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

Guys,

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. http://twistedwave.com 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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Comments

  • Hey Ed!

     

    Didn't you just move into the Marina? Measure the periodicity. Odds are you're getting whacked by a rotating radar antenna. If it's easy, take the rig somewhere else in the building (especially the basement) or somewhere else entirely and try it out. You could also try running it off a UPS with no AC input to see if it's RFI being conducted via the power line, or swapping out the CPU for a laptop while keeping the rest of the rig intact.

  • Hi Joe -

    I'd say it happens no more than once every 30 seconds, but that's frequent enough if recording an audiobook.

     

    I've done the whole "restart, kill background apps" process to little avail. MBOX (USB) vs. 002 (FW400), still had the problem. MKH-60 vs. Mojave FET-201, same problem. John Hardy M-2 vs. Aphex 230, same problem.

     

    Could it be a cord? A crossed wire someplace? A ground issue? The battery backup/power supply? It's the only loose end I've got, but it's maddening when recording anything longer than an audition.

     

    Thanks in advance.

  • Hi

    I'de like to ask if anyone has a RME Babyface Sound Interface and what do you think of it?

  • That's why I'm going with a John Hardy pre. He hand-builds these things to exacting specs and pays attention to things like shielding. There are sufficient numbers of John Hardy pres in major studios around the world to tell me that this guy knows his stuff, and has written reams of highly-technical stuff on the importance of shielding, using the right size and make-up of transformer, preserving the signal path from capacitor spear, and all this stuff. In doing my research I've learned alot about which stuff sounds good but also WHY it sounds good. I only want to buy the gear once, then park it, set it and forget it - and just focus on the performance. I could have bought a small car for the money I've shelled out for this kit, but worth it in the end, methinks. I'm going to be doing this long into my retirement......Thanks for the response, Joe
  • Ed's nagging mystery - How often? try shutting down processes?

     

  • Gordon, sounds Golden to me. (see pin 1 comment at the end)

    I carry a Jensen transformer iso box with me for trouble shooting and system commisioning. It saves me and the client the cost of a return trip.

    The downside of all this inexpensive gear we have is that transformers are expensive. They are heavy too if you put 20 or 30 of them in a mixer. Plus to have good low frequency response they have to be relatively large (ie a cubic inch not a cubix half-inch). 

    Transformers are also inherently good at ignoring RF, so they were really called for in broadcast environments.

     

    Many professionals call audio hum sensitivity a 'Pin 1 problem'. Pin 1 on an XLR is shield. Well design equipement keeps that shield path away from the audio circuitry. Starting in the 90s with 'cheap' mixers and now overseas cheap mass production techniques do not have well designed shield paths. So they show more noise and hum problems.

     

  • Joe...FYI I am transformer-heavy. My primary mic is transformer-equipped (a U87), which is about to feed a John Hardy M-1 for my primary outboard mic pre (Jensen transformers in and out) into a Universal Audio 6176 which is also transformer-coupled. The latter goes right to my outboard sound card. Does that combo sound like a reasonable response to potential noisy power?
  • From the safety p.o.v. you are right Joe - and here in UK the supply is twice your voltage!  Ah well, it's an oversubscribed profession anyway.
  • It is never a good idea to lift a power ground!
  • Buzz and hum is a pain. My biggest concern is that many 'professionals' don't understand what makes a buzz or hum. There can be several mechanisms.

    Some of the comments here are right on track.

    1) Divide and conquer. If an old piece of gear hums with nothing but headphones or a battery powered headphone amp connected, then the problem is in that device.

    2) Dimmers can radiate hum, no physical connection is needed. Dimmers can also put 'trash' in the power line.

    3) Computer power supplies are notorious for hum or buzz. In a professsional application I always use audio transformers to connect directly to a PC.

    4) Fancy conditioners, magic boxes may not help or might. The real issue is not the idea of ground paths, it is what is making the current that produces the hum or buzz? To make it more interesting or challenging some devices have inputs that are more prone or immune to certain hum sources. So that mic pre 'A' works fine plugged into 'X', but hums when plugged into 'Y'. That is why old school broadcast gear had transformer balanced inputs and outputs. It provided the best isolation.

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