Read, or enjoy the audio version below...
We Wantsss It. We Needsss it. Must Have The Preciousss.
Note: headphones are not actual size.
A Pair Of New Shiny Cans
I am not often one to buy things on impulse.
Let me start over.
I am often one to buy things on impulse.
I am not talking about things like Lamborghinis (add to cart), vacation homes in Vail (just signed) or premier trips to outer space (first class ticket reserved), but rather, things like new shiny headphones simply because someone else got them. This is otherwise known as Shiny Object Syndrome, of which the acronym is coincidentally, S.O.S. This is a phenomenon where men walk down the street with their wives, they instantly spot a more attractive female coated head-to-toe in shiny tinfoil, and are busted and suckerpunched by their own spouses, which results in a shiner.
I am actually referring to a recent example concerning Cliff Zellman’s and Bev Standing’s (and now Josh Alexander’s) newly-acquired Neumann NDH20 closed dynamic headphones. I bought them, sight unseen, after hearing Cliff, in particular, rave about them, approaching the point of tears for having been given a pair at VO Atlanta, and having been chosen to be a brand ambassador of sorts, to promote them, and now, to be mentioned, in a paragraph, containing an inordinate amount, of, commas.
It is a problem, and I need help. Impulsive spending, not the use of commas.
Was I dissatisfied with my current headphones, which are Sennheiser HD 280 Pros? Or was I in the market for new headphones? More or less. Kind of. Not really. Actually, no.
My headphones were fine, but ultimately - Father, forgive me - I confess that I fell prey to lust when Cliff Zellman dangled them in front of me. Wow Factor = enabled. Also, Father, forgive me for punching Cliff in the nose and stealing them. And I repent from knocking that old lady down as Cliff pursued me through the hotel. Also I put gum under my seat on the flight home, Father.
O the packaging! O the giant silver cups emblazoned in stunning imagery that made me drunk with desire! (For Cliff; not the headphones.) O the avarice that consumed me!
Used by permission. Matt Buckner (L) from Sennheiser/Neumann and Cliff Zellman (R), 4/4/22.
Sometimes when something catches my eye, I simply must have it. Do you experience this? There have been instances in my life where I have made impulsive purchases:
- The first iPad. I assured my then-future wife that I would need it for business. I then proceeded to show her “Angry Birds”. Her reply, as I recall, was: “Yeah, you needed this for business.”
- My 2021 Nissan Rogue. I admit that this was not a necessity per se; however, continuous riding in a soccer mom minivan having depleted my masculinity reserves, you could say I was itching for something macho. As we all know, SPORTY SUV’S ARE THE MACHOEST OF MACHO. They are 2nd on the list after taking bubble baths with Kenny G music.
- Every single iPhone from every year across all time ever. But let us be honest. Wouldn't my original iPhone still be working fine 15 years later? Answer? I do not like this question.
- A second Sennheiser MKH416 microphone for my travel rig, because backups are always good to have, and it is nice to own things, and spending is cool, and you know it.
- The Neumann TLM 103 Anniversary Edition microphone. I love anniversaries. They are very special, and they are something to be celebrated. I deserved something special, and because it had the word “anniversary” in it, I was positive my wife would approve, and that is precisely what I told myself as I entered my credit card number.
Now, I know we voice talent all have stock in Sweetwater. I get it. I just think it may be time for a bit of a confession: I do have a bit of a spending problem.
It is true. Before me always seem to appear two hallways:
- one, illuminated with white light, a soft voice of reason gently beckoning me to choose morality, to follow the upright path, and to avoid the siren call of covetousness.
- and another, dimly lit by a flickering and eerie pale blue glow, images of sickly consumers in Armani suits chained to the wall in their own urine, moaning to me, reaching out bony hands and gaping maws, beckoning me to join their blind and salivating imprisonment to consumerism.
I really do love the color blue.
I actually hate to shop
I am not fond of shopping. Especially Clothes Shopping, which is Swahili for Thing That Should Not Exist. Even typing "clothes shopping" just now: I experienced a pain I could not locate.
Case in point, I recently had a nightmare, which is an occurrence that usually takes place after one has attended an Amway presentation. This time, the nightmare was yet again about clothes shopping. I am not kidding. I am comforted by the fact that this is the most common type of nightmare experienced by all human males. In my nightmare, I was struggling to find a QR code to purchase three dress suits picked out by my 6-year-old, no one would help me, and I really had to go, or I would be late for a directed session. There are a few conundrums with this nightmare that still puzzle me:
- Why my 6-year-old is already picking out dress suits to wear.
- Why I was doing any shopping of any kind in any store at any time whatsoever.
- QR codes, as we know, are everywhere, and the fact that I could not find one only serves to further prove that I, like all men, am seemingly incapable of asking for directions.
- I have, to date, never attended a directed session in my sleep. However, I am now considering patenting “DreamConnect Pro”, and am seeking investors.
But, when offered the choice between:
- Clothes Shopping With Our Wives, and
- Being Strapped Naked To A Tree In The Baking Sun While Having 20,000 Fire Ants Unleashed Across Our Bodies While Being Forced To Listen To Baby Shark On A Loop
…this is what is commonly known as a no-brainer. Fire ants, please! Because, as you may or may not know, clothes shopping is an activity that is designed to not ever have any form of terminus or conclusion, serving only to encourage profanity when opening the mailbox and seeing your wife's credit card bill. This is why I have taken the effective measure of chopping up my wife's credit cards, and then taking great pains to remind her to be grateful that I chopped them up.
In my case, I use the Synchrony Bank Amazon credit card, because doing so enables me to accrue points towards purchases. This month I had accumulated $159.37 in rewards points (see Lamborghini, vacation home and space trips) and so my beautiful shiny new $499+tax headphones only cost me $379.55.
For the record, anytime I experience a massive outflow of funds, I truthfully become a bit antsy. Take our recent studio buildout, for example: very expensive. Or the taxes I just paid to the federal government: comically ridiculous. When such outflows happen, it makes me admittedly a bit jittery: I am not sure whether the rush of emotions I experience at the substantial financial outflow is due to being drunk with spending power, or nervousness that my bank balance is once again dipping below $25.50.
Pretty sure it is the latter. Also now I know why I am always nervous.
Wants vs. Needs
Long ago, I needed my MKH416 microphone if I wanted to sound good and be competitive. It was not just a want. Well, OK, it was a need and a want, much like how if I do not get enough sleep that I need, then I will want to kill someone slowly with a turkey baster. And, I need to not kill you with a turkey baster, because I do not want to go back to prison.
I am sure you have heard about the difference between wants and needs. You see, "wants" involve desiring something I do not need, whereas "needs" involve something I will perish without, such as Scarlet Johansson.
Some expenses might be wants; others might be needs. If you spend all your money on wants, you may not have enough for needs. It boils down to good management.
Good is always the worst enemy of best. Chew on that for a while. We are all capable of being Gollum, slave to the precious, and being filled with lust for something, like Scarlet Johansson. Some expenses might be good, and some expenses are best, and a wise man knows which is which. Wisdom is a quality one gets when one finally, officially decides that it would be best to mow the lawn now that it is blocking all pilots' views of the runway.
I have never professed to be wise. Sometimes I faint from sheer excitement at an upcoming nee- er, want, like Scarlet Johansson.
Oh look, a Lamborghini in blue! And it comes with an audio port for my NDH20’s?!?!?! I NEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED IT!!!!!
PPS, I stand with Ukraine. Do you?
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32 thoughts on “Keeping Up With The Voiceover Joneses”
I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “I’m done with gear. I’m good. I’m all set.” But there’s always something to upgrade or add. Great post, Josh.
Thanks Paul! A VERY familiar phrase that I’ve uttered too. Or how about this one: “OK NOW I have all I need. I won’t ever need to upgrade now that I have _____________.” HA!
It so hard from to start to veteran to not get caught up in the gear rush. My favorite lie/truth is it a business deduction at the end of the year.
Fun read Josh, great as always!
Thank you Jim! As always, business deductions help…it’s so counterintuitive because there’s a subtle pressure to actually spend MORE money in order to save a little bit. But that’s the way the cookie crumbles, I guess! Bring on the deductions, I NEED them in all their shiny audio goodness!
That’s a NEED, right? Please tell me that’s a need…..
DEFINITELY a need. Need regular gear. Therefore need backup gear. It’s clear. 🙂
Definitely with Ukraine.
My wants and needs when it comes to VO kit ‘stuff’ was worse at the start of my career but I’m now far more confident in trusting my sound is good enough and knowing that so many VO’s get hung up on mics and headphones. Not saying my head couldn’t be turned by a pretty little set of new headphones beckoning me and promising the best sound ever but generally I’m happy to keep my cash.
Me too! Cash is good. But, alas, I confess: my head got turned. 🙂
Dating yourself a bit there with the Amway reference. Lol!
And Scarlet Johansson told ME she prefers McLarens over Lambos, so… strike two, Buddy! 🤣
Okay, okay, enough jocularity. FOMO is indeed the bane of voice actors everywhere (as well as musicians, artists, actors, and pretty much all sentient carbon-based lifeforms.)
Also… if Mama ain’t happy ain’t Nobody happy. So there’s that.
Haha! Too true! You are now the SECOND person today who has made me have to look up FOMO. I honestly didn’t know. Apparently I have a “fear of missing out” on cool phrases like “fear of missing out.” So you could say I have a FOMO FOMO.
…you should have told you wife you were watching “Angry Birds” merely to study the voices. You know…”research”.
NOTED! I will plan my next device around a game introduction, and do some voices research on it so that I can present the most bulletproof and manipulative excuse possible. May I credit you when I present my excuse? I was thinking something like, “Well, Rowell said…”
Look at the cans on that guy!! 🙂 🙂 🙂
Oh dear. I thought I was wearing enough layers to hide them. 🙁
As a fellow gear junkie, I really identified with this… Love the way you rock those big, round cans!
Why thank you Paul! They fit my large cranium (which has its own gravitational pull) quite nicely! And they really are superb sound. Much more comfortable than my HD 280’s, and better sound – I call that a win-win!
Great blog as always Josh. Someone once told me that acquiring a new skill can be divided into three categories. First is learning, whether that’s a coach, book, class etc. Second is deliberate practice. Third is gear acquisition. All important but it is easy to think you’re making loads of progress because you bought stuff.
Well, unfortunately, for some people all they’re making is loads of DEBT! And it’s easy to get swept under a mountain of credit card bills keeping up with the VOneses. Keep that good head on your shoulders and build as you go, good sir! Thanks for the comment and keep on keepin’ on!
I think I must be one of the rare non-gear-heads in VO. Perhaps I should’ve been born a few decades earlier and had the type of career where I sweep elegantly into the studio, do my fabulous thing, and swan back out, collecting my extravagant pay cheques and leaving all the technical stuff to the technical people…
Gear that works, that’s my need and want. 😀
But…but…I thought you were already a fabulous Sweep Swan! Illusion….SHATTERED!!
😂 It really is just the way my life should be… Sweeping and swanning all over the place…
Sweep and swan, my friend. Sweep and swan.
I can always count on you for expectedly unexpected smiles and laughs, mixed with lightly sweetened nuggets of wisdom, as well as essential vitamins and minerals. This blog is my weekly dose!
Definitely a need.
My pleasure, my friend! It’s creative writing, right? Gotta be creative! Thank you for needing it. I need YOU! (Just not in that way. And don’t tell my wife I said that. And don’t tell anyone else either; I’ve only posted it here on the Internet so that I can keep my unquenchable love for you totally private.)
This was a great read…and you’re a lot like me!!! I hate clothes shopping!
However, I do find myself buying things and convincing myself that I actually need it…like really really need it….knowing deep inside that I’m lying to myself…help!! Maybe you should chop up my cards too! 😂
Send ‘em on over! Glad to do a little dismembering for a nominal fee. And if we’re a lot like each other, that must mean you, too, prefer your spaghetti with crushed Oreos in it, right? I knew it. I’ve found my twin! 🙂
The Turkey baster was great! Made me think of the horribly slow murder with the extremely inefficient weapon, hahaha. That was a funny video!!
Thankfully, I hate spending of all kinds – even for stuff I actually need for business… I think it’s because we’ve been below medium income for so many years. Even something I really want, if I have the money, I’d avoid buying it unless I’m super tired or super frustrated. Guess that is a financial PTSD thing, lol. I do not mind buying stuff I know is absolutely essential, like my parents’ prescriptions, but when my account dips below $2 and I have to get it, yeah, not a fun exercise, LOL.
Be that as it may, I do have one weakness for spending and it’s fast food. It comes with the super tiredness factor. Cleaning, working and cooking while other people look at you and appreciate it so much that they can watch you do everything, makes me want Pizza and want it now, LOL. Just to get a break.
There are some new kit pieces I need to actually access newer features in Blender, but $3,000 isn’t exactly laying around anywhere in our vicinity – I’ll check the small sinkhole near the house a bit later, but I have my doubts, LOL.
Anywho, I hope those headphones serve you well anyway! I know the difference between good and cheap headphone and WOW! Don’t need to keep up with the VO Joneses, but solid equipment for angry birds is needed too, hehe.
And that is precisely what I told myself as well. I cannot play Angry Birds at any level of quality unless my iPad is of the highest caliber. Right? by the way, I forgot to tell you that I left $3,000 in the socks behind your couch. You are welcome. Blend away.
Enjoyed this a lot, good to know I’m not alone in getting very excited (and guility) at the propest of purchasing some new kit
You are definitely not alone! It’s called GearLust, it’s a sickness, and I’m sick!
“And that is precisely what I told myself as well. I cannot play Angry Birds at any level of quality unless my iPad is of the highest caliber. Right? by the way, I forgot to tell you that I left $3,000 in the socks behind your couch. You are welcome. Blend away.”
Haha, those birds don’ look angry nuff’nless their in HD – i’s jus’ da fac’s yo! hahaha.
Therapy would be incredible! Especially of the aroma kind! hehe.
Thank you! I will put most of it in savings to gain interest! Building that castle one brick at a time! 😀
Hope you have had a stellar week and even better weekend ahead! 😀
Thank you my friend! Cheap cheap! (I don’t think that was angry enough.)