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Pro Tools 9 Essential Training with musician and producer David Franz demonstrates concepts and techniques necessary for recording, editing, mixing, and mastering in the industry-standard software for music and post-production. The course covers creating music with virtual instruments and plugins, editing with elastic audio for time and pitch manipulation, creating a musical score, and mixing with effects loops. Exercise files accompany the course.
To create smooth edits while editing audio regions in Pro Tools, you should utilize fades and crossfades at most region beginnings and endings. Fades and crossfades are used to prevent pops, clicks, or sudden changes in sound at region boundaries, as well as to smooth transitions between regions or create special audio effects. Let's listen to where we need to apply some fades and crossfades. Let me start by playing this region here, and you are going to hear a click right at the very beginning of the region.
(Music playing.) Did you hear that click right when this bass started playing? (Music playing.) There is also one at the very end. (Music playing.) Let me show you what's causing this. I am going to zoom in very close. You'll see the audio region right here goes from having no sound to having this waveform right here. Ideally, you would want to start with 0 amplitude, like this area right here at the very beginning, so it can fade in to the sound.
But the pop click sound that you hear is coming from when you go from 0 sound immediately to a higher amplitude value, so let's create a fade in to avoid that. The first way, we can use the selector, and highlight an area and go to the Edit menu, choose Fades > Create. That will open the Fades dialog box. Here we can choose the shape that we want for the fade. We can also choose whether it's Equal Power or Equal Gain.
We'll talk about that a little bit later in this video. If you want to, you can click and drag to change the shape of this. So I am going to click OK, and that's what the fade looks like. Let's zoom out and hear what it sounds like. (Music playing.) There is no more click. Mission accomplished. Now, there are easier ways to make fades. Let's make a fade out for the end of this track.
With the Smart tool enabled, we can simply go to the top of the region, click and drag, and that will create a fade for us. Let's take a listen to that now. (Music playing.) Well, that's not ideal. I can still hear a little bit coming out of there. So maybe we make this a little bit longer. (Music playing.) That's a little bit better, but we can still keep working on it if we want to.
Now, let's go make a crossfade. I'm going to go over to between these two regions, and let's listen to what's happening here. (Music playing.) There's a big click pop right in the middle. (Music playing.) So now I am going to click and drag, create a fade, and we can use the key command-- Command+F on a Mac or Ctrl+F on a PC-- and open the Crossfade dialog box. While we are in here, let me explain a little bit more about what's in here.
In this Link section, we have Equal Power, Equal Gain, and None. Choose Equal Power when creating a crossfade between two completely different types of musical material, so that there's no volume drop as there might be with an Equal Gain crossfade. Choose Equal Gain when creating a crossfade between two identical types of musical material to avoid clipping that might occur from an Equal Power crossfade. In most circumstances, I actually find Equal Power to be the best choice.
You can also choose None, if you want to edit the fade out and fade in separately, but let's keep this as Equal Power. Now, let's listen to the fade while we are in this window. We can hit the Audition button. (Music playing.) Well, that's no good. The notes are crossing over each other and overlapping way too much, so we get two pitches happening at the same time; the crossfade is too long. So let's cancel this, and instead, let's go with the Crossfade tool. Click and drag it, and we'll create a much shorter crossfade.
If we use the Smart tool and go to the Grabber mode, double-click it, and you can open up the fades dialog. Let's audition this again. (Music playing.) That's much smoother. When you create a fade or a crossfade with the Smart tool, Pro Tools relies on the preferences that you have set about the fades. So if we go to Setup > Preferences into the Editing page, we can choose our default settings for our fades.
Click on the crossfade. You can see that Equal Power is chosen as our default, with these standard shapes as well. I like that, so I am going to check OK. Since crossfades are created by fading between overlapping audio material, a crossfade cannot be performed on regions that do not contain audio material beyond the region boundaries. Let's take a look at what I am talking about. If we go to this area here--and I've got the Trimmer tool--if I try to trim and extend that over to the right, there's no material to extend.
So if I go down here to try to create a crossfade and click and drag, Pro Tools is going to give me this warning, "One or more fade requests are invalid due to insufficient audio data within the fade bounds. You may skip the invalid fade request(s), or adjust the bounds for those fades (where possible)." So we can skip them, or we can have Pro Tools automatically adjust them if there is audio on this side. We know that there is no audio on the other side of this, beyond this boundary.
But if there is audio from this side that extends beyond the region boundary over here, then we'll be able to create a crossfade. So let's hit Adjust Bounds, and see what Pro Tools can do. In fact, there is audio over here, so Pro Tools automatically shifted the crossfade to earlier in time so that there was enough material to create the crossfade. One other thing that I want to mention about fades and crossfades is that they're actually written to your hard drive and stored in a folder named Fade Files.
That's within your session folder. When you play back your track, Pro Tools reads these files and plays them back from your hard drive. They are actually WAV files. If you end up losing your fade files, Pro Tools can actually recreate these files from the session file if they're not present on your hard drive. Fades and crossfades are essential tools for editing digital audio. Use them well and your audio edits will be super-smooth.
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