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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  • Mike,

    Good post on a subjective topic. A large diaghram will always sound 'warmer' or less detailed than a small diaghram mic. And the 416 dies have a certain punch doesn't it. After that it's quite a matter of taste. Howard have you ever tried alighing the two mics as close as possible and using them both?

  • Odd man out here: I use a ribbon (Coles 4038) as my go-to because it's flattering and warm and goes easy on the esses.  However, if the brief indicates a more aggressive, energetic edge is sought, or if I anticipate competition with music & FX, then it will be the NT1A condenser.  In practice, a tiny bit of EQ can make those two sound nearly identical.

    Of course if I had a U87 it would likely cope with most things, while still not quite offering the tight 'cinematic' tone of a focused gun mic.


  • Howdy,


    No problem at all, anytime.


    As for the reasons between a 416 or a Neumann...there's no hard and fast reason to use one over the other. Most people I think tend to like large diaphragm microphones ( like your Neumann ) for more "acting" reads...the larger diaphragm and wider pickup pattern allow you to move around and be more expressive with your reads, without worrying about getting "off mic."


    The 416 is a very tight pickup pattern is designed to be put on the end of a mic boom and used in video and film recording, to point at a particular sound source during filming. When used in a small voiceover booth, the tight pickup pattern has an interesting tendency to make the voice very tight and present, almost as though it's being run through a little compression. The mic tends to help voices "sit" in a mix well, without having to do too much to the vocal sound.


    The thing is, there's really no good way to describe why one is preferred over the other. I honestly tend to use my 416 for my ISDN sessions, because the tight pickup pattern helps reject unwanted noise better than my U87 does. I'm in a home studio, based in an apartment in Brooklyn, NY. I do work for a variety of networks and trailer houses, having that extra little bit of "woops" protection for my booth is a great comfort factor for me.  I also carry a 416 with me on the road, specifically because of its noise rejection...very helpful in hotel rooms.


    The U87, I tend to use for my clients who I record full tracks for and ship them off...also, for my auditions and scratches...I'd use the U87 more for live recordings, but I'm always concerned that it's going to pickup that random noise in the distance that might make my studio sound less professional. Again, it's probably more my own paranoia than anything based in reality, but it makes me feel better during a session, and if I'm comfortable, then I'm relaxed, and I do better work.


    Hope this helps...sort of.



  • Mr. Bratton,

    Thank you for that I will print your response and give it to her. 


     Can you tell me what type of reads you us the U87 and what you use the 416 for.  I have heard that trailers and promos the 416 is preferred but no one has ever explained why. 


    There is a studio that I often audition for Disney stuff and commercials and they use a 416 for everything the lady doing the recording is really nice but cant tell me anything useful about there set up though. 


    I ask because my dad is thinking about getting a used 416  to complement our TLM 103 but the only reason he can say is "if that's what the Big Gun (Ed Victor) does then its good enough for me."  I am just not sure when we should use each mic. 

    Thank you,


  • Hi Alexis,


    I've talked on all the mentioned Neumann mics, and for my money, I'd go with the 102. It's small, but don't let that fool's a nice, big sounding mic. Very similar I think to the 103. I use one in my secondary studio, and really have come to like it. My main studio I use a U87 and a 416 Shotgun mic...


    The 103 I've always felt was a bit strident in the tends to pick up my mid-tones and over emphasize them...I've not had the same issue with the 102. 


    The 49 is a really cool mic, it does sound good, but for the money, you could get a pair of TLM 102s...or you could buy really, any other mic under $1000 and find one that performs just as well if not better...any number of the Audio Technica mics or the Shure KSM family are quite nice and well priced.


    But if she's specifically thinking Neumann, the TLM 102 is going to be a nice step up from any USB mic. Just so long as she has a decent preamp or interface to plug it into her computer.


    As for testing mics, many resellers have backed off their policies of not allowing you to buy a mic and return it. Sweetwater for instance now allows you to return microphones if you're not satisfied with them. Effectively allowing you to "test" the mic out for a short period. Double-check with the sales rep you work with, but that's a great place to find a great mic, at a reasonable price, and you can send it back with little or no hassle if it's not going to meet your needs.


    Microphones used to be listed in their "personal items" that can't be returned...things like in-ear monitors, instrument mouthpieces, etc...but they don't specifically list it. So, if you try that route, definitely contact a sales-rep first before purchasing...


    Hope all is well,


    Mike Bratton

  • A nice lady in my acting class is considering moving up to a Neumann from the USB mic (I think it was a Sampson G something). She was asking me about which one. I am not the one to ask at all but I wanted to help so thought I would ask you all.

    She is considering a TLM 102, a 103 (which we have but I wonder if its a little bright and makes the ss zzz ch sh sounds too noticeable) and the TLM 49 which is like 1500 dollars (wow!). The sales guy at Sam Ash was pushing the 49 (no wonder) but I was wondering if anyone had used it or had any thoughts for her. I read some reviews on the 49 that say its good but does a 1500 dollar mic really make you sound better than a 700 102? I don't think so but I'm not that into the tech side of this.

    Oh and asking to test it out for her voice in the store won't work. In California they have some law about selling "used microphones" and no store me or my dad have ever been to will allow you to test them.

  • Thanks,
    When it gets here maybe someone can tell us how to use it :)
  • Hey Alexis - the RNC is a solid piece - or, as they like to say, "really nice." Should definitely solve any issues.
  • Thanks everyone, 

    My dad ordered a "really nice compressor" I think it was, I am sure there will be more questions when he needs to set it up. 



  • To clarify on my previous comment about PreSonus. They make fine gear, I didn't think the Eureka was competition to the Red7/737 class mic pre.

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