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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  • Alexis,
    One approach on what to buy, is to ask you top 2 or 3 clients what they have. If if fits your budget great. Their engineer might have a lower priced suggestion for a comparable sounding monitor.
  • Thanks guys
  • Hey Alexis,
    Stereo speakers may or may not accurately reproduce the true characteristics of the sound. Studio monitors (especially newer ones) are highly engineered to provide an accurate representation of the true sound.

    Another difference can be the area which the speaker is intended to cover. home stereo speakers are intended to fill your whole room, studio monitors typically have a more narrow "sweet spot". That is an area in front of the speakers where frequency duplication is most accurate. As you move to the left or right (or for that matter up or down) of the sweet spot, the high end - sibilant sounds fall away and the sound is muddy. Other frequencies change as well but may go up or down.
  • One million dollars, jk.
    But seriously, consumer 'stereo' speakers are sold to average consumers so that marketing and looks are important, and more important they may have a 'cool' or desirable hip sound. The problem is that cool sound may not be realistic, or unbiased.

    When you do studio work, you want to know that you have a pretty objective perspective on how it sounds. So studio speakers are often said to be uncolored. While stereo speakers may have a 'hyped' or emphasize bass or high end frequencies. The problem is if 'your' speaker sounds bright, and you use it for a reference it won't sound bright on other speakers.

    Having said that most studio speakers don't sound anything alike. Oh dread. There are many favorites, big studios will often have custom built speakers that are as expensive as a car. In the $2k+/- range Genelec is a standard, in the under $1k range Mackie is popular, I like Blue Sky (in the middle) , and then there is Event, KRK and a host of others in the $200 to $600 range. JBL 4410s and EVs were once a standard in radio work. Yamaha NS10s used to be the standard for 'little' reference speakers.
  • Can anyone tell me what the diff. is between stereo speakers and "studio monitors."

    Our little Bose speakers got messed up and we are wondering what they should be replaced with.
  • Oh, that was your Dad, Alexis! Sorry I didn't realize we'd already had a relationship. Always happy to provide a service the VO community needs and deserves...
  • And he just saved us the money my dad would have spent on a preamp we didn't need.
  • George helped my dad with Source Connect and was nice enough to listen to samples from our booth and advised us about our set up. He's the best.
  • Alexis: I know George and he really knows his stuff, a real pro. He can save you a lot of time and will help educate you. Best, Al
  • Now I understand.
    Thanks to all of you we really appreciate the help.

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