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 use Skype everyday as my office phone, love it. The video chat quality is pretty amazing, too. I can be anywhere in the world with an Internet connection, and people can reach me with the same phone number.
  • Hey Jack,

    Skype is a (relatively) high quality computer-to-computer, or computer-to-phone or phone-to-phone communications medium. The computer-to-computer mode is free to use, but for consistent quality requires a stable computer and reliable bandwidth over the internet.

    Voice quality is markedly better than telephone and exhibits about the same delay as a cell phone (perhaps a tiny bit longer). It can be used with video, but obviously requires higher bandwidth to support both video and audio.

    I expect that skype or its competitors will continue to grow and increase in use to replace phone-patch, but the quality is not sufficient to pass a "studio quality" signal.

    Using it to replace phone patch for session direction is highly likely as skype gains popularity, but it may require a separate computer just for skype if your sound card cannot support both recording and encoding for skype.

    I use skpye daily on my radio show. Our traffic guy works from home and "skypes-in". It's essentially like using a telephone only the quality is better and the system is free - presuming you have a computer and high speed internet onf both ends.

    Skype is not without fault. There are times when it just drops out. Other times the public internet does not allow sufficient bandwidth to maintain a high quality signal - so skype automatically dials back the audio bandwidth to maintain its connection as long as possible.

    As skype increases in popularity and the available bandwidth continues to increase with the building and improvement of the internet structure, I can imagine the day when skype will replace a standard phone-patch, but that day is a few months (or years) away.

  • Anyone tell me something about Skype?
  • Claudia:

    You can get Pro Tools 101 Official Courseware, Version 8 on Amazon for $31.49 with free shipping. This is the actual Digidesign self paced course. The included DVD-ROM offers tutorial files and videos, additional documentation, and Pro Tools sessions to accompany the projects in the text.

    Disclaimer - I am not affiliated with Amazon or Digidesign or Avid.

  • Absolutely! Thanks for your response!
  • Gosh, a start-to-finish tutorial on how to record VO in Pro Tools probably goes a bit beyond what a forum like this is designed to offer. We'd be here a while. But I can tell you there are some fabulous DVD tutorials on Pro Tools out there, available for sale at a reasonable price. It's how I learned Pro Tools. Once you get the basics down, the rest is gravy. And if you're gonna do this for a living, don't you want a firm grasp of the basics, not just "tips?"
  • Hey,
    I'm a newbie here and I have Pro Tools. I know you hate it but I have to use it because I've had it for a while now. I still don't know what I'm doing in it but I've already invested the money. Any one out there willing to give me "start to finish" tips in Pro Tools, to record voiceovers?
  • George: First I hope you and your's had a safe and happy holiday! Second, Thanks! I'll look at both options. My T-Mobile reference is for their @home services which is a VOIP interface adapter for landline equivalent services. I assume the AutoHybrid is the right solution there mixing voice/playback from the MBox 2 Pro out to the phone patch and taking the in-bound phone from the AutoHybrid to a separate bus on the MBOx 2 Pro so I can hear the caller in my headphones. BTW - I expect to have a booth in place in March and then I'll be calling on you. I also picked up a Senn MKH 416 P48. Also saw you on "Ask Joe", great stuff! Best, Al
  • Hi Alton:
    Check out the Magic Jack and get a JK Audio Autohybrid. You'll need to setup a recording template in Pro Tools with the correct bussing to get the audio to/from the hybrid, but it should be a piece of cake with the Mbox Pro. Another option if you don't mind using only T-mobile is the JK Audio Daptor Two or Daptor Three (bluetooth).
  • Need some quick direction on implementing a phone patch. I have the following studio/audio chain:

    Mic via XLR to DBX 286A via TRS to MBox 2 Pro via FW400 to Mac Pro to Pro Tools 8.0.3. I'm presently using Input 1 TRS Line input from the combo jack on the back of the MBox 2 Pro. I have the Monitor Output going from a 1/4" TS to RCA Phono into a Sonamp 260 powering my JBL monitor speakers. I have cable modem internet with local WiFi and/or RJ45 100 BaseT. Mac Pro also has BT and WiFi. Today I do not have a POTs voice line only GSM Cellular although I could set-up something like Vonage or T-Mobile@Home VOIP. TIA - Al
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