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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  • I'm using the same PreSonus, Dan. It a good value for the $.

    Alexis, in simple terms a preamp allows you to modify the sound of your source - in this case, your microphone. It can also be used to supply the 48v some microphones require to operate.
    What a preamp can really do for you is make adjustments for various voices and tonal qualities. Your voice is not the same as your dad's. So you can find a setting for you and one for your dad. Also, a preamp that has compression and gating will allow for variances in high and low volumes. And help remove background noises. Preamps that include EQ allow you to shape your sound to whatever your needs are too.
    I suggest using a preamp's processing like seasoning on food. Use it sparingly to accent your sound, not change it dramatically.

    There are lots of purists who swear that your microphone should not have any processing whatsoever. If you're dealing with a studio that wants that sound, you can simply bypass your preamp's processing. However, there are many (wham-bam) producers out there who expect your audio track to be mix ready, so they can simply add the video, music, etc to complete the project. It doesn't hurt to ask your client or producer what they prefer before you record in your studio.
  • You don't need a preamp separate from the one built into the Onyx 820i, the internal one is quite good. You've got a good start with that unit, it's one of my favorites.
    I am available at if you would like consulting on proper setup of your home studio. I save you a lot of time and get you on track quickly.
  • Thanks, My dad got most of our stuff from Guitar Center, can you tell me in a simple way what a preamp does do I need one?
  • I just got a PreSonus Studio Channel. I think it sounds great, and it only cost me $260 at Guitar Center.
  • Hi,
    We have a Mackie Onix820i mixer.
    My dad just read that if you don't have a preamp separate from your mixer your not really producing a professional sounding recording.

    Do we need an external preamp and if so which one that doesn't cost too much?
    Thank you,
  • I just bought a Rode NTG-3 last week and love it!

    I was able to borrow one for another voice talent friend whose husband is a sound technician. They stumbled onto the NTG-3 when they were looking for a microphone similar to the Sennheiser MKH416. She has a Senn 416 in her home studio but didn't want to pull it out every time she went on the road. So they were able to do side by side comparisons and could not hear any distinguishable difference with their ears.

    Now, is there a diff? Of course. And you can search You Tube for videos which compare the 2 mics in the field. If you're looking to use the microphone outside for video recording, I believe the differences may be more audible - maybe.
    But for a home studio, I think the biggest difference is the price.
    I would also add that if you're not using any type of mic processor, you should choose carefully when buying one. Getting a cheapy processor is often times more damaging to your sound quality than getting a cheap mic.

    Your sound card in your computer should be of good quality too. I use a M-audio 192 because of it's versatility and it is completely compatible with my Pro Tools.
  • Send me a clip of what you're getting from your NT1a, I'll help you determine if it is really a mic you need, or room acoustic treatment, or better mic placement.
  • Yep, should've said Cardiod. Whereas a 416 is a super-cardiod. There we go.
  • For the record, the 416 *is* a condenser mic.
  • I've only been asked by one client what mic I had. The only other folks who ever ask are other VO talent. And that's usually so they can figure out what type of mic they should get.

    Bottom line, though, is whatever sounds good for you. You or your dad may be feeling mic-envy because the studios have a 416, but that feeling may not be justified.

    The only time I ever switch out mics is for singing. I prefer a condenser over a shotgun in that situation, but other than that? Nope. And sometimes I'm a little lazy and don't switch back to the shotgun immediately -- and don't notice too much difference.
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