Do You Need Source-Connect for Voiceover Work?

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The voiceover industry has seen a boom in recent years, making it more accessible than ever before for those wanting to focus their talents in the world of audio. Along with digital audio workstations and microphones, many voice actors working from the comfort of their own home find their jobs are made easier by the technology of Source-Connect.

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What is Source-Connect and how does it work?

Source-Connect

Source-Connect is a computer program that allows remote recording and capture using real-time synchronization. VO artists use it to remotely record, receive directions, and share clear, crisp sound with no delay. The technology works using the power of Fraunhofer’s AAC-ELDv2 codec, an open-source library that sends audio using enhanced low delay. 

So, if you’re a voiceover artist who lives in Salt Lake City and you booked a gig based in Los Angeles, with Source-Connect, you can link up with the sound team and record with zero delay. And since the recording session is happening in real time, you don’t need to email a large audio file to the sound engineers or producers.

Unlike audio software such as Pro Tools, Adobe Audition, or Audacity, which are used to edit and mix sound, Source-Connect is a service that connects recording sessions with high-quality audio and zero delay.

The program comes in different subscription tiers: Standard, Pro, and Pro X. Most voice and music performers only need Standard, which costs an initial fee of $75, plus $35 per month or $650 for a perpetual subscription.

What about ISDN?

Source-Connect has become industry standard in the voiceover and ADR realms—but it wasn’t the first system that voiceover artists used to record remotely. That would be ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network), essentially the precursor to Source-Connect. With ISDN, a performer would use a special phone network system with a telecommunications company to communicate recordings without delay.

The upside to using ISDN was that the quality of the record was generally considered perfect, but for many, the cost was prohibitive: Not only did it make phone bills a lot higher, but it also required that users buy and install expensive hardware.

While ISDN may still be an option for some voiceover artists, the affordability and user-friendly aspects of Source-Connect have all but made ISDN obsolete. In fact, most major telecommunication companies have begun to sunset the service.

Do I need Source-Connect to work in voiceover? Or are there alternatives?

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Many voice actors use Source-Connect, but not all jobs will require or demand it. In fact, some jobs may simply ask that you connect with them using standard video conference apps and systems such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Skype. Like Source-Connect, these services offer the ability to record and receive directions in real time. However, sound quality and lag may negatively impact the recording session.

Other paid services similar to Source-Connect that can be used as an alternative include Cleanfeed, ipDTL, and ConnectionOpen.

  • Cleanfeed is a browser-based option that allows users to record and send high-quality audio files. Because it’s browser-based, it’s compatible across just about all operating systems. It offers a free version and a Pro version for a monthly fee.
  • ipDTL is like a new and improved version of ISDN—if a studio uses ISDN, ipDTL can connect with it. Like Cleanfeed, it’s browser-based, which means you don’t have to download a separate program. It also comes in different pricing tiers starting at $15/month.
  • ConnectionOpen is compatible with Mac and Windows and can be used as a plugin or downloaded as its own application. It focuses on delivering high-quality audio with little-to-no latency at multiple pricing tiers. 

Like all products and services, you have multiple options. However, Source-Connect has become to voiceover artists what Avid is to editors. If you plan to do remote voiceover work, chances are that you will likely come across Source-Connect at some point.