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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Comments

  • Re: ProTools:

    Scanning the posts, I see some questions about ProTools not working. I field phone calls every week from VO talent who find that ProTools will not launch.

    Here is the deal: Apple software update must be disabled.

    Everytime (almost) that Apple patches the OS....that is, when you see the Software Update dialog box that tells you that New Software is available for your computer You must not click Install!

    Digidesign will tell you, if you press them, that ProTools should only be installed on a dedicated computer that is not used for any other purpose, and which is not connected to the internet. Yes. You heard me. One computer for ProTools. One computer for everything else. Once you get ProTools working on a particular machine, don't ever change any settings ever again!

    Pro recording studios have a staff on engineers, mostly for keeping track of all the arcane minutia required to keep ProTools working. If you do not have a staff of engineers, and spare computers, then I recommend that you use anything but ProTools in your studio. It needs it's own private sandbox to operate in, and does not cooperate with any other use of the computer.

    If you are a music producer, or a post production house doing lock to picture stuff, and can afford the hardware and support ProTools requires, then it is a great solution.

    For recording a single track of voice over in a home studio, it is such massive overkill, that there is just no reason to go through the headaches, no, nightmares that it will send your way.

    Again, I point you to Twisted Wave for mac OS X and Sound Forge for PC.

    I know it seems like ProTools is more "Professional" because it has "Pro" in the name, but remember, that "Pro" in the name really means "Professional Recording Studio Engineer".

    If you are a person who is new to recording, or intimidated by high end computer software, stay away from ProTools!

    I know I sound cranky about this, but I have to go through this weekly with someone, often in actual tears, who is in the middle of an important job, when ProTools decided to hose them.

    Word up yo.

    Beauregard
  • Thx so much Randy. I have been getting acquainted with Audition and found it. Now it is just a matter of finding the right compression settings...Thx again..
  • Answers to two questions posted...

    First, Tom Dolan asked whether there's a way of de-breathing tracks in Pro Tools. The short answer is, yes, but it requires a third-party plug-in. Waves makes something called "De-Breath." I've used it (both in Pro Tools and in Twisted Wave). I eventually stopped using it because it occasionally clipped out portions of audio I didn't want removed. For a while I thought there was something weird going on with my sound device. But once I removed that plug-in from the chain, the problem was gone. Eventually I'll probably go back in and tweak the settings a bit.

    Second, Luis Acevedo asked if there was a compressor plug-in in Adobe Audition 1.5. The answer is, yes, sort of. Audition's compressor is a hybrid plug-in that's a compressor/expander/gate (although it's used mostly as a compressor). Look in Effects>Dynamics>Dynamic Processor.
  • Mornin' folks,
    Ran into a real troubling conflict in iTunes over the weekend. Had to dump several ProTools-n-other audio files as part of the fix. I've read several times where many people dislike iTunes for it's "problems" and was wondering: if I broom it from my iMac, what do I replace it with? What other audio/music/sound file system might be more stable, better, friendlier?
  • Guys...does Adobe Audition 1.5 have a compressor plug in? if so, can you tell me where and tell me where I can and how to download one? Thx...I love Audition...
  • Tom -

    Try the Strip Silence tool. I believe it's COMMAND-U. A little tweaking on the dB sensitivity and you should get rid of most, if not all of your breaths with the press of one button.
  • Good Mornin'
    In spite of the fact that I believe there is a "conflict" goin' on between my iMac and ProTools, I'm really beginning to like PT. That said, I have yet to discover a really quik/neat/efficient method of de-Breathing my tracks. That alone might get me looking at other software in the future but for now I got what I've got, so any techniques or plug-ins or something that would simplify the task? I'm kinda surprised that freebie Audacity has some tool and yet all encompassing PT doesn't? Wish I knew all this stuff before I spent my money! Thanx for any help. Tom
  • Ed - I don't think you can go wrong with any of those options. My preference would be the Canare. I like the noise rejection it allows.
  • Am doing a studio revamp and am at the cabling stage...going to either go with gold-plated Mogami or have some customs done by Blue Jeans Cable, but I'd be at a loss to determine between the two cables they have: Belden 1800F or Canare L-4E6S Star Quad.

    The Belden's are STP (shielded twisted-pair), low-capacitance (13pF/ft), "french braid" shielded and are AES/EBU 110 ohm.

    The Canare use two pairs of conductors for excellent noise rejection, but have a higher capacitance.

    I have a feeling I can't really go wrong with any of these cables, but I'm having a tough time wrapping my head around capacitance and whether, if I was choosing (and I am), I'd go with the lower capacitance, high flex Belden cables, the higher noise rejection but higher capacitance Canare cables, or go just go with Mogami and call it a day.

    Any thoughts?
  • Mike, download Audacity (it's free) from sourceforge.net. After installation,go into the effects section. You'll find a click remover and noise remover. Use the noise removal tool for mouth noises. Works great.
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