The full time voice talent must always be ready to have a broadcast-quality, user-friendly studio connection for studios, or producers for remote audio recording of voice over sessions.
For remote recording sessions, this studio includes a Telos Zephyr ISDN codec, and connection through AT&T. The software used for remote recording voice over sessions is in place , using the large bandwidth internet and Google Chrome browser and Source-Connect NOW and also newcomer ipDTL. There is also a voIP service called SoundStreak being used as an ISDN alternative.
Listen and Compare
A few weeks back my producer friend Tim Keenan at Creative Media Recording put together a very telling recorded comparison in this blog. (ISDN, Source-Connect NOW, and ipDTL) If you want to get a higher quality wav file of the demonstration for analytical purposes, just contact Tim.
Those interested in hearing more about side by side comparisons to ISDN alternatives, including Source-Connect NOW, ipDTL and SoundStreak, there’s a webinar coming up June 24 hosted by VoiceoverXtra . My knowledgable voice over buds Dan Lenard and Dave Courvoisier are helping put it together.
Unlevel Playing Fields
The tide is turning for singular users of ISDN, voice over talents like myself who are completely fed up and/or slowly getting priced out of the marketplace as the telcos are actively disbanding this older service technology and infrastructure in favor of economically effective and efficient fiber optics. Just two days ago, while speaking with a rep at AT&T about why my bill went up another $100 per month, as I was just getting accustomed to the last $100 per month increase levied only two months ago. I was gasping as I added up the additional thousands I’m forking over annually now to AT&T.
I fondly remembered the days not so long ago when I had my residential ISDN account in California , paying $48.00 per month.
Now I am in the Midwest, and required to maintain a “business account”. Residential accounts are no longer available. Rates going up about $100 every eight weeks or so is like being in a pot of water on a heated stove and the temperature keeps rising until you finally scream, “Uncle”, or I’m cooked!
The most galling thing is the competitive disadvantage for small businesses, the one person studios, the voice talent being hurt. Those who are trying to hang on and challenged to remain competitive when voice talent in other parts of the country pay far less for the service. (Although it appears everyone is receiving increasing higher bills these days for their ISDN. )
Many cannot get ISDN re-installed if they move.
Not so Tiny Tips & Tidbits
Some argue that this is the cost of doing business in voice over. Well I’m thinking I could be giving myself a hefty raise by ditching ISDN. And there’s excellent quality coming through Source-Connect NOW and ipDTL. Plus there are very reasonable bridging services. If I landed a voice over gig that absolutely required ISDN, I’ve made arrangements with a commercial studio about 30 minutes away. So the bases are pretty much covered.
My friend Lance Blair put it so well in a recent comment here: ” If anything it proves that ISDN isn’t clearly the best (if at all). I like the ipDTL and the Source Connect Now the best. The SCN is the best of the bunch, but I think that’s because while you sound great on all three takes, your voice is a little richer and lower on that one. For example, especially on the ‘witnesses who, in passing,’ part. It’s tough to pick which service to go with. ipDTL has better Chat and a great Script editor, and I like the Link + URL. SCN has conferencing capability, and it’s free for two-way 128kbps. SCN just started an embed feature, so you can have it right on your website.”
I’ve been hanging on to this unreasonable situation even though the ISDN is in use several times per month. No longer will I pay lip service to the threat of stopping this madness. I’m going to work on cutting the cord , and soon. It’s out and out highway robbery, and certain reps at AT&T agree, but have been told, this is what’s happening and suggest that I should seek a VoIP solution, as the network is moving to fiber optic. The guy at AT&T I spoke with said he barely deals with any inquiries regarding ISDN any more. There are so few. Many of the very knowledgeable ISDN installation techs who’ve been with the company for years are retiring into the sunset along with the 40 year old technology.
Another tidbit from AT&T: Land lines will be a thing of the past very soon, with cellular and fiber optic delivery systems as the new norm. And no more wiring homes with expensive copper. Fiber, baby, fiber!
I even had a sympathetic ear at AT&T ‘s broadcast services center which I was referred to to seek some relief. It turns out that my type of use for the studio for their “program audio circuit” would only work throughout my local area in Southeast Wisconsin. It’s a program where you pay a one time up front fee, and then pay only for the time that is used, which would be quite a bit less. But when a voice talent is getting dialed up from all around the world for remote audio recording, that’ll never work.
Becoming the Change-maker
So, the move to change is here. The writing is on my wall. And I’m swiftly moving in the direction of change. First, I must inform my agents, studio clients and producer regulars about the pending shift.
Just yesterday, I updated the studio page on my website to include all the ways a producer can connect with me for a remote voice over recording session. Up top, (for now ) is ISDN and my dial up numbers, followed by the cool and newly embedded connection point for Source-Connect NOW, and a client ipDTL login banner.
Point, click, done.
Note to self: Better consider selling my Telos Zephyr before it becomes an expensive door stop.
Stick a fork in me, I’m almost done.