While I didn’t go over all of these techniques in class today, this post will outline the basic techniques you can use in Adobe Audition to create your two-track musique concrète project. I’ll post a follow-up on similar techniques in Audacity.
Audition uses an integrated window that contains a listing of open files, a level meter, and an editing space, among other functions. You can drag an audio file into the file list or editing space to open it in Audition. The editing space has two parts: on the top is an overview of the entire file, and the larger space contains whatever amount of the file you are viewing. You can use the top pane to zoom in on parts of the file.
As with any graphic editor, you can position the playback cursor (or playback head, if you prefer) and hit the space bar to start playing, or you can select a portion of the audio and hit space to just hear that portion. If you find a segment that is interesting on its own, you should copy it into a new file. You can copy, create a new file, and then past the audio into it (as with most programs). Audition also has a special “Copy to new” command that reduces the task to one command. If the new file you are creating is just a segment of original, unprocessed audio, you should save it with some unique name into your source files folder (for original audio).
With any audio segment taken from a longer file, you should check for clicks/pops at the beginning and end of the file. These clicks happen when you have a beginning or ending amplitude that is not zero, causing the speakers to rapidly move in a discontinuous way. You should listen to these and fix them before processing the file further. Audition has fade handles at beginnings and ends of files. Before you make use of them, make sure you have zoomed in enough so that you can know how long (in time) you are making the fade. Alternately, you can select a portion of the audio and choose Favorites | Fade in (or Fade out).
With any original soundfile you should remove extra silence at the beginning of the file before you begin processing it. As you stretch audio (slow it down), you will be stretching the silence as well if it is not removed.
effect editing with audition
Besides cut, copy, and paste, most of the other processing commands you will use are found in the Effects menu, organized by type of process. We’ll cover some basics. Keep in mind that effects are destructive, meaning that your file will change. You should use the Save As… command to save any processed audio into a new file. Save your processed files into your processed sounds folder.
Reversing audio is a simple, one step process. Remember to save your new audio as a new file.
Time and Pitch | Stretch and Pitch
Stretch and Pitch allows you to change the length of a file and its pitch. The two can be “locked,” which acts like changing the speed on a tape recorder. Making the duration longer results in the pitch becoming lower, and vice versa. If the two values are not locked, you can change duration independent of pitch. You can adjust by dragging percentage and pitch sliders, or you can double click on the displayed value to the right of the sliders and type in a specific number. You can also specify an exact duration.
In the dialog box you can preview a portion of the sound before applying the process by clicking on the play icon. Listen to the preview to see if you like the process.
Amplitude and Compression | Gain Envelope
Using the gain envelope you can create and drag breakpoints to create a new/different amplitude envelope for the file. Use it to apply attacks to steady audio, or other dynamic effects. As you drag breakpoints you will see the amplitude change in dB and percentage. If the percentage is 100% there is no change. Above 100% and you will be amplifying the audio, and below you will be reducing the amplitude. Be careful with values over 100%, as you can end up with amplitude values that are out of range. If the playback meters turn red, undo and try again with smaller amplitude values.
Filter and EQ
You have a number of choices to change the amplitudes of different frequency regions in a sound. The FFT filter lets you draw arbitrary function shapes. The EQ’s use sliders to apply amplitude changes to regions around the specified frequencies. The parametric EQ lets you create a function shape, but it is a combination of filters, and can be a little tricky to use at first. As the filters interact you get different shapes that you may not be expecting.