5 Top Tips: Audio Editing

5 Top Tips: Audio Editing

When it comes to audio editing, it can be quite a tedious job. But I’ve put together some tips to help you with your audio editing so that it doesn’t feel like such a task. These are my 5 top tips and I hope that they can also help you with improving your music production workflow.

 

  1. Learn the shortcuts for Cutting, Pasting, Trimming and Duplicating Region/Parts

This will really help speed up your workflow, plus help you to get through your audio editing parts smoothly.

  1. Also, Learn the Shortcuts to your different Audio Tools

So instead of having to navigate for these different tools, learning the shortcuts will take out this extra step and allow you to quickly and easily go between the different tools.

  1. Trim Unnecessary silent sections on your parts

Tidy up your parts by removing these bank spaces. It will also help make your arrangement more visually clearer.

  1. Or Use the Strip Silence Tool

Another great way to trim silent bits out of your audio regions is to use the Strip Silence feature in your DAW. Which normally is in the Audio Editor window section of your DAW. This can save you a lot of time, even hours if you’re editing tons of tracks!

  1. Use Fades

Use Fade in and Fade outs on all your parts. Even if it looks silent before the beginning of the part, there still may be some low level noise in those parts. And by adding in fades will help remove that low level noise when coming in and out of parts. Plus, removing this low noise will give you some extra headroom in your mix.

That’s my 5 top tips on audio editing. I hope this helps save you some time when you get into your audio editing. Any time savings will help give you more time to focus on your mixing and mastering on your songs.

 

5 Top Audio Recording Tips

5 Top Audio Recording Tips

Before recording your audio I’d like to give you my 5 top tips on audio recording so that you can get the most out of your takes. Rather be prepared with the best tips before pressing the red button! Let’s go through them and get your audio recordings top notch!

 

  1. Make Sure your Audio Signal is not too hot

If you have turned the preamps too high, it will clip the signal. So make sure when monitoring your input signal that it’s not going into the red.

  1. Make Sure Your Audio Signal is not too soft

And this goes the same for it being too soft. If you record your signal too soft, you’ll find that you need to turn it up in the mix, and this will bring up the noise floor, which will be extra noise into your mix that doesn’t need to be there.

  1. Name your Tracks before Recording to them

Then the audio source file will have the same name. Better than keeping the default name like Audio-01. And then later trying to figure out what audio file is associated with which track.

  1. Record Two Parts of your Instruments or Source.

For example if you’re recording some guitars, record the part two. Both parts will be slightly different. And then you can pan the to different sides for interest in your mix.

Or if you record a vocal part, then second part you can mix in for extra interest in a specific section in the song. Like the chorus giving it a doubled effect.

  1. Use Punch-In Recording.

Use the punch in recording feature in your DAW. This is a great way to retain the energy and dynamics of your recorded part. Start playing with your audio before the punch in locator and then it can match the levels of your previous part.

That’s my 5 top tips on audio recording. I find these always work for me and keep me on track with getting the best out of my takes, so here’s to helping you do the same.

Have you Thought About Using AudioJungle?

Have you Thought About Using AudioJungle?

If you’re thinking of ways to get extra money or revenue for your music, a great platform service to look at is AudioJungle. Here you can upload your music to this music stock library, and interested listeners can purchase your music. What a better way to earn some extra cash with your music this way.

Now I know you’ve probably seen things like this before and it seems too good to be true. But it is really a great platform if you take the time to use it. A good friend of mine, and fellow music maker, Gavin Potter has had some success on this platform and I thought it would be interesting to pick his brain and ask him some questions about how he has used AudioJungle to boost his income.

Gary Hiebner: Hi Gavin, can you give us a brief history on yourself and when you started music composing and music producing

Gavin Potter: I started piano at a very young age and changed over to guitar in high school and played in lots of bands over the next few years. My interest in music was reunited when I started getting interested in music for media productions. To help with this I did my grade 8 exams in guitar and music theory and did an orchestration course, otherwise I’m pretty much self taught.

Gary Hiebner: Was there any specific media production that drew your interest back to music? A movie, a TV show, a game?

Gavin Potter: I got a call out of the blue from a commercials director to score a advert for her. From then on, I was hooked on writing to picture. Otherwise it was pretty much How To Train Your Dragon that made me want to write film scores.

Gary Hiebner: Nice, John Powell. He’s a great composer. Who are some of your other favorite media composers?

Gavin Potter: Mark Mancina, Harry Gregson-Williams, James Horner and who doesn’t like a bit of Mr John Williams.

Gary Hiebner: Yeah its hard to beat John Williams. So prolific. So many good childhood memories from movies he scored.

Gavin Potter: Yeah, and I remember listening to Superman for the first time and recording the audio off the movie onto a tape deck.

Gary Hiebner: Haha, that’s great. Good old tape decks. That might be giving away our age! Now what I’d like to chat about is the AudioJungle Platform. I know you’ve had some successes on it. I would just like to know how you found the platform, what you think of it, and what you’ve found works on it.

Gavin Potter: There are a lot of music libraries online, and I tried a few but AJ’s ease of use but still demanding quality what was attracted me to them. There are some libraries that don’t even review what is submitted by composers or their criteria is very low which I think doesn’t help anybody. They seem to be growing through leaps and bounds so it’s not a bad platform to belong too, however, as they grow, so does the competition, so one has to keep uploading quality content and pushing your profile as much as possible.

Gary Hiebner: Yeah the competition and quality has definitely grown. I remember checking it out about 3 years ago, but it has definitely become more popular since I first looked into it. Any advice for someone starting out and wanting to get onto Audio Jungle on what to do to have some success at it?

Gavin Potter: It’s exploded, I think they have done an excellent job marketing themselves. AudioJungle in itself is a great research tool to get started. Search for the best sellers, see what they have done. Also, if you have a particular genre you good at, see what others are doing similar and what is selling. But of course, with that, also see what the site is lacking, where could you fill a gap. I’ve had lots of success from non-mainstream stuff as well such as African and Irish music. The industry also goes through trends, right now happy claps and whistles dominate corporate music.

Gary Hiebner: Yeah corporate music definitely seems like the bestselling genre on the platform. Awesome, good advice. Find what’s popular but also look for gaps. So guess what you could make next is an African or Irish corporate track.

Gavin Potter: Hahah, there’s an idea. Yeah, learn the rules and then break them.

Gary Hiebner: Sounds like music theory. Learn it then break the rules

Gavin Potter: Hahah, I’m still learning.

Gary Hiebner: Do you do any marketing or promoting of your songs on AudioJungle. If so what have you tried?

Gavin Potter: AudioJungle is in control of any song or author marketing on their site (ie: get selected to be a featured author or a featured song which is a real win). However there are things one can do to try and boost their sales. Firstly, follow and make contact with VideoHive (their sister site) where video producers upload their content, sometimes you can piggyback on their projects or at least, people will hear your music over their productions. Also, it’s not really marketing but does have a direct impact on your sales is keep uploading new material, this improves your rankings plus, it’s a numbers game, the more tracks on their you have, the better your chance of selling.

Gary Hiebner: Wow, great advice. Awesome to cross market to one of the other platform service on the Envato community (AudioJungle falls under the Envato banner) like VideoHive. And yeah true, I found that you have to keep uploading keeps your tracks to keep your profile trending on the platform.

Gary Hiebner: Are there any other platforms or services that you use for your music?

Gavin Potter: I’ve got a couple of songs on other libraries, but they don’t sell well, but then again, I don’t put much effort into those. YouTube is a great way to get your music out there. I’ve had loads of request to use my music small productions. Most of the time it’s free, sometimes you get a bit of cash, but the more people that hear you the better, you can always ask the producer of the video to include a link to your website or your AudioJungle page.

Gary Hiebner: That’s what I like about AudioJungle. It’s a way to make money from your music. Even if you just have music lying around on your hard drive that you haven’t done anything with. You can upload it to AudioJungle and maybe get some sales. But yeah I’m not one for giving away music for free. So any service you can use to generate extra revenue as an artist, I’m a fan of!

Gavin Potter: That’s the thing. If it’s a commercial (business) production, I’ll charge, but sometimes if a guys YouTube channel but has loads of follows and likes, then you can generate some interest.

Gary Hiebner: That’s true. If you do use your music for free on a channel with a lot of potential viewers, then there is also potential to where it can lead to something else down the line. The power and potential of YouTube is also an interesting one for music makers and artists to spend time on.

Gary Hiebner: So what are you goals for the next year? Where do you want to take your music?

Gavin Potter: I want to continue building my AJ library. It’s also good to build a collection which you can group together on AJ which they tend to like and ranks higher. So writing a bunch of similar songs and that makes up an “album” is also a good idea. Plus, once you have the template, you can bash them out pretty fast. Other than that, I just want to continue learning. It’s a fast paced changing industry with serious competition and one needs to stay ahead of the pack.

Gary Hiebner: Awesome. That’s true. We have to stay ahead of the pack. Knowing what music software is available and what tools others are using to do their productions. My gear tech side is going to come out now. Can you give us a quick run down on what the tools are that you use?

Gavin Potter: I use Cubase 9 as my DAW with East West Composers Collection as my go to for orchestral samples and Native Instruments Komplete Ultimate for my more acoustic samples or sound design. All this is monitored through my trusty DT990 Pro studio headphones. Otherwise, a M-Audio Keystation MIDI Controller, Focusrite Scarlett audio interface, and a comfy chair.

Gary Hiebner: Haha, we all need a comfy chair, especially the amount of hours we spend in front of our DAWs. Thanks for your time, Gavin! Check out Gavin’s work on his website by clicking on the graphic below.

Music Career Masterclass

If you liked this article and would like to know more about  how you can boost your career with AudioJungle, then check out my Masterclass on Boosting your Music Career with over 8 hours of content.


TAKE ME TO THE COURSE


Exploring Indie Game Music

Exploring Indie Game Music

 

I love how progressive and dynamic game music/game audio is – and the constant flux and advancements keep pushing you as a composer to stay ahead of the (pun coming up) – game and create new and interesting compositions to keep your audiences engaged. Indie Games are a genre of games that showcase amazing talent and some truly cutting edge audio. Let’s look a closer look at this genre-

Indie Games really became popular round about 2011/12. Some small game studios developed and released their own games, and they were so highly addictive and popular that it spurred on this Indie Game movement. Before this revolution, many developers thought you had to go and work with a big studio to be successful as a game developer until they realised the beauty of producing a game themselves or as part of a small team. Not only could they make their own game, but these games had the potential to be huge successes. Platforms like STEAM and the Humble Bundles have helped push and grow the movement by giving the little guy a platform to sell to their audiences.

Before this revolution, many developers thought you had to go and work with a big studio to be successful as a game developer until they realised the beauty of producing a game themselves or as part of a small team.

So, the rise of Indie Games has not only introduced us to some awesome games regarding development or graphics, but there are also some stellar composers born from the movement. The crazy cool soundtracks, I believe, can often be attributed to the close communication required with small teams, driven by a common passion to develop something for more than a paycheck. Another reason I’m so fascinated with this scene is that a lot of these Indie Games remind me of games that I used to play when I first got my hands on some video games – gotta love the power of nostalgia!

Here are some of my favorites. Give them a spin, check out their game functionality and then also take a close look at how the sound and music help enhance the experience of these games. By playing games, you’ll get a better understanding of music’s role, game functionality and what makes a great game, well, great. If you want to get into the Game Music World, start researching with some hands on gaming!

I’m sure everyone has their own flavour of games they like, but hopefully, you’ll find these as inspiring as I have –

By far my favourite indie game is Fez.

 

Developed by Phil Fish and Renaud Bedard, Fez was released through Polytron in 2012. It’s a 2D platform-style game, with a 3D component. When you press the keys A and D and swivels the world around giving this 2D world a 3D flavour and also creates some interesting puzzle solving conundrums.

This game reminds me of some of the old school NES games and what’s even better is that the composer Rich Vreeland (also known as Disasterpiece), has produced an awesome chiptune style soundtrack to compliment the retro look of the game. These songs have been beautifully composed and arranged, and enhance the game experience. And even better I see that Rich is a Logic user (one of my favourite DAWs), and used the Massive synth (and one of my favourite software synths) quite extensively on this soundtrack. So it’s inspiring to know that these are tools within a music composer’s grasp.

 

Another favourite Indie Game of mine is Limbo.
 

This is quite a dark, haunting side-scroller puzzle game released by PlayDead games. The player has to guide a little boy through dangerous environments and traps to get to his lost sister and be careful; there’s some creepy and scary stuff around. It appears to be a simple greyscale 2D game, but the graphics and visual game movement give it an awesome modern feel.

There isn’t really music to this game. It’s more about the ambient background sounds composed by Martin Stig Andersen that create the dark, sombre mood. It’s a great game to play to hear how the ambient background places you in a particular space, and how the sound effects add to the experience of the game. Andersen’s use of pads and sound effects create this lonely, dark world and the minimal sound palette really adds to the level of game immersion.

 

Andersen’s use of pads and sound effects create this lonely, dark world and the minimal sound palette really adds to the level of game immersion.

 

 

Thomas Was Alone, is also another super simple game that reminds me of my old 80s and 90s favourites.

 
 

 

Created by Mike Bithel, the main character, Thomas, is a simple red square, and he needs to roam his world and find other shapes, like squares, triangles and circles to help him solve puzzles. The music was composed by BAFTA nominated composer, David Housden. It’s a combination of acoustic and electronic instruments playing very simple melodies and phrases, but don’t let the simplicity fool you – they’re super catchy. It feels like you’ll be humming the lines forever after a game play.

The game has amazing dialogue that accompanies it voiced by Danny Wallace. His voice gives this basic red object an actual character. You start developing feelings for this little red block, and the dialogue helps guide you so that you can progress in the game.

 

 

The game has amazing dialogue that accompanies it voiced by Danny Wallace. His voice gives this basic red object an actual character.

My favourite game on iOS is Monument Valley.
 
 

With its use of Escher style architectural puzzle solving and stunning almost dreamy graphics, Monument Valley will have you hooked as you try to navigate the changing and warping architectural paths.

The composer, Stafford Bawler, has written beautiful pieces that complement the amazing graphics. Plus, he has used some simple but interesting ways to use music scales to solve puzzles. For example, the one part in the game, as you match up a piece in the path it plays a different harp note in a scale. So it’s musically pleasing and helps you solve the puzzle.

With its use of Escher style architectural puzzle solving and stunning almost dreamy graphics, Monument Valley will have you hooked as you try to navigate the changing and warping architectural paths.

So what draws me to these games? Yes, the nostalgia of my 80s childhood, but couple that with the beautifully composed and thought out soundtracks – and I’m hooked. These Indie Games make me want to compose and play, and play and compose – catch 22 – which one first?

I have to be honest, when I got into game music production, I stopped playing games for a while as my addiction was the music software itself. But (thankfully) the Indie Game movement revitalised my interest in games, plus I heard some great new composers through the game, which I now listen to on a regular basis. With all the niche markets in the game music industry, there are so many possibilities for composers to get creative!

So take a play through some of these games. Get inspired by Fez’s chiptune style soundtrack. Take a listen to ambient backgrounds with Limbo. See how interesting dialogue can be in a seemingly simple game like Thomas Was Alone. And see how musical scales and theory can be used in gameplay like Monument Valley.

Music Career Masterclass

If you liked this article and would like to know more about game music and how you can boost your career with this path, then check out my Masterclass on Boosting your Music Career with over 8 hours of content. There’s a dedicated Game Music Module that covers the different Game Music Roles and how you can get involved as a music maker.


TAKE ME TO THE COURSE

* If you notice  that any of the youtube links have broken please do let me know. Images copyright the respective game designers.