5 Common Obstacles in Audio Editing, Synthesis and Production.

Creating high-quality audio is not just a matter of talent and work, but also of identifying and overcoming both technical and psychological challenges that can hinder your workflow. Let’s talk about 5 common problems and some tips to overcome them…

Technical Issues In Audio Editing Andrea Ludovic

Listening fatigue: take a break!

It is already well known that spending very long periods of time without breaks in the same activity is not good for your health, nor is it efficient at work in itself.

In the field of audio and music production it is no different. Listening to audio for long periods can cloud your judgment, your ability to interpret becomes cloudy, and you may even stop hearing details.

Furthermore, in the field of musicality, the perception of time can be confused and the ideas transmitted by music begin to lose meaning, similar to what happens in the mind when we repeat the same word many times… Did you ever try it as a child? ?. In short, this can turn into frustration and lead us to want to abandon a project.

The audition process, in addition to being a transmission of information to the brain, which in principle generates bodily sensations or physical responses, also results in a psychological and emotional response, often necessary and useful as food for inspiration, which is why it is so delicate. this matter. We not only lose precision in audio quality but also the desire to continue producing.

My advice would be: take regular, disciplined breaks, no more than 45 minutes in front of the computer, listen at moderate levels and if the emotion warrants it, turn up the volume at certain times. You can rest by listening to a different type of music, or better yet by standing up from your chair, even for a couple of minutes. It also works to intersperse projects, if you don’t feel real physical fatigue or slight headaches.

Poor Monitoring: Calibrated Ear.

A low-quality monitoring system won’t allow you to accurately hear the nuances of your audio, or let’s say you’ll have fewer colors in your aural texture palette, which can lead to an unbalanced mix.

Obviously, the first solution would be to invest in some good near-field studio monitors or quality headphones, however, in the event that we are drawing up an idea possibly outside the studio and there is no such option, you can calibrate your listening with a song that you know and admire the sound quality or some detail that you want to use as a reference, that way you will know what is the maximum in terms of the perception of the definition of sound that you are having at the moment.

Use reference music to study the system you are in so you can compare. Calibrate your monitoring system to ensure you’re hearing an accurate representation of your mix.

Low Frequency Masking: Fighting for frequencies.

In most electronic musical genres we work with a strong “low end”. Club music is based almost entirely on the low frequencies of bass and the punch of electronic kick drums.

Personally, a mistake I used to make, especially when I started producing Drum&Bass, was adding too many elements in the music that shared the same frequency range. So, between a kick drum, a tom, a sound effect of ocean waves, a dubstep-style synth and a sub bass, it was impossible to distinguish any of them and the result was a muddy terrain of quicksand, like auditory mud, a really sound. resounding and painful.

First, to attack this problem is simply to try to simplify the elements that share rank, or at least have a dynamic between them, not all together at the same time. The other solution, which is almost always used in electronic production in one way or another, is the “sidechaining” technique.

Sidechaining consists of applying a compressor to temporarily attenuate the intensity of one of the colliding instruments at the moment in which the other instrument is playing, creating sound space.

This type of compressor would be applied to the most continuous sound, for example the bass line, and it would be fed with a “control signal” this would be the other instrument in question, usually: the bass drum.

Finally, equalization can also be used to sculpt the frequency space of each instrument, giving each other space in the spectrum without sacrificing its power.

Weak or Lifeless Sounds: The Presence

Sometimes we may feel that some sounds lack strength or presence, perhaps they are not protagonists, but this should not be the reason they get lost in the mix.

Siempre me ha gustado trabajar con ruidos, efectos sonoros, capas de ambientes o elementos no tonales que ayudan a moldear la emoción en los temas, me refiero a que casi siempre caen en la categoría de arreglos musicales, y a veces el camión de música que está al frente no los deja expresarse.

In this case, a good tip is to experiment with compression, we will not be losing its volume or “flatness” while providing presence and intelligibility. Also using a stereo expander can help to subtly underline some of these sounds while preserving and enhancing their natural character, and the stereo expander is a tool that can take the piece to another level.

Static or Artificial Sounds: The search for naturalness and groove.

Electronic music composition ends up being performed by a computer, and it itself is quite cold. In other words, if we map out a rhythm track through pure programming, writing every kick drum and every hihat into our DAW of choice, it may lack groove and will sound robotic and lacking natural dynamics.

Use velocity automation subtly to simulate natural variations in performance. Explore creative programming of synth envelopes to create a more organic sound. In some cases, a live musical performance can inject more life than automation, try recording some elements with MIDI tools that add expression.

In the case of percussion, excessive quantization can make electronic rhythms sound stiff. One solution would be to apply selective micro-quantization to certain elements of the beat to give it a bit of “swing”.

Some DAWs have “groove” algorithms that generate these random variations in speed and time to make computer-made pieces warmer. The key is to find the balance between technical precision and musicality.

Ultimately, trust your ears and your ability to feel the music beyond hearing it…overcome these obstacles to take your audio production to the next level.

3 thoughts on “5 Common Obstacles in Audio Editing, Synthesis and Production.”

  1. Pingback: 5 free Virtual instruments anyone can use to make incredible sound and music – Andrea Ludovic

  2. Muy útil e informativo. Aprecio que el artículo se centre en aspectos prácticos y ofrezca consejos claros y concisos para mejorar la calidad del sonido.

    Las recomendaciones sobre la cuantización y los algoritmos de “groove” son especialmente relevantes para la música electrónica, ya que suelen ser géneros donde la rigidez rítmica puede ser un problema.

    Me hubiera gustado ver algunos ejemplos de audio o diagramas que ilustraran mejor los conceptos explicados. Sin embargo, esto no resta valor al contenido del artículo, que sin duda es muy valioso para cualquier persona interesada en mejorar sus habilidades de producción musical.

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