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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  • Thanks Darla,

    I'm a newbie too.
  • Kirk,
    I use Mic Port Pro and am very happy with it. But then, I am just a beginner and have not used anything else, really.
  • I want to upgrade from my AT2020 USB mic and will need to get a preamp - has anyone had any experience with the Mic Port Pro?

  • I am not recording today because the pc is in the shop due to a nasty virus. Editing continues on laptop...what fun! People who create these viruses are NOT funny!!
  • Dan -

    Based on a couple of decades of experience, including a several consecutive years of near-daily use, I'd proffer you should avoid the AKG 240s based on your needs.

    This isn't to say they're bad phones, quite the contrary, in fact, and probably would work great for many here. I loved 'em, and still do to a degree - I have a set of K240s that's about 8 years old now. But here's why I don't use them nowadays for anything more than casual, on-the-spot monitoring vs daily use in the vocal booth:

    1) Leakage in both directions can be a real problem if you run your cans any sort of hot level (like I do), or get distracted by outside sounds coming in. They've got sort of semi-open ported design that lets air circulate, very comfortable over long stretches, but acoustically is it's Achilles heel in some applications.

    2) I can't count the number of pairs I've seen trashed by talent whipping 'em off their heads and onto a table, or sliding off that table or stand onto a floor. Usual casualties: the delicate wiring connection, or the earpads and the plastic surround they're mounted on, resulting in a functional but wobbly mess on one or both ears. Yes, these are fixable if you order spare parts and you're handy with a soldering iron, but some folks can't be bothered.

    3) The "real" studio 240s have a high impedance (mine are 600 ohms), which requires a solid headphone preamp to drive efficiently. They've come out with a consumer-level version in recent years that addresses this, but some purists say they sound different than the originals.

    4) If you bop around a lot as you read, they'll likely fall off. A LOT. They're designed for long term comfort for studio types and audiophiles, not gymnasts.

    All the above helped factor into my giving my set an early retirement in favor monitors.

    Dude, MUST try 'em.

    They block leakage in and out, stay in your ears better, and sound much better than regular headphones.

    I've used a bunch in recent years, and can tell you upfront, most aren't terribly durable, and you'll pay about as much for a lesser pair as you will for a set of 240s. But most manufacturers give you a 2 year warranty so you can send in your defective pair (which I why I actively rotate through at least 2-3 pairs at any time in case a set dies). The ones that I like most are from Shure, and I actually picked up one of their apparently discontinued entry level pairs as a backup set dirt cheap for Black Friday - the SCL2K (the black version of this):

    I'm probably most impressed by these for VO over anything I've used so far, even Shure's more expensive IEMs and regular headphones. They're far from the best audiophile-wise, but for VO, they have all the right frequencies, and I've gotten ZERO feedback from them, which I've experienced once in a while with others.

    I think the current version is the SE115, and neither are prohibitively expensive, but you MUST get them from an authorized Shure dealer for a warranty claim to be valid. This is important, because there's actually a big black market for Shure IEMs! I probably got mine cheap as a new-old stock deal, and I'd bet others are probably selling them at a discount online for the same reason if you shop around.

    Barring IEMs, the other headphone discovery for VO I found that works great and cheap is the Sennheiser HD201 (thank you George Whittam:
    Amazing value and true sound isolation for under $25, and I've seen these on several holiday sales for $15 shipped this year. Sound quality is pretty decent for the price - again, not audiophile quality - but gets the job done nicely for VO gigs. I did several earlier this year in NYC when all of my IEMs died at once, and they worked great, often better than the more expensive Sennheisers the studios had on hand.

    Lastly, I know many that like the Beyerdynamic DT770's for sound isolation (strangely, I've seen these in a lot of animation studios for some reason). I think I've tried them once or twice and found them a little heavy and didn't fit as well as I liked, but I'd like to try a set again to give them a better assessment.
  • Nope. The only time I use cans is when I'm on a patch. Otherwise I use KRK Rockit 5 monitors.
  • No problem...

    If you're mixing in headphones, and I don't recommend it unless you have to, the K240s are really, REALLY good for that.

    The 7506 cans will bleed, but you have to have 'em CRANKED to make that, hopefully your ears are still in good shape!

    : )


    Mike Bratton
    Voice Guy
  • Thanks Mike!
    I had a session this morning with about 6 people "directing" on the other end of the phone. I could almost listen to their comments in the recording as I prepared it to go to the client. Decided that I have to make a change.
  • I'll check out the Sony 7506s now. You're right, Mike. The K240s do have some openings on the back side.
  • Dan, I have several pairs of the Sony 7506 headphones...have been using them for years and years...most studios I go into have them, or the AKG K240 (but I don't see them as often ). Both are excellent in terms of sound reproduction. The K240s are frankly probably a little more "accurate", but if you're just trying to seal up your ears, and avoid sonic bleed into the mic from your cans, get the Sony 7506 headphones. They seal better. The K240 headphones, while they go over your ears, they are made a little "open" on the back side, so they allow a little more noise out, which can feedback into your mic. I've had this happen before with them.

    Good luck!
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