A REAL RECORDING SESSION WITH POWERTRACKS.(cont.).
this topic relates to
"cleaning up your audio tracks after recording in ptw".
there are lots of ptw facilities to help you.
i'm posting this cos one of the basic mistakes i see some people new to recording do ,
is not clean up their tracks. after recording.
one of the biggest differences tween superb top of their game talented engineers n the rest of us
is their religious attention to detail.
one being cleaning up their tracks.
it might be a note slightly out of tune or early or late or a noisy guitar track cos an amp
was noisy, and lots of other things.
so how do you clean up ??
(really its akin..lol....to when my mum used to clean my room when i messed it up when i was
a lot of cleaning up can be done in ptw's audio edit window.
(at the top..in main ptw tool bars.)
after youve recorded an audio track...solo it.and really listen.i mean REALLY LISTEN to the track.
you might hear some noise,. or mebe low down u can hear your chair squeking before u did your vocal track,
or some rustling of paper, or your cat started meowing just as you had started recording,
or maybe the start of a word is too high in volume or there is a "P"losive or
the end of a sung word or played note is too low.
as u can see theres a myriad of reasons.
mebe your mic is picking up your computer fan low level noise etc etc etc.
so lets look at ptw's facilities.
lots of the following will involve editing with the mouse.
and this is really where u need to get VERY FAMILIAR with under EDIT...
audio effects...GAIN CHANGE.
i have a feeling some folks are not aware of some subtle triks with
the gain change feature.
first off.if u have a noisy trak. use ptw's noise gate.
mebe just general noise cleanup (compressor not checked.).
try a threshold of -25db for example.
ive covered the noise gate before.
now say u have a cough just before your vocal starts .
in audio edit window just drag the mouse over it.
to hilite the cough, .then EDIT>>>cut...make sure keep gap is selected.
if after useing noise gate u still hear low level noise tween note playing or singing sections.
once again as before hilite/edit/cut (with keep gap.).
thus no noise between audio clips in the audio edit window.
now lets tackle a little more difficult job.
a note stands out too much. above the other notes.
zoom in a bit in the audio edit window and hilite the note.
try lowering the db useing gain change.
now a "nasty"...a consonant is too heavy on a vocal note...
and we need to soften it. dont hilite the whole word.
just the start of the word.
for example we need to soften a "K" cos the
singer stood too close to the mic at this point.
try this. AND YOULL NEED TO EXPERIMENT.
and mebe do a few undos till u become an adept audio editor.
(over time u WILL.)
notice in gain change there is the fade in option.
and NOTICE START GAIN PER CENT.
after hiliting.try setting start gain per cent at 25.
(it depends on level of the track.).
then process with a cut of -3db say.
if its too soft now. try experimenting with how much level is cut and the
start gain per cent.
all i can give u is general starting points cos every track is different.
but the basic idea is useing fade in in gain change we lower the impact of the
now some people will say use a compressor or "squisher".
my own preference is to even out any problems in a track via
detailed editing of this nature.
another "nasty"...is .lets take the word "pressure".
the "P" is HARD.so we might have to edit the "P" via the fade in trick.
but what about the end of the word ?? the "ure" ??
mebe its not distinct n tails off to early cos the singer stepped back a tad ??
now you COULD hilite "ure" and boost its volume.
but heres a likkle editing trik i like to do , just to make u aware
as an alternative.
what we are going to do is hilte "ure" , and EDIT>>>copy.
now follow carefully...clik EDIT>>i TRACK PASTE (!!!!).
and NOTICE...TICK OFF..merge with existing data !!.
(make sure the FROM setting in the paste matches the FROM setting in the copy,
a little detail often missed by new folks.)....
and VOILA !..the "ure" is now higher in level.
if its too high...just use gain change to lower a db or so.
OR....u might try hiliting the "ure", as well as a little blank space after
the "ure" and doing a fade out, mucking around with percentages.
i really urge people to get into hand editing of this nature as it
offers a LOT of control in evening out a track.
another "trick"....is..lets say for 5 secs in a track suddenly the level
drops. there is another option to useing gain change.
in the audio edit window if you wanted to boost that one section,
just copy the section to a new blank track and push up the fader on the blank track of course and
blend to taste.
another issue is a song note or group of notes played late or early.
or you want to reposition something either on or in front of or behind the beat.
this is just experimenting with simple cut n paste i the audio edit window.
(make sure keep gap is selected.)
youll also notice an overwrite option in the paste dialog.
let me mention where this is usefull.
viz...a series of notes you want replaced by another series of notes
from somewhere else in the song.
there are also other tricks to discover in ptw audio editing wise and in
conjunction with the audio edit window.
think about this one.
remember that "plosive" ?? mebe we can soften it other ways too.
i think i remember once softening plosives in a track by hiliting the plosive n useing the teeniest amount of flange on it
from the ptw flanger as a laugh.
which brings me to another point.
basically any dsp fx in ptw or plug in you use is erssentially altering the
naked recorded audio signal in some way.
thus dont be afraid to experiment with various approaches.
when youve done cleaning up religiously your audio track so its nice and clean,
step back and look at the waveform, soloing the track.
do one final listen for anything thats not distinct and fix it.
while the track is playing watch carefully ptw's vertical line as it paasses
over the waveform.
also look carefully in the audio edit window. while playing back.
and watch the waveform versus the db markers in the audio edit window.
for any final adjustments.
now let me cover one final important point.
you will hear the term ZERO CROSSINGS used often in audio editing.
what does this mean ??
bring up the audio edit window.
look at it. notice where inf is ??
theres a horizontal line ?? the horizontal line is ZERO CROSSING.
ie..where the waveform crosses over.
why is zero crossings of interest ??
well.....if u notice...sometimes cutting and deleteing
a piece of audio realises a little "pop" .
when its done. cos suddenly the audio convertors are being asked to go from nothing amplitude to
a hi level amplitude.
THUS...when cutting audio out of a track most experienced folk do it at zero crossing,
and i suggest you do the same. ie...the start and end of hiliting the audio...
look closely and ensure the start and end of the hilite start as near the horizontal
crossing line as possible.
as you can see from the above there are lots of triks involved in audio editing.
lets cover some more.
someones given you a song and they want it to fade out rather than
slamming all the way thru to the end and suddenly stopping.
i often write a song with what i call a rhythm fade trick.
ie..the song fades with just the rhythm bopping along n fadeing to silence.
how do u do this.
just import the song master into ptw....and youll see the waveform.
go to the audio edit window....and lets say the client wants the fade starting 20 secs from end of song.
just hilite with the mouse. and useing ptw gain change, check the fade out option.
in fact....and i'll get to this later on in posting ptw can be used for lots of mastering of final songs
if one wants to do that , without useing other software.
once again its all in useing the features available.
some other things you might run across is...lets go back to the bass track just laid down for CEFE.
at one point in the song the band wants the bass to ping pong from one ear to the other and back.
how would u do this ?? yes..believe it or not...
u CAN do this in ptw even tho its not mentioned anywhere.
can u figure it out ??
ie...a ping pong effect ??
lets say bars 22 to 30 we want the bass to ping pong around the stereo image.
heres the clue....ptw fade in and out in the gain change dialogue.
and the use of a clone dupe track of the original.
you could do in fact also some wild hendrix guitar break ping ponging around all psychedelic.
the KEY is useing TWO TRACKS (original plus copy of original.). and fadeing in and out bits of audio between the two tracks.
one track in ptw mixer pan all left n the other all right, then start
another clue..you can actually get the guitar or bass or vocal to move very slowly or faster or very fast from
ear to ear. its all in the application of useing gain change on
pieces of the audio in each. just experiment.
for people starting on this idea. try this if u dont want to get too fancy.
take that bass audio track, and a blank track.
(pan bas track all left and blank track all right in ptw mixer.)
now bring up bars window.
for each alternate bar in the bars window . cut out (edit/cut/keep gap.) a bar of the
the bass track and paste it at the same point onto the blank track.
do this for 12 bars. and play back.
do u hear whats happened...??
on each bar change the bass has moved to either yourleft or right ear..
alternating !! experiment further now.
ive given you all the clues.
one other thing.
did u know u can use ptw to tune individual notes ??..even vocal notes..
?? if a singer sings off ??
lets say when u clean up the bass track in the audio edit window a note is just a tad flat. ptw's good old edit/audio effects /pitch shift can fix it. just dial in a few cents. and experiment till it sounds right.
(tons more to come..for prolly the next couple of months....
please post any questions/clarifications needed in off topic.)