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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  • The difference, as far as I can tell, is in work flow. There's certain functionality built into TW that you don't get in Audacity. Not that Audacity WON'T perform certain functions that TW will. It's just that HOW it's performed in the two apps is marginally different, and I've found that for editing VO, TW is just faster and more efficient. When you're crankin' out voice tracks all day, a few second here and a few key strokes there adds up...saves time in the long run.
  • TwistedWave seems to have gone up to $79, still not a lot, but not $49. What does it compare to Audacity?
  • Anyone know if Adobe Soundbooth CS4 has "Watermarking" for the clips???
  • Hey Folks..Is anyone using the porta booth...if so ...Did you send off for it or can you pick it up somewhere like a guitar center...What about the 300.00 reflection filter...HELP
  • Hey Beau, thanks for the info. Will definitely check it out!

  • Randy, you the man, I couldn't have said it better, even if I had the time!
  • Agreed. Pro Tools is fine for multi-track production. There's no better tool, frankly. (Although I'm certain fans of Apple's Logic would argue the point, and for certain MIDI tasks, I might agree.) But if recording, editing and adding effects to dry voice tracks is all you're doing, Pro Tools is like taking a scalpel when a pocket knife is really all you need. When I first discovered Twisted Wave, it was a nice little app that was designed for podcasters and amateur audiophiles. When I started corresponding with the software's developer and told him it was close, but needed some tweaking, to becoming a usable tool for professionals, he was surprisingly responsive to my suggestions to improve the application. We must have exchanged 25 emails over the course of a month or two, and each time he had incorporated another change or two I requested. Each request I made, quite frankly, was to get the application to allow me to more closely approximate the work flow I used when I was a Windows user and was using Sony Sound Forge for my VO. Now, while the two products are decidedly different in many ways, my work flow in Twisted Wave is virtually identical, right down to the keyboard shortcuts that I've been able to program to perform certain repeating tasks (like reducing volume in a section of audio to 0 and adding a 1,000 Hz tone, which I use occasionally to separate portions of my voice tracks). But most importantly, it allows me to create and save "Effect Stacks" (processing chains) that I can call up and apply. This important functionality, surprisingly, is missing from several of the other Mac-only audio editors that are out there. Twisted Wave's ease-of-use, coupled with the horsepower it offers under the hood, made it an ideal solution for Mac users doing VO. For multi-track production, mixing, and producing, Pro Tools, as much of a pain in the ass that it is, is still my choice. But honestly, it's the real-time "Bounce to Disc," as much as anything, that turned me off to Pro Tools when I started using it for simple VO editing. I mean, after I've gone through the file and edited out all the outtakes, I really don't want to sit through and listen to the whole damn thing again. For VO, Twisted Wave is the way to go. Moral: There's a right tool for everything.
  • Claudia:
    What sets off a red light for me is: "... I have to use it because I've had it for a while now." What we neglected to ask is what are you producing? Is your goal just to record an audition voice track and email and MP3, or are you creating a mix with music?
    Just because you invested in Pro Tools, and assuming you have an Mbox, doesn't mean you are stuck using Pro Tools. The Mbox will work just fine with Twisted Wave as well. The two do compliment each other, as there is a time and place to use PT rather than TW if your goal is to produce a mix or a demo.
    However, if you goal is to bang out VO auditions or jobs, then TW all the way!
  • Thanks, George, for the kind remarks. Permission granted. Heck, it's free to the whole world on iTunes anyway. :-) I'd been meaning to launch this sort of thing as a podcast anyway. It's something that's intrigued me for a while (podcasting). Like you, I used to teach Pro Tools (and Adobe Audition, and Avid and Final Cut Pro and a few other things) at a broadcasting school here in Atlanta, so I'm used to walking through this stuff with relative newbies. In addition to VO work, I also fiddle around with video production (and of course I've done audio production my whole life, although I'm trying my best to do as little as possible these days as my VO work has dominated my time -- and I prefer it that way). Over the years, I've encountered countless video professionals who are totally clueless when it comes to audio. That's where I first got the idea of doing screencast tutorials on audio production techniques and software. But this little VU chatboard started by my dear, longtime friend Beau Weaver, and Claudia's request for help with Pro Tools in particular, just prompted me to get off my lazy ass and do something about it. As time permits, I'm sure I'll post more for anyone who might subscribe to the podcast on iTunes. (As if time might actually permit. LOL!) Oh, and for the record, I never use Pro Tools for VO *unless* I have to do some digital time-squeezing on the voice track for whatever reason. PT's time compression utility runs circles around any other I've found. But for down-'n-dirty VO work, Twisted Wave is my app of choice. Has been for going on two years now.
  • Randy:
    Fantastic work, Randy! I create tutorials like these for my clients all the time, but the production value afforded by Camtasia really takes it up an notch.
    I teach Pro Tools workshops in Los Angeles to voice-over actors. I would love to be able to give access to your tutorial to my students as a nice way to supplement, with your permission. How nice of you to "give it away" to the VU community, I hope everyone appreciates your efforts!
    And if all this stuff still blows your mind, use Twisted Wave.
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