With so many of pieces of software out there that do essentially the same thing, it can be really confusing and really difficult to pick one for yourself. But don’t worry about it, because in this week’s video, I’m going to talk about software, what you need, and how to get it. Here we go.
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Hey, everyone. I’m Joe Zieja, and I’ve lent my voice to thousands of videos, commercials, anime, cartoons, video games, and all that other kind of stuff, and I’ve done most of it from my home studio using all kinds of different software. Today, we’re going to talk about three different things that are going to let you understand what software is and how to pick it.
Tip number one: The best DAW is the one you know. Now when I say DAW, it stands for D-A-W, digital audio workstation. A DAW is just the program that takes all the stuff from your microphones and translates it into something that your computer can see and use. It’s what you record into, and it’s what you mixdown, that is convert your waveform into. You mix it down into a WAV, MP3, all that kind of stuff. You do that in your DAW.
When I say the best DAW is the one you know, I mean if you’re using something, stick with it. If you’re using Pro Tools, stick with it. If you’re using Cubase, stick with it. They’re all so similar in their production capabilities that it’s very nonsensical for you to switch just because someone tells you that X is the standard. Personally, I’ve been using Cubase for years, and I don’t plan on switching.
As a voice actor, my needs are pretty minimal. I just need to be able to mixdown audio, I need to be able to record in 44, 1, 16 bit, or 24 bit, or whatever it is. The needs are very basic. Some basic EQ, some basic compression, a noise gate, that’s all I use. I’m not mixing Dolby Atmos commercials from my home studio, right? So I’m need something simple, and probably you need something simple, too.
If you’re not already using a DAW, I recommend using Audacity. Just get it, because it’s free, and it mimics most of the other professional grade DAWs, so if you’re ever ready to step up into something like Pro Tools or Cubase, it’s going to be more familiar to you because you’ve used Audacity, which has some of the same, similar functions.
So what have you used in the past to record audio? Post it in the comments below, and we’ll talk about it.
Okay. So let’s say you are now getting ready to choose a DAW. We talked about it a little bit already, but there are some major players that you need to be aware of.
Pro Tools. Pro Tools is the industry standard. I don’t use Pro Tools. I don’t enjoy using Pro Tools. It’s just not something that I’m familiar with, but for those that are mixing TV audio, and all the studios I’ve gone to, I’ve never seen anybody not use Pro Tools, so if you’re looking for something, you may want to check it out. There are plenty of tutorials on YouTube and all that kind of thing on how to use it and get familiar with it. Most of these programs that I’m going to talk about have a trial, or a demo, or something like that that you can kind of poke around and see what works for you.
What I use is called Cubase. Cubase is really easy. It’s really simple to use. Honestly, the only reason I use it is because, back to step number one, sticking with what you know, it came free with my first sound card, and I’ve just been upgrading ever since. Now I’m on Cubase 9. So, Cubase is what I use.
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You can also look at Logic Pro. You can also look at, like I said, Audacity is the free one. Some people use Reaper. Some people use … there’s so many different ones out there, and most of them have, like I said, free trials, but take a look at the ones that I’ve mentioned first, because they tend to be the industry standards, with Pro Tools being on top, despite the fact that it does crash a lot.
Tip number three: Look for freebies and discounts. Now, I kind of alluded to this already when I was talking about how I discovered Cubase. I bought an external sound card, a TC Konnekt 8 in 2000 and maybe five, or 2004. It came with a little CD that was Cubase LE. It was a version of Cubase that was free. Came with a thing, had very limited functions, but I could dive into the interface right away. It worked with my sound card really easy, et cetera, et cetera. It was very, very easy to set up, and I just stuck with it forever. If you’re about to buy some new equipment, which you’ll hear about in one of my future videos about how to set up a basic home studio, check to see if there are any sound cards that come with a free software. Most of them do. Check that one out first. You can also apply for a student discount if you’re in education, and there are all kinds of coupons and stuff like that for limited editions. You don’t have to spend a ton of money. Look for the discounts. They’re there.
Be mindful, though. If you’re looking to buy a pared down version of software like Cubase Elements, or a basic version of something, make sure it has those key components we talked about. You need to be able to mix down into WAV. You need to be able to mix down into MP3. One of the most annoying things about Cubase’s entry level, which is called Cubase Elements, is that you have to buy up the export. You can only export in WAV, and if you want to convert it to MP3, you have to use a separate program. So make sure that the limited edition, or the limited version, that you’re going to buy has what you need before you buy it, okay? Don’t get stuck.
So that’s it for software. Like I said, if you’re starting from scratch, I recommend Audacity, because it’s free, and it mimics the interface of most of the professional grade software, so when you are ready to upgrade, it’ll be an easier transition. If you want to try some of the other stuff, look for limited functionality versions, like Cubase Elements. Make sure that it has what you need before you dive in. Once you pick one, stick with it, learn it, get used to it. There’s going to be a learning curve, and it’s going to be a little bit frustrating, but there are so many tutorials out there on every single program on YouTube that you can research and learn on your own. I’m not going to do specific DAWs, because, honestly, I don’t know them. I only know Cubase, and it’s probably a lot easier if you go find somebody who’s an expert in your software program. Seek them out, and learn from them.
Okay, everyone. That’s a wrap for this video. If this was helpful to you, let me know by liking and commenting below. Make sure you subscribe and you hit the bell icon next to the Subscribe button so you get notified when I post a new how to be a voice actor video every single Tuesday morning. Thanks for stopping by, and we’ll see you next time.