Reply To: Hardware & Software Recommendations
You are right be be concerned about the quality of your space. There may be no easy solution, or one of many possible fixes might be to put removable but tightly fitting soundproofing baffles tightly into your window spaces. From your description, most likely it will require a variety of measures, each reducing the ambient sound further.
Start by researching the h**l out of the subject. There’s tons of guidance from other VO people, materials suppliers and other sources. Don’t bet the farm on any one source’s advice, but you’ll soon get a comprehensive understanding.
As a start, it is VERY important that you understand the difference between Soundproofing (preventing sound from entering your space and from being created within it (as by a computer fan)) and Sound Conditioning (reducing reverberation and/or controlling sonic qualities within your space). And note that conditioning a space for music is very different from conditioning for VO.
So if you become a well-trained, qualified voice artist, window air conditioners are probably not an insurmountable obstacle to fulfilling your dream. But know that it may take some significant investment (partly depending on your do-it-yourself skills, and will require knowledgeable planning.
Maybe even adjustment of your daily schedule. Air conditioners run all day and night, but some noises are occasional. Some genres (e.g., Promo) require very fast turnaround. Depending on a talent’s soundproofing strategy, the talent may not be able to promise same-day delivery. Once when I interviewed an established voice artist by phone, I apologized for my taking so much of her time. She replied, that’s okay, I can’t work right now anyway — they’re mowing the lawn.