Usually, when someone is looking for a free software package for Vocieover work, people tend to recommend Audacity. And, for good reason, Audacity is a mature and well-supported opensource project. It gives you access to a wide array of tools. And, it runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux Operating Systems.
No tool is perfect. Typical complaints about Audacity include it’s “Wonky” Interface, an ineffective method of previewing effects, and how slow it seems to get while editing larger files.
If those complaints resonate with you, you may want to try out OcenAudio. They leverage the powerful, cross-platform Qt Framework and extended it with their own audio-focused Ocen Framework. In doing so, they have built a really solid product.
OcenAudio is maintained by a very talented team of Brazilian engineers at the Federal University of Santa Catarina. It runs on Windows, Mac, and Linux. It’s free to download. And, it adresses the Audacity issues listed above. I find it to be both a nimble and a capable editor.
If you test drive OcenAudio next to TwistedWave, you will be struck with the similarities, not only in looks but also in performance. There are a few differences:
- OcenAudio uses VST plugins (TwistedWave uses both VST and AU plugins).
- OcenAudio does not have an Effect Stack (TwistedWave) or an Audio Chain (Audacity) function.
- OcenAudio (and Audacity) can find zero-crossings if you hit a key command while TwistedWave has a preference to do that automatically.
Beyond those differences, OcenAudio and TwistedWave seem to be twins separated at birth (both children of CoolEdit maybe?).
Both OcenAudio and TwistedWave were not designed to be multi-track editors. Both products work around this limitation in the same way. They let you paste one track into another (a quick way to add background sounds or clean room tone into your voiceover).
Since the voiceover community doesn’t seem to know about this software, I decided to ask their development team a few questions (some techno-geeky and some audio-geeky):
1. What license is OcenAudio released under?
The current version of ocenaudio fits better as a Donationware. It is a non-cost and fully operational software. Ocenaudio can be used for commercial interest (music production and performance for example), but cannot be sold by third parties.
2. Will there always be a free version?
We are evaluating the feasibility of creating a pro version of ocenaudio (paid version) with extra features, but we will keep a free version available with the current available features.
3. Are there plans to implement non-destructive editing?
We don’t have plans to implement this feature in the current editor. In the future, we will evaluate the implementation of this feature in a new application and perhaps bring this feature to this editor.
4. Why did you choose the Qt Framework?
We evaluated some frameworks for cross-platform implementation and Qt has shown the best trade-off between features and native look-and-feel.
5. What features are you working on right now?
Unfortunately ocenaudio can’t be our primary job, and right now we are working on bug fixes and some minor requested features.
6. How do you say OcenAudio? (O-sen-Audio? O-ken-Audio?)
In english, “ocen” could be pronounced like “oh-sen”.
7. What does the name mean?
Ok. This is a long history. But in a short way, the name OCEN comes from reversing the nickname of the first developer: Neco.
8. Where did the icon come from?
We are not sure about that. The icon started to be used in the first version of ocenaudio (which never has been officially published) and it continues to be used it in the current version.
9. What is the best way for people to get technical support?
The best way to get support is writing us on the ocenaudio feedback page.
10. Any plans to implement AU or LADSPA plugins?
Yes. We do have plans, but we don’t have time to do that now.
11. Are the UI similarities to TwistedWave intentional?
Absolutely no! The first version of ocenaudio was inspired in the original CoolEdit UI. Then the current version, take elements from this first version and try to modernize them.
12. Are there plans to implement a pre-roll before recording?
Yes. But the problem is the same: time to work on.
13. What MP3 encoder are you using?
The current version ocenaudio uses lame encoder.
14. Is there written documentation available?
There are some sketches written in portuguese. We also have plans to translate it to english, but it takes a lot of time.
If you decide to try OcenAudio, let me know what you think.