by Steve Cunningham

Having spent last month’s allotted column-inches examining yet another multitrack audio editor, it might serve to take a look at the current state of the art in the land of simple two-track recording and editing software. I’ve been thinking about this since last month, when I attended a voiceover-specific conference in Ventura, California, devoted to the art and business of voice acting. The attendees were all professional voice actors whose craft generates the lion’s share of their annual incomes -- no wanna-be noobs were allowed. Since the majority record and produce their product in home studios rather than in commercial studios equipped with recording engineers, there were several sessions devoted to effective home recording, and to the hardware and software best suited to that activity.

This was the second time I’d attended this particular conference, having been to the first nearly two years ago when I presented a seminar on Pro Tools for voiceover work. At that time, those who attended were interested in learning more about the state of Pro Tools for use in VO-oriented home studios, whether based on Macs or Windows boxes. Some wanted hands-on time with it, some were intimidated by it, while still others hoped to find workflow tips to enhance their productivity on it. But many of the attendees simply had no interest in Pro Tools whatsoever, felt it over-complicated for VO, and showed up just to see if there was any reason to change their opinion.

It was this last item that continues to interest me most. At the most recent conference the number of Pro Tools users seemed about the same size as it had been in at the past conference. However, amongst voice actors overall the percentage of Mac users versus Windows users seemed noticeably larger, at least in my informal survey. And a significant portion of those Mac-using VO artists were recording and editing on a program called Twisted Wave. In conversations, it appeared that a sizable percentage of these users had abandoned their Windows boxes and bought Macs exclusively to run this stereo editor, so naturally I figured it high time we took a look.

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