Voice-Actor Friendly Audio Tech: A Conversation with George Whittam – Part 1
“And so he told me all about this, he showed me the facility that they have at the school, which was small, but very state-of-the-art digital audio recording technology for 1993. It was very state-of-the-art. And I was like, ‘Ooh, this is cool!’ And so I started realizing this is where I should be, I should be in the recording department. But they didn’t have one. They had a music school. That means I have to audition and get into music school if I want to study recording.” — George Whittam
This week’s guest for Voice-Actor Friendly Audio Tech has served the technical needs of voiceover artists since 2005. In 2017, he launched GeorgeThe.Tech, offering VO tech support, training, studio design, and audio processing templates. He’s the co-host of the Pro Audio Suite Podcast and co-host with Dan Lenard of Voice Over Body Shop at VOBS.TV. His name is George Whittam, and if you have a question about audio, he’s the guy to ask. We’ll be talking about what drew him to audio technology, acoustics, interfaces, and sound challenges. I always learn a ton of new things every time I speak to him, and I’m sure you will too.
As always, if you have questions for my guest, you’re welcome to reach out through the links in the show notes. If you have questions for me, visit www.audiobrandingpodcast.com where you’ll find a lot of ways to get in touch. Plus, subscribing to the newsletter will let you know when the new podcasts are available. And if you’re getting some value from listening, feel free to spread that around and share it with a friend, along with leaving an honest review. Both those things really help – and I’d love to feature your review on future podcasts. You can leave one either in written or in voice format from the podcast’s main page. I would so appreciate that.
Why Am I Here?
We start the episode with George’s early memories of sound, from a terrifying introduction to fireworks when he was a toddler to his childhood tape recordings and family interviews. He recalls following his dad’s footsteps as an electrical engineer, only to discover his passion for sound in college. “I’ll never forget sitting in differential equations class,” he says, “shaking my head, like, why am I here? And the guy’s saying ‘Most of you guys aren’t going to need this, but you electrical engineers are going to be using this all the time.’ That’s what I thought I was studying. And I was like ‘wrong major.’”
Voice-Actor Friendly Tech
George tells us how his father supported his early career in sound and helped fund his very first, and very unconventional, recording studio. “It was an old camper RV called the El Dorado,” he explains. “It literally said El Dorado on the front. And that’s where the name of my first company came from: ‘El Dorado Recording Services.’ We talk about how far he’s come since those early days, and his guiding philosophy as an audio engineer, which, as he tells us, he can sum up in four words. “I’ve come up finally with a slogan,” he says, “a four-word slogan, which is voice-actor-friendly tech.”
Should You Upgrade?
We discuss the challenges of helping voiceover artists and musicians, who often aren’t the most technically savvy people, with some of the more complex decisions when it comes to acoustic design and recording equipment. George tells us how the pressure to stay current can sometimes backfire, especially when it comes to trying to reinvent a very personalized audio setup. “You can run for years and years,” he explains, “and not upgrade a single solitary thing, and have a completely functional, great sounding, and reliable-to-use studio. And that’s really what we care about.”
The Voice Actor’s Interface
As the first half of our interview comes to a close, George talks about his work on the upcoming Passport VO, an audio interface built specifically for voiceover artist needs. “It’s our take,” he tells us, “on what we think the voiceover actor’s audio interface, sort of the ultimate voice actor audio interface could or should be.” We talk about the design process, the obstacles along the way, and how he hopes it’ll help clear some of the technical hurdles of working with audio. “It’s been a lot of fun,” he says, “getting to co-design a product, an actual physical thing you can plug into your computer.”
- How George’s early experiences with sound inspired his enthusiasm for audio
- George’s journey from electrical engineering to sound specialist
- His first radio job and the surprise resignation that reshaped his career
- How social media and the gig economy have strengthened the GTT Team
- Knowing the right time to upgrade your studio and audio hardware
Stay tuned next week as we talk about the acoustical difference between isolation booths and rooms, the power of music in shaping everything from our emotions to our memories, and whether Android or the iPhone has an advantage when it comes to recording audio away from home.
Connect with the Guest
(Use code GTTABP10OFF to get 10% off all services and webinars!)
Connect with George Whittam on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/georgethetech/
Follow George Whittam on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/georgewhittam/
Connect with George Whittam on Twitter: https://twitter.com/georgethetech/
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This interview episode was very skillfully made to sound beautiful by the talented Humberto Franco.