Lecture 03 – editing as descision making

Editing as decision making and the art of making descisions quickly is to leave your regrets at the door of the studio and fret as little as possible about anything that instinctively doesn’t make the grade. You usually know instantly if something is worth keeping, has grains of value or should simply be abandoned and re-started. If it’s not up to your own notional standards, then just move on and make a note to try fixing what went wrong next time you’re in the studio.

The idea with recording brilliantly performed sounds is to get into a good performance situation where you’re comfortable so that you can actually give a performance worth keeping for the microphone. Before you’re ready to do this, you want to feel confident that you have setup the microphones in such a way that they will capture the kind of performance you’re going to give with the cleanest signal path possible. We don’t reccommend this approach just so that you’ll use the most expensive equipment possible, rather that you’ll reduce the ammount of post-processing required on the recordings, ideally to zero.

In today’s session we’re going to explore various ways of editing performances down to smaller, soundfiles rather like the ones to be used in your kits.

We’re going to run this in three parts and each part will last around 30 minutes, leaving us with some time before and after the practical parts to discuss what we have discovered.

Part x – Instincts, Taste and the shape of sounds

Making decisions – using your ears and eyes to make decisions about where a sound begins and ends, using fades to colour the perception of the sound event and guarantee a tight edit. This session included some useful introductory information about REAPER and some fabulous learning tools explained by Sound Design graduate Anne-Sophie Mongeau here: www.asoundeffect.com/reaper-for-sound-design/

Part y – Workflow optimisation with a DAW

Using REAPER to rapidly export regions to single sound files.

Some explanation of ways to do this is here:

Part z – Using machines to help do the grunt work of editing and finessing

Introducing the command line and some editing automation

Some information about using SoX to batch process audio is here:


OK, you don’t fancy it, I know, but goodness me, it’s very useful eventually.

Audio descriptors and organising your sounds

Take a look at sononym:www.sononym.net/

This tool uses some basic audio descriptors to tag your library of sounds and make it easier to search for the kind of sound you’re looking for. Brightness Harmonicity and Noisiness are used as the key descriptors for the files.