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Music Production - Editing Your Track - Music Gateway

Photograph of the blog post author, Mary Woodcock

Mary Woodcock

24.8.2016

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This is the second part of a series of guides on how to record and produce tracks for those who are new to working with audio. Specifically, this series will walk you through recording and mixing a track on Logic Pro x, as its the most commonly used audio workstation. There will be weekly additions to this blog, each concentrating on a new part of the process. Don’t worry if there’s a word you don’t understand, I’ve included a glossary with an explanation at the end to explain what any uncommon words mean.

Contents

  1. Audio Editing tools

  2. Tuning Audio

  3. Automation

  4. Glossary

Audio Editing Tools

To start creating great sounding productions, you’ll want to get into the practise of editing audio. Ideally you’d want to aim to get the perfect performance every time, however this just doesn’t happen. Therefore it’s up to the producer or audio editor to ‘fix’ the audio in the workstation. In this example I’ll be editing the vocal audio with a variety of tools which I’ll explain how to use.

To get the the audio editor window, simply click the scissor icon at the top of your Logic screen that looks like this:Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 15.21.46.png

It will then open the editor section and your screen should look like the one displayed below:

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 15.23.18.png

To select the different tools for editing audio you’ll need to click on either of these fields:Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 15.30.29.png

The left changes the tool you use when you left click, whereas the one on the right will be the tool you’ll use when cmd+clicking.

These are your tools for editing in your audio file viewer:

Most of these are self explanatory in their functioning but I shall explain a few that are slightly more complex:Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 15.18.04.png

Fade Tool – Use this tool to drag the ends of audio files to have them fade in or out in volume.

Fade Gif.gif

Marquee Tool – This will allow you to directly select part of the audio track.

Marquee Tool.gif

Flex Tool – This is a really useful tool for stretching or shortening parts of an audio file if they need to be longer or shorter.Flex.gif

Automation Curve Tool – I’ll go into automation in more detail shortly further down.

Tuning and Pitch

Everyone likes to think they can sing in pitch, but even the most experienced and successful singers can occasionally not be able to recognise when they are singing slightly too high or low.

The standard tuning tool in Logic is called ‘ ‘Pitch Correction’ and looks like this:Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 14.51.04.png

You can find pitch correction by going to the ‘Pitch’ section within your inserts/plug-in menu, strangely enough.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 14.56.51.png

The Pitch Correct tool will change the tuning of audio to the closest note, which tightens the performance but won’t hugely change the sound of the notes. You can however, bypass certain notes by clicking on that note on the piano roll[1], meaning that the program won’t tune to that note but will then change to the next closest note. This can change the pitching of notes quite dramatically if the singer or instrument is very off pitch or consistently hitting a note which is out of key. You can also change a few other parameters[2] which will affect the sound slightly, including how fast the programme will change the pitch, as well as being able to shift the pitch of the entire piece of audio using the detune tool.

There are some more complex Pitch correcting tools that can let you change the pitch of individual parts of a performance by large amounts without changing the timbre of the performance too much. Melodyne is a good example of this software.

Automation

Automating the volume or pitch of track allows you to add markers where the values for these parameters change without you having to actually adjust the faders. You basically draw on the shape that you want these parameters to follow and it will be adjusted to what you have input. For example if you wanted to volume of a track to slowly build up in volume you could do this:

Autoa.gif

To open up automation across tracks you need to click on this button, the one that is highlighted blue with two connected dots inside.

Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 16.16.44.png

There are several different parameters you can control with automation shown here.

To change the parameter, click on where it says volume on the above image and the menu shown will appear.Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 16.23.36.png

One particular use for volume automation is on vocals to keep them at a constant volume. This is something you should try to do almost anytime you record vocals as consistency in the loudness of the vocal sounds very professional. This is quite a difficult skill to learn but the more you practise it, the easier and more natural it will become.

Your automation should start to look like this:Screen Shot 2016-08-19 at 16.37.36.png

As you can see the louder parts of the audio are being reduced in volume so that the volume of the track is more consistent.

You should now have be able to not only record and compile tracks, but also edit out any imperfections in the audio as well as automate it to perfection.

Thank you very much for reading, I hope you were able to learn something and will be mastering the studio in no time!

The next addition will cover the basics of dynamics and compression, so there’s that to look forward to!

Glossary

[1] Piano Roll – The digital piano keys displayed on screen

[2] Parameters – A measurable factor that defines a system


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