There has been a LOT of buzz lately about the death of ISDN as a connection method for solid distance recording between talent and studio. New lines are impossible to get in certain parts of the United States (primarily on the East Coast at the moment) and the cost for the lines is skyrocketing in other parts of the country. The cost for my lines has remained steady for the past several years, but each month when the pre-paid bill arrives, I open the envelope with trepidation.
So far, I have “invested” in ipTDL and Source-Connect. Should I add SoundStreak too? Yes, I probably should. Will another technology come along that blows them all out of the water? Maybe. And who is to say which will come out as the favorite? Probably not the talent. The studios will be driving that boat.
But it is in our best interest to know what is out there and start discussing the alternatives with the producers and engineers we work with. If there is a window of opportunity to have a brief chat with the engineer just prior to an ISDN session, or in a follow up email, ask them if they have considered what they are going to do when ISDN bites the dust. Most are familiar with Source-Connect, but ask them if they have tried SoundStreak or ipDTL.
With the rates we are paying to keep the ISDN lines going each month, it appears that the cost of having ALL of these alternatives in our quiver will make sense. I pay about $600 a year to keep my ISDN lines ready for work.
Let’s do the math:
- $160 a year for ipDTL for the HQ audio
- SoundStreak is free for talent or less than $50 an hour for producers
- Source-Connect NOW is free for both or a bit more for some premium features.
OK, that’s not really math – there is no math in voiceovers – thank goodness ;-). But you get the idea. It isn’t the costs that are in the way, it is the stability and ease of use that will probably win this race. But even if there is no clear winner, we should be able to afford to provide our clients with the connections they want.
As talent, we need to keep our ears and eyes open to see what is coming next. For right now, I’m crossing my fingers that the ISDN bill stays steady until some sort of sea change happens.