Voice Over with ISDN? Not any longer…

About a decade ago I wrote a post about the importance of having ISDN if you were serious about your voice over career.

I took the view 10 years ago that the serious professional voice over artist could be differentiated from the rest in a crowded market by having their own studio with an ISDN connection.
However even back then in 2011 I expressed surprise that we were still using 1980’s technology for remote recording – although I noted that increasingly the connection was being used for remote direction with the recording being done at the VO end and the audio file sent over the internet after the session.

Prima ISDN codec

In 2019 BT announced that traditional fixed line services like ISDN would be switched off in 2025.  So the writing has been on the wall for the old fashioned copper wire services for a while now.  Traditionally ISDN has been especially useful for VOs who do a lot of ads – especially radio commercials.  I used to do quite a lot of that sort of work but in recent years I’ve been concentrated more on corporate voice over work.  As a result by 2019 I had been already wondering if it was time to retire the ISDN as it was getting used less and less .

Also increasingly ISDN jobs were being replaced by self record or sessions using internet services like ipDTL, Source Connect and Cleanfeed.  I didn’t cancel the line then because  I was in a 5 year commercial contract with BT which – if you left early –  had a penalty clause making you liable for all the standing charges up to the end of the contract.  It ran to thousands so I just could not afford to end it – luckily at that point I was still getting enough ISDN bookings for it to pay for self every quarter.

Audio TX screen viewFast forward to January this year and I realised that nearly all my lockdown work had been self direct/record. I had not used the ISDN for some months!  With great good timing an email arrived from BT offering me the chance to get out of the contract early with no penalty payments to be made.  This looked like it should be an easy process – you just had to make a phone call. In the event it actually took several weeks and many phone calls before finally I got confirmation that the contract was ended and there would be no penalty charges to pay.

So my 18 and a half years of using ISDN has come to an end.  I’m now joining in the Source Connect, Source Connect Now, SessionLinkPro, CleanFeed, ipDTL game.
However I’m not going to be using all of those – initially I’m using Source Connect, Source Connect Now, Clean Feed and the audio over IP version of my former ISDN codec AudioTX.
The reliability of internet connections and software and the quality of the resultant audio  is easily much better than ISDN used to be.

As a result I’m still a voice over artist with his own studio but now with no ISDN.  It’s possible that use pf Source Connect operates as a shorthand signifier to indicate that I’m a serious professional VO  but in reality it’s your voice work that should speak for itself in terms of quality and professionalism.

Chris Radley – Voice Over

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