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The Pro Audio Suite

A must listen Podcast if you're in audio or voice over. Our panel features industry professionals, George 'The Tech' Whittam, Robert 'Source Connect' Marshall, Andrew 'Realtime Casting' Peters and Darren 'Voodoo Sound' Robertson, plus special guests.

Each week we dive into topics that will resonate with Professionals and home studio owner alike...

Mar 17, 2024

This week on the Pro Audio Suite, we've taken a deep dive into the evolving landscape of voiceover auditions, with a particular focus on a new directive from the MEAA suggesting auditions be conducted solely via phone. We debate the potential impacts, from audio quality to AI protections, and whether this levels the playing field or sets the stage for mediocrity.

Our journey didn't stop there; we ventured into discussions about the surprisingly good quality of smartphone mics, particularly the iPhone, and pondered if the consumer really notices or cares about audio fidelity. The conversation naturally flowed into the realms of audio tech history, reminiscing about anti-piracy measures in CDs and the quirky side of recording hacks.

Join us as we explore these topics and more, including:

  • The concept of the "mequalizer" in voiceovers.
  • Potential implications of recording auditions on smartphones for AI training.
  • A look back at anti-piracy efforts, from tape biases to digital watermarking.
  • The fun and frustration of navigating tech limitations with creative hacks.

A big shout out to our sponsors, Austrian Audio and Tri Booth. Both these companies are providers of QUALITY Audio Gear (we wouldn't partner with them unless they were), so please, if you're in the market for some new kit, do us a solid and check out their products, and be sure to tell em "Robbo, George, Robert, and AP sent you"... As a part of their generous support of our show, Tri Booth is offering $200 off a brand-new booth when you use the code TRIPAP200. So get onto their website now and secure your new booth...


And if you're in the market for a new Mic or killer pair of headphones, check out Austrian Audio. They've got a great range of top-shelf gear..

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“When the going gets weird, the weird turn professional.”

Hunter S Thompson

And don't forget the code trip a P 200. That will get you $200 off your triboof. And of course, austrian audio making passion heard. An email came via our union here in Australia, the MEAA, talking about voiceover auditions. And they want talent to do auditions only on a phone. I can kind of see why they're thinking of that, but the issue I've got is that phones are not that bad. Speaker A: There's too many roadcasters in this conversation. : We got to move away from the default bank in China. Speaker A: So what is the reason, Andrew, did they say? Is it because they think that the crappy quality is going to, well, supposed crappy quality would be my opinion. Going to make people think twice about just using it? : That is correct. It's going to be MP3 from your telephone purposely made bad. : But is it really? Speaker A: I mean we've talked about this on the show before. I mean the iPhone in a micro. Sorry, the microphone in an iPhone is spectacularly good. So what's the point? : Or is it more that the consumer doesn't care anyways? : Meant to be an equalizer so everybody sounds equally mediocre. : The me equalizer is that the Joe. : Meek mediocre, the meequalizer will inherit the voiceover industry. : Or you were saying so that they purposely don't use the audition for the job. : Correct. : Yeah, it's like protection. : I guess it makes sense. I mean, I know in the states people love it when they get their auditions lifted and they don't have to record it again. : Yeah, it happens all the time. : Or you record them anyways and you still use the audition. : Oh, that happens too. So that's fascinating. So did you get a direct answer as to why? Or is it just a mandate don't ask questions? : It kind of came via my agent who's forwarded it from the union. There's also a disclaimer form as well to protect you so that you have to read a disclaimer on your audition saying that my voice cannot be used for AI and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So it's all about AI, but it's kind of like the more I thought about the iPhone thing, particularly iPhone and an iPhone 15, you can get away with using that actually for broadcast, really? : If it's done correctly. Yeah. If you record in a quiet, well tuned environment, you're going to have a very good sounding iPhone recording. Speaker A: Yeah. : A well placed iPhone will sound better than a poorly placed U 87. Speaker A: Absolutely. There you go. Well, so maybe that. Maybe the directive should have been stand on your local street corner and record on your phone. Maybe that should have. : Or just ask Robert. Speaker A: Just listen to the pro audio suite, any episode, just check out Robert and you'll get a good idea of what to do. : You should run the Hoover or the vacuum cleaner while you're doing an. Speaker A: Or you could record in, my know, kids screaming toilets, know all the fun stuff. : There you go. Speaker A: That's right. : Or toilets screaming. Speaker A: Yes. And kids. : Yeah, that's fascinating to me. So what medium are you recording with just to the voice memo app on. : Your phone, I'm assuming. So I used the phone once to muck around with when I bought a rode microphone that plugged into your phone. : Right. : I think I use garageband from memory. I can't remember off the top of my head, but I never record on the phone anyway. But if this is the new directive, I don't really know whether it's going to achieve much because. All right, so someone's not going to use it for the real job, so you're not going to get it stolen. They can still use it for AI. Because if you're training a robot, then doesn't matter what it sounds like. Really? : Good enough to train an AI bot. Speaker A: Yeah. : And then again, the other thing is, of course, send in an audition that sounds like shit. You don't want the person at the other end to go, oh, God, their studio is awful, I won't be using them. Speaker A: Well, this is the thing. Are they going to be told that you're auditioning on your phone or are they just going to get your audition expecting that you're going to be in your booth, in your home? : Well, I don't know. And the other thing is, of course it's a directive here. But I mean, what if I'm auditioning for another country? : Why don't they just take all the auditions and run it through a plugin that makes it sound like crap? : Boy, you could do that as well. : Yeah. Just give it a 4K low pass, be done with it. Speaker A: Yeah. : So just real sounds like a telephone. Speaker A: Yeah. : How about this. Okay, I got it ready. When they post it, they just put a little watermarker in there that goes voice jungle. : Do you remember? This is probably a long, long time ago. But there was a point at one stage they were worried about records being bootlegged and they used to put something. There was some kind of weird frequency. When you tried to record, dub something across, it would have had this weird frequency through it. Speaker A: Oh, really? : Yeah. I think on tapes they tried to do something that would mess with the bias of a tape. : The bias. : You couldn't make a dub of it. And then later in CDs, you found that with the. Remind me of the code spitiff had the Src. There was a setting when you'd master a CD, it would only allow one digital generation to be made and the second digital generation could not be copied. Src or something. What was that called? : Yeah, I don't remember, but yeah, I. Speaker A: Know what you're talking about. : It's a sample bit, like, people would call it sample bit, I think. Speaker A: Yeah. : When you master a CD, you can actually enable a bit that will prevent that disk from being copied. Yeah, I remember that in my recording in like, wavelab or whatever I was using to master or burn the master, you could say, do not make this disk copyable. : And then if you had a professional dat machine, it wouldn't give a crap and it would copy it anyways. Speaker A: Yeah. : Was that connected via AES or via SPDif? : SPDIF or AES, I believe. Well, definitely. No, no. Spdif because Sp Diff carried more metadata than AES, I believe. I don't know that if it was carried over AES, because SPDIF was the. : Consumer protocol and AES was the pro correct protocol. : And then there was another change to it, because then after that, when recordable CDs came out, the music industry wanted its royalties for all the music that was going to get bootlegged. So they made special, more expensive recordable CDs. So that then when you bought a consumer CD recorder, you had to buy these more expensive CDs, like Phillips came out with the 870, and it was a cheap CD recorder, but you could only use these expensive discs. But then everyone figured out that all you had to do was you bought one expensive disc and you put it in the machine and you primed it for record. And then you waited and you just grabbed your fingernails underneath the CD tray and you pulled it out and you switched the disc with a cheap disc and you pushed it in without triggering the closed motor so it didn't notice. Start its cycle up again. Speaker A: Wow. : That's a hack. : And then you could just record on cheap discs and you didn't have to have an expensive recorder, because if not, you were buying like, an HHB or like, a $1,000 CD recorder instead of a $300. Speaker A: Wow. Well, there you go. Wow. Wish I had known that hack all those years ago, but there you go. : And then the other thing that you don't remember on the CD was the pre emphasis bit. That would raise the high end. Right? That's what preemphasis did. It raised the high end a little bit extra. Speaker A: Yeah. : I don't remember why, but I do. : Remember that it had that to compensate for shitty playback systems. : I don't know, because there's the RIA EQ curve on phonographs. : It was almost like. It's like that was pre emphasis. De emphasis. Yeah, scums. That's what they called it. Scms. Serial copy management system. Yeah, they would call it scum because they hated it. That was annoying. : Well, I mean, based on that scum, why don't we have a scum in our daw? So we just hit that when we record. So it sounds great, but no one. Speaker A: Sends it out on CD. Send it. : People are talking about things like this, like trying to find a way to be able to track the media from even where it all goes. So, for instance, if you have a sound effects library, the sound effects can be seen inside of the mix that they are, and then somehow the person gets royalties. I don't know. It's a pretty hard problem to solve. Seems like there's a thousand ways to get around it and only one way to make sure it works. Right? Speaker A: This phone thing, going back to that just for a second, because it's just occurred to me, does it sort of smack of desperation to you that this sort of clutching its straws of sort of like, well, this is the best we can do? Does it feel to you like it does to me that maybe they're just getting desperate with this whole thing? : To me, it smacks of. I didn't know there was that big of a problem with pilfering auditions, that this is necessary. : Yeah, I'm shocked. I mean, I would never have thought of this as a solution, but I would have thought of another way to do it. But this is a super. It's a thing that anybody can do because everybody has a smartphone at this point, and it doesn't fix the fidelity problem necessarily, because you can still record really great sounding files, even more so. : You can now up res stuff. I'm sure this is going to hit for audio, but someone brought me a SD. It was DVD, but it might as well have been a VHs. It just looked like shit compared to all the video that we're used to, right. And took it to AI and it made it look like proper HD. It just interpolated everything, all the missing bits. It just like. I know it would have been here. Here's the nose hair. Speaker A: Yeah. I don't know. I suppose you sort of got to be. These sort of unions and stuff have to be seen to be doing something, but I don't know that they're really doing anything. : I can't see it making any difference. I mean, you've just got to be really careful about who you audition for. They've just got to be trustworthy and they've got to be a signatory of a union so they don't break the law, otherwise they lose their membership to the union. I mean, I can't think of any other way of doing it. There's got to be some kind of way of punishing. But if someone wants to do it, they'll do it anyway. Yeah. : Is it that there's too many desperate voice actors, just desperate to find any kind of work and they just don't care. They just want to get any opportunity to work. So they set themselves up to be. : Ripped off and then next thing you know, they take a gig where they're just, like, reading the dictionary and all of a sudden their voice is cloned, or it's part of a clone that you don't know it's in, and they've just been part of a. Because this is like a big data war is really what it boils down to. And how do you protect your data when your data is just, like, coming off of you like light? Speaker A: Well, I mean, when you think about how many auditions people do every day, how much sort of unused voiceover is actually floating around out there, there must be craploads of it. : So much. Well, did I tell you what we want to do with the echo servers? We don't really want to do this, by the way, so don't worry. But we just thought it'd be funny if we ever just took a recording of all the junk that gets set into echo. Speaker A: Imagine what people check. Yeah. This fucking piece of shit. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit. : God damn it. Speaker A: Why does my mic sound like shit? What's going on? Yeah, all that rubbish. Yeah, that'd be hilarious. You could do a rap song out of it or something. Just sound. : There's like a lot of material there. Speaker A: Absolutely, yeah. The source elements. Twelve inch or something. : Echo roulette. Speaker A: Yeah, there you go. Echo roulette. : Echo blue. Speaker A: You could have fun with that. You could actually tell people. You could sort of have a competition. The person who leaves us the best line for our remix wins a twelve month subscription to Nexus or something. There you go. : That would be a really fun one. I mean, right now it's like we don't run the queue manager because it would just fill up in an hour and then the computer would explode. : Yeah. Speaker A: Interesting. There you go. It's funny, isn't it? I mean, AP and I were talking about subjects we were going to talk about today and I was flicking back through our catalog of shows just looking for ideas and it goes back as far as like 2020. We were talking about AI back then. It's been an overriding sort of shadow over the industry for so long, hasn't it? : But in the last two years it has gotten. Speaker A: It's gotten worse. But you can go back to 2020 and we were talking about it then. It's just been this big black cloud hanging over the industry for so long, hasn't it? It's just weird. : Don't worry, there won't be any industry anymore. So it's all, well, God. Speaker A: Oh, that's reassuring. It's crazy, isn't it? Thanks to George's influence, I've been delving into AI a little bit and, man, some of the stuff just images even conjure me up this image and bang, there it is. It's just crazy. : Thing is, I recognize all those images that you post as being AI generated. Speaker A: I'm sure you do. : It has a very distinct style. It's a signature to it, if you know, you know, I guess is what I'm saying. Most people could care less, but yeah. : It'S a slippery slope that we're sliding on down into the depths of God knows where. No work. Speaker A: Yeah, exactly. : Of the slurp. Speaker A: Yeah. Well, who knows? : Yeah. Splash. Speaker A: Well, that was fun. Speaker C: Is it over? Speaker B: The pro audio suite with thanks to tribooth and austrian audio recorded using source connect, edited by and repeaters and mixed by Voodoo Radio imaging with tech support from George the tech Wittam. Don't forget to subscribe to the show and join in the conversation on our Facebook group. To leave a comment, suggest a topic, or just say g'day. Drop us a note at our website,

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