DAW Fundamentals — Editing Audio
Basic Editing Tools & Methods
Select/Range Tool: This tool allows for audio selection. You can either select an entire region/clip or just part of one. Hitting delete usually removes whatever is selected. You can also click and drag an edge to roll it in or out as needed.
Split/Cut/Slice Tool: This tool splits the audio region into two at a chosen spot.
Gain: Gain is a pretty generic term, as it applies to where the gain knob is turned to on the interface and all of many, many locations in the signal path. Almost every effect has an input gain, an output gain, or both. The one we’re talking about here is the gain that can be applied to an audio region before it goes to any effects or busses.
Fades: Every region of audio should have at least a tiny fade in at the start and fade out at the end, to avoid clicks and pops.
When two regions are adjacent to each other, but from different takes, a crossfade blends between the two. Sometimes it takes some real finesse (or another take) to get it to sound smooth. There are different types of crossfades. in general, an equal-power crossfade is for regions that are dissimilar; the phase incoherence will sound like equal volume to the ear. An equal-gain crossfade is for similar material, to make up for the apparent gain of waves that are phase-coherent enough to reinforce each other.
Punching In: If you have an amazing take, minus a couple little spots, punching in is the solution. You’ll play a few seconds before the part with the mistake, then hit record when you get to the part that needs to be replaced (and out when it’s over). Most DAWs can be set to automatically apply a tiny crossfade at
Copy/Cut/Paste: These tools work in a DAW as well as anywhere else. They are great if you want to loop audio, take the best part of a chorus and paste it into the rest, cut out something undesirable, or what have you. Entire tracks can be duplicated as well. For some of these functions, there are special tools (like looping, automation, etc . . .).
Phase Coherency: As explained in a previous section, phase coherency is when waveforms go up and down in sync; they reinforce each other to great effect. When they aren’t in sync, they cancel each other out at any number of frequencies (or everything entirely). If audio content is dissimilar,
Resources for this Section
Chapter 3 contains practical editing tips that prepare for a smooth mixing session. The rest of the book is about the mixing process.
This audio quiz contains much more than what we covered on this page, including many tips for film audio. Besides solutions, there are audio examples of each issue.