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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  • thanks for your input Randy...the 18db is from the iMac specs. on the Apple site.
  • Dear Mike Bratton,

    Thanks for all of your comments, sir.

    Any chance of you posting that template soon for ALL of us to have a look at?

    Thanks, man.
  • I have my Neumann just a couple of feet from my iMac. Plus, I've got six external firewire drives daisy-chained in a rack only a couple more feet away. Frankly, the hard drives make more noise than the iMac. The iMac is pretty darn quiet. 18 dB of noise from the iMac? Where'd you get that info. It's by far the quietest computer I've ever had.

    Now, lookit, I'd love to have a Whisper Room to isolate myself from everything making noise. But I'm not sure where I'd put it. So I have to work with these limitations. For now. And I do very few (re: no) "live" sessions. Everything I do is recorded, where I can clean it up if needed. And yes, I use some gating to help reduce noise. But most of my clients have remarked at one time or another at how clean and quiet my room sounds compared to others they've worked with. So draw your own conclusions.

    Would it be best to have all noise in another room? Well, of course. But as computers go, the iMac is about as quiet as any you'll find. (Except when you have a disc in the CD/DVD drive. That thing can make quite a racket.)
  • omg!!....just noticed all the typos....forgive me..I'm in a rush.. off to see John Mayer...very excited!!
  • my last post was re: Logic.....this one strictly concerns noise from an iMAc with respect to using a condeser mic 18 incehes from it. I just need to know if anyone currently records on an iMac with a condenser mic? Currently my PC tower is another room, so I have no noise issues but my concern is if I get an iMac, my mic will pick up the noise from it. The specs say it creates 18db noise...thanks!
  • No problem sir! I totally agree on Twisted Wave...I'm quite happy with it for when I'm on the road. I am always moving fast when I'm out of town, and need to be able to just sit down, plug in, and record. Editing on TW is shockingly easy, and with the Zero definitely makes quick QUIET edits. Which is a plus when you're using your touch pad on your laptop to make edits.

    : )

    Have a great weekend!

    Mike B
  • I can definitely see how it would save you the extra time required to bounce to disc.

    I've always felt like I could edit much faster on Twisted Wave (or Sound Forge or something like it). One thing I really like about TW is the preference you can set that forces edits to the nearest zero crossing, thereby avoiding those unexpected digital pops and clicks.

    But this could prove quite helpful. Thanks, Mike.
  • you could record both tracks, but you can't record on an Aux input. If it's an Auxillary channel, it is only a pass-through. It will always be live. You could setup a second dry channel if you want.

    I have it setup as a template. It takes no time at all, because it's already setup and ready to go. Again, I'm not using a ton of plugins, but I was just giving a tip on how to go ahead and record straight to disk through your plugs, if you are already processing your files in post anyway. It's quicker than bouncing to disk in ProTools. Once the template is setup, there's no post processing like there is in TW either.

    If you record this way, it's simple...

    Click record, talk through your plugs, export file, send to client...

    My radio imaging clients primarily like things pre-processed. Then I just hit bypass on whatever I don't want in the chain for other clients. It really works well for my workflow on a daily basis. Faster than post-processing...again, if any processing is "needed" or "requested"


    Mike Bratton
  • You'll be recording the Mic track (dry) and the Effects track (wet), so you have both versions. If you must use effects for some reason, this is the fast way to get it done in Pro Tools, and allows you to monitor yourself through the effects (but you will have some latency, which is distracting from your performance).
  • So let me get this straight:

    You use as an input into the Aux strip whatever your input is on the back of the digi hardware. Then you instantiate whatever plug-ins you want to record through on the Aux channel. Then, you send the output of Aux channel to a Bus. Then you use the Bus as the input into an Audio track. Then, when you record, you arm BOTH the Aux channel AND the audio channel, so they both record at the same time. The Audio channel would then record the VO AFTER the Aux strip's effects have been applied. Have I got that right? Then it's a simple matter of "Exporting" the region(s) you want from the Audio channel.

    Honestly, Twisted Wave is worlds easier (and faster) than this.

    But please do confirm whether this is the correct work flow. I'd never done it this way, and I'm always open to learn new tricks.
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