What do you do at SoundTrax?
SoundTrax is a full-service sound recording studio and post-production facility. We specialize in voice recording including narration, full post-production services for commercial broadcast, sound for video and TV, podcast production, web animations, and anything else that needs to sound great. Although we do NOT specialize in music recording, we can refer you to some excellent people who do offer that service.
What will my session cost?
All services are billed based on time used, with a one-hour minimum for studio recording. Your project is like no other. If you simply must see our rate card, it’s here. But you really should call SoundTrax at (919) 832-9953, or contact us, and we will respond to you promptly. View our Terms & Conditions.
What are your hours?
Normal business hours are Monday-Friday 9AM to 5PM Eastern time. Studio hours are by appointment; evening and weekend hours are available at extra charge.
How do I listen to Voice Talent samples?
We’re always happy to make recommendations as to which professional voice actor will best suit your needs. All of our voice talent is local to the Raleigh-Durham area. Listen to Our Voices demos for a sample of our work. From that page you can preview our voices and download a short demo to your computer. If you choose voice talent through SoundTrax, we handle everything – scheduling, bookkeeping, billing, payment, and year-end tax reporting.
We’re also always happy to work with voice talent you provide, and can connect to almost any studio in the world via ISDN or Source-Connect to find the remote voice talent that’s best for your project.
What if I want music – or sound effects?
We offer licensed music for your production in every style imaginable, thanks to the 160,000+ titles in the FirstCom Production Library. Music choices are often made during the session itself, since previewing the music together with the voices and other elements can make the process easier. We can also help you preview music options on your own; just call and ask.
SoundTrax also has access to tens of thousands of stock sound effects…and if we can’t find what you need, we’ll make it ourselves.
I am a voice actor. Can I join your roster?
To be considered for inclusion on our roster of voice actors, you will need to submit a professionally produced demo which follows these guidelines:
• It should be 60 – 90 seconds in length;
• Include 6 – 8 examples of your work.
• Samples can include broadcast (TV/radio), commercial and industrial narration, video voiceover, etc.
• Your best work should be up front. Save any character voices for the end of the demo, if you include them at all.
• High-quality mp3 format ONLY, sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
Please listen to some of the demos on this website to get an idea of the quality and material we are looking for.
We accept submissions from local talent only, which means:
• You live close enough to the studio (in Raleigh, NC) to be willing to attend sessions in person.
• You are not someone who can only attend a session remotely.
Why would I need music licensing?
Almost any use of music in a sound or video production playing is considered a “public performance”, so that music is subject to copyright law. Musicians, composers, and performers are always associated with licensing organizations such as ASCAP (American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) or BMI (Broadcast Music Industries). Performances of copyrighted music without permission of one of these associations may lead to a lawsuit in Federal Court (with damages ranging from $250 to $10,000 for each song infringed!) Yikes.
SoundTrax offers access to one of the world’s top libraries of royalty-free music, with over 160,000 unique tracks available in every style imaginable and thousands more added every year. When you buy licensed music through us, you’re covered by our blanket license with the writers and performers. Ask for more information.
Do you work with video?
We don’t shoot or edit video, but we have extensive experience working with sound for video. Your Quicktime movie can be easily imported into our ProTools 10 system, and viewed on our 50 inch plasma monitor in HD. We also offer ADR (automated dialog replacement or “looping”) services.
Do you offer ISDN capability?
We’re equipped with Source Connect, the leading professional internet-based digital patch system. Source-Connect permits real-time full-bandwidth communication between any two facilities in the world, and unlike ISDN, we don’t charge extra for the access. Internet-based audio is rapidly replacing ISDN, although if your project still requires an ISDN Patch, SoundTrax also offers Source-Connect to ISDN Bridging (at additional cost).
Can you record on-location?
Yes – we have a team of experienced field engineers available on a half- or full-day basis, as well as a full complement of remote recording gear and microphones.
Do you record other languages than English?
We work closely with top local Spanish-language writers, translators and voice talent, and can handle a Spanish-language project from start to finish. French and other languages are available on request.
Do you accept Credit Cards?
SoundTrax accepts checks, cash, Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express. All invoices are due and payable on receipt unless prior arrangements have been made with SoundTrax.
Will you e-mail an invoice?
Yes. When we schedule a session, let us know who should get the invoice (if it’s not our primary contact with you) and of course include an e-mail address and phone number.
Do you have tips for a more efficient v/o session?
Read your script aloud.
This may seem either obvious or pointless, but it’s the easiest way to uncover problems before you’re being billed by the hour. Also, sentences and phrases that may look fine on paper can sometimes sound awkward when spoken aloud.
Technical terms and pronunciations:
Although we have LOTS of experience working in the world of medicine, pharmaceuticals, IT and other specialized fields, it’s always helpful to have a guide for any terms that a layman might not recognize. Phonetic pronunciations with syllable emphasis work best.
For example, “fuh-NET-ik pruh-NUN-see-ay-shuns with SILL-uh-bull EM-fuh-siss”.
Diacritical marks (as found in a dictionary) are OK as a substitute but the example above seems to work best.
Here’s an excellent source of pronunciations, usually including a sound file: m-w.com.
Especially in IT and Government work, we may not always know whether “SIP” is supposed to be said “S-I-P” or “sip” (as in tea). Same goes for strange number/letter combinations (“IVR97/a-pro”).
We’re always happy to let your subject matter expert attend the session either in person or by phone/Skype patch to listen in and help guide pronunciation issues. And finally, refer to the first suggestion above – reading the script aloud can be a big help.
Broadcast and other hard-timed audio:
If your script MUST be produced to be exactly 15, 30, 60 seconds, etc. then by all means see if it fits. Again, read it to yourself with a good stopwatch or other timing device. And just because you can finish the script in 30 seconds doesn’t you or your client will be happy when they hear your voice talent speed through it as well. Leave a little room for music, sound effects, etc.
A good rule of thumb is to run a word count on your script: 70-80 words is a safe target for a 30 second spot, 140-150 words for a 60. Of course, your results may vary…
Occasionally, we also wind up with scripts that are too short! In either case, it’s good to come to the session knowing that you have a sentence or two you could cut out (or add in) if needed.
14-point double spaced serif typefaces (Times New Roman, etc) are ideal.
They’re legible even for folks without 20/20 eyesight, and the extra space lets everyone add notes. Also for multi-page scripts, try to avoid sentences that start on one page and end on the next. And never try to save paper by printing on both sides of the page!
We work best with traditional paper scripts; if your voice talent prefers to read from a digital device (laptop, iPad, etc), that’s OK, so long as the device is absolutely silent (meaning no laptop fan noise).
What are your turn-around times? Can I get it faster?
Your Project Manager will typically respond to this question with another question, “When do you need your project”? We’ll do our best to provide a quality product as quickly as possible.
How will I receive my finished project?
That’s up to you. Most clients want a digital file that can be downloaded from a web page or FTP site. SoundTrax uses Dropbox to deliver client files quickly & securely over the web. We prefer to give you an uncompressed .wav or .aif file, but we can also output mp3 and other “lossy” formats if needed. We can also deliver your project on a CD- or DVD-ROM, or as a master CD-audio disk. For video, we usually deliver a digital audio file that you can easily drop into your editor. We can also output your project in the same Quicktime format as a .mov file.
I need my movie mixed in 5.1 Surround!
Then you’ve come to the right place. We’re surround sound experts, and can make your film or video open up with true 5.1 mixing. Our Edit Suite is an ideal surround monitoring and mixing environment.
When it’s just right, we’ll deliver your 5.1 mix as individual tracks, a Dolby Digital™ AC3 file, and/or a custom stereo downmix. We always recommend a stereo downmix to avoid unexpected sonic surprises when the end user’s system tries to automatically do the same thing.
Do you still have my files?
SoundTrax maintains an archive of each project for three years at no charge. There may be a chance older projects are still available, subject to a fee to have that project un-archived. Please contact your Project Manager with any questions about this process.
If your question hasn’t been answered here, feel free to give us a call at (919) 832-9953, or send us a message. We’ll be in touch soon.