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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  • Hey Joe,
    The JK has worked as well or better than any phone patch I've used in my 23 years as a broadcast technician. A fully digital hybrid is what folks want these days - there's no manually nulling the phone line, which can be a headache - and the JK's auto-null is very good. (There's your caution for buying on ebay. Check out the model and make sure that it's not an analog hybrid or analog with digital enhancement.)

    Unlike the Gentner digital units I've installed in broadcast studios, the JK doesn't seem to have send level issues. I've never had a caller (director in VO's case) complain that the send level is too low and that they can't hear audio. One session I did with NatGeo Asia, the director asked me to turn it down.

    Conversely, with the Gentner's I've used, once I've gotten the send level to a point that is comfortable for the caller, it begins to degrade the local audio.

    The challenge in a small studio is using a limited number of buses and routing the audio where you want it and keeping it out of where you don't want it. The Mackie 802-VLZ3 has 1 aux send (used for mix minus), the main (used for record send to computer) and Aux 3/4 (used for monitoring). It also has separate Control Room monitoring and headphone levels and can monitor either/both the main and alt 3/4.

    As for the JK quality, I was aware that some of the early JK units had problems, but I believe they were power supply issues. I've not had a single problem with the Broadcast Host model.

    The Broadcast host can also be used stand-alone because one of it's two inputs is for mic level and it has headphone outs.
  • Dan and others, I offer a condensed overview on phone hybrids in this group, Click on VIEW ALL in this Discussion Forum and look for Phone Talk. Writing is not my strong point, but the information is sound ;-).
  • Dan,
    In general I agree with your comment about the AP series Genter's, unless they cost less than a DH20 or equivalent Telos. I am skeptical about the JK, I'm glad it works for you but others have found it inadequate. The Gentner AP is better than the JK. Though it's overkill the fancy hybrids (Gentner-CleareOne-Telos)offer some signal processing like AGC. The AP400 & 800 series are also mixers (which is not needed) but also add echo cancellation to both send & receive lines.
  • Thanks
  • Alexis,
    It seems that if you already have a mixing console, all you need is a telephone hybrid and not all that the AP400 or 800 offers (or costs)

    I'm using a JK Audio Broadcast host digital hybrid and it works beautifully with my Mackie 802VLZ3 console. Got it on ebay.

    The Gentner model you may consider is a DH20.

    Depending on your console outputs and monitoring capabilities, you'll have to noodle a bit to get the phone caller to your headphones and not to your record mix, but it can be done.
  • After all of the hair pulling that I have been going through lately with my SONY Sound Forge software, I finally got it working correctly tonight. It required a complete reset to default settings. A simple fix that SONY sent to me as a last resort. I wish it had been the first thing that was sent, because it took only 5 minutes to fix the program!! Sometimes it's the simple solutions which work the best.
  • Dear Joe,
    Do you have any idea if the Genter AP 400 or AP800 would be better for home home studio phone patch or is there something else we should get.

    We need a reliable phone patch for a client right away. Skype is not reliable enough sometimes its great others its barley audible.
  • Victoria,
    What are you asking? In really simple terms we deal with two files types in audio, one is uncompressed (typically .wav on a pc) and compressed (typically mp3). A compressed file is classified by it's bit rate, again between 64k and 256kbps is typical. If you have software to make an mp3 you just pick that rate that is needed. We can explain this more, but I think this is what you are asking. As Al said there is no realtionship between sample rate (44.1k/48k/96k) and data rates which are expressed in kbps (kilo=thousand bits per second).
  • Victoria - Sample rate measured in kHz is not the same as compression data bit rates measured in kbps.

    Bit rates vs. sample rates

    The bit rate simply refers to the number of bits per second that should be devoted to storing the final product-the higher the bit rate, the greater the audio resolution of the final product. This is in effect the amount of compression and/or a control of the output file size trading audio quality for file size.

    Bit rates aren't quite the final arbiter of quality.

    The resolution of audio signal (Think the quality of the original digitized audio source) in general is in large part determined by the number of source samples per second stored in a given format. While bit rates are a measure of the amount of data stored for every second of audio, sample rates measure the frequency with which the signal is stored, and are measured in kiloHertz (kHz), or thousands of samples per second. The standard sample rate of CD audio is 44.1kHz, so this is the default sample rate used by most encoders, and found in most downloadable MP3 files. Audio professionals often work with 48kHz audio (and, more recently, 96kHz.

    Sorry if that was a bit technical...


  • Compressors, serioulsy the RNC & some dbx units are ok in that price range. From there on out you are buying 'a sound', and what compliments your voice may or may not compliment his.
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