Intelleca, South Africa's fastest growing call centre and speech solutions company, has launched iStudio, a dedicated recording studio located in Melrose Estate, Johannesburg. The studio features the world's most advanced hardware and software, and studio design and construction techniques.
The studio's launch was marked by a performance by hip hop/rapper Obita who has enjoyed wide critical acclaim for his debut album Warrior, and recently secured a top spot on national radio hit parades.
"Consistently high-quality audio production is an integral component of self-service IVR (interactive voice response) systems, in particular speech self-service systems which we are designing and delivering in increasing numbers with our clients. We conceptualised and created iStudio to ensure precisely such high-quality voice recordings," says Nadia Barnard, iStudio manager.
"We needed to extend our in-house resources, and to provide our customers with better service and faster turnaround times. We now have an on-site, always available solution to our audio requirements."
Before iStudio, Intelleca had to make use of off-site recording studios, which necessitated complex logistics. Scheduling recording sessions on a first-come, first-served basis often resulted in hold-ups, which negatively impacted customers. And once the audio production work had been completed in-studio, it had to be delivered to Intelleca's offices, with potential for additional delay.
"Now, with iStudio, we can meet all of our customers' audio requirements without booking or delivery delays," says Barnard. "We can ensure consistent audio quality by using the same recording environment and employing best-practice production techniques."
iStudio was designed, constructed and furnished by Hammerhead Studios, expert acousticians with more than 20 years' experience in the field and more than 100 completed recording studios behind them. The soundproofing technique used for iStudio is a novelty in South Africa: wooden frames enforced with steel struts were filled with four tons of river sand to create the walls and ceiling of the recording booth. Along with double glazing on windows, a heavy wood door and strategically positioned bass traps, an optimal recording environment was established.
Based on a comprehensive needs analysis, recording experts and owners of the music label Jazzworx supplied iStudio with top-of-the-range equipment, ranging from the UK-sourced Carillon digital audio workstation, to state-of-the-art Sound Projects professional microphones from the US. The hardware is complemented by the market's leading audio recording and editing software packages.
In addition, iStudio is equipped to record voiceovers for any application type: IVR/speech/contact centre solutions, radio spots, audio-visual presentations, voice auditions and more. Although the recording schedule prioritises Intelleca's audio requests, contacting iStudio a fortnight in advance should secure a booking. The company already has a significant volume of project work, while existing customers have a constant requirement for additions and changes.
"In keeping with our high delivery standards, our policy is to provide comprehensive audio solutions to our customers," adds Barnard. "Capitalising on Intelleca's skill and experience in design and development, iStudio liaises with a team of user interface designers to ensure that unique persona requirements are understood and fulfilled during recording.
"We view audio delivery as a process, and it is managed as such. Beginning with an understanding of the application, we generate a recording script that incorporates cues to ultimate functionality of the system. The voice talent is then coached accordingly, allowing for accurate capturing of the desired result during the recording session. This end-to-end approach gives iStudio the edge."