A simple approach that will save you tons of time when you’re editing audio

A simple approach that will save you tons of time when you're editing audioSave time editing audio

Editing audio in a session can be a very lengthy process. As such, a means of saving time when you edit a session is to make all of your decisions based on what you can hear, not what you can see.

Being able to see your mix in a modern day DAW is great, but it can lead us to second guess what we’re hearing based on what we can see on the screen. In reality, a note being a little bit off from the grid doesn’t necessarily mean that it will sound out of time. The same is true of things like vocal tuning. Although the screen may be telling you that something isn’t perfect, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be able to hear a problem when you listen to the session.

There have been times that I’ve meticulously edited 95% of the drums in a session. I’d go through with the waveforms zoomed in and move notes by a few milliseconds. I didn’t do it because things sounded out of time. I did it because things looked out of time. But looking back, instead of making hundreds of edits to ensure that everything was perfectly aligned with the grid, I could have made just a few edits on issues that really stood out and it would have probably sounded just as good. Perhaps it may have even sounded better. Music often sounds better if it retains a natural and human feel.

Editing audio based on what you hear, not what you see

Now, I’m not telling you to be lazy when it comes to editing audio. If something needs editing, then you need to edit it. I’m simply telling you not to edit for the sake of it. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that all sessions need to be edited heavily to make them ‘perfect’.

Personally, I like to listen to a session and add a marker every time I hear something that needs attention. Then I go back and edit that part. If I come across something in the session that really looks like it may be out of time then I listen to it and see if I can hear a problem. If I can, I edit it, if not, I move on.

So, make all of your editing decisions based on what you’re hearing, not what you’re seeing, and you’ll save tons of time when editing audio.

What’s your approach to editing? Do you edit with your ears, or with your eyes? Let me know in the comment section below.


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