Free high-quality, bi-directional streaming in your Chrome web browser but it’s not ISDN…
We’ve recently completed several long intense recording sessions using Source Connect Now to hook up with a London Soho dubbing studio to record the voiceovers for a whole set of big Christmas TV ads. The voiceover was in our voice booth here at Sounds Visual in Bath and the client and engineer were in London to direct the session. The backing music was piped down for the artist to voice over, and after 90 minutes and many scripts later I have to say that it really is a very impressive and viable alternative to ISDN.
… and Source Connect now is free!
Source Connect Now is not the same as the standard Source Connect, although produced by the same Source Elements company, and it doesn’t have the same feature list as the original software, but Source Connect Now is free – all you need is the Google Chrome browser and you are good to go…
Our session using it lasted just short of 90 minutes and it was absolutely flawless. No drop outs, reasonable quality at 128kbps (same as ISDN) and best of all hardly any delay so the producer could direct and the artist respond without the ISDN delay down the line that ends up with everyone talking over each other. You can raise the quality up to 256kbps mono or 512kbps stereo – depending on your broadband speed. I recorded the voiceovers locally here at 24bit and then transferred the files after the session. You can use the included ‘recorder’ option to record the session up to 16 minutes at a time and download in WAV format.
So how does Source Connect Now work…
One party has to sign up for a free account and then invite up to 4 guests to join the session by sending them a link and password – all done from within the excellent easy to use website. (you have to use Google’s Chrome browser)
When you join the session you can choose your audio input device and as far as the output of the audio is concerned, the audio will go to whatever you have selected as your output device in system preferences (I use Macs but same principle applies if you are using Windows)
The way I use it is to have Source Connect running on a separate machine and then have a return and send from a mixing desk – which also sends and returns to the main Mac running Logic Pro. I just find using a desk makes it easier to route the voice, control the feed from the remote studio, send a feed to the DAW to record and ‘talkback’ to the artist and remote studio.
According to the Source Elements website, in 2016 a subscription version will be available with premium features like conferencing for up to 10 people. From what I understand the 128kbps version will be free – at the moment you can up the quality on the free version all the way up to 512kbps stereo, so I’m guessing that once the subscription options start the free version will be limited to 128kbps (same as ISDN). See here for details.