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In this chapter, we're going to be looking at some of the most common tasks you'll be performing when it comes to editing your audio files. Now we've already touched on some of the basics of the Waveform Editor, but let's review and really familiarize ourselves with it before we move on. I've opened the file, maya_intro_raw from the Exercise Files folder, but it's mainly just serving as a placeholder. If you want to work along with me and you don't have access to the exercise files, you can open any other audio file on your own. And in this chapter we're going to be working primarily with the Waveform Editor. So if you currently have the Spectral Display open, you can just close that for now.
Remember, you can just toggle this button here. You can use this little arrowhead here, or you can just drag the Separator bar all the way down. So for now, we're just going to keep that completely hidden and focus on the Waveform Editor. And by the way, I'm working from the default workspace, which you can pull up from the Workspace menu up here. So the Waveform Editor shows us waveforms, these visual representations of audio displayed as peaks and troughs. By default, when you open an audio file, Audition displays the waveform for the entire file. I can tell because the selector in the navigator area at the top here covers the entire width of the waveform.
Remember, dragging a handle in on either side zooms in on the portion of the waveform still covered by this navigator selector. Down here I can see the duration of the entire file. It's about 1 minute 38 seconds, and that's also reflected up here in the timeline above the waveforms. Depending on the kind of project you are working on, you can change the display in this area by right-clicking on it and selecting a different scale from Time display. For example, if I were recording music, I might select Bars and Beats. So now the timescale represents the bars or the measures within my song.
And that will make it much easier for me to see which beat any particular part of the waveform appears. You'll notice that not only changes the timescale but also the grid behind the waveform. So, it's much easier to see where the different waveforms line up. But for now, I'm going to switch this back to the Decimal setting to go back to the Time display. So the Time display appears at top and tells you, in this case, how far into your audio file you are based on where the playhead is. If I click on the Timescale, I just jumped the play head to that location. Now along the right side of the editor, you have the Amplitude display.
As we previously discussed, amplitude amounts to the volume or loudness of your audio. There are two displays here because this is a stereo file with both a left and right channel. If this were a mono file, we would only see one waveform and we'd only have one amplitude scale here on the right. So, amplitude is measured in decibels or dB. The negative infinity symbol in the middle of the scale represents absolute silence and the scale goes out in both directions. The further away the waveform gets from the center, the more amplitude or loudness it has.
And it's easy to tell just by looking at the waveform where the loudest and quietest points of your recording are. For example, at the very beginning of the waveform, I see a very tiny little waveform then followed by what appears to be a straight line right before the speaker actually starts speaking. Let's play a few seconds at the beginning and listen. Again, I'm using my spacebar to start and stop the playback. (male speaker: Hi, I'm George Maestri, and wel--) So, that's just like a little, tiny throat clearing there, or a little click. After a while, you may even begin to be able to tell what kind of sounds are in your file just by looking at the waveform.
For example, since I know this is a recording of someone speaking, this little waveform spike right here--and I'm just clicking to highlight there-- that tells me that this is probably an unwanted sound since it's quieter than the rest of the waveform, and it's so short. I'll just play and you can listen to that. (audio playing) So yeah, that was a throat clearing. These are the sort of things you'll soon start to recognize after you have been working with waveforms for a while. Okay, so back to the Decibel scale. Like the timescale at the top of the screen, you can also right-click over and choose a different scale, for example, Percentages.
You can see that change to the scale here. But you'll probably find the decibels are going to be the most common and useful. So, I'm going to switch that back. Notice the L and R buttons here as well. These tell you which is the left channel and which is the right. Clicking either one mutes that channel. I'll click Play and mute and unmute the channels, and you should be able to hear the difference, especially if you're wearing headphones. (male speaker: --tools, as well as how to use those tools to create your own rig. We're gonna start off with a basic introduction of rigging theory, and then we're gonna dive--) So that might be useful if you're trying to isolate a sound or hear something that might be contained only on the right or left channel.
Most of the time, you'll probably keep both channels unmuted though. Now, depending on how loud or quiet your recording is, you may find it necessary or helpful to be able to increase or decrease the Decibel scale. You can use the Zoom buttons down here that have vertical arrows next to them to zoom in and zoom out. Notice the scale is changing along with the zoom size of the waveform. But if you have a mouse with a scroll wheel, you'll probably find it more convenient to just place the mouse anywhere over the Decibel scale than scrolling it out that way. Again, this can be useful if, for example, I had a pretty quiet file and I needed to see the waveform a little more clearly so I could zoom in on it--or if the file is really loud I could zoom out.
Similarly, you can zoom in time, either by clicking the Zoom Tools with the horizontal arrows on them. You can see by the navigator up here, I am basically zooming in that portion of the waveform that's currently covered up. Or again, you can use your scroll wheel by placing your mouse over the portion of the waveform you want to zoom into and then using the scroll wheel to zoom in. So, for example, here I'm going to zoom in on that little cough at the end. I can even grab the Selection bar here in the navigator to move slightly left or right if I want to be more precise about where that waveform is placed in the display down here. Now when it comes to zooming in, you can zoom all the way down into the sample level.
That's what we're seeing here is each actual sample represented by these square dots. You'll very rarely have to work at this level of magnification. I'm going to click the Zoom Out to Full button to reset my display. Okay. So, that's a general overview of the Waveform Editor. Now there are some specific tools we didn't cover here, like the Fade In and Fade Out tools, or the Heads-up display, but we'll be covering those in detail in the upcoming movies.
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