TIME TO RECORD
There’s not much to say about this... simply create a new document, press the record button, and audio will immediately begin to appear in the doc as audio is recorded, until such time as the transport is stopped. That’s it. Should more material need to be appended to that recording, simply press record again and it begins recording where it left off in the document. If more material needs to be inserted within the existing recording, simply click the cursor where the new material should be inserted and hit record. Existing material will be moved later (to the right) to make room as the new audio is being inserted. Note that there is no provision for overwriting existing audio, even if it is selected when recording. Replacing audio requires the undesired audio to be removed, and new audio be recorded at that location.
Dropping a marker during record is accomplished by pressing the M key, and TwistedWave does so with good accuracy. The total number of markers that can be dropped in single file is nearly unlimited, and TwistedWave can be set to automatically create a marker at every edit point for later review.
Basic editing is equally simple. Cut, copy, paste, fade, and crossfade are all well-represented. The Effects menu contains all the basic processing one would want to accomplish on a recorded file, and it should be noted that many of these processing tasks can be run during playback. In fact the only operation that cannot be run along with another operation is record (for reasons that should be obvious). Holding the Option key while selecting allow multiple, discontiguous regions to be highlighted simultaneously. This little feature lets me select a bunch of breaths between words, and process their volume down by -6dB all in one go using the Edit-->Amplify menu item.
Scrubbing is accomplished by dragging the cursor across the time ruler over the waveform display or the overview display. There are three scrubbing modes -- repeat, velocity, and position -- that are set in Preferences. Repeat loops a very short section around the cursor position, velocity starts slow playback that increases in speed and pitch as the cursor is dragged left or right, and position plays directly what is below the cursor as it is dragged. Of the three, I expected to use the position mode, since that is how I use scrubbing in most other editors. Unfortunately, the cursor position is touchy, especially using a trackpad on the laptop, and the scrub was wobbly enough to be unusable. Since I’ve never favored the repeat or loop type of scrub, I use velocity which works rather well and is quite responsive to dragging the cursor further from the start position. The other technique I use is simpler; by selecting the region visually and hitting the spacebar, I can audition the highlighted section and confirm that it is what it appears to be onscreen.
Since metadata is such a large part of file management -- every song in your iTunes library is chock full of metadata containing the artist name, album name, release date, etc. -- TwistedWave allows a large amount of such data to be stored with individual files. For those using the likes of SoundMiner to organize and catalog their audio bits, this can be a significant advantage. For most voice actors it’s less useful but cool to have.
The batch processor in TwistedWave works as do most batch processors. It can do its work on any number of files, or entire file hierarchies, and apply any number of effects on them. A two-window dialog box asks for the processor(s) in the upper window, and the files to be processed in the lower window. For almost all operations there is a Test button next to each audio file, which allows one to watch as that file is opened in a new window and then processed according to what is in the upper list. The processed file can be auditioned to check the results then dismissed, leaving the batch window ready to execute the entire contents in one go. Since the process is accomplished entirely in RAM, it’s wicked fast.
None of this is rocket science. Nearly every capable audio editor can perform these edits, it’s true. But TwistedWave does these things in a way that is reasonably obvious and transparent, even to new users. That seems to be why the voiceover community has taken to TwistedWave as strongly as it has.
Documentation is built in to the program, where it can be accessed from the Help menu as either a set of linked HTML documents, or as a single, printable .PDF file. Either of these provides plenty of information with illustrations and a minimum of jargon. Support is available from the company website (often manned by the author), and via email. Actors I spoke to seem to be pleased with the author’s support.
TWISTEDWAVE LITE AND ONLINE
The Lite version of TwistedWave does lack some niceties, but I doubt most VO artists will miss many of them. The ones that likely will be missed are marker support, detect silence (useful for splitting files based on long pauses), and batch processing. Items that probably won’t be missed include the aforementioned metadata, advanced DIRAC processing for better time-stretch and pitch shift, and the ability to use VST effects plugs. In exchange for losing those items, the cost does drop by sixty bucks -- from $79.99 USD to $19.99 USD on the App Store. For me the markers and batching is worth the money, since I routinely process lots of files for video games and for IVR. Your mileage may vary.
Not to be forgotten is the version of TwistedWave available for iOS (phone and pad, remember?). This feature makes TwistedWave very attractive as part of a mobile VO rig, since files recorded and edited (or just recorded) on an iPhone or iPad can be transferred to a laptop via iTunes syncing for further processing, and transferred back as well. Or if that is not convenient, the edited files can be transferred directly from the mobile device to an FTP site, DropBox, SoundCloud, or via email to wherever they need to go. Given a good quality microphone, there is no reason an actor can’t complete a job while on the road, and be able to send a completely acceptable audio file to the client.
Then there’s the Online version of TwistedWave, currently in beta. It appears to include much of the functionality of the desktop version, along with cloud storage for a monthly fee based on the total file run time. Pricing looks like $5 a month for 5 hours of audio, up to $20 a month for 20 hours, with a discount for purchasing a year’s worth of storage. We shall see as development continues.
Twisted Wave is available from the iTunes App Store in its full version for $79.99, and in its Lite version for $19.99. The full version price is the same on the company’s website, and the Remote is free from the App Store. For questions or general inquiries, visit the company’s website at www.twistedwave.com for more information.