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In Soundbooth CS5 Essential Training, author Jeff Sengstack demonstrates how to record, edit, optimize, and enhance audio using the professional tools in Adobe Soundbooth CS5. This course covers basic audio edits, such as trimming, fading, and panning clips, removing unwanted noise, enhancing audio with special effects, and creating stereo blends from multiple tracks. An overview of recording hardware and a detailed explanation of core audio concepts are included as well. Exercise files accompany the course.
Soundbooth has two equalization effects. One is called Graphic, and the other is Parametric. They both do, essentially, the same thing. They either boost or cut specific frequency bands. Graphic uses these little sliders that have presets for their frequency bands that you can raise or lower. And it ends up looking sort of like a graph, like a curve when you're done, all these little sliders line up. But the Parametric looks more like a graph than the Graphic, so the name might throw you off a little bit. Parametric actually uses a graph with six points on the graph that you can adjust and expand or narrow to suit your purposes.
I'll show you both here, and we'll start with a vocal here, the narration of the Constitution. The Parametric and the Graphic Equalization can help enhance a vocal in particular. It can give it a little more oomph in the bass or in the treble, depending on who is doing the vocal. And you can adjust these things very carefully and specifically for the voice. Let me just show you how that works. Here is the EQ:Graphic, and I have also applied Parametric, but I have got it turned off. So, we'll look at this one first and take a look at the settings and right away, you'll see how those sliders work. These are pretty familiar to anybody who has had an equalizer on their home stereo system, or in their car.
And you know that if you raise these guys here, you are raising the bass frequencies. If you raise these, you are raising the treble, and if you knock them down, you do the opposite. Right now, every one is set to neutral, all set to 0. We are not affecting this audio at all. This is the original dry version, if you want to call it that. (Male Speaking: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union) So let's apply some kind of a preset to at least get some of the work done for us, rather than slide these things one at a time. It makes it a little easier to start with a preset. So, since we have a male vocal here, let's give it a little male vocal boost.
Right away, you'll notice that in the male vocal range here of about 250-1000Hz, that frequency range is the typical male range. I just gave it a little boost and then knocked off the treble range and knocked off the deep bass range, which would be normally below most men's speaking voice, and it just gives it a little oomph. (Male Speaker: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,) Now I'll do it with it off. (Male Speaker: establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility) You see that one is off. There's just a little bit of treble presence there.
Here it's got a little bit more bass boost. I will just turn that back on. (Male Speaker: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,) (Male Speaker: establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility,) So, on and off, you can sort of see the difference. And the thing is, you don't normally want to have an effect stand out, unless that's your purpose. And so, one of the cool things about audio editing is that when you are done, if people don't notice that you have applied a bunch of affects, you've probably succeeded, unless you really want it to be in their face with effects. So, we just made some subtle changes here, but you know you can always customize these guys.
(Male Speaker: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,) Obviously we don't want that, but you can customize these sliders any way you want. But it's good to start with a preset. Let me show you a little preset that just shows you that you can go beyond doing just a simple change, such that it may not be even noticeable to people listening. You can make some effects using these guys by changing the frequencies dramatically, like this walkie-talkie effect. If you're doing some kind of dramatic thing where someone is talking into a walkie-talkie, you can do something like this. (Male Speaker: We the People of the United States) So you can simulate a telephone, or simulate somebody communicating in your movie set, with that little audio when the guy is listening in the walkie-talkie then you can have this audio level.
(Male Speaker: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,) So, there are lots of little options with equalization. Let me show you the Parametric side of this thing instead of the Graphic side of this thing, and just sort of a different presentation with, in fact, fewer sliders - if you want to call them that - available to you, but with a little bit more control over the frequency range for each slider. Here they are presets, and you can have more or fewer bands, in other words a wider frequency selection here per band, a narrower one here. But if you go to the Parametric, you have much more specific control over each band that you select.
Let me show you that. I'll will turn this one off. Turn this guy off here. Turn this one on. I'll show you the settings. You'll see that is a graph with four Xs here, which implies that there are only four things you can control, but there are two more. There is a Highpass Enable and a Lowpass Enable. So, you have six things that you can control, and each X, when you click on it, has a little range to it. It is called the Q value. You can adjust the Q value, the width of the frequency you are adjusting. So, for example, if I wanted to just drop say the 60Hz range, which I'll show you in a moment, you can just slide over there and then change it very specifically.
Notice it even gives a read out here, and you can narrow the range down or expand it and say how much you want to change. Notice that as I expand it, there are two colors. There is a bright red and a dark red. The dark red is the one you are working on now. That's actually just that specific thing you are working on now, relative to everything else. And the bright red shows you how it effects the overall sound. So right now, we are just changing this one value. You notice that you are changing the frequencies here and how much you are changing in terms of decibels - I am increasing it by 5.9 or 6 - and how wide the Q is.
You can watch that change. All right. On that Band 1. If I click Highpass Enable - that's this level here - you can change that up or down, as well. So, you really have six ways that you can adjust these particular settings, or six settings then you can adjust them all individually, like that. Let's do a preset. Presets here are different, and in fact, you are still doing EQ. So, we'll do a smooth bottom end. It takes the bottom down, basically. I'll just get out of the way. (Male Speaker: We the People of the United States) You can hear it drops that bottom right out.
And it get through what's called the little bit of sibilance right there as well, that 's' sound. That little drop there is a sibilance cut. So, it does a couple of things at once. If you do the sibilance attenuation, you can see it's just that thing that's being adjusted. That's kind of where sibilance is, in the 8000 Hertz range, actually above the highest note on a piano is where 's' sibilance is. Let's just go to one thing here, where I want to increase the high. It is just one little setting, and I want to do a bass booster, of course, since it is my voice, and I want to make it more bass like. (Male Speaker: in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice,) Again, I can select this guy.
Notice if I click on it, that's its curve over there, and this is the overall curve. And so as I adjust it, the overall curve adjusts as well. So, we'll give it real big bass boost here. (Male Speaker: insure domestic Tranquility) Okay, so that's Parametric versus Graphic on a male voice. Let's go to a female voice, and we'll try the same thing. We'll start with the Graphic, which is that slider thing. We'll do a preset for her. Since we have a Male boost, let's do a Female boost. And we'll show you the settings. And with the female boost you can see it raises this end of the frequency range, the higher end.
(Woman singing: When the sun sets on the water's edge) Let me do it with it and without. I'll turn it off in a second here. (Woman singing: When the sun sets on the water's edge, a sky of yellow blue and) So in my ears, in that particular case, I am not really happy with that preset. But let me change it to a different one. She actually has that sort of a deep smoky voice. Let me try the male booster and see how that sounds. (Woman singing: red. I think of the things you said, and in the morning light, having held you through the night.) You can see that actually the male boost for an alto vocal range gives it kind of a nice extra presence that can work on a female as well.
So, that's one way to enhance a vocal there with the EQ Graphic, which you could also do in the Parametric. But I just want to show you that the preset there works pretty well for that person. Let's go to the Parametric, different settings. Again, you have seen this before, but I just want to show you that they are available here as well. And you can make a bright vocal which, again, depends on the person, but it won't work for this particular singer. (Woman singing: Slowly climbing out of bed. I think of the things you said.) But again, this could for something like a telephone conversation. If you want to have someone on your set, or if you are doing some kind of a movie or whatever where someone is talking on the phone, that could be the voice they are hearing on the phone.
(Woman singing: Alone) Because sometimes cell phones don't have very good bass response. Let me move on to working with a bass. Many times, you want to give your bass an extra thump. If you record a bass really well, you probably don't need to give extra thump. But if let's say, after you have done recording you realize "Hm. I really want this bass to just really stand out." So, here is how the bass sounded originally. (Bass playing.) Okay, let's apply an EQ to that, and I'll just click on this guy. Click on a preset.
You have a Male Vocal Boost. That's one thing we can do. But I would rather have a bass boost that's built in, but let's first start with adjusting the settings ourselves, manually to get this thing a bass boost. (Bass playing.) Now if that isn't thumping your floor, nothing else will. Let's go over to the Parametric and use it's preset for the bass booster. Let me show it to you. You can see the bass booster there is it's own the little graphic up there.
Let's hear that one. (Bass playing.) And that's actually a little bit more punch than what we just did manually using the Graphic Equalizer. So, I think if sometimes if you want to give your bass a little punch, go ahead and use the bass boost. Either one these guys will work, but this one has this lovely bass boost built-in, in the terms of the Parametric Equalizer. Let's go to one more thing. We are actually going to remove a sound. I have shown you how to remove noises before, but I want to show you again using this effect and also showing you how to work with just part of the clip. In this particular case, we have got that hum we have heard before.
(Music playing.) So, I want to remove the hum, but the hum only exists in this part of the clip. So, I'll just select this part, right there, and I want to remove the hum, and I want to use the preset, and the Parametric(Advanced) has a preset that works specifically with 60 Hertz, which is what this frequency is for this hum. So, I am just going to go over here and look for that preset, and I am going to be awfully surprised that I don't see the preset for removing a 60 Hertz hum here inside the EQ Parametric, kind of quizzical as to why that is.
But if I do go to the Stereo Rack Preset and click on that, lo and behold, there is that Remove 60 Cycle Hum. And it's a little odd that this would be in a Stereo Rack Preset since it applies to only a single affect, the EQ Parametric effect, but that's where it is if you are looking for that preset. It's not in the EQ effect. It's inside the Stereo Rack. And so, if I didn't have this effect loaded up, clicking this would load it up, but since it's already loaded up, it's just going to load up the preset. Boom! there it is. It says it's now been added, and I go to settings, and there is the 60 Hertz Hum Removal preset already rolling.
Let's just listen to it and see how that works. (Music playing.) And little behold, it's removed that hum. That's a great way to take something out. We have been talking about boosting certain levels, like boosting the bass, or boosting the treble, or giving a male voice a little more presence, or a female voice a little more presence by raising the frequency ranges that work for those voices. But here, we are taking out something by dropping that single frequency, picking only one band here, which is one of the great things about the Parametric EQ. You can select only one band and just drop the heck out of that one band right down there and not touch any other bands.
So there you go, various ways to boost or reduce specific frequencies using either the Parametric EQ or the Graphic EQ.
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