Software and Soundcard recommendations

Discussion in 'Fan Audio' started by Blitzwing_2003, Aug 9, 2003.

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  1. Blitzwing_2003 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2003
    star 1
    I'm thinking *all caps on the "thinking" part* about doing a Star Wars or Star Trek audio-drama. I have a couple of ideas that I want to tinker with and see where they lead, but I think, IMHO, they could make for interest audio-dramas; at the very least they could make for a couple of cool fan-fics...but I digress.

    Do to certain legal troubles my funds are very, very limited. So what I want to know is what does everyone here reccommend in terms of software and soundcards for recording & editing an audio-drama? Any reccomendations would be appreciate, though I would really like some recommendations for products in the under $100.00(us) family.

    What I have right now, systemwise:

    -- PIV 800mhz processor
    -- 2 gig HD
    -- 128 Ram

    Any comments, suggestions, and product recommendations appreciated

    Thanks folks.
  2. Nathan_P_Butler Author, Star Wars Tales #21

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    May 23, 2003
    star 4
    Well, here's a suggestion, but it may be almost more of a pain in the butt than it's worth. It is, however, what I used to edit ChronoRadio and the "lost episodes" of Digital Llama Radio before I got WaveLab.

    Quicktime Pro. It's not all that user friendly for complex editing, but you can copy, paste, insert, work with overlapping tracks, and can control the volume of each track. It's not pretty, but with patience, it'll get the job done, and it's only around $30, plus lets you view QT files in fullscreen.

    For recording, you could then use something from ZDNet.com or something cheap but decent like High Criteria's "Total Recorder," which I think is $20 - 30.
  3. Nathan_P_Butler Author, Star Wars Tales #21

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    May 23, 2003
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    Addendum:

    If you do it like that, by the way, or you end up somehow with something where you have all your stuff ready but can't compress it down like you want, I'd be more than happy to get the WAV or whatever file from you when finished with a project and compress it for you.

    Y'know, anything that helps the growing audio genre, right?
  4. Blitzwing_2003 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2003
    star 1
    Appreciate the offer; end I end up doing this I may take you up on it.

    I'm not really sure I'll be doing it. Right now I've got two writing contests, work, family, a car to repair, and a Ch. 7 BK to get through before I can put such a big project on my plate. However it's something I'm certianly interested in doing if I have the time/funds/script/cast interest to do it. Audio-drama is one the few artforms out there that is truly open to almost anyone. And I love the genre/medium.

    Originally this idea came out of my desire to create a R/L and a online audio-theater cast-- think along the lines of a audio version of nonprofit community theater model, in fact I am toying with the idea of contacting a few people that I know in the local commuinity theater and seeing if they're interested in the idea-- for original audio-dramas and class -lit adapts. Figuring on drawing on the pool of talent both locally and from the internet. But as with all my ideas, somehow Star Wars and Star Trek connections started to creep into the mix LOL

    Maybe I could do what a lot of people have done and do a fund raise LOL
  5. Elan-Rai RSA Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jul 11, 2001
    star 4
    Before I bought Sonic Foundry's Soundforge and Cakewalk's SONAR, I used Cool Edit Pro to do the job. Now granted, it is about $150 more than you planned to spend but is well worth the money.

    Another option would be to get Cool Edit 2000 ($69 US) and buy the Studio upgrade ($49 US). You will then have multi-tracking functionality like Cool Edit Pro. ;)

    Again, those two would still take you over $100, but would cost WAY less than the tools I am using right now.

    Hope that helps too. :)

    EDIT: Here's a link to Cool Edit 2000.
  6. Blitzwing_2003 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2003
    star 1
    $100(us) is not a hard and fast rule. If I can get better quality for not much more, then I'm willing to go a bit extra. $100 is just what I know I'll have on hand without to much trouble.

    Thanks to both of oyu for the recommendations. The programs look pretty good and fairly easy to learn mechanics wise. What's the learning curve for clean edits? Or is it like video, pratice makes prefect?
  7. keithabbott Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 1998
    star 4
    I don't want do sound discouraging, so I'm going to try not to. :)

    My origial system was a p450, 500 megs of ram with a 3DFX 16meg video card and 2.1 gb hard drive...and man Sound Forge worked fine but Vegas Audio was a snore to work with and the video crashed often.

    As soon as you start working with multiple tracks simultaneously that's when things get a bit rough with the lower end equipment. That's one of the reasons I upgrated to be honest with you. Now, that said, that could have been because Vegas Audio doesn't use resources well. I'm not sure since I haven't tried any of the other software.

    What I would recommend with your system is to keep the tracks to a minimum, which would mean use very few characters and flatten your tracks often. Meaning, I wouldn't go above 4 tracks at a time. Combine effects tracks, or combine vocal tracks as soon as possible so you have 1 to 2 files instead of a lot. This might be more difficult to control, but it's the best advice I can give you short of a computer upgrade.

    As for software, I'll bow to the others who have posted on that since I only have experience with Cool Edit previously, and I'd imagine that could work for sound editing. I'm not sure if it's trackable or not.

    One other suggestion is test whatever mics you get to see how much you can limit hum. You might have to buy a product like noise reduction 2.0 to get rid of it. Or you might have to spend some extra money on a decent mic. If you plan on hooking your mic up to your computer, my best suggestion is find a mic that can be pre-amplified before coming into the line in jack (notice not the mic in jack). Test your options because I swear that computer noise and unamped mics have so much noise in the recordings it can be unbearable. Static...hiss...ick. It's gross stuff.

    If you have access to a studio (not pc), I'd suggest recording there, then taking the wav files into the PC.

    Oh and...2 gigs is going to be very difficult to work with unless all your files end up being mp3. I have a 40 gig and even that's barely big enough. I have a feeling you will need a bigger hard drive even if it's used.

    I'm sorry if I might sound discouraging. I just want you to know that realistically your system probably can't handle it unless you really go bare minimum on the sound. :(

    But by all means, give it a whirl and please prove me wrong.

    Keith
  8. Blitzwing_2003 Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jun 2, 2003
    star 1
    2 gig = 12 gig, sorry typo. As for the comp upgrade, I'm seriusly looking into that, but it's going to be down the road a bit, most likely after I start into this project. Right now the most I could do is another upgrad and go ahead and max this mother out-- which was on the boards long before I started thinking about this project. I would definitely give this comp to my wife and get a newer one **drools on the new Macs and multigig PCs** once the funds (ie ****loads of overtime and a finished BK) came through.

    Don't anyone think they're discouraging me, I appreciate the bluntness and the honesty. I won't to do this the best way that I can and the only way to do that is for people to be honest and point me to the pitfalls and share their experience and knowledge with me. That's the primary reason I posted this here, I knew I could rely on you all to give me a straight up answers

    Thanks
  9. Nathan_P_Butler Author, Star Wars Tales #21

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    May 23, 2003
    star 4
    Blitz, for the record, my stats are:

    -- P3 1 Ghz processor
    -- 20 gig HD
    -- 256 Ram

    I haven't had any problems, not even really slowdown, on anything I've worked on, audio-wise. On Second Strike, I worked with a LOT of tracks, particularly Act II, where I used one track per character, per unique sound, and per music track, just so that I could easily see them and navigate in the WaveLab top window. Never had an issue, and never had to "flatten" until I was totally done mixing.

    As for space, the WAV/MP3 issue is a good point, but then, anything that's a WAV can be turned into an MP3, so really that's just another quick step to go through. I'm going to be doing that soon with all of my WAV files I've been using, just to conserve hard drive space.
  10. keithabbott Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 1998
    star 4
    12 megs is definitely a lot better. It's possible that Vegas Audio requires a more intensive machine. You might consider using the software that Nathan used considering Vegas might cause studdering, etc...plus it's a more expensive piece of software.

    Keith
  11. Nathan_P_Butler Author, Star Wars Tales #21

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    star 4
    "12 megs is definitely a lot better."

    12 Gigs isn't too bad either. ;)
  12. keithabbott Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 7, 1998
    star 4
    I gotta get these voices outta my head. It's making me type things wrong. ;)

    Keith
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