technical questions about equipment and software used by voice talent who record at home - moderated by Beau Weaver
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My favorite audio editing tool for Voiceover


As I have mentioned frequently, I am a long time hater of Pro Tools. If you are recording multiple channels of music, routing through plug ins and locked to picture, it sure is the right tool. But for recording and editing voiceover tracks, it is a needlessly complex and cumbersome resource hog. And those are it's good points.

I cannot count the calls I have taken from folks who are new to home recording, literally in tears, trying to figure out how to save a simple recording as an mp3 file with Pro Tools. And don't even get me started on how any OS update from Apple usually renders Pro Tools inoperable. And a year to support Leopard? Give me a break. But I digress.

I have done extensive testing of virtually all the audio editors for Mac OSX, including, Logic, Soundtrack Pro, Peak, Adobe Sound Booth, Sound Studio 3, Wave Editor, Amadeus Pro, etc. On the PC platform, I was a long time fan of Sony Sound Forge, but they do not have any plans to port the app to Mac. Peak has it's fans, but it crashes regularly, and support is spotty. I was liking Sound Studio 3 a lot, but there were some bugs, and omissions and the developer did not respond to support requests at all. All of the above programs have their strengths and weaknesses, but for the way I like to work, they were just not quite right.

Anyway, I have been working with a software developer to perfect a suite little app that I just love, and I want to pass it along to you. For my money, the best tool for recording and editing voiceover is: TwistedWave. And, the price is 49 Dollars!*

It loads in about one second. No changing cursors into different tools. It works like a word processor. It saves directly as mp3 files, and will convert between almost all important audio file types. It exports the selected portion of the waveforme as a new file, of any type you specify. Navigation is a dream. You can zoom horizontally in the waveform and zoom in all with the tiny trackball in the Apple Mighty Mouse. It will record the highest resolution audio, sample rate and bit depth your sound card supports. It works with any digital interface that uses Apple Core Audio. For the advanced user, keyboard shortcuts are customizable, and you can create and save customized effects stacks of AU plugins.

I have worked closely with the guy who created the program to make some ease of use tweaks and fine tuning. He has responded to every one of my requests the same day. I think if you spend a little time playing with it, you may fall in love too.

You can download from this link, and try for a 30 day evaluation period for free. A major 1.5 update has just been posted, with additional improvement in development.

I have been using this as my daily editor for some time now and it is a huge time saver. If you are also a musician, or music producer, then Pro Tools is obviously. If all you need to do is record voiceover sessions, quick edit and cleanup and ship off via ftp, then give Twisted Wave a try, and never look back.

Full Disclosure: I am a paid user, and receive no compensation for this recommendation, other than gratitude for a tool so ideally suited for the task at hand.

Beau Weaver

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  • I have been a Pro Tools user for a few years and the improvements made in LE 7.4 are exceptional when it comes to the kind of work we do...I think it works great. I'm able to expand the waveform vertically to full screen with one key, I can expand/contract it horizontally with one key stroke as well. Once a person learns the shortcut keys...production is very quick.

    Having said that, Pro Tools is much better suited for the music/film/TV industry (matching to video). I would like to have worked with Audition originally but it was not supported on a MAC and for me, MAC is a MUST.

    Brian in Charlotte
  • Hi Beau!

    The program sounds great, but where did you find the $49 version?

  • I've read the many pages of discussion about Protools and other software. I am new to the home studio set up and started learning ProTools but after reading your column, I am wondering if Sound Forge Audio Studio 9 might be easier. I have a PC that runs Windows XP now but looking to the future, I will need software that will run on Vista 64 bit when I upgrade my computer.
    I can't seem to find any spec's on Sound forge Audio Studio 9. Does it run on XP as well as Vista 64 bit operating system?
    Looking for some "sound" advice before I delve further into ProTools.
  • Stuff stuff and more stuff.

    What's good is what's sounds good to you.

    Beau, That was great what you said about Pro-Tools at VOICE. (I was one of the people who applauded) I've been after the manufacturers and retailers to produce a line of stuff for us and not for rock bands.

    I love Adobe Soundbooth! Single track (for the time being) and all the sound fixes you can use!
    It integrates with the other ADOBE CS3 series. Its designed to be simple, for the average joe doing a corporate production, not the campaign for Chevy or Burger King, but sounds just as good. I love the spectrogram of the frequencies. I've been editing using that lately. Far more accurate and you can edit out sounds inside the wave. (Clicks, tongue noise, Nasal snaps, thumps and mic pops! You can take out all your voice imperfections.

    I'll be back for more comments.
  • Wow. I just downloaded Twisted wave, and recorded a quick demo with it within 1 minute of the download. Beau, you're right, it is amazing. Simple clean and easy. The protools button on my desktop is going into storage.
  • Darren,

    Thanks for your question about Adobe Soundbooth. Yes, I have tried it. There are some nice things about is designed for people who are new to audio, so many of it's features are hidden. I don't like how it navigates, and I cannot find a way to show the TIME of a selection of the audio. If you like it; go for it. Like all Adobe products, it takes sooooooo long to load. Twisted Wave is just so simple, and easy to move around in, I still recommend you try it, if you are a mac guy. If you are in Windows, then I still say Sound Forge is the best audio editor out there.

    It was so great to meet so many of you! As I said, I don't get out much. It is rare that I am faced with people who actually want to hear my plentiful opinions about these things!

    Here are the technical tools I mentioned. Mac OS X audio editor. Twisted Wave. It's everything you need; nothing you don't.

    And, the IP software for Windows that I have been using for years is: AudioTX Communicator. It serves as an over IP transmission system, but I find it to be superior to Source-Connect. And, when used with an ISDN adapter, and an installed ISDN LINE, it will also REPLACE an ISDN codec, such as a Telos Zephyr or CDQ Prima. Or, you can use a bridge connection until the volume of your ISDN bookings justifies the cost of ISDN installation.
    Dave Immer at Digifon provides bridging service for AudioTX and Source-Connect.....and he is a dealer for AudioTX, and can sell you a complete package, and help you through setup.

    THANK YOU for the opportunity to be of service! - Beau
  • Hi Beau, from London, UK.

    I've just read your editorial on Twisted Wave. Yesterday I downloaded Adobe Soundbooth and have been playing with it today. Are you familiar with it? It's so simple to use and the results are fantastic. I can chop and edit with ease and add all he compression and effects you want, to an advanced level, not just pre-sets.

    It also removes hiss, background noise and can even take out a mobile phone ring in the background!! I'm going to carry on with the trial version and will consider buying it. Have you got any thoughts on Soundbooth Beau? They are trialling a new beta version that handles multi-tracks at the moment, but the latest version is perfect for straight reads.


  • Mike I got the EMU 1616...finally got it working right...Rick Party and I had a hellova time! as far as I know it's PC...and there is one for the laptop and desktop as well! Good luck my man! it ain't an easy one! but if you need settings...just reach out to me!

    Jaye Delai
  • Does anyone know anything about the EMU 1616...?? Is it for PCs only?? Laptops only?> I looked a little online but am burnt out on the computer for the day....thought I would ask here before I shut this thing down>>
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