Voiceovers by Kevin Pierce
A primer for Internet audio
in your studio

Audio & video companies get same-day voiceovers!
Cable companies get spot-audio delivered, just-in-time!
TV and radio stations get their promos the same afternoon!

The ability to send CD-quality audio over the Internet comes as a result of high-speed modems and the improved quality of compressed audio. Digital audio files are complex, with more than 44,000 samples of audio info every second. A single minute of audio takes up more than 10 megabytes on your hard-drive and would take more than half an hour to download!

But if you (or the studio where your audio is headed) have a digital editing system (including Avid, Media100 or SpeedRazor on the video side, or systems like ProTools, Sonic Solutions or Sadie on the audio side), or if you can play high-quality audio from your computer through your mixer, here's how you can get same-day voiceover audio via the Internet...

How do you want it cooked?

Today's most popular formats for shrinking audio files are RealAudio and mp3. And while both formats give up some fidelity to the compression, they also reduce file size (and transfer time) to about one-tenth of the original. As an example, a one-minute, stereo wav or aiff file is 10.5 megabytes. That same file, converted to mp3 is less than one megabyte. Converted as the highest quality RealAudio file, it's less than 600k. With a 56Kbps modem, the mp3 download time is three minutes and the RealAudio time is less than two minutes. And the audio quality is amazing! Go to the audio samples page to hear the quality for yourself.

You want that for here, or to go?

With a one-minute voiceover shrunk to less than one megabyte, the easiest way for you to receive it is as an attachment to an e-mail message. Remember to take note of the directory in which you're saving the file, so you'll be able to find it when you need it.

Some systems, however, can't receive e-mail attachments; Others limit the size of the attachment. In these cases, we'll load the files up to our website and give you instructions on how to download them at your convenience.

Dinner is served

We handle the encoding (compression) on this end. So you need only to be prepared for the decoding (decompression) on your end. For Windows users, to convert mp3 files to wav files, we recommend WinAmp (it plays as well as decodes mp3 files) or Audioactive mp3 Decoder from Telos (decoding is all it does, but it's easy to use). For Mac users, to convert mp3 files to aiff, Sound Designer and other formats, we recommend SoundApp. And for Windows users, to convert RealAudio files to wav files, use ra2wav (sorry, no equivalent yet for you Mac-folks).

Please note: If your e-mail/download computer is separate from your audio/video setup, you'll probably want to move the compressed file to your a/v system before you convert it. Moving a one megabyte file on a floppy (one minute of voiceover) or a 10 megabyte file on a ZipDisc (10 minutes of voiceover) is much easier than moving wav or aiff files that are at least 10 times larger!

A little lagniappe ...

That covers everything you need to know to be able to receive and use Internet audio. If you want to send Internet audio, you'll need to be able to encode your audio files. Download the RealAudio encoder or any of the mp3 encoders from the software links on mp3.com. Other files of interest include DOS-based Sonarc for lossless compression of wav files, and Awave for PC-based, multi-format file conversion.

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