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

Guys,

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. http://twistedwave.com 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'm sold. Beau is about the 5th pro who has endorsed Audio TX. Beau, can you tell us the model of the USB ISDN adapter you use? That would be most helpful. Thanks! :)
  • Very helpful post Beau! I'm gonna read more on the Sound-Streak, which sounds promising.

    Could you please let us know the model of the USB ISDN adapter you use with the Audio TX Software?

    Thanks!

    Jorge Velasco
    Spanish VO Talent
  • Guys,

    This is a post from another forum, that I thought I would repost here......many folks have been asking about ISDN vs. Source-Connect, and other audio over IP applications. Here are my thoughts on the matter:

    ----------------------------------------

    ISDN is not on it's way out. You will hear this only from people who are wishing it were so, because they don't want to invest the money in the hardware. Outside of the audio post production world, the telco ISDN network is rightly seen as a "mature" technology. It is a very early attempt to adapt low bandwidth copper wires to digital network. The infrastructure is old. So, for most general data applications, it is indeed seen as yesterday's network.

    But for voice work, there are some real advantages over IP (internet) connections. Using a codec transceiver, like the Telos Zephyr, the ISDN network at the phone company gives you a rock solid, switched connection. Using IP, the variable is bandwidth on the internet backbone. There are problems with latency and drop outs. And, with some of the IP software, big bandwidth requirements.

    In audio post production, there is a huge installed base of ISDN codecs. Once set up, they are easy to use (this comment obviously applies only to the Telos Zephyr; the CCS CDQ Prima is an engineering nightmare!) They are reliable. It has taken ten years to evolve, but no question about it, it is the standard connection protocol for post production studios.

    Lots of you are excited about Source-Connect. This is actually much more suited to music production that for voice over. But you must understand that the bigger networks and even some of the large post houses will not allow any internet connection into their production network, period. Security issues. Especially studios that have Digidesign software, must be especially wary of internet connection anywhere near their systems.

    Source-Connect requires way too much upstream bandwidth for most home studio users, and for most on-the-road applications. It is buggy and ticklish. Much like Digidesign hardware, if you have a team of engineers that you travel with who can manage it, well, fine. If you are a semi-technical type who has difficulty finding a file on your system that is not in the "My Documents" folder.....Source-Connect is surely not for you.

    A much better alternative is AudioTX. It is PC only software.........but I use it on an Intel mac which I have set up as a dual boot system. That way, I have the best of both worlds.

    AudioTX works two ways. When you add a small USB ISDN adapter, AudioTX is, itself a full blown ISDN codec.....fully compatible with Zephyr and other codecs. So, for about $ 1300.00, (compared to about 4k for Zephyr) you have ISDN. (Yes, of course that means you need the ISDN line from telco).

    The second way it works, is over IP (internet). Which is to say; your client on the other end has AudioTX......you have it.......you connect over the internet. And it only requires about 128kbps of upstrem bandwidth........well under specs of most hotel and consumer broadband connections.

    I usually bridge connect for ISDN sessions, using Out Of Hear, or Digifon. It works like this. Client dials the bridging companies ISDN line. I connect to the bridge company using AudioTX over the internet. Boom. We are connected.

    I have been using AudioTX with a bridge for remote work for about six years. The software is just rock solid. Never fails.

    So, consider this: If you want to be ISDN "ready".......but do not wish to install an ISDN line and purchase a Zephyr at this point, But AudioTX........and offer to pay the cost of a bridging session for any client that wants to do an ISDN session. Then, when the volume of your ISDN bookings justifies it, you can invest the additional dollars.

    Dave Immer at Digifon is a rep for AudioTX, and will tech-support you through the installation.

    But, no, boys and girls, ISDN is not on it's way out. It's just getting started.

    There is another connection technology for whom I have been a beta tester, called SoundStreak. It actually has advantages over all the current systems. And ISDN connection using a codec like the Zephyr, is digital, but many folks don't understand that it is highly compressed. It is comparable to a 128kbps mp3 file. (Actually, Mpeg layer 2). So, it is much degraded from an uncompressed .wav or .aif file. SoundStreak is a browser based systyem, that has you install a simple helper app, but which will record uncompressed files on your system, and upload them to the client via ftp in the background , completely transparently to the talent. It will also allow you to read to picture in a browser window.

    So, rather than trying to jam full bandwidth audio down the internet connection in real time, Sound-Streak records it on your local system (without any action required by you), then in between takes, it uploads it automatically to the producer in the background. So, if your internet connection is slow, it will take a little longer, but it will still get there.......and the producer has native, uncompressed audio files. And the technical knowledge required on the talent side is almost zero.

    Sound-Streak is still in beta, and I am continuing tests......but it has the potential to be a real game changer.

    I'll keep you posted.


    Beau Weaver
  • Beau---I am trying your rec. for Twisted Wave....I have HAD it not only with my PC and Adobe, but cannot wrap my brain around the ProTools on my Apple (I will save it for my music projects only, anyway).
    Argh:)S
  • Hey Beau et al---
    I am having a major problem with my Adobe Audition 2.0---any ideas, anyone>
    this problem is new: when I start to record a new mono track through my mic (the mic is plugged into a Line 6 Gearbox then via USB to my computer), there is constant static both audible and visible on the wave display....
    this is new. I have been using Adobe for almost 2 years now (originally through an MAudio interface, also through usb).
    this latest Shure mic is the third one I've tested...I have also tested the cables.
    All Windows adjustments are made so that Adobe is not going though Windows Sound card.
    Latency is set to low.
    It is completely unuseable and not correctable via noise reduction as any actual recording over the hiss sounds distant and yet peaks immediately, even at the quietest speaking tone.

    Yes, this has all worked fine in the past. With this same computer, cable, internet connection and same type of work.
    I switched to the Line 6 from the MAudio to see if that was the issue. Have tried 3 different condensor mics (which have been tested elsewhere and have proven to have no problems)
  • A question for someone out there in the universe who knows their software. (I am assuming it is a software issue but maybe not?) I use Adobe Audition 2.0 with my PC and a Preconus Fire Box. I have the main level knob cranked to the max and my levels are okay if I am speaking normally but if I'm asked for a softer read or a whisper I would have unacceptable levels . I have used the amplify effect but that can increase ambient noise too. I just don't know what I'm missing to have levels much higher. Any suggetions?
    Thanks a million!
    Greg Hamilton
  • Simple question: speakers - what kind should I get?
    I have a G5 Mac, use M-Audio Firewire, just got the MXL 909 mic. I have Bose computer speakers right now, but they are good for just playing music in a room, not too loud. I just want something reliable and affordable that will honestly represent the sound of the recordings I'll be sending out...does that make sense? Thanks for any advice!
  • When it rains... it Floods.

    Lost my mic chain and DAW computer to a flood and am waiting for insurance to mail the check.

    I'm looking for High / Medium High end sugestions on Mic chain. Right now I'm looking at either a U87 or 416 for the Mic... and either the vt737 or Liquid Channel for the Pre... Any sugestions?
  • Bonnie - am sorry to say I do not have a Mic Mate. I looked at it and decided to go with the MicPort Pro by Centrence. it's a little more expensive, but it has one feature the Mic Mate doesn't - a headphone output. This allows monitoring directly off of the unit without the latency of listening through the computer. It's good and loud too. (headphone) ONly problem I have experienced so far is that since both the USB and headphone cords are directly plugged into the unit, which is plugged into the mic you have to be very careful moving or touching the cords while recording. They are very efficient transmitters of bumps and rubs, which will show up on your recordings. My recordings have been very clean. It really simplifies things, especially when traveling. On your other question, TwistedWave is a mac only program. It requires OSX 10.4 or above. Not sure why the MBox wouldn't work with another application. Worth a try. If it doesn't work maake a quick trip to eBay to sell it and get one of the little presonus fireboxes, or similar.
  • Does anyone have any experience with the Mic Mate? It is a preamp that turns a mic on an XLR cable into a usb mic.
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