Outsourcing audio editing

Audio editing, two tracks, wave formsAre you finding that audio editing is becoming a hindrance to marketing yourself and recording work for your clients?

Many voice talent are outsourcing audio editing to capable audio engineers who can get the job done for a reasonable price and in a timely fashion working half a world away.
To learn more, check out today’s VOX Daily!

Have You Taken The Leap?

When I was visiting The Voice Acting Hub on Facebook, I happened to see a conversation started by Kathleen “Kat” Keesling about how she recently started to outsource audio editing.

Kathleen Keesling avatar on Voices.comKathleen writes, “I have finally decided to outsource my editing and am pleased as punch! I should have done this two years ago. How many of you have taken the leap? How do you like it? Do you outsource anything else?”

At the time of this writing, there are 26 responses, many of which are included here in this article. Regardless of whether or not they are currently outsourcing audio editing to a third party, all are discovering the potential of doing so as they weigh the pros and cons.
Benefits you may experience when outsourcing audio editing include saving:
๏ Time
๏ Money
๏ Health
Let’s take a look at each of these more closely with some help from our friends in The Voice Acting Hub.


Remember that whole concept of your brand making you money in your sleep? Given the option of outsourcing, you can be saving time and “working” in your sleep. While outsourcing in general terms isn’t new, a number of talent are realizing how much time they can reclaim in terms of spending it with family, pursuing other opportunities or getting a good nights’ sleep.

Lori Furth avatar on Voices.comLori Furth has found a way to incorporate this time saving strategy to make life a little easier. She says, “I use an editor in the Philippines, and he works over our night, so I get finished files in the morning. Works like a charm! I don’t dislike editing my own stuff…I do it 98% of the time, but when I have six hours of finished audio due and other projects coming, I use my discretion and resources wisely!”

Bob Souer avatar on Voices.comWhile some talent outsource to outside businesses or freelancers, others are “in-sourcing” their audio editing work to a degree within the home by training their teenagers on how to edit audio tracks. Voice talent Bob Souer has been doing this for some time now and has two of his children, Eric and Karen, lined up to help him with this aspect of his business.

Many teenagers are able to learn how to produce audio and video in courses they take at high school. One of the audio editing platforms some have access to is Pro Tools by Avid. These skills can be invaluable to people joining the workforce in a capacity of content production and if your child has the opportunity to do so while they are still in secondary school, encouraging them to take a course in this area could open a number of doors for them going forward.


It may go without saying but time is money. If you find that your time could be better spent doing something else (like recording for more clients), you may find that outsourcing, although it means paying someone else to do the audio editing for you, may in fact save you money in the long run and even afford you the opportunity to earn more money because you can take on more projects.


Hana Haatainen Caye asked if anyone else woke up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain in their right hand from endless hours of using the mouse while editing. She mentioned that she was in the middle of about 20 hours of steady editing and that her hand was killing her.
Some good advice and a timely response came from a number of people including David Bucci and Diane Havens.

David Bucci avatar on Voices.comDavid’s tip provided a technical solution that could be of help. He wrote, “This may not help much, but I started using a pen tablet for editing. You hold a pen instead of a mouse but I’ve found I’m more accurate with it.”

David enjoys editing because while it may seem mundane, he has learned a great deal about his own voice and sound by editing his own material. A passing interest in audio technique has developed into an educational tool and quite happily a passion. David admits that they are moments where editing is cumbersome and time consuming, but he can’t imagine giving his audio editing willingly to anyone.

Diane Havens avatar on Voices.comDiane shared, “I never edit for more than 3 or 4 hours at a time. On books and other long form narration, I record for 2 hours or so, then edit for 3 or 4 — with rest breaks. That seems to be a healthy pace for me. Otherwise, it could very well lead to wrist/hand pain.”

Making Editing More Efficient

Scott Fortney avatar on Voices.comScott “Scooter” Fortney was one of the people who raised their hand in favor of editing out of pure enjoyment. He cites, “Editing is a joy to me. I’d have a hard time handing that off to anyone!”

Additionally, Scott has been producing video tutorials on how to edit more proficiently and intimated that depending on the software being used, shortcuts could be created to help to streamline much of the editing process thereby making the process faster resulting in less strain for your mousing hand.
Scott’s videos on Youtube center around Adobe Audition basics, however, I’m sure you could find similar videos for other recording software packages on YouTube.
Here’s the tutorial Scott produced on how to create keyboard shortcuts in Adobe Audition:

Still Holding On

As I mentioned, not everyone is ready or wants to give up the reins when it comes to editing their voice over work. I can understand why! Here are some thoughtful opinions that were shared on this bent.

Lee Gordon avatar on Voices.comLee Gordon offered, “I also enjoy the editing — not enough to offer it as a service to others, but for my own stuff. Even when I’m supplying the raw audio of a session I usually first clean up the dead spaces and false takes and a few breaths and random noises that bug me. If I were to farm out any of my projects, I would feel the need partially clean them up first — sort of the way one might ‘pre-clean’ the house before bringing in a maid or cleaning service, or rinse the dished before putting them in the dishwasher.”

Andrew Heyl avatar on Voices.comAndrew Heyl relates to Lee Gordon in that he’d pre-clean his audio before sending it over to a colleague to edit, stating, “For audiobooks I do a rough edit but send for post to my friend. He gets it sounding perfect and gets all the levels smooth as silk.”

Once the term “pre-clean” was presented, others chimed in agreeably saying that they also pre-cleaned audio before they sent it off to the editor.
As noted, many talent choose to do their own editing because they enjoy it, however, being the artistic people that voice actors are, artistic license also plays a role in the desire to maintain control over the final cut. Diane Havens, who narrates many audiobooks, shared that she enjoys editing if she has the time and doesn’t have to get stressed over deadlines.

Diane went on to say, “I especially like doing it on my audiobooks since I often change the length of pauses during that time, if upon re-listening I think I can use a beat more here and there — or if maybe a breath sounds distractingly loud, et cetera. Those are the kinds of subjective, artistic choices I’d rather not give up to someone else.”

What About You?

Do you outsource audio editing or are you editing everything at your studio?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts and opinions!
Best wishes,
©iStockphoto.com/Marco Volpi

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Stephanie Ciccarelli is the Co-Founder and Chief Brand Officer of Voices.com. Classically trained in voice, piano, violin and musical theatre, as well as a respected mentor and industry speaker, Stephanie graduated with a Bachelor of Musical Arts from the Don Wright Faculty of Music at the University of Western Ontario. Possessing a great love for imparting knowledge and empowering others, her podcast Sound Stories serves an audience that wants to achieve excellence in storytelling. Stephanie is found on the PROFIT Magazine W100 list three times (2013, 2015 and 2016), a ranking of Canada's top female entrepreneurs, and is the author of Voice Acting for Dummies®.


  1. Because it is unhealthy to read for more than a few hours without a break, I use editing time to recharge and relax.
    While editing, I get a chance to proof my reading. No matter how good you are, the longer the session, the greater the chance for slip-ups.
    The best way to prevent repetitive stress injury is by using a computer arm rest and a good chair. I always sit straight on a kneeling chair.
    I would use an outside editor for two reasons: to save time & money. It obviously makes no sense to pay an editor for a job in the $100-$250 range.
    Lastly, I always include the cost of editing in my quote and I list it as a separate service on my invoice. Too many clients seem to expect that editing is included, and they have no idea how time consuming it can be.

  2. I come at this from both sides of the microphone and believe that outsourcing editing is generally a good idea because many VO people either: A) are very indecisive when it comes to making choices about takes on their own reads, or B) can not edit as quickly as an editor/engineer who does it every day. This becomes a customer service issue as it isn’t fair to charge clients for additional (and perhaps unnecessary) time it takes for some decisions to be made or for lack of ability by the talent.
    On the other hand, if you are decisive, don’t have a lot of pick-ups in your reads and can edit quickly and accurately then it can serve as a nice break from your other tasks.
    Also, I recommend using a trackball. Once you get comfortable with it… you will never want to go back to a mouse.
    Dan Friedman

  3. Although it could save time, personally, I don’t think I would ever be comfortable with that. When I edit, I have a certain goal in mind. I know how I want it to sound. I actually enjoy it!

  4. Honestly can’t imagine leaving the editing responsibilities to someone else, but I guess when you have tons of work coming in, one could use an outsourced option.

  5. I absolutely do. He’s my right hand man and I trust him with my life (or livelihood), Neil Estrella. Makes my life sooooo much easier! Anspd he’s much better at QA than I.

  6. Unfortunately I’m not nearly busy enough to have the luxury of outsourcing the editing task, otherwise I wouldn’t hesitate to do it with large (1+ hours of audio output) projects.
    I just treat editing as part of what I do. I work pretty fast and mostly enjoy it, besides I instantly pick up any errors I missed in the recording and correct them, so I have kind of an “error-free” guarantee… I’m very picky 🙂
    Not every editing job is fun, obviously. Technical/medical e-learning can be quite the pain, but others are very fun, like dubbing videos for corporate training, which I do a lot.
    For me, editing is half the job. It gives me total control over the service I provide, and I like that.
    Jacob Ekström,
    Danish voice-over talent

  7. I have to agree that I prefer editing my own audio. In my weekly podcasts, and my auditions I really want the flexibility to change the gaps between words and sentences to get the best effect.
    Like taking pictures, it’s the final rotate, crop and touch-up that creates a phenominal photo. I really like to take the time myself and finish up my own audio.

  8. I recently had to give a “Carpal Tunnel Discount.” I just could not do the editing on a project. The client paid me less and I sent the full file for them to edit. I hated to do it, but my hand felt good about it. After years of creating hundreds of files for e-learning projects, my arm and hand has just about had it! If anyone has a contact for me to get my stuff edited overnight, my hand would really appreciate it!

  9. Being as I spent almost 16 years as a production director in radio, I am very used to editing other peoples voice work. I found it very much a challenge and very much rewarding as well. I would have to say for me I enjoy the editing as much if not more than voicing. It is always great to create and you get a chance to put all of your talents to work. I have just recently started doing some editing for other voice artists and am really getting back into the groove. Having the time of my life right now editing and creating. m If I can be of assistance to anyone one, please contact me at mikebehindthemic@yahoo.com.

  10. Well for those who can do that. V/O work in the UK is paid so poorly, there would be no point in outsourcing, you wouldn’t make any money! If any of those outsourcing editing are reading this – fire some audio my way and I’ll edit it for you!

  11. Yeah, I edit like a champ but a vo person should just suck it up and learn how to do it themselves… the day of the middle man is over.

  12. I really don’t trust anyone else but myself to edit my audio and with a complete royalties free music and sfx library I don’t see any need to out source. As a matter of fact I get people out sourcing to me.

  13. Exceptionally useful topic and tips! It had not occurred to me to outsource, but as longer jobs start to come in… well indeed one should think of the Opportunity Cost.
    In a way I’m glad I learned to edit, so I have an idea of what it can and can’t achieve. The task is also a motivator to get things right first time in the booth! Here in UK television we used to celebrate a performer dubbed “Once Again Watkins.”

  14. I’m another one who enjoys editing my own material. For one, I like to keep the creative control over the work. Plus, it affords me a natural resting spot for my voice, particularly if I’m doing an audiobook. I was a producer / editor in radio for many years before I became a voice actor, so the process is very natural and fast for me.

  15. What a great article. Always nice to learn something new!
    I edit my own voice over work as well as other voice talent as our studio regularly produces radio advertising, voice over for multimedia and more.
    With our state of the art equipment and software we generate some amazing results for a very decent price in efficient time. Message me if you’re looking for a professional editor!

  16. No, I do my own editing on most projects from home. It might be something I’d consider if it was an extremely long project and I was short on time. It’s also good to figure in a reasonable rate for your “extra” time editing if you do it all yourself – because when you voice and edit, you’re actually performing “2” jobs and usually only paid for one. It’s something clients need to be informed about. I don’t believe most are aware of the additional time it takes to edit projects. It’s an education process that needs to take place in this ever expanding voiceover universe 🙂

  17. I voice and produce a fairly large project every month for one of my clients. My editor is a life saver! I record, he edits, he sends me the files and I add music and sfx. What used to consume huge amounts of my time is now completed in a matter of hours. Which gives me more time for my other clients. I use Chris at VOeditbydesign.com.

  18. Wait????? There are voice-over artists who can afford to outsource and are sooooooo busy they feel the need to do so?????????……Who are these people and what is the secret to their success

  19. I enjoy editing. I get frustrated with the direction some people take when they edit my audio so it’s better that I do it…usually.

  20. @Sean – LOL, I feel ya bro! Makin’ $700 a month at my day job, workin’ on some free local projects to develop business… Someday we’ll say “I remember when I used to edit my own audio.”

  21. @Dustin – not a scam at all… some people dont have the time to do it… or the knowledge.. i actually get paid to do that quite often..and it is quite lucrative.. because i know protools like the back of my hand. i have mixed for people all over the planet because word travels quick on good mix..

  22. Thinking of hanging out a shingle just as an editor…. I’m good at it, and I’m finding that I’m more of a niche market vo. Could be good if there was a jackpot job (H. Cogan), but otherwise hard to sell.
    Oh! and, I’m a different Sean Sullivan than the previous poster. 😉


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