Tech Notes for Voice Talent

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Tech Notes for Voice Talent

technical questions about equipment and software used by voice talent who record at home - moderated by Beau Weaver

Members: 557
Latest Activity: Oct 29, 2018

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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Comment Wall

Sound better at Voice Over Essentials

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Comment by Gary Hood on February 2, 2012 at 2:29pm

I need advice on what equipment I need to add to my humble studio.  Currently my audition quality is good for most pay for play auditioning but for the lower priced jobs offered $100 - $250, I need to have a finished sound without visiting a studio.  

I'm using a Harlan Hogan VO-1 condenser mic, the Micport Pro, pop filter and a HP notebook with Sound Forge 9 software.  Should the Micport Pro be upgrade to a more flexible pre-amp? Although the Sound Forge is easy to use but is it enough?

Thanks for any info you can share.

Comment by Alexis Serrano on January 12, 2012 at 8:29pm
Thank you so much
Comment by Howard Ellison on January 12, 2012 at 7:01pm

Many compressors (though there are sophisticated exceptions which are designed to 'hang') add 'makeup' gain even when there is no sound to record other than ambient, so general noise will inevitably rise.  But that's a separate issue from noise that a compressor might itself cause, perhaps through a connection issue.

Taking up Joe's recent point, if you want to troubleshoot, you might distinguish how much noise is electronic and how much environmental by putting your mic in a very thick box and wrapping it in a lot of blankets, then running a comparison.  It can also be a revelation to turn off all household equipment, furnaces etc and assess things in the dead of night.  We live in a noisy world!

Comment by Alexis Serrano on January 12, 2012 at 6:40pm
The mic was on and the gain was set to the level we usually record at. My dad noticed that when he bypassed the "really nice compressor"which is "unbalanced". It got noticeably quieter.
Does that help?
Thanks everyone
Comment by Joe Nickell on January 12, 2012 at 5:40pm

If the mic is on or open, then you are probably looking at how quiet or noisy the room is.

Comment by Joe Nickell on January 12, 2012 at 5:38pm

'It depends'. In general that should be good but not perfect. There are a couple of questions. 1) How did you come up with "-65"?

2) Was that with the mic channel open? A mic connected, no mic?

3) What is the meter referenced to:  0 dBFS (zero db full scale) or to a VU meter scale?

The -65 is telling you the noise floor is 65 dB below some other level, it's a relative measure unless you reference something else. It's like saying it's 65' down. I know this tech speak is tiring, but that's the way it is. You often see dB SPL (sound pressure level), dBVU referenced to '0' (zero) dB, (but here again it is relative zero dB is not zero, it's just zero dBs different than the reference level. I hope this helps.

Comment by Howard Ellison on January 12, 2012 at 5:23pm

Yes, I can just hit minus 60 with compressor disabled and no gate of course - but that's measured relative to my 'average peak' voice loudness, which won't be the same as other guys.  Up to a point, you could say that's a practical standard, particular to each of us:  the contrast we achieve overall.  

Of more use for technical development would be a 'standard strength noise' that we could play from a speaker at a given distance from our mikes, to compare against our system/studio noise.   All too complicated! 

A further issue is what you measure with.  An 'unweighted' meter has equal sensitivity across the range.  More realistic for what we do is a 'weighted' meter that is less responsive to low-pitched sounds, just like our ears, so for instance it would diminish the reading of faint hum or traffic rumble and give you a more cheerful picture!  Some recording software allows you to choose your meter weighting.  Here in UK, I believe we apply American standards as well as European.

That's my two-pen'orth - but I too want to hear from the real experts!  Come in George, Dan, SAVOA?

Comment by Doug de Nance on January 12, 2012 at 3:20pm

Ms. Serrano :-),

I want the lowest possible, but I use -60 db as what I seek when recording on the road.  I try to achieve that without any audio effects - in other words, just the recording environment (i.e. I use a Hogan port-a-booth so I try different placements, shut off the air conditioning, stuff like that).  Only after I've done everything I can do to the environment will I use something like a gate.    I'd check with SAVOA for what their standard is - or with guys like George Whittam and Dan Lenard.

dD

Comment by Alexis Serrano on January 12, 2012 at 2:58pm

Thanks Mr de Nance. 

My dad wants to know "what db is an acceptable noise floor."  After adding a new compressor he noticed a level of -65 is that ok or does he need to work on it? 

Thanks

Comment by Doug de Nance on January 12, 2012 at 12:47am

Dave is a great guy.  If you can't reach him by the website let me know and I can give you his contact info.

dD

 

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