Author Archive: ejrideout

Visual Editing in the Spectral Frequency Display

The Spectral Frequency Display in Adobe Audition is beautiful to look at, to be sure. But it gives you insight into your audio clips that a waveform view can’t match. For example, in the Spectral Frequency Display, you can see individual harmonics and overtones, and their relative strength. You can see noise. Best of all, you can edit what you see using graphic editing tools with which you’re probably already familiar, and make edits to your audio with near-surgical precision.
If you’re dazzled by brilliant colors, you might miss some of the more useful tools offered by the Spectral Frequency Display. While in the Waveform Editor, let’s take a look at several different types of sound in the Spectral Frequency Display. Frequencies are displayed from low at the bottom to high at the top, and in all cases, the yellower the color, the louder the sound.

Example 1. Here are seven different sounds, as seen in the Spectral Frequency Display. The frequencies along the vertical ruler on the right are in linear mode. It seems that most of the loud frequencies are very small, down at the bottom, and probably difficult to edit. Click on the screen shot for a larger view of it.

Example 1. Here are seven different sounds, as seen in the Spectral Frequency Display. The frequencies along the vertical ruler on the right are in linear mode. It seems that most of the loud frequencies are very small, down at the bottom, and probably difficult to edit. Click on the screen shot for a larger view of it.

If you wanted to zoom in on those lower frequencies in order to edit them, you certainly could. But there’s a more powerful tool available to help you with this. Option-click (Mac) or right-click (PC) in the vertical ruler on the right, and the following menu appears. From this menu you can configure the vertical scale of frequencies from all linear to all logarithmic, which will make the lower frequencies much more visible. You can also adjust the resolution, to make the Spectral Display more precise.

Example 2. Option-click or right-click in the vertical ruler to bring up this menu. Settings such as More Logarithmic and Full Logarithmic will make the lower frequencies more easily visible. Increasing Spectral Resolution makes individual harmonics within a sound easier to see.

Example 2. Option-click or right-click in the vertical ruler to bring up this menu. Settings such as More Logarithmic and Full Logarithmic will make the lower frequencies more easily visible. Increasing Spectral Resolution makes individual harmonics within a sound easier to see.

The following screen shot shows the exact same audio file as in Example 1, but with Full Logarithmic selected as the scale in the vertical ruler. Note the huge difference in the appearance of the loudest sounds, which for the most part includes the fundamental pitch of an instrument or voice, or the main element in noise. Much more information about these particular sounds is revealed when the scale is logarithmic: You can see the individual notes of the bass in the power trio, the dialogue, and the tuba. You can see the Doppler effect of a passing jet in the airport taxiway. In all cases, you can clearly see frequencies even below the fundamentals.

Example 3. This is the same audio clip as in Example 1, with frequency set to logarithmic scale. The individual notes and harmonics are much more visible. It's as if the audio clip has just given up all its secrets! Click to view a larger version.

Example 3. This is the same audio clip as in Example 1, with frequency set to logarithmic scale. The individual notes and harmonics are much more visible. It's as if the audio clip has just given up all its secrets! Click to view a larger version.

With the logarithmic setting, most of the sounds that concern audio editors stand out in relief: fundamentals, overtones, and even noise. The Marquee Selection tool, Lasso Selection tool, Paintbrush Selection tool, and Spot Healing Brush tool are very easy to use and are uniformly effective with all of these sonic elements. But there are a couple of other tools that come up in a contextual menu when you option-click or right-click on the Spectral view itself, such as Capture Noise Print (the first step to automatically removing noise from a clip) and Auto Heal Selection (dramatically reduces a particular sound or noise without eliminating the surrounding background ambience).

Example 4. Option-click or right-click in the Spectral Display iteslf, and this menu appears. Click for a larger view.

Example 4. Option-click or right-click in the Spectral Display iteslf, and this menu appears. Click for a larger view.

The copy command works just as you’d think, letting you make a copy of any area you can select. What do you do with copies of audio data? Do some sound design by pasting part of one sound into another, for one thing. In the following screen shot, we copied the approaching police siren on the left (the oscillating pitch of which is highly), and then pasted it onto the dialogue clip. The result: A dialogue with a passing siren, but without the whoosh of the tires and body noise.

Example 5. Copy and paste in the Spectral Frequency Display works just as it does in any image editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop. But in this case, it takes only the frequencies that you select, and blends the associated sounds as well as the images upon pasting. Here we've copied the sound of an approaching police siren on the left, and pasted it onto the dialogue clip on the right.

Example 5. Copy and paste in the Spectral Frequency Display works just as it does in any image editing program, such as Adobe Photoshop. But in this case, it takes only the frequencies that you select, and blends the associated sounds as well as the images upon pasting. Here we've copied the sound of an approaching police siren on the left, and pasted it onto the dialogue clip on the right.

You can make even more precise selections with the Lasso Selection or Paintbrush Selection tools. In the following screen shot we use the Lasso Selection tool to select and delete the annoying squeak of a shutting door without disturbing the shutting sound. The result: a door that shuts without squeaking.


To learn more about the power of the Spectral Frequency Display, watch Jason Levine’s excellent video demo by clicking on this link.

Better workflow with workspaces

Many people overlook one of the most powerful tools that Adobe Audition CS5.5 offers: The ability to configure the interface so you can focus on the tasks you need to perform most, and switch quickly between the tools most important to you.

If you’ve spent time with any of the CS products, you are probably familiar with how easy it is to customize panels in the application window by dragging, resizing, grouping, docking, and floating them.

If you haven’t yet tapped in to this extremely useful technique, you can quickly learn how to do it by clicking on the link at the bottom of this post, “Customizing Workspaces.”

Audition goes one step farther by letting you configure multiple arrangements of panels, called workspaces. Here are examples of two of the default workspaces, one designed for mastering a video session, the other aimed at configuring an interview for radio broadcast.

 

This workspace has analysis tools such as the Frequency Analysis and Phase Meter panels ready to go.

This workspace has analysis tools such as the Frequency Analysis and Phase Meter panels ready to go.

This workspace has the Markers and Playlist panels open, so the editor can mark sections and rearrange them easily.

This workspace has the Markers and Playlist panels open, so the editor can mark sections and rearrange them easily.

As different as these two workspaces are, you can quickly switch between them by selecting Window > Workspace, then choosing the workspace you want.

If you have your own configuration of panels that suits your workflow, you can save it as a custom workspace by selecting Window > Workspace > New Workspace. . . . Workspaces appear in numerical and alphabetical order in the Workspace menu.

For the ultimate in flexibility, configure a custom workspace for each of your most common tasks. Then assign a Keyboard Shortcut to each one, so you can switch between them instantly. You can assign Keyboard Shortcuts to as many as nine different workspaces. Just select Edit > Keyboard Shortcuts, then open up the Workspace category at the bottom of the Edit Keyboard Shortcuts dialog.

 

You'll find the Keyboard Shortcuts menu item near the bottom of the Edit menu.

You'll find the Keyboard Shortcuts menu item near the bottom of the Edit menu.

 

Workspaces are located at the end of the list in the Edit Keyboard Shortcuts dialog. You can see key commands that have already been assigned to workspaces, and you can edit or remove commands easily.

Workspaces are located at the end of the list in the Edit Keyboard Shortcuts dialog. You can see key commands that have already been assigned to workspaces, and you can edit or remove commands easily.

You can assign keyboard shortcuts to the first nine workspaces in the Workspace menu, so consider numbering your workspaces so they appear at the top of the list.

Taking advantage of the flexibility of workspaces in Audition CS5.5 can make a significant improvement to your audio workflow.

For details on resizing, grouping, docking, and floating panels, read this help document, “Customizing Workspaces.”

 

 

 

Solving phase problems with Adobe Audition CS5.5

What is phase cancellation?

What is phase cancellation?

When creating a dialogue comp (short for “composite”), the challenge is to find the clips that express the emotion required by the director, and then work with the audio to fit it within the rest of the production. Location audio often offers technical challenges of its own that can threaten the usefulness of the recording. One of the the must difficult to diagnose and solve—at least, for those new to editing audio for picture—is phase cancellation.

A common symptom of phase problems is that your track sounds hollow or quieter when you combine two or more clips. Sometimes this only requires adjusting the volume of each clip to get the best sound. But other times, a track can sound quieter or hollow even when the individual clips are boosted. If this is the case, it can mean the clips are out of phase with each other. Audition CS5.5 can solve this problem easily.

The phase of an audio signal is its particular positive and negative waveform pattern. In A at the top of the illustration at left, two clips of the same waveform are synchronized (as shown by the red X), and their positive and negative pattern is the same, or in phase. This phrase will sound full. In B, the two clips are not synchronized. They’re not off by much, just half a wavelength, which can happen when a source is recorded with two devices or mics—a very common situation with production audio. The positive and negative pattern is the opposite in each clip or out of phase, possibly cancelling each other out, resulting in a quieter or hollow sound. In C, the clips are still not perfectly in sync, but the phase of the clip in Track 2 has been inverted, restoring the in-phase relationship of the waveforms.

Now let’s take a look at how to solve phase problems using Adobe Audition CS5.5.

Try it: Invert the phase of problematic audio
Three dialogue clips of the same source, but with a volume problem.
Three dialogue clips of the same source, but with a volume problem.

  1. Above is a multitrack session with three tracks, each track contains dialog recorded on a different system: on-camera, a second-system digital recorder, and recording from a clip-on lavalier on the talent. The problem: a hollow sound when mixing the three source files.
  2. Using the Zoom panel tools and the Resizing tool, zoom in on the first clips in tracks. Solo the three tracks by clicking on the Solo button in each track header (illustration).
  3. Play the clips; the sound of the actor’s voice is hollow and quiet.
  4. Select the bottom clip, then we bring up the volume on the clip by dragging the Volume Keyframe up until we get a value of +0.0dB or so (illustration).
  5. Play the section; the sound is hollower than it was before. Changing the volume did not work in this case, so it’s probably a phase problem.
  6. Double-click on the bottom clip to open it in the Waveform Edit window.
  7. Choose Effects > Invert.
  8. Click on the Multitrack icon to return to the Multitrack Editor and play the section again. The sound should now be full, and you can adjust the mix between the clips until you get what the production requires.

 

Emmy-award winner Dirk Sciarrotta and Adobe Audition CS5.5

What's Dirk Sciarrotta's audio editor of choice? Adobe Audition CS5.5.

What's Dirk Sciarrotta's audio editor of choice? Adobe Audition CS5.5.

Sound editor extraordinaire, Dirk Sciarrotta, told us recently why Adobe Audition CS5.5 is his tool of choice when editing audio for high-profile broadcast and performance clients such as The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Family Feud, The Price is Right, Madonna, and Cirque du Soleil.

According to Sciarrotta, “The multitrack side as well as the edit side of Audition CS5.5 features more bells and whistles than you can imagine, yet the software is very user friendly.”

Additionally says Sciarrotta, “Adobe Audition CS5.5 is it for me. I’ve used Avid Pro Tools and BIAS Peak and Sony Sound Forge – you name it, but Audition CS5.5 is the most powerful, easy-to-use option.”

With 11 nominations and two Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Live and Direct to Tape Sound Mixing, the results of Sciarrotta’s use of Adobe Audition software speak for themselves. To read more about Sciarrotta’s work, click here.

Is it time to RTM? Why not? Adobe Audition CS5.5 help pages tell all

Audition CS5.5 help docs are now online for Mac OS and Windows!

Audition CS5.5 help docs are now online for Mac OS and Windows!

Audition CS5.5 provides solutions to the audio problems you face in your professional audio for video work. But you may have almost as many questions about exactly how Audition can help you. There’s nothing like scanning the user manual to give you a solid understanding of what a deep application such as Audition can do. No need to wait to do this; you can search and read the Audition CS5.5 Help Pages here!

If you have questions for which you can’t find answers in the Audition CS5.5 Help Pages, the Adobe Audition user-to-user forum is great for getting help from other pros about how to use the software. Before posting a question, first do a search to confirm whether your question has been answered before—many have.

The feature-request/bug-report form is the absolute best, most effective way to communicate with Adobe about feature requests and product bugs. The Audition team takes your feedback seriously and reads everything you submit there.

To keep up with the latest Audition developments, follow our Facebook page, Twitter feed, and Inside Sound blog.

Lastly, if you’re running Audition 3.0, be sure to update to 3.0.1 to get the very best performance out of the app. This quick download fixes a wide range of issues that customers reported using the bug report form above. We’re listening to you!

Nice rack: better DSP effect workflows in Adobe Audition CS5.5

Clips, tracks, waveform view—every mode gets an Effects Rack in Audition CS5.5.

Clips, tracks, waveform view—every mode gets an Effects Rack in Audition CS5.5.

The good ol’ Effects Rack. Could there be any better paradigm through which to apply and control effects to the tracks in a session? It’s got that real-world familiarity that simplifies audio recording and editing in the digital realm.

As good as it was before, the Effects Rack gets a significant workflow boost in Audition CS5.5 with the new modeless Effect Rack-that’s a fancy way of saying that no matter what edit mode you’re working in, there will be an Effects Rack available to you.

In the Waveform Editor, you can use the Effects Rack or Effects menu to instantiate, edit, preview, and apply DSP effects. In the Multitrack Editor, you can use the Effects Rack panel to apply DSP effects to individual clips or to entire tracks. On track effects, you can save CPU cycles by engaging the Pre-Render button, which applies effects to the entire track, without locking you out of the effects parameter controls.

There are many new and enhanced DSP effects in Audition CS5.5, including quite a few created by the audio geniuses at iZotope, including the new DeHummer, Surround Reverb, Speech Volume Leveler, and Vocal Enhancer, as well as the upgraded DeEsser, Single Band Compressor, Chorus/Flanger, and Phaser.

Find out more about the new effects workflows in Audition CS5.5. here.

Group SFX: Thousands of pro sound effect files are ready for you in Adobe Audition CS5.5

Thousands of SFX are yours license-free with Auditoin CS5.5.

Thousands of SFX are yours license-free with Audition CS5.5.

An install of Audition CS5.5 on your Mac or PC takes up a mere 300MB or so. Yet Audition comes with literally thousands of sound effect files that you can use license-free to create or polish soundtracks. Ambient sound beds, environmental backgrounds, Foley FX, explosions, automobiles, and dozens of other useful categories contain around 10,000 files in stereo 48k WAV format. That’s enough to let you create quite a number of soundtracks without ever repeating your SFX files.

All these SFX files are available for download through Adobe Resource Central within Audition CS5.5. All the SFX files are high-quality, 48k WAV files, so you can use them for the foundation of your sound design work, too. Using the amazing sound-bending DSP effects in Audition CS5.5 such as Stretch and Pitch, Distortion, Echo, and many more, you can transform a simple footstep into a menacing underscore or a sci-fi science experiment. Audition CS5.5 gives you the fuel for your soundtrack imagination!

Click on the image at left to read the entire list of SFX categories available. Each category can contain many hundreds of useful sound effects, from environmental ambiance tracks and background sound beds to Foley effects and sci-fi effects.

 

Your legacy is safe: Convert Cool Edit Pro and Adobe Audition 1.5, 2, and 3 files!

Worried about session files created with previous versions of Audition or Cool Edit Pro? Think those timeless tracks have been relegated to the digital dustbin of software history?

Relax! You’ll be able to open all those files within Audition CS5.5 by using a fantastic third-party utility called Ses2Sesx. Created by the awesome folks at AATranslator, Ses2Sesx will take any binary format session file from Cool Edit Pro 1.2 all the way up to Audition 3 and save it in .SESX format for Audition CS5.5.

Learn more about the Ses2Sesx converter utility here.

If you have Audition 3 and want your sessions to come across to Audition CS5.5, there is basic session export using XML session format in Audition 3, which Audition CS5.5 can open and convert to the new .SESX XML format. But for more comprehensive file conversion, check out Ses2Sesx.

Anxious whether your favorite AU3 features will be available in AUCS5.5 on Windows? Don’t worry! You can find a feature comparison here. You can (and should!) keep Audition 3 installed and running even after you install Audition CS5.5, so you can ensure you’ll have the features you’re used to as well as the increased power of Audition CS5.5.

OMF, XML, OMG! With Adobe Audition CS5.5, it’s all about integration and exchange

With OMF interchange support, Audition CS5.5 can exchange files with Final Cut Pro and other NLEs.

With OMF interchange support, Audition CS5.5 can exchange files with Final Cut Pro and other NLEs.

Audition CS5.5 lets you export sessions in OMF Interchange format, as well as import OMF-formatted files. In plain English, this means that you can use the industry-leading audio sweetening, restoration, and cleanup tools in Audition CS5.5 in a video or audio editing workflow that includes any of the most widely-used video nonlinear editor programs (NLEs) or digital audio workstation applications (DAWs). Since many of our pro users tell us they often use Audition in shops that use third-party NLEs and DAWs, this will make one of the realities of pro video editing much simpler.

Still thinking WTF? Get clear on OMF here. Then find out more about how Audition exports and imports OMF files here.

Audition CS5.5 also supports the XML format, which is an open-source protocol that includes enough information about the elements contained in a particular file that the file can be imported into applications that would ordinarily not be able to read the data in a proprietary file format.

Eh? Simply put, it’s a way of allowing NLEs and DAWs (just to name two types of apps) to share files they ordinarily wouldn’t be able to. Since Audition CS5.5 auto-saves its XML, it’s also a great way for Audition to protect your audio in the event of a system crash: Audition would simply re-create your session from the auto-saved XML data, saving your valuable time.

Here’s more about XML than you ever wanted to know.

 

Surround yourself natively with 5.1 multichannel editing and mixing

The new Track Panner works with mono and stereo tracks, and allows precise 5.1 placement.

The new Track Panner works with mono and stereo tracks, and allows precise 5.1 placement.

If you’re equipped to do surround editing, Audition CS5.5 is the audio tool for you. With native support for 5.1 surround sessions and multichannel audio files, Audition makes it easy to create new surround sessions, or put the finishing touches on existing 5.1 projects, and save to a full 5.1 surround master. True 5.1 metering and effects are available on surround tracks and sessions in all modes, including the Multitrack Editor, Waveform Editor, and in the Mixer. Audition also saves and opens multichannel WAV and MP3 files.

You can freely mix new and existing mono, stereo, and multichannel tracks in the same session, assigning each track to any surround channels that you wish. Audition provides a comprehensive array of mixdown and file format options, so you can deliver audio that conforms to the requirements of the most popular stereo and multichannel formats.

Operating as a floating panel, the enhanced Track Panner lets you dial in the precise location of a mono track or the exact spread of a stereo track within the surround sound space. Track Panner icons on each track header give you quick visual feedback on the location of each track while you’re mixing.

With multichannel file support, Audition lets you edit self-contained multichannel files, processing each channel individually. A new Surround Reverb effect makes it easy to put the sounds of a multichannel file in the same ambient sound space, or give each channel its own unique sound. Audition lets you save multichannel files and mixes in a variety of multichannel output formats.

Get the 411 on the 5.1 power of Audition here.