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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  • Hi Tom,
    Actually, it's both: PT and CoreAudio are, indeed, separate--you can use the CoreAudio application to run audio through your MBOX, for instance, and never use or install ProTools--ever. This way, you can use your monitors as general speakers for music and movies, etc., and not use your computer's internal speakers. (Just go to System Preference, Sound, and choose your Digidesign HW for output.)

    But then PT needs CoreAudio to speak to your MBOX, so in that sense, they're integrated. Simply put, PT won't work without CoreAudio, but CoreAudio will work without PT.

    It looks like Digidesign is prepping the release of CoreAudio Driver presently has a place-holder on their support page, but no information and no file as of yet. Perhaps this will solve any problems with TW or Mail or anything else...hopefully you don't have to upgrade to PT8.0 too (though it is VERY nice if you aren't a PT hater).
  • Hey Ed,
    I just stopped by the blog today and read your comments re: core audio driver(s). The conflict I have been having w/iMac + ProTools 7.4.2 is very similar to the problems "Lofty" is having w/TW. I plan to uninstall/reinstall PT 7.4.2 this weekend, which I have to download from the Digi Web and in preparation I've been reading up on stuff. It seems to me that the Drivers are integrated in PT 7.4.2 and yet you seem to say they're a separate item... is that right? As for the conflict w/Mail... if it's open when my iMac hangs, it can't be "forced quit" under the threat of death. Power off is my only about you Lofty?
  • Great advice from Randy--specifically, to uninstall and reinstall the CoreAudio drivers. I keep a copy of the driver installation file on my desktop for just this type of problem. To ensure you've fully uninstalled the CoreAudio driver before re-installing, you may want to run a program like AppTrap (check, free as far as I recall), which tracks down and deletes any file extensions attached to the main application (all those library and plist files and such). Let us know how it goes!
  • I would think if you're having problems with the Digi drivers and Twisted Wave, then you need to either (a.) uninstall and reinstall the Digi drivers, first making sure you have the CURRENT version of the Digi drivers; (b.) make sure your M-Box mini's firmware is up to date; or (c.) try a different sound device. I have a Digi 003 Rack, but I never use it as a sound device except when I'm using Pro Tools (although I have, without incident). But under normal circumstances, I use a different sound device for everything besides Pro Tools. What version of Mac OS are you running? I've heard of occasional problems with Tiger running Twisted Wave, but not Leopard. I use Twisted Wave every day for just about all my VO work, and it's proven to be very stable for me.
  • Hi I too am a Pro Tools hater, as for what I need it for it is like driving a thumb tack with a sledgehammer, over weighted and over complicated. However unfortunately my "crashing/freezing" Dec.16 08 issues with Twisted Wave are continuing despite the best efforts of Mac Medics and Thomas the developer of Twisted Wave to resolve them. It seems there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Email from Thomas:
    I got your file, thanks. My guess is that there is a problem with your
    mbox's CoreAudio Driver. The CoreAudio Driver is a driver provided by
    digidesign, and which is necessary for applications other than
    ProTools to communicate with the mbox.

    If something goes wrong with this driver, this can explain why some
    applications unrelated to TwistedWave, such as Mail, would freeze.

    As you can see when the crash it can also effect "mail" and other programs.
    Does anyone know of any issues with MBox2 Mini conflicting with Twisted Wave. If so what solutions do you suggest. As I love Twisted Wave and don't relish the thought of learning Pro Tools.

    Please help. Cheers. Lofty
  • Hi Patrick

    For basic vocal work reletively slow attack times (around 15ms) and long release times (around 80-130ms) work nicley - they will give the vocals more "punch" allowing them to come through clearer and a 3:1 ratio is about right for most applications. But I would look at these as a place to start from. Adjust them until it sounds just right to you. This can help you to develop a "Signature sound".
  • Tom,

    email me and I will give you some info...It is a piece of cake brother...
  • Ok, ever in pursuit of getting it all together, I finally got to looking into having my own web site... had to step back for a bit as there's so much stuff out there to digest. Any suggestions before I take the plunge... I would like to survive the experience.
  • I love Pro Tools, but I am a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer and also a Production Sound guy for Warner Bros. I say make it harder, just eliminates some of the competition!
  • Yes, you can use the M-Box, M-Box 2, M-Box 2 Pro, M-Box 2 Mini (or any of the firewire Digi devices) as a sound device with your computer -- PC or Mac.

    A couple of caveats:

    1. You must have the Digi drivers installed.

    2. If you're running Windows Vista, this may not work (you may need to be running Windows XP Professional). Last time I talked to Digidesign about their Digi drivers for Vista, they said they had not yet updated the drivers to work with Vista, and from my conversation with them, it appeared this was not a priority to-do item for their developers. This was about a year ago, back when they were still scrambling to get a version of Pro Tools out that would run on Mac OS X 10.5 "Leopard." Of course they've since accomplished that feat, and have even come with a major upgrade to Pro Tools since (version 8). So it's possible that they've finally gone back and updated the Digi drivers to work with Vista. I wouldn't know. I switched to Mac about a year ago.
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