think my voice added a little something to those commercials and helped with their success along the way. 🙂
“…the iD22’s pre-amps are crisp, clean and quiet making them perfectly suited for voiceovers!”
Absolutely! Go on, we’d love to hear about your studio setup.
I have a studio at home so I’m one of the lucky ones that gets to work in my pyjamas! 😉 [Amen to that — Audient]. I switch between an iMac and a Windows machine, and both Audients work seamlessly with each operating system.
I particularly love how I can just plug in the iD4 and start recording immediately, no software to play around with, just plug in and away we go!
How do the iD22 & iD4 fit into all of this?
I use my iD22 hooked up to my main computer in my studio. That’s my workhorse and sits on the desk next to me. I have another monitor in my recording booth and use the iD22 mixer software (it’s fab!) to control any levels or outputs I want to from within the booth.
I use a laptop for recording when I’m away from my studio and that’s where my iD4 comes into play. Incidentally, when I first tried the iD4, I set it up with my main machine to try it out. I enjoyed the simplicity of it so much, I continued to use it as my main audio interface for about 4 weeks before I plugged my iD22 back in! It’s a lovely little piece of kit!
What are your favourite features?
The -10dB pad is really useful and I use it quite a lot. Saves me from having to mess around with my levels too much when I go from say, narrating a corporate e-learning script to singing a jingle. I just flick a switch, get in the booth and start singing, safe in the knowledge that I won’t be clipping. Then I flick the switch again and can usually go back to a regular speaking level without messing with the gain again.
I also love that there are two inputs, so I can have different mics hooked up at the same time. I use a Neumann and a Sennheiser, both great mics that I use for different reads. They’re both plugged in and ready to go!
The high-pass filter is another helpful feature that cuts out any lower frequencies and rumbles that I really don’t want in a clean voice recording. That’s the thing with voice recording, you really want the cleanest, unadulterated capture of your voice – the iD22’s pre-amps are crisp, clean and quiet making them perfectly suited for voiceovers!
And finally…what advice would you give a younger you just starting out in the business?
Be patient: take all the advice you can get, (the internet is your friend); practise, practise, practise, join an industry specific organisation such as The Voiceover Network, get a reputable vocal coach and training ‘before’ you record your voicereels and never, ever give up!
When starting out in voiceover you have to be looking at the end-game. It’s not a quick fix career, it takes hard work and you’re always learning, but the rewards are worth it!