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Whether one is producing music, podcasts, game sounds, or film sound effects, Digital Audio Principles provides the tips and techniques that will make the project a success. Author Dave Schroeder explains the basics of digital audio production techniques and covers the essential hardware and software. He also discusses sound theory, frequency response, the range of human hearing, and dynamic range.
So in addition to just being really visually cool representations of digital audio and sound, waveforms are actually really helpful in terms of looking at sound and determining what kind of sound we might be looking at, and getting a sense of when it stops and when it starts; they're really what makes digital editing possible. It's that visual queue that lets us do almost everything we do with digital editing. So waveforms represent two things: they represent amplitude along the y axis--or how tall they are--and then they basically display time along the x axis.
So they show us amplitude over time. Let's zoom in. Take a look. So we can see what we call the peaks and the valleys. The peaks are going to be your louder spiky points, and the valleys are these quiet spots in between them. Here are some nice valleys. And peaks and valleys are kind of the terminology we use when we are looking at waveforms. So the peaks and valleys are helpful because they can queue us into how loud something is, but the other good thing is time along the x axis, which lets us know how long a sound lasts. And this is helpful because we can quickly identify different kinds of sounds.
Like a handclap or a high hat hit, will be a short quick transit, kind of like the sound we see here. Something longer, like a bowed cello or a big bass note, will look something like this. So it's easy to quickly identify what type of sound you are looking at, and this makes it possible to edit a lot more efficiently. You don't necessarily have to listen back the whole time, and sometimes you can go and simply just look and find what you're looking for without having to listen back. In the old days if we are rolling tape, we would have to sit here for three minutes to figure out that here is where that huge gap is where the bass player thing came unplugged.
But now I can just say, ah, there's that huge gap, let's go in there and re-record the bass part here. I don't think that really happened there, actually, because I was playing bass, and it's a pretty hot track. So let's just take a quick look and do a little bit of listening, some peaks sounds, see what we can identify here. So we are in the drum track. I think we probably have some sort of hi-hat there, hi-hat there. This will sound like a snare probably. Yeah, so you can tell that there are different kinds of sounds represented by the different trails and the dynamics.
Let's check out the bass track. That's fun. It's kind of fat bass synths, I think. Yeah. (bass playing) So the thing to remember is that the waveform really is our best friend when it comes to editing. It's what makes us fast, efficient, and possible, and it allows us to visually see what's going on. Now critical listening is still part of the program, and you have to always use your ears and trust your ears. But in terms of getting around, seeing how things are lining up and matched up, the waveform just can't be beat.
It's great to be able to work with audio in a visual way. So now let's talk about some of the different ways we actually work with audio, and look at making some cuts and trims.
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