Test Drive: ISDN Replacements - ipDTL

Article Index

Creating a signup on the ipDTL.com page is about as simple as one could want. Figuring out which license you actually need is a bit more complicated at first glance. The first thing one has to remember is that our friend Mr. Leach comes from a radio background (as opposed to a primarily commercial VO background). When he imagined who might be an appropriate customer for ipDTL, his first thought was to a radio station or a radio network. Such a network might buy a full yearly license so it could receive ipDTL sessions and record them, and also one or more limited yearly licenses so that staff field reporters could, one at a time, log in to the station from the field and deliver a report remotely, without having to buy another full yearly license for the privilege. Moreover, a radio station might well be happy with recording remotes at a lesser bandwidth than one would want for recording an ISDN-quality commercial spot.

Thus, there are two groups of yearly licenses available; Standard Audio and HQ Audio. Standard Audio can record at up to 72kbit/sec, while HQ Audio extends the bitrate to 128kbit/sec. More on the actual codec used below, but for purposes of deciding which Audio class to buy, suffice it to say that the vast majority of voice actors rightly opt for the HQ Audio license, which easily duplicates the quality of ISDN's two 64-bit B-channels (and in fact is better than that, better than G.722, in my A/B testing experience between ISDN and ipDTL). The Full license at HQ Audio is $25 per month or $160 per year. The same license at Standard Audio quality is $15 per month or $80 per year. (Note: see ipDTL's website for pound sterling and Euro pricing).

Within the two groups of licenses relative to bitrate, there are multiple categories as well. In both Standard and HQ, one can buy a "Full" license, which permits one to connect to any other user who has ipDTL and a valid license. In both, there is also a "Link +" license, which allows one to send a link to someone who does NOT have an ipDTL license, whether for sourcing or recording, so that individual can work with the Full license owner on a one-off basis. In essence, the "Link +" license is valid for one user, one time, but is infinitely renewable, and is priced the same as is the Full license at either Audio quality. Finally, within the Standard Audio category only, is the aforementioned Limited license, which allows for example a radio field reporter to remotely login and record on the station's computer and Full license, without buying another Full License. The Limited license is $10 per month or $20 per year. Remember that the Limited license can only be used with someone who holds a valid Full license.

To simplify a bit, if you are a voice actor then you will definitely want a Full ipDTL HQ Audio license, which will allow you to voice any session with a client who has its own ipDTL Full license. If, as a voice actor, you would also like to be able to work with clients who don't have their own ipDTL license, then you will want to also buy a Link + license so you can send a web link to those clients.

IS IT ANY GOOD?

My favorite part of writing these reviews is telling you what I think about the product, where it works and (more importantly) where it doesn't work.

This time I don't have much to say that hasn't already been said by others. Consider that most voice actors (many of whom I know personally) who have used ipDTL in a working situation have come back with little save rave reviews. Occasionally I've seen a comment that there was a hiccup, but usually under strained circumstances. And I'm sorry, but the very best WiFi networks are almost as good as a wire, so any system that performs well using wireless internet gets an automatic pass from me. And ipDTL does well with wireless networks.

Look, my experience has been extremely good. It sounds good, it's easy to set up, I'm a Google Chrome browser user anyway, so I have no complaints with that. It just works, and it's arrived just in time, given that I finally let go of my ISDN account (and like everything I've let go of, it has claw marks in it).

The main problem with ipDTL right now is lack of adoption. Where voice actors have been willing to push the issue and ask their client to try out ipDTL, and having that extra license helps here, everyone seems to come away happy. So far I have not heard anyone complain about performance or sound quality or reliability. Have there been some hiccups? Yes, but very few. Meanwhile, how many actors are giving up their ISDN, before their telco company raises the rates to untenable levels? More than you might imagine.

So in reality, the only way ipDTL is going to make it is for the VO community to continue to push it forward, little by little. Go try it for yourself, and let me know what you think. I'm in.

[SIDEBAR] HOW IPDTL MAKES A RELIABLE CONNECTION

Comments (0)

There are no comments posted here yet

Leave your comments

  1. Posting comment as a guest. Your post will be moderated. Your email address will not be shown or linked. (If you have an account, log in for real time posting and other options.)
0 Characters
Attachments (0 / 3)
Share Your Location