I just finished reviewing the PromptBuddy product from Wells Park Communications, for the February issue of Radio & Production magazine.
Designed for use by voice artists producing IVR prompts and narrating e-learning projects, PromptBuddy records and automatically trims voice prompts from scripts. It works and is beyond simple to use. However, it does have limitations that may make it unsuitable for some projects. It does not compare to similar products like, for example, Word2WAV. It’s also a bit fiddly to use as a result of its compromises.
On the other hand, it’s inexpensive and does what it’s designed to do.
When the last pair of longstanding favorite AKG K-240 headphones (the regular 240 model) finally gave up the ghost, it was time to go shopping. Yes, I’ve listened to some of the recent crop of celebrity-endorsed headphones — they were uniformly bad with sloppy, overhyped bass — and found them completely unsuitable for production work.
The most interesting production-grade headphones were the beyerdynamic DT 1350 Professional Headphones, the Ultrasone Pro 750s, and Shure’s SRH940. In the November issue of Radio and Production magazine I’ll tell you how I think they stack up.
The November issue of Radio & Production magazine features my review of Sony Software’s latest release of Sound Forge, labeled Pro 10. You won’t find a lot of new features, but there are a couple that are compelling enough. No, the major improvements are in workflow and in the user interface, and these are substantial. I like it.
What’s kinda funny is that Sony pulled a quote from my review and used it in an email campaign advertising a free webinar on Forge 10:
Steve Cunningham, (Radio and Production Nov 2009) writes “Sound Forge Pro 10 is to version 9 as a 2010 Ford Mustang is to a 1969 Boss Mustang… still wicked fast, still sounds like business, but so much easier to drive.”
Don’t misunderstand me… I like publicity as much as anyone, and the pull is a direct quote — yup, I wrote that. What’s amusing is that at no time did I ever speak to anyone at Sony Software, either before or after I wrote the review. Furthermore, I bought the upgrade and paid for it myself (which I think is as it should be). But my contact info is in there at the end of the article. I’d have thought they’d send a note asking if I objected to their use of it, or at least telling me they were going to use it.
Makes me go “hmmm…”.
In the April 2009 issue of Radio & Production magazine I’m taking a look at the AKG Perception line of microphones.
AKG has a long and storied reputation for producing some of the best studio mics around — can you say 414? — but can their latest line of inexpensive Chinese-made microphones maintain that reputation? How well do they stack up against the competition?
The short answer is yes, mostly. Read RAP for the whole story.
So I decided to postpone the Samplitude 10 review until the June issue of Radio & Production (with approval from Editor Jerry, of course). I wanted more time to explore the program, which is both deep and wide. But Samplitude still has a Rodney Dangerfield complex here in the US — it gets no respect. That’s too bad, because it’s a strong contender as a standalone, all-in-one PC recorder and editor. Compared to Audition, its interface looks and feels more professional to me, and it provides a significantly better mixer with more features and functions. On top of that, it sounds really good; even in-the-box bounces sound good.
Unfortunately, Samplitude 10 is still as spendy as ever. The Pro version lists at $1295, which leaves the street price under a grand. There’s a “standard” version (maximum 64 tracks and eight busses) that carries a US list of $649, which puts street price under $500. The two-track Master version is $349, which streets at something under three c-notes. For VO work, the standard version is close enough, and you won’t miss the Pro’s extras.
Check out the June issue of RAP here.
I haven’t decided yet, actually. In fact, I just figured out that I have another couple weeks to finish writing it (joy!).
But I’ve been playing with two very kewl products… the MicPort Pro from CEntrance and Magix’s Samplitude 10. Actually I’ve been playing with both at the same time. MicPort is a USB-to-audio converter that so far sounds great, unlike some others out there. Most of the existing converters are noisy and sound like crap, but the MicPort actually sounds very good, and does 96k/24 bits to boot. I think I’m keeping this one.
Samplitude 10, like previous versions (the last one I reviewed was version 8 back in 2005), is very deep. My concern with it is finding whether it’s still a resource-hog… I’ll be checking that this week. More later.
This month’s review concerns one of those products that not everyone needs, but those who need it really need it.
I’ve scored a copy of iZotope’s RX noise reduction plug-in, and so far, it’s sweet. It’s a standalone program that lists for $349 USD, substantially less than the current crop of third party noise reduction plugs. What’s more, RX offers five distinct modules: a de-clipper, a de-clicker, a de-noiser, hum removal, and spectral repair, all in one interface. And quite the interface it is, with the buttons for each modules at the lower left of the interface.
Actually the nice folks at iZotope have given me a full copy of RX Advanced, which retails for about $1200. While it’s nice to have, I can already tell that I’ll do most of my work using the “simpler” controls that come with the regular edition. Here’s the main screen: Continue reading iZotope RX review in March issue of RAP
Sony’s Sound Forge version 9 is out… how good is it? Is it worth upgrading from version 8 or earlier? We’ll soon see, as I have a copy coming for the June issue of Radio & Production magazine.
I’ve been using version 8 for a year or so, but I still think version 5 was the best since Sony bought Sonic Foundry’s product line. Simple, solid, and very stable.
Variation on an old joke: how many old audio editors does it take to install a new version of software? Five. One to install it, and four to talk about how good the old version was.
Sorry. That sucked, didn’t it?
I’ve just finished writing a product review for the April issue of Radio & Production magazine. This month I got to play with Sony’s Vegas 7 multitrack audio recorder/editor.
If you’re using an older version of Vegas, say v5 or earlier, you should check it out. If you’re using some other PC editor and you’d like your life to be simple again, then you should check it out right now. You can read about it here.
The March 2007 issue of RAP features my review of Steinberg’s Wavelab 6 stereo editor. New features including a Spectrum display and editor, improved time-stretch, and Master Section presets make it a must-have upgrade. Check it out in the March issue, or visit RAP’s website here.