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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  • Hi Christine, Follow Walt's advice and play around with the settings in your computers control panel. The SoftPre download is not compatible with Windows Vista. Thats what I run on my laptop and depending on what I'm recording, I have to constantly make adjustments. Can't wait to get a new laptop, not much out there is compatible with Vista!!!
  • Hi Christine,
    I'm guessing you have the USB connection type Samson. It does not need a preamp so you should be good there. But, what type of sound card do you have in your laptop? If it's just the standard on-board type (built into your motherboard, you need to find the audio control panel (look under Control Panel window) and check the record level input. You may have some level control there that you can adjust to bring up the record level (different than Playback level).
    If you've upgraded your PC with a better sound card - you will definitely have an audio panel with controls that should bring you up to a good level. You can also go to the Samson website and download SoftPre applet free. It should help you control your levels better.

    Hope that helps!
  • Hey Beau and all. I have just connected my Samson CO1U to my laptop and am having problems with volume levels. I know that I have a higher range voice. I am using Audacity and Samson Pre. Is this a mic I need to get up close and personal with or what. Thanks for the help. Blessings:)
  • Hi,

    I have a problem with my Tascam US 122 working with Windows 7. I cannot keep it connected or it crashes my system. Can anyone give me any advice on this.

    Thanks in advance.
  • Walt, excellent advice, thank you. I've been coached by several folks about the length of a demo, and have concluded that they're interested in hearing longer clips to guage your "stamina" and hear how you interpret conversations between two or more characters. However, getting said demo out was baffling me and I didn't want to advertise my lack of tech saavy!
    Michael, I appreciate your 2 cents too! Thanks for taking the time to respond.
    Ann
  • Hi Anne,

    I would say your audiobook demo should be no longer than 3 or 4 minutes. My thought on this subject is to pick 6-8 different pieces that are 30-40 seconds each... and as always, put the strongest stuff up front. Just my $0.02!
  • The most common way of sending BIG files is via a site like YouSendIt or some type of private FTP. Either way, you'll be asking the publisher to download from a link. This should not be something they should be uncomfortable doing. I would recommend asking them which method THEY prefer. Don't be shy to make initial contact and explain what you would like to do. Once they are expecting your demo, they should not have an issue downloading the demo.
    Of course you can also put your demo on a disc and mail it.
  • Regarding emailing an audiobook demo, which can be upwards of 10-15 minutes of audio, what is the best way to send that, when sending an introductory email to publishers? I'm already with YouSendIt.com, and have used that several times easily and I love it, but will a publisher go to the trouble of going to a link and downloading a file for an artist he/she has never heard of before? (am I not giving them enough credit?) I would think it would be best to attach the file to an email message. But it is obviously going to be a BIG file. I am thinking this group is the best place to reveal my ignorance and get some guidance...
  • Thanks Ed!! and yes that's true, so it's probably a much lower number than 18db based on distance from mic. have a Rode NT1000 and have had no complaints over the past 5 yrs. I've been using it. But I will take your suggestion on recording to an external drive once I get the iMac. I have a very low noise room floor with sound baffles so it's just making this switch that has got me a little concerned. Thanks for everyone's input....that's what needed to compare apples to apples (no pun intended :) and now I can move forward.
  • Don't forget to bear in mind that the further away you get from the iMac's 18db, the fewer dbs we're talking about. I can barely, if at all, hear my iMac 18 inches away from it.

    Also, another noise contender can be the mic itself. Each mic has an inherent self-noise db as well, so it largely comes down to mic position. You'll obviously want to pick up a mic with a low db and position it properly, to cancel out or minimize any noise coming from your computer.

    Lastly, as Randy rightly notes -- noise from hard drives. If you record your session onto your main hard drive, and your hard drive is 18 inches away from your mic, you MAY pick up that noise if the drive is write-heavy at the time. Best to record to an external drive, firewire preferred, and keep it further away from your mic position.

    I also don't have a Whisper Room, though you'd be hard pressed to notice. The mic you choose, mic positioning, some basic sound isolation and proper gating can make all the difference in the world. I'd be shocked if an iMac's 18db had any discernible effect...unless you are deliberately recording it, that is.
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