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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  • It sounds like there is nothing wrong with your recording. I know that some audio/video controls for websites set the volume to a default amount.

    For example, when you add a player to a web page, you generally have to specify a default volume. That's the volume that will be playing when the web page is first loaded, and before the user changes it to his liking. You may have something that going on.
  • H all,
    When I insert a voice track into my website the volume is about 2/3 of original track, however my studio recorded tracks sound good on the site. Also my recording sounds good when played back through Sony Sound Forge 9 but not on the website. I'm using a Harlan Hogan VO-1 mic, Micport Pro through a HP Notebook PC. Any suggestions would be really appreciated. Thanks, Gary Hood
  • Hey Victoria -

    You'll want to do it in the exact opposite order. Your coach/producer/director is your primary choice, and they usually have an engineer and/or studio where they prefer to work, so that takes care of the studio question.
  • How do you know how to pick a good studio for you VO demo? and when you find it do you have a VO coach with you too? thanks
  • My new AKG-K77 earphones finally came. Boy what a difference they make! Now, if I could just learn how to edit and do special sound FX.
  • Thank you Mr. Von Loewe, I will pass that on to my dad.
  • Alexis asked on Sept 13:
    "I found it awkward to use Audacity because every time you stop the recording, it makes another track under the previous one.
    Am I using it wrong or is there a way to work around that?"

    Alexis, if you want to pause during a recording, just hit "P" and Audacity will pause. Then hit P again when you're ready to re-start on the same track. Of course, if you want to start a new track that you want to append to the first, once you've finished the new, second track, hit F5, and you can slide the new track to butt up against the first. When you export as an MP3 the two will combine into one consecutive track.
  • Thanks for the comments, gents..
  • Hey Gord,
    I use Cool Edit 2.0 (very similar to Audtion 1.x) and have found a few tools that are native to the program that are very helpful. For small lip-smacks and clicks, use highlight the area and use the record click-and-pop eliminator.

    For breaths, I usually minimize (but not eliminate) them with an envelope preset that is a "volume-dip".

    Much of a popped P can be eliminated using the "Kill Mic Rumble" preset in the FFT filter area.

    As for speeding up the process, I've assigned click-and-pop eliminator to the "C" key (for clicks), the "volume-dip" to the V (because it's kind of shaped like a V) and the Kill mic rumble to the letter "B" (because it's killing bass).

    During editing, when I run across one the the maladies, I simply highlight what I want to correct and press the appropriate hot-key and BOOM it's done and I'm on to the next section. No mousing up to menus or using multiple key strokes.

    Do be careful about using the click-and-pop eliminator on long sections as it can create unwanted digital artifacts on things that aren't really clicks or pops.

    (Assign the hot keys under "Options >> Shortcuts").

  • Gord, I have one more thought.

    If you decide to use the Audition Adaptive Noise Reduction plugin, then you need to record 10 seconds of room tone at the beginning of all your files. It takes around 7 seconds for the plugin to fully reduce any noise. You can edit out the room tone during editing.

    Actually, no matter what you are recording, and it you don't even need noise reduction, recording 10 seconds of room tone at the beginning of each file is a good idea.
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