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Raw Voice Over Samples

Raw Voice Over Samples

Raw Voice Over Samples: Truth in Advertising

When I check out voice over demos from my colleagues, the first thing I listen to is their E Learning or IVR demos. Why? Because there isn’t all kinds of music and sound effects as one hears in commercial or promo demos. You hear the full quality of their voice, and the true quality of their studio. You can hear if their room is tubby/heavy on bass or has too many early reflections. If their preamps and mic sparkle and have that extra special sauce, you can hear it. In short, you hear their raw voice over samples without much post-production, and what quality of files they send to their clients. I regularly check the quality of my colleagues’ work to make sure my clients are getting unprocessed audio files of the highest standard.

An increasing number of production houses and talent rosters, especially in Europe, are asking for raw voice over samples as well as finished demos. This is what my most recent raw voice over sample sounds like. I deliberately chose some slower paced copy so you can accurately here the noise floor level and the reflections.

Starting with Quality Studio Acoustics

My studio has acoustic panels and bass traps from GIK Acoustic. Instead of recording in a tubby booth, I record in my 20′ x 15′ studio. To tame some of the larger wall areas I have several hanging double-thick acoustic blankets from Vocal Booth to Go. And I have covered my desk’s top with deep shag carpet, avoiding the bad effects of large reflective desks. Professionally produced demos are great for showing off a voice over talent’s chops. But there is a question of Truth in Advertising. Can you really deliver high quality sounding audio files, or does all the sizzle in your reel come from the demo producer’s post-production skills? Sometimes a well produced demo can mask the ugly truth about a voice over studio.

The Voice Over Signal Chain

For clean, clear voice over audio, I keep a clean, clear voice over signal chain. Let’s trace that chain from my voice to the digitized audio. First, there is my voice. Next, the sound waves from my voice pass through an Octo – 824S pop filter from The Hook Studios. From there, the sound enters the front end of my Rode NTG3 shotgun microphone. The Rode is just like a Sennheiser MKH 416 but with better bass response and the same self noise level but hotter output.

From the microphone, the analogue signal flows down my Mogami Gold XLR cables into my GAP Pre -73 Mk III microphone preamplifier. The preamp is set to 30 dB gain and 70% Output, HPF at 40 Hz -6 dB per octave, and Air Channel + 3 dB at 30 kHz. The analog signal then goes line out to my Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation Audio Interface for digital conversion. The Scarlett is line input with the gain turned down to zero so as to minimize the effect of the Scarlett preamps to negligible since they cannot be bypassed. Finally, the digital signal goes to my REAPER DAW, which captures the Raw Voice Over Sample you heard above.

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Source-Connect for Voice Over

Source-Connect for Voice Over

Source-Connect for Voice Over

I’m pleased to now offer to live directed sessions with Source-Connect for voice over. Robert Marshall, Co-Founder of the Source-Connect company, Source Elements, went above and beyond with a call to go through the set up, use, and features of this powerful ISDN replacement tool. While I use REAPER as my DAW, it is fully supported by Source Connect. We successfully tested the remote control video sync playback for dubbing.

Speaking of dubbing, that’s part of the reason why I’m going with Source-Connect for voice over and no longer subscribe to ipDTL. I love ipDTL, and it’s a fantastic tool for podcasting and broadcasting. But, it doesn’t have video playback for dubbing/ADR. I paid for the full package for ipDTL, including the dedicated Los Angeles ISDN number, and none of my clients wanted to use it.

In fact, my European clients who had both ipDTL and the similar SessionLink Pro were using the latter exclusively over ipDTL. They found their SessionLink Pro connections to be better and of higher quality with fewer artifacts, and we could do video playback with it.

Source Connect in Action

Ease of Use for Remote Voice Over Sessions

This brought me back to a core value: providing the right tools for my clients. If a client wants to do an ipDTL session and they own a subscription, I can still log into their session. But choice isn’t mine as the voice over talent. Over the years, I managed to encourage a few corporate clients to try ipDTL; but in general they are not interested. Lately, they prefer to use Go To Meeting or Skype for Business because most of these projects require conference calls hosted in an office, not in a production studio.

ipDTL confused too many of my corporate clients. Podcasters and broadcasters understand it, but not business people. It took me an hour once to show a video game producer in the UK how to set up her laptop for ipDTL. And on top of that, the Opus Codec on which ipDTL runs is highly unreliable on Windows 10 for a substantial number of users. Note that on September 18, 2018 they launched a big update of Opus Codec which hopefully fixes many issues. Check my previous post on alternatives to Chrome for Opus Codec streaming.

Source-Connect is the Right Tool for My Clients

I realized that my Corporate, E-Learning, and Explainer Video clients don’t need ipDTL at all. My studio is covered for them with phone patch or Skype, Go To Meeting, and so on.  But for commercial, animation, and dubbing, I need the right tools. Those tools are ISDN and Source-Connect. Major American production studios have adopted Source-Connect; and accept them going through their firewalls, which is not the case with Opus Codec solutions. As for ISDN, I have access to many nearby Atlanta recording studios for ISDN sessions. From my own studio, I’m happy to offer Source-Connect for voice over. An added bonus I can offer for live sessions is with my Yamaha MG10XU USB mixer, I can playback takes on demand whether using Source-Connect, ipDTL, or SessionLink Pro. It’s all about having the best tools for my clients.

All the best,
Lance

Twitter for #Voiceover

Twitter for Voice Over

Make Twitter for Voice Over Your Platform

Want to have an engaging social media presence? Use Twitter for Voice Over instead of having water cooler talk with voice over colleagues on Facebook. Personally, it’s my favorite platform because of the diversity of instantly available profiles. You don’t just see your friends, family, and work colleagues as on Facebook. It isn’t just experts and work-related articles as found on LinkedIn. The people who create content are very active on Twitter and they want to engage.

Recently at VO Atlanta I had the pleasure to attend Heather Costa’s terrific presentation on making the most of Twitter. Follow her and these top Twitter voice over people. What I’m about to share here are the few tips that weren’t brought up in her presentation that I find helpful. If you’re just getting started on Twitter, I recommend the guide for doing so at Gravy for the Brain.

Five Tips for Making the Most of Twitter for Voice Over

1.) Keep an even ratio of followers to those you are following.

Rule number one for Twitter for Voice Over shows that you aren’t just following everyone and that your profile has a quality feed worth following. Whenever my number of those I’m following gets too high, I go through and unfollow those profiles which are the least active or who have become inactive. When I do that, I find that I get a few more followers as a result. Related to this, try to follow people who are active on Twitter and have high quality content worth re-tweeting or commenting upon. Also, be sure to follow people who are selective in who they follow. I followed a well known voice over coach who followed over 105,000 people, but didn’t vet them very well. As a result, my Twitter feed filled up with some toxic profiles. I unfollowed that coach!

2.) Improve the signal-to-noise ratio with Advanced Muting.

Eliminating noise is done with Advanced Muting. If you don’t want to have your feed cluttered with political posts about the current president, just mute his or her name and terms related to their policies (note how I made this future-proof and non-partisan)! Make your feed your Twitter for Voiceover. Keep it from being hijacked by the agendas of others.

3.) Do advanced searches for what you’re looking for.

One of the most powerful Twitter for Voice Over tools isn’t “under the hood” in the Twitter settings. It’s Twitter Advanced Search which lives at its own clunky URL here: https://twitter.com/search-advanced. It’s so powerful that listing all the capabilities would require its own blog post, so instead have a look at it below:

Twitter Advanced Search
Twitter Advanced Search is such a powerful tool it makes one wonder what other features they have hidden…

4.) Keep your Twitter unique from your other social media accounts. 

This should be an obvious point, but it is not adhered to enough. If I notice that most of someone’s tweets are just Facebook or Instagram posts bumped over automatically, I unfollow that Twitter Profile. It shows a lack of invested interest in engaging with others on Twitter, which is what Twitter for Voice Over should be all about. Similarly, I lose interest in profiles that have scheduled tweets for the very same reason. It shows a willingness to be heard, but not to listen. Scheduled tweets stand out to me like sponsored posts. The are obvious and lack spontaneity.

5.) Be yourself.

Share your personality, beliefs, and interests. Nobody wants you to just talk about your business 24/7. I’m not particularly into finance, but I follow financial experts who share a healthy mix of their personal interests and thoughts along with their expertise. Ask questions. Be curious. Learn. If all you tweet about is your voice over talent, you’ll only be followed by other voice over talents. You already have Facebook for that!

Now, if you are a little too personal or outspoken on Twitter in the past, there are two ways to clean that up. First, use the Advanced Search feature mentioned above. Second, if you want to blast out multiple old tweets from 2013 when you thought the world was flat, use the free multiple deleting tool Twitlan.

Enjoy Twitter for Voice Over and I’ll see you in the Twitterverse: @V01C30V3R !

Voice Over Blog and Links Hall of Fame

Voice Over Blog and Links Hall of Fame

Welcome the the Voice Over Blog and Links Hall of Fame. Tired of social media platforms? Miss news readers and active forums? Want to get right to the source with some of the best quality content out there related to voice over recording and production? Tired of foodie and cat lover pics on Instagram? Then you have come to the right place! You are welcome to suggest blogs and links in the comments section. Thank you.

Acoustic Solutions, ADR, Audio Production, Atlanta Voice Over Studio & Demos, The African-American Voice Actor Database

Branding for Voice Over

Commercial Voice Over Demos, Corporate Voice Over Demos,

Dubbing (Atlanta)

E-Learning Voice Over, Equity UK, Even Harmonics

Focusrite 

Global Voice Acting Academy, Global Voice Acting Academy Non-Union Rates, Gravy for the Brain Rates (UK)

Headphones, Health Tips for Voice

In:Quality/ipDTL, ISDN (end of in UK)

Jodi Krangle Voice Overs and Vocals

Kids Voice Overs

Listening Fatigue

Marketing for Voice Over, Microphones, MOH/IVR

Noise Floor, Neumann

Ocenaudio Free Audio Editor

Political Voice Over, Post-Production Voice Over, Pro Audio Files

Quickbooks

Rode

Script Timer,  Source Connect, SessionLinkPRO

Television Market Sizes US, Tokyo Dawn Labs Plugins

Union Rates (SAG/AFTRA Numbers Calculator)

VO Atlanta, Vocal Warm Ups, Voquent News

Website Design for Voice Over

Xtra (Voice Over)

Yamaha

Zam (VoiceZam)

ELearning Voice Over Demos

E Learning Voice Over Demo

Nobody is Getting Rich Producing E Learning Voice Over Demos

If you run a search for E Learning Voice Over Demo Production/Producer you probably won’t find what you’re looking for. Oh, there are all kinds of terrific producers for hire that help voice over talents develop sensational demo reels. However, they are for Commercial and Promo Demos that have many fast moving clips of 3 to 10 seconds. They’re dramatic, and have lots of music, sound effects, and audio processing.

None of that applies when it comes to an E Learning Voice Over Demo. The clips should each be at least 10 seconds long to show the ability to carry a narrative. There should be no music or sound effects, unless they’re from actual client finished-program audio: and even then, it can distract from the voice over. As for audio processing, a voice over talent ideally should have excellent audio as-is with minimal processing.  The studio should have an extremely low noise floor, with great acoustic treatment minimizing any early or late reflections. So how does one make an E Learning Demo that is exciting for the prospective client? That is what really matters.

An E Learning Voice Over Demo is Like All Demos, Without the Bells and Whistles

The truth is, the same rules apply for curating an E Learning Voice Over Demo as for a Commercial or Promo demo. That is, all voice over demos need to show talent performing all the different major styles and categories of the genre. My Commercial Demo for example has bank, toy, car, food, sport, and retail spots. In addition, these categories of spots are performed in different styles. They are “guy next door”, “wholesome dad”, “comic character”, “upbeat announcer”, “dramatic gravitas”, and “confident announcer” in tone. I produced my E Learning Demo editing together clips from actual E Learning projects I’ve worked on in the past year. The clips are:

  • Friendly Peer for a Financial Institution
  • Conversational Expert for Safety Training
  • Instructional Voice for explaining Training Navigation
  • Engaging Coach Character for Gamification
  • Knowledgeable Peer for Technical Training
  • Reassuring Peer for Introductions and Closing Reviews

It’s no sexy sizzle reel, but making effective E Learning programs are an art, and an effective E Learning Voice Over Demo shows that your voice over production services contribute and add to that art. And that’s sexy.

 

 

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation Audio Interface

How is the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation Different from the First?

Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation

If you are in the market for a small, inexpensive quality audio interface for voice over, one of the most popular choices is the Focusrite Scarlett. I had owned the 2i2 First Generation as part of a backup/travel rig, but upgraded to the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation when it came out in the summer of 2016. As a result, the improvement was noticeable in all areas:

  • First of all, 8 dB more headroom for instrument inputs.
  • Significantly lower latency than was achieved with the First Generation model.
  • Surge protection for inputs and outputs.
  • More even gain structure for setting mic levels. With the old version, good settings were often near the end of the dial.
  • Better converters that handle up to 192 kHz and 24 bit audio.
  • Ships with Avid Pro Tools First and additional plugins, loops, and software.
  • Much louder headphone amp than in the original. This might be one of the best reasons to upgrade.
  • And finally, the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation has more clearly marked dials.

Making the switch to New Scarlett Audio Interfaces.

So, if you own a first-generation 2i2 or another Scarlett audio interface, I highly recommend you make the switch to the newer models. When buying, how can you be sure it’s the second-generation model? Focusrite has a handy guide to let you know. If the serial number starts with a V or W, it’s second-generation. If it starts with a S or T, it’s first-generation.

With all the amazing advances in voice over friendly audio interfaces over the past few years from almost all the popular brands like Universal Audio , Yamaha, Presonus, and RME, don’t settle for an old Focusrite interface. Make sure you choose the Focusrite Scarlett 2i2 Second Generation or other Scarlett Second Generation gear.

 

Yamaha MG10XU for Voice Over

How Do You Playback Audio to Voice Over Clients?

A Full-Solution Mixer for the Voice Over Studio

Voice Over Talent and some producers and directors ask me “How Do You Playback Audio to Voice Over Clients?” for remote recording sessions. Yamaha recently released their new small format audio mixers in the MG line. I’m pleased to report that my MGX10U is an all-in one solution for the voice over studio that makes audio playback easy. It has:

1.) Great sounding mic preamps that are clean and have great headroom
2.) Solid USB Interface with nice converters. They’re same ones found in Steinberg interfaces: yes, Yamaha makes those.
3.) Ability to playback any computer audio source to a director/client (including your DAW) without extra routing. Just press the red button on channel 9/10 when you need to play audio down the line.

I added it to my voice over studio because I wanted a 2-in/2-out USB interface like the Focusrite Scarlett but with better preamps. Unfortunately with Scarlett interfaces, even when one goes line-in from an external preamp on the bigger Focusrite models, the audio still goes through the Scarlett preamp. That’s not terrible, but I wanted something better, with the ability to run a gentle 80 Hz HPF as I recorded if possible. The MG10XU mixer is an audio interface and preamp all-in-one. And yes, the preamps, conversion, and playback all sounds better than the Scarlett. As a bonus, it’s not huge or heavy, and can fit easily in a briefcase for travel.

The Game Changer: Playback any Audio to Your Clients

But this isn’t just a Yamaha mixer, it’s an invaluable voice over tool. You can playback any audio source from your computer to the client without doing any routing tricks. The 9/10 Channel controls the playback from your computer…and it goes right back down the main output as long as the red button on that channel is switched from Monitor to Stereo output. So anything you just recorded in ProTools or Audition you can just cue it up and play, and control the output with the volume pot. Any streaming sound from YouTube or Vimeo can go down the line too. This works with all the remote recording solutions like Source Connect, ipDTL, Skype, and SessionLinkPro. If the client can hear you, they will hear the playback on command.

Update: I discussed this with voice over tech guru George Whittam and he said that the Yamaha AG03 also has this ability in a smaller travel-size mixer for half the price. If you don’t need the extra inputs and additional routing then the AG03 is a great solution also. I think I’ll be getting one for my travel rig!

Neutral Accent English for Global Business Voice Over

Neutral Accent English for Global Business Voice Over

Reaching a Global Market with your Voice Over

English is a global language, with over 430 million people speaking it as their first language. But it is also the global business language, with estimates that 1 to 1.5 billion people speak English as their second language. To reach this audience, many of my corporate and commercial voice over clients produce media in English even if it isn’t specifically targeted to countries where English is the primary language. The way most people speak English around the world isn’t American. It isn’t British English either. So what is the alternative for a global business voice over? There is the Neutral Accent English Voiceover. But what is that? Let’s first examine what it is not, and then discuss what it is and when it is the right choice for your media.

The Neutral Accent: What it is Not

Many of my voice over colleagues in the US and UK dismiss the Neutral Accent as a non-existent myth: an affectation. They cite cheesy Americanized radio DJs in the UK, or the way movie stars and the elite spoke in the US in the first half of the 20th century. However, that is the Trans-Atlantic or Mid-Atlantic Accent. And my colleagues are right that it is an affectation. It relies on several characteristics that the Neutral Accent English voice do not have:

  • A high register/pitched voice
  • Dropped “R” sound (non-rhotic)
  • Over-pronounced hard “T” sound
  • Deliberate or conscious attempt to shift vowel placing from American to English RP (Received Pronunciation), even if not fully so.

Neutral Accent English in the Real World

Every day, Neutral Accent English is spoken by millions of people outside of the US, UK, Canada, and Australia. It is the accent of Global Business Voice Over. My German and French clients who are fluent in English speak it. Anyone from a country where English is not the native language, but learned it well, speaks it. They don’t try to sound American or British. It’s not possible, because Neutral Accent English has:

  • A lower register/pitched voice
  • Pronounced “R” sounds
  • Neutral “T” sounds
  • No deliberate attempt to adapt vowels or phrasing/song to American or British

So when is Neutral Accent English the right choice for your voice over? I’ll cite the reasons my clients give. First, when you want a global business voice over that isn’t distinctively English or American. My German, French, and Scandinavian clients often request this voice. Second, when it is for an English Language channel in, for example, Amsterdam or Dubai. I have recorded commercials and corporate videos in both of those markets with Neutral Accent English. Finally, another good reason to chose such a voice would be for an international trade fair, international e-learning, or a commercial to air in multiple countries. A great resource for international English voice overs are bi-lingual voice talent. You can find some of them on my list of international voice over talent.

To hear my 60 second demo of voice over clips using Neutral Accent English Voiceover press play below. Thank you for reading!

Voice Over Studio Equipment REAPER Recording and Editing

Voice Over Studio Equipment : Analog to Digital with Lance Blair

Voice Over Studio Equipment : Analog to Digital

When you book me for your voice over project, you are hiring my voice and talent: but also my expertise and training. And along with that, you are hiring me for my time, often including a built in rate for editing the voice over audio sessions into video edit-ready sound files. But you are also hiring me for my voice over studio equipment. Let’s go through the signal chain of my studio, from my voice to your ear.

1.) First, I am using a new Rode NT1 large diaphragm condenser microphone with 4.5 dBA self noise. Love it more than the TLM-103 or the CAD E100S I used to own! Great for voicing everything from videogames to e-learning.  For my travel rig, I use a Rode NTG3 microphone. It has the same sound as a Sennheiser MKH 416, but with a little more response around 100-200 Hz. It has the same self noise of 13 dBA : but in practice the self-noise is lower because the Rode has a significantly louder output. So you don’t need to crank up the gain to get a full, clean signal that cuts through the mix but isn’t brittle. Perfect for voice over. I leant out my microphone to the VO Atlanta Conference remote recording booth while I attended and the talents and engineer George Whittam were very pleased with it.

2.) Next in the chain of my voice over studio equipment, my mic is plugged into high quality Mogami Gold XLR cables and mounted with a strong and quiet Rode PSA1 Boom Arm. It’s true that you don’t need massively expensive XLR cables, but the quality ones like Mogami, ProCo, and Canare do sound better than the cheap ones and have higher shielding coverage.

3.) From there, the cable runs to my Yamaha MG10XU mixer with nice clean preamps in them. All I have to do to play back any audio down the line during a remotely directed session is just call up stereo fader 9/10! But don’t forget that everything should have clean, reliable power. That’s why everything in my studio is powered with M-8×2 power conditioners plugged into Liebert UPC Battery Backup / Surge Protector units. I recommend the Liebert models over APC.

For my travel rig, I pair my NTG3 with a Focusrite 2i2 New Generation audio interface. The New Generation model, which is a great improvement over the first generation model that I once owned, has a great sound with extremely low latency and good headphone amplifiers. It’s conveniently travel-sized and you can buy them anywhere if needed

On the Digital Side of Recording Voice Overs

4.) The Focusrite interfaces then connects to my brand new iMac. Yes, after 12 years in the voice over business I’ve switched from a PC to a Mac! The final straw was that Windows 10 is simply incompatible with modern audio streaming services. A Mac is fool proof when working with drivers and streaming products. The iMac is silent, even though I record in a separate booth with a tablet and script stand. I didn’t go for a laptop as I prefer to have the larger 21″ screen for editing. I can still record on my PC laptop on the road. But I’m home at my studio with my voice over studio equipment nearly year round, even during holidays!

5.) Inside the iMac is my new favorite tool: the REAPER DAW. I’ve ditched my Adobe Audition Creative Cloud subscription, and REAPER can do so much more. What’s it like? Check out this video showing my open source customized REAPER skin. Amazingly, this video was edited and exported using REAPER without the use of any video editing tools. It’s that powerful. And it costs about the same as one year subscription to Audition Creative Cloud, but then you’re not renting it. You own it! To get the most out of my DAW, I record at 48 kHz 24 bit, no matter what the final file resolution is. Always the best quality for source material!

If you’re a corporate or E Learning producer with limited audio editing and processing capabilities, I can process the files for you using my suite of plugins to give you nice, gently processed, ready to publish audio with -3dBFS peaks. I was an audio engineer for film and broadcast years before I was a voice talent, so you can trust me on this! In the video below, I have recorded audio as-is in blue, and then the following yellow section is the same audio fully processed.

Voice Over Recording and Editing with REAPER from Lance Blair Voice Over on Vimeo.

You can connect with me on Source Connect, Skype, or phone patch. And I’m experienced with connecting to studios that have ipDTL or SessionLinkPro. After the recording is done, I proof everything listening to my Yamaha HS50M monitors or Sennheiser HD280 headphones.

When you hire me, you are getting my voice, training, time, experience, and my voice over studio equipment. All having the highest quality. My goal is always quick turnaround, and lasting results.

All the best,
Lance

Reaper Logo

Voice Over Recording and Editing with REAPER

Voice Over Recording and Editing with REAPER: Just like Audition

Voice Over recording and editing with REAPER just like one would do in Edit Mode of Adobe Audition is not only possible, it’s easy and more powerful. Admittedly, I looked at Reaper several times in the past and it seemed too complicated, and I couldn’t figure out how to make quick time selection edits which are crucial for VO editing. But then I found a hack by that makes it just like editing in Edit mode in Adobe Audition. The video on how to do it is here at The Booth Junkies YouTube Channel. You just set up a Action command key to do four steps at once. It takes one minute to set it up. Okay, maybe two or three with a good cup of tea or coffee.

1.) Go to the Actions menu

2.) Choose “Show Actions List”

3.) Then drag and drop the following actions into the custom actions section:

1.) “Set Ripple Editing Per Track” 2.) “Item: Split Items at Time Selection” 3.) “Time Selection: Remove contents of time selection (moving later items)” 4.) “Go to end of time selection”

4.) Set a key shortcut and name for these Custom Actions (I chose “Delete”). I also then set “0” for deleting sections of track Items so I could do that as well.

Yes, there is a learning curve with REAPER, but I got it up to speed in three days and I’m doing e-learning editing, etc. with it. In principle, I’m not paying Adobe a likely $3k over the next decade in their quest to replace human voices with digital ones. You know that Audition is not going to be $19.99 a month ten years from now, right? But you get so much more with using REAPER over Adobe Audition, and for only a $225 one-time payment, which also covers upgrades through version 6.99. That should leave you set for about a decade. There is a 60-day free trial period, and if you are making less than $20,000 with REAPER, the non-commercial license is $60. Another nice bonus over Audition is according to the terms,  “If you own multiple computers, you may install the same license key on all of them, as long as you only use REAPER on one computer at a time.”

Doing More with REAPER than with Audition

Once you’ve worked out how to do voice over recording and editing with REAPER, you will soon see that it’s incredibly powerful, similar to DAWs like Cubase. There is fully customizable punch and roll capabilities. In Audition, there is only a nice but limited free Add-On to do so. REAPER also has spectral editing, but what I love is the Spectral Peaks capability, so you can really see what the words are in the wavelengths. Here’s an example below. Different peak frequencies appear in different colors. Perfect for unicorn-lovers and chasing away the drab interface of Audition.

REAPER Spectral Peaks

Note two other things in the screenshot above. You can drop in markers as you record (the red lines), and the grey/gray separation lines are for the ‘items’ that are automatically created when you make an edit. No more confusion as in Audition as to what you actually just cut, especially since REAPER is ‘non-destructive’ editing. I added in the little track icon for the shotgun mic, one of the nice features for labeling tracks.

You can apply effects, such as noise reduction, to the whole track or selections. Honestly find the built in dynamic processing in REAPER to be superior in quality and speed to that of Audition. As for VST plug-in use, I noticed that running Izotope RX6 Elements Noise Reduction had better latency and quicker rendering with REAPER.

Another nice feature is that you don’t “Save” keeper takes/files. You “Render” them. So, when I’m done with a voice over I select the time parameters with the cursor and Render the time selection to a computer Directory. On Adobe, it just shows you the time it will take to Save. In REAPER DAW it pops up a window with a live-generated waveform and metering levels of the audio. So you can see ahead of time if the exported levels are correct, and if there’s any clipping. Sweet!

Time-Stretching Audio and Video Editing with REAPER DAW

One of my biggest beefs with Adobe Audition is their gimmicky pre-sets without the power to do substantial things. For example, you can play-back at 2x speed with Audition. That’s helpful for editing long narration, but with even the latest Audition CC 2018 any hard consonants come across as popped plosives. And 2x is a bit too fast for intelligible playback. Even basic Sound Forge lets one play back at custom speeds and the playback is flawless. With REAPER, the playback at higher slider-selected speed it excellent. Just remember to set it back to 1.0 when you Render your files, otherwise it will save it at the fast speed! When I first made this mistake I realized something: REAPER’s time-stretching/compressing power. You can shorten or lengthen audio and it sounds perfect. Just press ALT and move the cursor to the edge of an Item. You can pull it out or in. It will re-set to the new speed to fill in the space. You can make a :30 a :20 and it doesn’t sound artificial like it does in Audition. Whenever I tried to make time changes of more than 8% there would be all kinds of staggered sounds. Not so with REAPER! Here’s a :12 clip followed by it again sped waaaay up to :09. And this edit was done using an mp3, not even a loss-less file!

And yes, when you make these changes when working with a video file, it will change the video timing too! You can make simple video edits within REAPER. If you copy, delete, or paste a section of the audio, it will do the same to the video. Pretty cool stuff. If you are working on Windows, in order to work with video in REAPER you will need to download the free VLC Media Player available here.

So far so good – after using Audition for much of my voice over career I’ve switched to REAPER and I’m doing more with it than I ever did with Audition. I’ll post more as I learn new tricks and tips. For now, there’s a great amount of YouTube videos on voice over recording and editing with REAPER that are extremely helpful. I encourage you to go check them out as I will be doing when I have the time!

All the very best,
Lance