Audio Editing can range from creating proper fade ins and outs, fixing timing issues, and layering samples to drums to cleaning up environmental noises or bleed from other instruments in a great take and vocal tuning. Essentially, this covers anything done to audio to make various performances as perfect or as human (less perfect) as desired. This can make or break a recording.
What you see is a spectrogram in iZotope RX4 of an acoustic guitar track with some click track bleed from headphones. It shows frequency over time. I have vertically selected 2 instances so you can get an idea of what it is I want removed. Can you see the other offenders? On any other track or amplified instrument this level of bleed might not be an issue, but given that it is an acoustic guitar based song with nothing else to mask it but vocals, it's not going to work out.
Take a listen to the unedited clip:
Spectral repair is done in many facets of audio. A few that come to mind are:
- Music (like this acoustic guitar example)
- Forensics (isolating background sounds on a ransom call to find the bad guys)
- Post Production (removing environmental sounds from takes like airplanes or birds flying over the Star Wars set)
Shown on the right is a vocal take imported into Melodyne. The blobs are the various words in the singer's performance and where they are vertically is what note they correspond with. Notice the red blob right between two notes. This would be edited to land on the correct note, fixing an otherwise great performance. It is also becoming more popular to use as an effect.
Since not many vocalists want their raw tracks out there (hence why they get them tuned), my lovely wife graciously volunteered to be my singer while I played guitar in this example. She is NOT a singer but this shows how any performance could be tuned with varied results. The more off pitch it is, the more you will hear the processing.
In this unedited clip, you'll hear her comfortable range is an octave up from what the song calls for and she sings a lower track for the chorus but can not reach the lower notes.
In the Tuned version, you can tell this is on the extreme side of tuning and you can hear the artifacts it creates when pulling the pitch to the intended notes. It's much more noticeable on the lower vocal in the chorus.
This one has been processed more to achieve an effect you hear often in pop or some hip hop songs:
This is just a small example of what I do when editing. It can be time consuming but necessary, especially if you can not go back and retake the performance due to scheduling, studio costs, or ability.
Mixing is the process that makes all of the individual elements of your audio gel together to make a great sounding recording. Many instruments occupy the same frequency ranges of others and without proper treatment, they will fight to be heard and often conflict with each other creating inconsistent results.
Mastering is the final step before distribution. It addresses any issues with the mix, harmonic balancing, and brings up the volume to competitive listening levels. This step tends to be what sets apart the demos from commercial sounding releases. I offer MFiT in addition to mastering typical wav files.
I am approved by Apple as a Mastered for iTunes (MFiT) Mastering Engineer.
This is definitely not the last step in the assembly line of making music. However, it is definitely the most challenging. After all, we are talking about making music here! Music has to invoke emotion, it has to groove, it has to be catchy and it needs all the other things that go into creating great music. Let me help you. Check out my Production page for examples of my composition work.
Sending me your files
As everything regarding the internet becomes faster and more cloud-based, I can easily work with you on any project that you can send me via the web regardless of where you are. My preferred method is DropBox. Simply click here to get started. If you have other means of delivering files just let me know. I can adapt easily.