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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  • No one "needs" a particular style of mic. What you need is a mic that you sound great on, and one that you're happy with. If that's the mic you have, then so be it. I have never had a client ask me what mic I'm using. They only care that it sounds good. There's no need to add a shotgun just because that's what you see in certain studios. What matters is the sound of what's coming out of your own studio. Would a 416 make it better? Who knows? Try one out (rent one if you have to) and find out. Otherwise, if you're satisfied with the sound you're getting now and nobody's suggested that there are any problems with the sound they're hearing from your room, then what's all the fuss about?
  • Thank you all.
  • Thank you Mr. Whittam,
    Do you think we need a shotgun mic if we are going for animation (for me) and promo work (my dad) or is our NT1A enough.

  • There used to be a chain of music stores called Mars Music. God, I miss that place. They had a mic room where you could go in and compare literally hundreds of different mics. I remember when I was first shopping for my first condenser mic, I made the trip (about 150 miles) to the nearest Mars Music store just so I could record myself on several different mics, then bring the DAT tape back to my studio so I could hear it in an environment with which I was familiar before making a decision. I'm frankly surprised that some major chain hasn't latched on to this idea and set up a "mic room" where you can compare the sound of your voice on several different mics.
  • Alexis - definitely test them. Check around your area (internet search, yellow pages if you still have one) for studios that rent out equipment. You can often rent either or both of these mics for $25-$35 a day.

    That said, you probably have friends at a studio who have the 416, so concentrate on renting a NTG3. Ask to either borrow the 416 for a couple hours or to bring the NTG3 to their studio. If that avenue doesn't work, some studios have a "$10 for 10 minutes" thing, where they'll record your audition and upload it to your agent. Instead, use those 10 minutes to switch out and test the mic against the 416.

    Worst case scenario would be to go to Guitar Center. If they don't have either mic in stock, you can special order it with a 50% deposit on each mic. You can't take them home to test, but you can bring a mic in to test against and, thankfully, you're under no obligation to actually buy the special-ordered mic.

    Good luck.
  • The Rode NTG3 is an excellent alternative to the 416, many are finding them a very good substitute. You'll save $500 and be quite happy with the results.
  • Thank you Mr. Brown,

    This tec stuff is all new to me. I wish there was some way I could compare mics before buying, Its hard to know what is best for both my voice and my dad's without spending huge amounts of money.

    My dad said he heard a side by side and on you-tube of the one of the Sennheiser mics I don't know if it was the 416 and the Rode and it was very close. My dad knows more than me but this is new to him too so we really appreciate you more experienced talents taking the time to help us out.

  • Don't get just any shotgun. Studios use the Sennheiser MKH416 not just because it's a shotgun and for the noise cancelling characteristics that a shotgun affords. They choose this particular mic because of its sound. I used this Sennheiser for a few years in my studio, then switched to a Neumann a few years ago (when I decided to deploy the shotgun to my portable video rig). But now I'm shooting less video and spending more time in the studio, so I'm seriously thinking about buying a second one. Nothing sounds quite like the 416.
  • Hi everyone.
    Can anyone please tell me if we should have a shotgun mic in addition to our condenser mic?

    Our home studio has a Rode NT1A condenser (which my dad calls his "poor man's Neumann") which works great.

    But I noticed that at one studio in Burbank where I have auditioned for cartoons and on both "Ask Joe" and the "Big Gun" blogs, they use a shotgun mic for promo work. So should we have one too?

    My dad thinks the Rode NTG 3 may be a good choice since a Senn is out of our range right now.

    Thank you

  • Hello all. Is anyone having any trouble with Twitter? I've got nothing but grief with them. Some one spammed with my Twit ID and they deleted my password and then sent me an email about it with a link to fix it and get back on. As a result I had to try to Login but I can't login but I MUST login but I can't login but I MUST login but I can't infinitum. Are they just a bunch of idiots or morons there??? How can I login when they take away my ability to login???? What idiots!!!!!!
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