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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  • Speed dial huh? Tell him the first step is to admit you have a problem.
    The problem is GA meetings go like this.
    newbie: My name is 'Bob'
    GA group: Hello Bob
    newbie: I want to buy a new Fucusrite compressor.
    GA group: We understand Bob. The Red 7? No way get an 1176, ... are you kidding I only use a Manley Vox. and it just gets worse from there on out.
  • Dear Joe,
    (I was going to write Mr. Nickell but I remember you wrote to call you Joe)

    We are using a Neumann TLM103 (we were using a Rode NT1A but its in for service) and a Mackie 820i with very slight EQ settings that our audio guy suggested after recording each of us (me, my two brothers and my Dad)

    My Dad says he wants to compensate for my high voice and make his voice a little less nasal and slightly more "chesty" (whatever that means) because he wants to do trailer work.

    I think my Dad may have Gear Acquisition Syndrome, he reads a lot of articles and forums, even takes classes, then wants to buy more stuff. He has the cell numbers of individual sales people at Guitar Center and Sam Ash on his speed dial. Is there help for him like AA but for this?

  • This is what wave pad does :The sample rate is the number of times that the amplitude is converted to a number per second. For example, at CD quality recording, your computer stores 44100 numbers per second each representing the amplitude at the specific point in time.

    It can be shown that the maximum possible frequency that can be carried in a sampled sound is exactly half of the sample rate. In reality it is a little less. So for example, a recording made with a 44100 sampling rate will carry frequencies up to 20000Hz.

    A quick guide to sample rates follows

    6000 - Very low quality voice

    8000 - Telephone quality voice

    11025 - Reasonable quality voice - eg. dictation

    22050 - Good quality voice, Reasonable quality music - eg. multimedia CD.

    44100 - CD Quality.
    and more
    how do I know what is 128kbps? thanks
    TIME.IT - Ora Esatta e Fusi Orari
    TIME.IT il sito dell'Ora Esatta e dei Fusi Orari
  • Alexis, years ago a guitar player coined the phrase GAS Guitar Acquisition Syndrome. There is a related form called Gear Acquisition Syndrome. It's a slippery slope. A compressor is used by a lot, probably all pros. Here is the deal, the higher you go the more it costs so you balance it with your gear and budget. I have heard good things about the RNC, I picked up one but haven't tried it yet. The key to using them in most VO is to use it sparingly, so it is not obvious. What kind of mic and pre do you use? Some pres have them built in. Some have a lot of 'color', some a little and some none. United Audio, Focusrite, Manley, Demeter make some high end gear.
  • ok thanks, so now that I know what kbps means
    I have wave pad audio with a converter to MP3 but it does not give me a kbps choice. I can choose a speed but it looks like it is in Hz is there a hz = 128 kbps chart around thanks so much for your help
  • I forgot to include some relevant information in the discussion thread that I started last night. The thread has been amended to include: I am using MXL:VO 1-A condenser mic (this is a signature series mic that is designed specifically for voice-over performers by Harlan Hogan)connected to computer with MicPort Pro Preamp which plugs into USB port of PC and bypasses the sound card. The sound card (Creative Sound Blaster - AISO) is, therefore, bypassed.

    I am hoping that someone can help me.
  • Victoria - I think you mean MP3 at a 128kbps unless they "really" want a MPEG-1 audio and video file system stream.

    With MP3 file encoding, there is a trade-off between the amount of space used and the sound quality of the result. Typically, the you set a bit rate, which specifies how many kilobits the file may use per second of audio (kbps = kilobits per second). The higher the bit rate, the larger the compressed file will be, and, generally, the closer it will sound to the original file.

    Hope that helps!


  • Hi,
    Is a compressor something a home voice over studio should have?

    While I get radio spots and industrials that do their own post recording work, my dad gets a lot of clients that want just want to plug his recording into their site or training video.

    Should he get a compressor, he was looking at the "Really Nice Compressor" from RNC because it has good reviews.
  • what does 128kbps mean?
    I have to turn in an audition in mps at 128kbps? thanks
  • Twistedwave is like Sound Forge for a Mac, but easier to use and a better interface. Audacity can work but has some annoying user interface quirks and bugs.
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