Welcome to my beginner’s guide on audio-editing skills for side-hustlers! In this post, I’ll run through the skills you should set out to learn at the start of your journey into audio editing that will best support your side-hustle.
Top beginner’s audio-editing skills to support a side-hustle include: trimming, adjusting levels, noise reduction, adding effects/transitions, mixing & exporting. With these skills, you’ll be able to create and distribute professional-quality audio content.
Understanding the software tools you’ll need is an important aspect of audio editing so you might be also be interested in Adobe Creative Cloud: Apps and Tools Explained.
Whether you’re looking to make some side cash as an audio editor or want to know how to edit a podcast, you’ll need to know how to get started. So let’s get going!
Introduction to Audio Editing Software
Audio editing software is a key tool whether you are creating podcasts, music tracks, or voice-overs. The ability to edit and enhance your audio is crucial for creating professional-quality projects. There are many different audio editing software options available, ranging from free, basic programs to more advanced, professional-grade options. Some popular audio editing software options include:
- Adobe Audition – Industry-standard audio editing software for beginners and professionals.
- Avid Pro Tools – Professional software with a steeper learning curve.
- Audacity – Free, open-source audio software with less features but easier to learn.
Trimming and Splicing Audio Clips
Trimming and splicing audio clips is an essential skill for any audio editor. If you’re familiar with video editing then the method for doing this is basically the same.
Trimming involves cutting out unnecessary or unwanted audio from the beginning or end of a clip, while splicing involves combining multiple clips together.
With audio it’s particular it’s important to pay attention to the result of the splicing and trimming as it can be easy to hear any unnatural pauses, either too long or too short. Differences in sound quality, volume or background noise will be evident too.
To trim an audio clip, you’ll need to use your audio editing software’s trimming tools, which usually include in and out points, a playhead, and a timeline. By setting in and out points and adjusting the playhead, you can specify exactly which part of the clip you want to keep or remove.
To splice audio clips together, you’ll need to use your software’s splicing or joining tools, which typically allow you to overlap or merge clips together.
Adjusting Audio Levels and EQ
Adjusting audio levels allows you to control the volume of individual audio tracks or the overall mix. You’ll also need to do this for individual clips if splicing them together to make sure the volume is consistent throughout. This can be unpleasant for the listener otherwise.
Reducing high volume peaks is also necessary to avoid distraction or discomfort. An example would be reducing the volume for a short section if someone has a very loud laugh.
Level adjustment can be done using a volume fader or gain control on the audio track itself, or through the use of a compressor or limiter to even out the levels and reduce peaks.
For a great overview of adjusting levels in Adobe Audition, check out the video below:
Equalization, or EQ, is another essential tool for shaping the sound of individual tracks or the mix as a whole. EQ allows you to boost or cut specific frequencies in the audio signal, allowing you to highlight certain elements or tame frequencies that may be causing issues.
For example, you might use EQ to boost the high frequencies on a snare drum to make it sound brighter and more present, or cut the low frequencies on a vocal track to reduce muddiness.
Noise Reduction and Restoration
Noise reduction and restoration are techniques used to improve the quality of audio recordings by removing unwanted background noise or repairing damaged audio.
Noise reduction can be used to remove unwanted hum, hiss, or other consistent background noises from an audio recording. This can be done using a noise reduction plugin or software that analyzes the audio and creates a noise profile, allowing it to identify and remove the noise while preserving the desired audio. Decent audio-editing software will include noise reduction filters that can be applied.
Restoration techniques, on the other hand, are used to repair or restore damaged audio recordings. This might involve removing clicks, pops, or other disruptions caused by scratches or other damage to the recording media, or repairing audio that has been distorted or degraded due to poor recording conditions or equipment.
These techniques can be complex and time-consuming, but they can be an important part of the audio editing process when dealing with noisy or damaged recordings.
For a great tutorial on removing unwanted noise in Adobe Audition head over to Adobe’s support pages.
Adding Effects and Transitions
Adding effects and transitions is a crucial part of the audio editing process, as it allows you to create a polished and professional-sounding final product.
Effects can be used to alter the sound of an audio track in various ways, such as adding reverb to create a sense of space or delay to create an echo effect.
There are a wide variety of effects available, ranging from simple EQ and compression to more complex processing like pitch shifting and granulation.
For a quick intro to effects in Adobe Audition check out the video below:
Transitions, on the other hand, are used to smoothly connect two audio clips or sections together. This might involve fading one clip out while fading the other in, or using a more complex transition like a crossfade or a time stretch to blend the two clips together.
Mixing and Mastering Audio
Mixing refers to the process of balancing and combining the various elements of a recording, such as vocals, instruments, and sound effects, to create a cohesive and pleasing final mix.
Mastering, on the other hand, is the process of finalizing and polishing a mix to make it ready for distribution. This includes optimizing the overall volume and dynamic range, as well as ensuring that the audio sounds consistent across different playback systems.
Both mixing and mastering require a keen ear for detail, as well as a good understanding of audio processing techniques and equipment. By developing these skills, you can take your audio production to the next level and produce professional-quality content that stands out from the rest.
Exporting Finished Audio
There are a variety of file formats and settings to use when exporting, depending on the intended application.
These must be chosen carefully, as they can affect the quality, compatibility and file size of your audio.
There are three main categories of audio format:
- Lossless Uncompressed – the best quality that includes all the original data but results in large file sizes: WAV, AIFF
- Lossless Compressed – high quality including all original data but with compression to reduce file sizes: FLAC, APE, ALAC
- Lossy – small file sizes great for streaming but lower quality as some data is lost: MP3, AAC, OGG, AMR, M4A
Your application will dictate whether you need a lossy format for applications such as streaming, a high-quality uncompressed format for mastering or a compressed format for archiving.
Understanding the key skills to learn when starting out on your audio-editing journey will help you build a strong foundation on your journey to creating professional-level audio. These competencies can be applied to many side-hustles so are a great addition to a digital creative’s skill set.
If you found this post useful, make sure you check out Adobe Creative Cloud: Apps and Tools Explained.
Featured image: jojokrap / stock.adobe.com
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