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A lady called SADiE changed everything

Analogue Aspirations

When I first started recording and editing voiceovers back in the very early 1990s it was on a 4 track cassette deck, comping together voiceover and singing parts for a book about learning to sing. After that frustrating experience I purchased a 2 track 1/4″ Tascam 32 reel to reel recorder, a chinagraph pencil, editing block and a stash of razor blades.

Editing voiceovers
Late 1980s with a Korg M1 keyboard, Tascam 32 1/4″ reel to reel, a Yamaha 4 track cassette multitracker and a Seck mixing desk.

To enable the mixing of music and effects with voiceovers I added another tape machine, this time a Tascam TSR8 8 track multrtracker using 1/2″ tape, a fantastic workhorse on which I mixed hundreds and hundreds of radio and TV ads, which were mastered out onto the 2 channel Tascam 32.

Going digital…with SADiE

In November 1993 a friend from GWR radio in Bristol drove over to my studio in Devizes with the latest in digital audio editing…it went by the intriguing name of SADiE. SADiE was cutting edge digital audio technology in the form of editing software and audio hardware manufactured by British company Studio Audio in Cambridge. Having set up the PC host computer in the studio and connected the chunky breakout cables,  I was given a whirlwind tour of what it could do and well…it was amazing. Never had I seen a digital editor so powerful, fast and accurate. I knew straight away I had to have one – the only hurdle being the price – a mere £7,073.50!

SADIE 24 96
A SADiE 24/96 system with balanced breakout box, CD writer, exabyte backup tape drive and 2 x scisi removable drives

Being able to chop voiceovers and audio up, copy, paste, refine more and move edits around endlessly without having to worry about quality issues or slicing the end of your finger off in the edit, was infectious.  It would open up new tantalising possibilities with sound production and save masses of time. The BBC had already installed several SADiE workstations for radio production and I was hooked.

These days we take the flexibility of digital editing for granted and now could easily (well sort of…)  perform those same editing tasks I was doing on SADiE back in 1993 on an iPhone App, on the Tube, with a double macchiato in our free hand. How times have changed…

At the time it felt as though SADiE was miles ahead in the world of audio editing, and I stayed with it as my my DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) for many years adding an 8 track version, the 24/96 in 1995. After using Cool Edit for a while,  which became the hugely successful Adobe Audition,  I settled on Apple’s Logic Pro, much because it was my DAW of choice for music production and it made sense to stick to one application. Also the audio editing and picture sync on Logic are excellent and the workflow is extremely fast.

If you would like to record and edit voiceovers on Logic Pro…there’s a very good video course for doing just that…

voiceover course
How to record and edit voiceovers in Logic Pro. MacProVideo Course

Update as of 2022: I am now mostly using Reaper for voiceover editing. Whilst Logic is a great DAW, Reaper is faster for dialogue editing. Voiceover course on Reaper coming soon.

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