Friday, February 22, 2008

SERVICE UPDATE: Voice123 Version 2.5!

Hello everyone!

In just a few weeks we will be releasing a significant set of improvements for you to enjoy. It keeps all of the features offered by the New Voice123 (Version 2.0) plus many more advantages! We call it Voice123 Version 2.5!

The voice industry has talked and we have listened. These are just some of the most important improvements that are coming to Voice123:

  • You will now have access to opt out from receiving Voice123 SmartCast invitations on projects that don’t match your budgets requirements.

  • If you offer pre-, -post, or production services, you will now be able to showcase them in your profile.

  • You will be able to specify more accurately your union and membership affiliations (if any).

  • When you upload demos to your profile, you will be able to provide more detailed information regarding each of them.

  • You will now be able to showcase the payment methods you accept.

  • An improved set of categories and delivery capabilities will allow you to better determine the type of services you wish to offer.

  • If you own a recording studio, you will be able to showcase its details.

All of the above improvements will automatically help you get better-matching invitations sent by Voice123 SmartCast®. These improvements will also serve as the base for the upcoming talent and voice producer search system (SmartSearch®) that will be released later this year.

There are many other major improvements for voice seekers being planned. Some of them are so innovative that we are in the process of patenting them!

You will soon learn the release date along with instructions on how to take advantage of all the new features. Stay tuned!


Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
by Alex Torrenegra
President and Co-founder

P.S. Would you like to participate in the beta testing of all these improvements?
Just click here and send us a message. Thank you!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Downloading Auditions Is Now Easier

If you as a voice seeker have the need of downloading the auditions that you get through Voice123, we have made an improvement that will make you happier!

You now have ONE-CLICK access to download your auditions.

If you are a highly active voice seeker, this small improvement may save you tons of time.

To check it out, simply post a project!

This is just one of the many improvements we are working on. Let us know what you think by writing your comments below.


Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
by Alex Torrenegra
President and Co-founder

Many New Improvements

During the past few days we have released several improvements as a result of your feedback:

  • We believe you may be happy in learning that from now on all invitations sent by Voice123 SmartCast will include the deadline of the project as well as its budget. This information helps you save and manage your time better.

  • The project creation form now warns voice seekers that projects with "To be defined" budgets may not offer the best results. As a result, we expect to see less projects with "To be defined" budgets.

  • The project creation form now advices voice seekers that custom demos should only be required if the custom demo is going to be a deciding factor.

  • The form where you submit auditions and proposals has an area where the details of the project are shown. The text on said area is now darker, thus easier to read.

These are just some of the many improvements we are working on based on feedback received from you. Please let us know what you think by posting your comments below.


Voice123 - The Voice Marketplace
by Alex Torrenegra
President and Co-founder

Monday, February 04, 2008

Do I invest in ISDN or an Internet Audio Program? (By Harlan Hogan)

I'll try to keep this short...

If you are doing actual sessions from a home studio ISDN or an Internet equivalent (Source Connect, Audio TX) is an invaluable tool along with a traditional phone patch. To do Radio/TV imaging, ISDN capability is expected and necessary.

However ISDN is becoming hard to get from the Telco's in many places and it is expensive. Installation runs around a hundred and fifty dollars for the two lines necessary, plus a monthly charge of forty to well over a hundred dollars a month, depending on location. It's customary for the talent to not initiate a call, but if you do you'll also be hit with line charges per minute -- times two! A Chicago production house spends over a thousand dollars per month on ISDN line charges for audio book narrations. And there's the gear - you'll need an ISDN Codec (coder/decoder) essentially an expensive computer based modem - three to four thousand dollars new.

Enter the Internet and VOIP - Voice Over Internet Protocol. With a high speed Internet connection and a software solution you can send and receive air-quality audio via the Internet.

Source Connect is a plug in program that runs with Pro Tools or any audio program supporting VST plug ins (Cubase, Audition etc.) the cost is $395.00 and ---- that's it. No monthly fees. Audio TX in more expensive at about twelve hundred dollars - including an ISDN adapter card for your computer - but it has the advantage of being able to "Talk" directly to an ISDN user by emulating an ISDN codec and it can communicate over the Internet alone.

Now this would seem a simple decision, skip ISDN and go Internet - but like everything in life it's not quite that simple.

First off, ISDN has a big established infrastructure and is very reliable. I believe it will be remain the "mainstay" for real time professional audio production (especially among broadcaster who are LOATHE to change anything!) for at least another five years.

Internet based audio will make an impact however, as the user base grows and in time goes from being a backup to the main solution. Remember that with Source Connect BOTH parties need to have the software, high speed connection and fairly powerful computers. If the 'other end' doesn't have SC you'll need to set up (and most-likely pay for) a bridge - connecting the software to a traditional ISDN codec and on to the ISDN-equipped end user.

Secondly, because of the way data is sent via the Internet today (disparate packets of data are sent in bursts) vs. the streaming of contiguous audio, Internet audio can sometimes be choppy and have other audio artifacts. In fairness, ISDN can get a little goofy too from time to time but it's fairly rare. When (note: when) the Internet changes protocol (which it will) these minor hiccups will disappear and we'll be putting the ISDN codec up on the shelf next to the DAT machine. Meanwhile, Source Connect unveiled a new version of their software for 2008 that automatically detects and ‘dropped’ out of order packets and restores the audio seamlessly.

Right now, I'm using both remote solutions with ISDN the main player and SC a nice backup. On the road, it's Source Connect - because so far I've never found a hotel room that just happened to have a couple of ISDN phone lines installed. While speaking at the NAB in Las Vegas last year I did a problem-free session from the 50th floor of the Wynn hotel on my lap top using Source Connect ---- wirelessly! This weekend I'll be connecting with London from San Francisco during my Long Haul's a truly amazing thing.

So to summarize my tirade.

Everything in life and business is situational - so evaluate the amount of remote work you are doing to help you decide on ISDN or an Internet program.

If - for example - you are doing windows for five TV stations five times a day then ISDN is the only way to go at this moment. If - on the other hand - your schedule includes only occasional remote work, then go for a software solution. You may have to bite the bullet occasionally and schedule an ISDN bridge, or go to an ISDN-equipped local studio but that's still far less expensive than the cost of full-time ISDN capability. BTW many recording studios give VO's a nice price break - especially if you can be flexible on scheduling - so be sure to ask. Patches in Los Angeles, Audio Recording Unlimited in Chicago and Full Compass is New York are a few examples of 'talent-friendly' ISDN studios.

I do believe ISDN audio will be replaced by Internet audio solutions .... but not just yet!

Of the two biggies - Source Connect and AudioTX - I'm betting SC will come out the winner because of their already large client base and low cost. I've seen and heard of several other Internet-based solutions, some with monthly fees which greatly lessen their value, but - at this moment - Source Connect is well-positioned to be the de-facto standard. In my experience, their customer support is beyond amazing - I can't say the same for AudioTX.

Wow that was long -- but you asked.

Hope this helps,

Harlan Hogan
Harlan Hogan is a Voice123 Coach Partner