The days of using ISDN to connect studios and artists together may be numbered, but it’s still used by studios, radio stations and voice artists around the world. However, there are now many excellent alternatives that use IP connections rather than ISDN.
The alternatives to ISDN for connecting to remote studios
Not to be confused with Source-Connect Now, (see below) Source-Connect by Source-Elements has been around for a long time and is well established as a high quality, full-featured app for connecting studios and artists. The deep feature set includes extensive facilities for working with audio and video including RTS (Real Time Sync)
This is a free popular option that works in the Chrome browser using the high-quality codec ‘Opus’. The free version allows 4 studios to connect in stereo at up to 512kbps (kilobits per second) (256kbps mono)
ipDTL is billed as an ideal replacement for ISDN. We use it at Sounds Visual for live broadcasts with the BBC World Service and it has proved to be super reliable and easy to use. Notably, when broadcasting live, we now run ipDTL as the main connection to the BBC and have a separate ISDN line using Audio TX as the backup. That’s simply because ipDTL has proved to be rock solid, whereas ISDN can be temperamental – usually when using different codecs at each end.
As with ‘Source Connect Now’, ipDTL can run in the Chrome browser, but ipDTL also runs in the Opera and Yandex browsers, and now has its own dedicated ‘ipDTL Browser’. There is an excellent feature set depending on the subscription type you take out. Options include the ability to receive and call ISDN numbers, justifying their claim to be an ideal replacement for ISDN.
If you only occasionally need ISDN or a phone patch for recording phone interviews, the ipDTL Day Pass, which gives you access to all ipDTL features including receiving and calling ISDN numbers, is an affordable option at just £10 + vat per day.
Session Link Pro
High quality bi-directional audio connection with low latency through a web browser. Session Link Pro also offers an add-on for video sync and another add for high-quality video and audio conferencing.
Cleanfeed also utilises the Opus audio codec to enable remote studios to connect high-quality audio in real time. There is a free version and Pro version available.
AudioTX has been around for quite a while and provides a software solution for using your PC as an ISDN codec, however, it also features an excellent IP codec.
The appeal of Skype is that it’s free, easy to use and pretty much everyone has it. The quality isn’t good enough for broadcast but for situations where the voice is recording the audio their end, and just need a connection to be directed, or so the client can clear the read, then Skype is invaluable.
At Sounds Visual we use ISDN, ipDTL, Source Connect, Source Connect Now and Skype for remote voiceover sessions.
ISDN studio available for hire as used by the BBC in Bath for voiceover recording and ADR. Call 01225 470011 or email firstname.lastname@example.org