How Not To Be An Idiot

So Its been almost 6 months since I’ve written anything for The Voice Emporium and for my regular readers I apologize. The truth is that in some cases there was not much to report about and in others I was extremely busy.

As most of you have already forgotten I am not a full time Voiceover artist, though that is the goal, the dream, the target, which means that for around 8 hours everyday for 5 days a week I am not available to record or write for my blog or do much in the voiceover-verse. I was given a promotion and handed 23 people and a company to manage and that has meant longer hours at work and many sleepless nights trying to figure out solutions for problems that I never knew I would ever be involved in.

A few weeks back I did something pretty stupid and though it didn’t hurt anyone but myself… I guess.

Some Background On The Issue

My incident of idiocy (or lack of foresight if I wanted to be kind to myself) was caused by the culmination of a number of factors.

  1. Microsoft’s offer that you pay $39.99 to upgrade your windows operating system to Windows 8 Pro
  2. Discovering that there was an Adobe Audition CS6 (I was running CS5.5)
  3. Being a total upgrade geek
  4. Lack of Foresight

Microsoft had sent me an email informing me that there was this super duper offer that would expire in a few days and that I should take advantage of.

I totally fell for it and purchased an activation code for my studio PC.

Now let me make it very clear that at this stage I was very happy with my studio PC setup and the fact that all I did was go in… record the voiceover … add a Compression effect on the audio and after a few clean ups of mouth noises or what nots I emailed it to my client.

Can you guess what happened?  No? Well read on.

The Buildup

 

I started the upgrade process from the old windows system to the new one, but unlike the family computer outside which I had upgraded first. This time it didn’t give me the option to keep all my applications and their settings saved… the only two options were keep settings or clean install.

So my only option to upgrade the operating system was to wipe all my applications and any data associated with them on the C: drive.

Since I was a total upgrade geek and system upgrades were a fact of life… I figured that all I would have to do is just reinstall all the software again … and since this was my studio software all it had was my recording software and my microsoft office software.

What could go wrong?

YOU IDIOT!

 

So as you might have guessed, the installation went smoothly and everything was ok until I finished installing my audition software and realized that my compression preset had been wiped along with the old system.

Except it wasn’t … what the windows upgrade software does is it makes a file called windows.old on your C and allows you some semblance of dignity so that if you were put in the situation that necessitated a clean install… that at least the old application data was available … until you delete that file.

Want to guess what I did?

I deleted the windows.old file cause I wanted to clear the space on my C: drive. I wonder if this would be considered reverse serendipity…

Make Matters Worse

That’s right … it gets better. After discovering that there was a new Adobe Audition I went and bought the upgrade and installed it. Except for some reason it kept giving me an error. My first reaction was of course to blame Adobe… isn’t that everyone’s first reaction?

I twiddled here and twiddled there and figured since I have a CEntrance MicPortPro it must be that I didn’t install the universal drivers from their website.

Turns out I was wrong and the drivers were not compatible with Windows 8 so they kept crashing the operating system.

Coming Up With Solutions

I’m not one to feel sorry for myself for long so I figured I need to make the best of a bad situation. What I will do is come up with a better preset than the original and I will turn the proverbial frown upside down.

So I uninstalled the CEtrance drivers, and that stopped the system and audition from crashing, then I really paid attention and figured out what the error that Audition was trying to tell me about was… It was just saying that my headphones were set to a lower bitrate than my mic.

Once that was taken care of I started messing around with Adobe Audition to try and somehow replicate my old compression setting.

Everyday I go into my studio… record something and try to audio match one of my old recordings, the harmonic frequency and the compression using the same plugin.

So far I’ve not been able to get it exactly right. I have to add a number of effects to get something that I am happy with.. so obviously I am doing something wrong.

Silver Linings

I don’t think there is any benefit in just beating myself up about this. I’m kind of used to tripping, falling down and picking myself up… and in the scheme of things… this is pretty minor. An cause of irritation at best.

So I took to the interwebs and started looking and lo and behold there were folks who worked in the VO industry and were generous enough to provide tutorial videos on how to setup your adobe audition and get great results out of it.

One such channel that has actually helped me considerably is Mike Russell’s Channel I highly recommend that you subscribe to his channel.

I did.

Moral of the Story

Ok so I over-dramatized a pretty simple issue but if you actually sit and consider the matter. If I am asked to fix or to re-record an existing file that I recorded using the previous preset on Audition then I’m pretty much screwed unless I can replicate it.

My recommendation is that make sure that you have screen shots of your settings on your favorite plugins on your DAW programs so that just in case you have to go through what I just went through… there is a way to recalibrate your software.

In my case I’ve already done a few VOs with the new setup and so far none of my clients has complained. But I can hear it… and it bothers me. So I’ll keep messing around until I get it close to… or better than my previous setup.



8 Comments


  1. Great to “hear” your voice again, Mr. T. Changing over all my computer gear from PC to Mac in the next couple of weeks, so your caution is timely. Thanks.

    dD

    • Thanks Double D! I guess I should say congrats… just make sure you save all your settings and find equivalent software for like accounting and stuff.

  2. Itoo, tend to be an upgrade junkie. My CS5 premium production suite was working perfectly. There wasn’t really any new features I could see my self as having to have, and yet, here I am with CS6.

    I have however, learned many lessons from premature upgrading to Windows latest and greatest. In fact, I dare say, there has yet to be a time when I actually upgraded a Windows operating system where I didn’t feel like I had just spent 2 days wrestling a 400 pound alligator.

    I am pretty sure that I won’t be running Windows 8 anytime in the near future. Despite my now making 3 or 4 clones, backups and other life saving measures to my existing system, I believe that since I do not plan on purchasing a 30 inch touch screen monitor, I will do just fine with Windows 7 for perhaps another 6 months or maybe even a year.

    Yes, it will be nice to move away from a bloated whale that, not unlike many countries, sits on top of one civilization after another, the “penalty” is just too high.

    Maybe I’m getting a tad wiser in my old age or perhaps it’s that as a pioneer, my back is already full of arrows, I don’t know.

    Sorry that you had to go through all of this, but if your problems with Windows 8 makes you an idiot, then at this point, with all my past suffering at the hands of Microsoft (and others), I must now be able to qualify as “brain-dead”.

    Good Luck,

    –js

    • You Know JS, having spent some time with the OS thus far, its not bad… its nice and stable and its got some nice visual candy here and there. But I have to completely agree with you that upgrading one’s windows machine is exactly like spending 2 days wrestling a 400 pound alligator (or in my case 2 alligators since I upgraded two machines). I see the touch functionality but they don’t actually interfere with the standard windows experience. I do though greatly appreciate the shortened boot time (around 30 to 40 seconds).

      I guess the thing that got me was the $40 upgrade price. That’s Mac upgrade pricing right there so I figured I’d take advantage of it… and since I am an upgrade junkie it would not have been physically or mentally possible to even consider sitting on the activation codes for a few months until all the kinks are ironed out of the new OS.

      Thankfully… and very soon after writing the article, possibly because I wrote the article to get the frustration of being so stupid out of my system… I found a VST plugin called Rough Rider by Audio Damage (www.audiodamage.com) that compressed my voice exactly the way I like it… almost identical (if not better) to my old preset.

      So Lesson learned and I guess a nice show of Serendipity there!

      I guess I should write some article on VST plugins… but that might take some time for research.

  3. Hi Taji. It’s great to hear you again – and congratulations on the big day job.
    All I can do is offer sympathy over the IT scenario. I would not have had a clue how to fix that lot.
    Nothing, but nothing, puts me into a rage faster than software playing up. There’s this nail to hammer in fast… and the ruddy handle breaks, and the replacement doesn’t fit, and now all the nails have spilled. And now the customer is waiting. Arrrghh!

    • Hello Howard,

      Yes it was quite the fix, but thankfully I have been able to fix the problem and recreate my compression setting. It has made me consider switching to a Mac, but that would open up a whole other series of headaches for me since I would then want to use Pro tools (for the real-time punch-in feature) and honestly that’s just another expense and I’d have to have someone buy it for me from Europe or the US and wait till they come back to Cairo (if you didn’t know already, its hard has heck to find any recording equipment where I live). Thankfully I’m a tinkerer and hate to be put in the same situation twice, and to make sure none of you folks go through what I went through… and so you can learn from my life mistakes, I write about my falls from intellectual grace 🙂

  4. Hello Taji. True enough, many fewer such problems with Macs, though there are initial irritations like invoices that pc users can’t see, scripts that I can’t read, and the fact that some internet service providers and their support people, are less compatible with Macs than others. You discover such things gradually, with hopefully not too many falls, and with help along the way from people such as you who post up their own experiences and solutions. I call that intellectual grace!

    • Ah that reminds me, My brother-in-law had told me that there was some kind of issue with the handling of Arabic text files in Macs. Yet another obstacle. Oh well.

      Save your invoices as PDF files. that’s pretty universal.