When it comes to voiceover recording, many voice talent get talked into using Pro Tools by engineers or the guy at the counter at the music store who know nothing about home-based voiceover recording.
I wrote this article in my FAQ section on the subject of the best voiceover recording software. Since then, I’ve converted…oh, about a dozen people who’ve never looked back. This article can and will save voice talent time and money with respect to their selection of voiceover recording and audio editing software....(read more)
What’s the best voiceover
recording and editing software?
This is a very subjective topic; everyone has an opinion about what is the best audio editor to use for voiceover recording. I have found that many people tend to focus on the software (or brand) itself, all the while ignoring the single, most important consideration which is….
“What will I be doing with
this voiceover recording software?”
If you’re like most voice talent, then it’s pretty likely that you’re recording a single mono voice file and editing said audio either for audition purposes or an actual gig.
Working with cold VO is pretty simple in the realm of recording; there’s only so much that one needs to do to the audio before it’s sent off and therefore, the most basic of audio editing software is normally more than enough to do the job.
In fact, many engineers request the raw audio file; the talent’s only task is to hit record and save the file in the proper format.
Let me first make this point perfectly clear. As a voice talent with a basic studio setup – the “software” that you use for voiceover recording doesn’t make a difference in the sound of your audio.
Only “hardware” affects the sound, which is your A/D converter, microphone, pre-amp, etc. (For the record, I will state that Pro Tools hardware A/D converters are exceptional, but for the average VO talent, not essential).
Software “captures” whatever you give it – good or bad – in all it’s digital glory of zeros and ones…..000110101101001010101, etc.
Why then, do so many voice talent use Pro Tools? I’ll tell you why.
It’s likely because the guy in the music store, their audio engineer friend or both told them that Pro Tools is the “be-all end-all” of recording software…and if you’re not using Pro Tools, you’re an idiot.
I’m here to tell you…if you’re a voice talent who primarily records and edits cold voice audio with Pro Tools, you’re using the wrong software. Kinda like using a leaf rake to spread gravel. It’s the wrong “tool” – pardon the pun.
So who’s the idiot? The person who talked you into using Pro Tools.
Pro Tools was designed for audio engineers who record musicians, work in film, or other multi-track VST/RTAS intensive tasks etc. It’s great software, yes! No argument here on that subject.
But, for the “home studio based” voice talent – arguably a recording novice in most cases – it’s beyond overkill, insanely complicated and therefore, time consuming.
I have used Adobe Audition (back in the day “Cool Edit”) for over a decade. Why? Well, it’s 30% faster than Pro Tools….or pretty much any audio editing program out there…..for cold voice editing – which is what I do for a living.
Adobe Audition (AA) can be customized to make cold voice editing tasks as simple as a single keystroke. There’s no “regions” or “importing/exporting” or “opening a session” or having to purchase a license so one can save in mp3 format.
It also has repair function features that are so clean and so fast – they make Pro Tools look like a piece of junk in comparison.
I have proved it, several times, much to the chagrin of Pro Tools engineers who have all reluctantly agreed that – yes, for cold VO editing – Adobe Audition is the better program.
I have recorded a 10 minute narration with very experienced Pro Tools engineers vs. me on Adobe Audition 3. The challenge? Edit the session down to 20 files and clean up the audio, removing breaths and transients – that’s it.
3, 2, 1…….GO!
AA3 blows them away everytime….by about 10 minutes. I’ve done it three times. The funny thing is, Pro Tools is not only much slower for the user to edit cold voice (by nature of its workflow)….but also takes seemingly forever to repair transients. Most Pro Tools engineers are too lazy to fix them because Pro Tools functionality makes it difficult.
So you hear excuses like….
“Oh, I just leave that stuff in there….it adds texture and realism to the performance….”
Here’s an example of “texture and realism” in a performance. I recorded the tag for this Hugo Boss ad a few years ago in an uber high-end recording studio in Toronto; the engineer on Pro Tools. Listen for the transient on “bottled” and then listen to the repair I did thereafter – with one keystroke – with Adobe Audition.
This audio actually went to broadcast with the transient intact. I’d shake my head every time I heard it on TV.
Why the engineer didn’t fix it is beyond me; he must have listened to it a hundred times during the course of mixing. Probably lazy. If it were a matter of a single keystroke, he probably would have fixed it. I did the repair in AA, so it wouldn’t sound like crap on my demo reel.
The bottom line? AA does a cleaner job editing cold voice – all the while performing more tasks – 30% faster than Pro Tools.
Again…it’s not about which software is better overall. It’s about which software is better suited to the task at hand. In this way, Adobe Audition is – in my humble, albeit experienced opinion – hands down the best software to use for cold voice editing.
So, before you get hot under the ears, or start thinking about going off on me for seemingly “dissing” the almighty Pro Tools….think about that 30% of time you’re missing out on when you’re editing that 10,000 word cold-voice narration down to 150 files.
I’m just sayin’……