Editing audio: the best tips and tools

Editing audio in a snap? In this article, we'll tell you how to do basic audio editing. You will read how best to rip a CD, how to record a stream and how to convert files. Of course we give you information about lossless and lossy formats and you can read more about different audio files.

Tip 01: Rip CDs

You don't need any additional software to rip a CD. On the PC, simply open Windows Media Player 11 or 12. Click Organize / Options and select the tab Musicrip. rear Rip music to this location do you choose Modify and indicate where the files should be saved. below Layout it is important that you choose the right quality setting. Mp3 takes up less space, but if you want to enjoy full CD quality, select the option WAV (without loss of quality). If you have an older version of Windows, you can download iTunes for free and rip a CD from there.

On a Mac you just do this from the Finder, you don't even have to rip tracks by the way: in the Finder all songs from an audio CD already appear as aiff files by default. You simply drag them to a folder or edit them in, for example, Audacity by dragging them there.

To rip a CD, you don't need any extra software, you can just do it with Windows Media Player

Tip 02: Audio Formats

There are many audio formats available, but basically they fall into two categories: uncompressed and compressed. Uncompressed formats such as wav and aiff are just as good as CD quality, but take up a lot of space on your hard drive. Compressed formats like mp3 take up less space but have a lower quality. How much lower the quality is depends on the bitrate: at 128 kbit/s (also known as kbps) you can clearly hear a degradation in the audio quality, a bitrate of 320 kbps is just as good as uncompressed quality for most people. This compressed format is also called lossy. There is also lossless audio, this is compression where the quality does not deteriorate, but where, for example, silences in music are compressed. A well-known example of this is flac. Lossless compression sounds just like uncompressed audio, but the space saving is a lot less than lossy compression.

Compressed formats like mp3 are smaller but lower quality

Tip 03: Record streams

Would you like to record a nice song from YouTube or have a stream of a live concert on the radio immediately digitally on your PC? No problem. Depending on what you want to record, the method is different. If you would like to have a YouTube item as an MP3 file, this is easy. There are tons of websites that do the same thing, but most of them have pretty annoying pop-up ads. www.mp3fy.com is one of the better websites. In the window, paste the YouTube link and then click Convert. In the next screen choose Download behind the song, the mp3 file will now be downloaded to your PC. The quality is reasonable at 256 kbps.

If you want to record a live stream, you need a special program for this. A useful option is Aktiv MP3 Recorder, download it here. Make sure you click on the correct download link (Download Now the FREE version) and during the installation make sure not to install any additional unnecessary software by unchecking the checkboxes. To record audio, you need to Device select your sound card and optionally add something else InputPin. click on Record to record a stream running on your PC. don't forget format a high quality setting, such as 320 kbps. click on Help if something is not working properly.

Legal or not?

Including material from YouTube and other websites is a twilight zone. Officially, you can also digitally store a copy of something you own in the Netherlands. But downloading from illegal sources is not covered here. The problem is that you don't own a song from YouTube, so downloading material from YouTube isn't legal. And: regardless of whether it is legal or not, you support the artist by buying or streaming the song through official channels such as iTunes, Google Play Music or Spotify.

Tip 04: Convert

It is sometimes necessary to convert a file, for example if the video editing program you are using does not understand a certain audio format or if you want to convert some uncompressed files to MP3. In the free software Audacity, this is a piece of cake. Go here and click on the link for your system. Install the software and open the program. Drag a file into Audacity, if it is an uncompressed file, the program will ask if it can make a copy. This is handy, so you can't accidentally overwrite the file. Audacity makes an internal copy of a compressed file anyway, since it can't just edit these types of files. click on File / Export and then choose for example Export as MP3. You now have to choose the bitrate at which you want to save the file. rear Quality becomes 320 kbps if insane described. This is quite exaggerated and always recommended if you like good quality mp3 files. click on Save and the audio file is converted.

From lossy to lossless?

Convert an mp3 to a wav file? Is of course possible just by converting it, but it makes absolutely no sense. Due to the compression, the mp3 file (lossy) is already affected, simply converting the file to wav does not suddenly increase the quality.

Tip 05: Shorten

To trim a file, first make a selection in Audacity of the part you want to trim. If you want to cut very precisely, you can zoom in and out with the magnifying glass icons. Make sure your selection is as neat as possible and don't try to put a cut point in the middle of a large waveform, this can result in clicks. To remove a selection completely and shorten the file, choose File / To cut or remove. Both functions are the same, but with To cut Audacity copies the selection to your clipboard. If you want to replace the selection with silence and therefore not remove it completely, choose Special delete / Mute audio. If you want to make a new file from your selection, choose this Trim audio. Save your new file by clicking Edit / Save project as. Important to know: An Audacity project is not an audio file! To create an audio file, you can go to the export menu.

Tip 06: Normalize

To make an audio file louder, just go to Effects can go and choose Reinforce here. Moving the slider to the right will make the file louder when you press OK clicks. The problem is that you don't know how many decibels you can amplify the file before certain parts start to distort. It is therefore better to have the option Normalize Bee Effects to use. This effect locates the loudest point in the file and bases it on how many decibels the file can be boosted. This way you can be sure that a file will never overdrive and will generate crackles, distortion and fuzz sounds. Make sure you're with Normalize maximum amplitude to never exceeds 0 dB. Normalizing does not work well if a file has very quiet passages and very loud parts. The silent part will now hardly be amplified. In this case, it is better to select a quiet part and normalize or amplify only this part.

To make a track louder, use the Normalize effect

Tip 07: Remove noise

A common problem is that a recording contains noise or clicks. To remove all these noises and clean your file perfectly, you need professional software, but Audacity can also remove quite a few nasty noises. click on Effects / Click-deletion if your recording contains clicks. You now have two sliders at your disposal. How you set these sliders depends on your file. So you have to experiment with this and occasionally take a break Example click to hear if you get the result you want. If you want to know exactly what this effect does, click on the question mark, a help website will now open with background information about this effect. For noise in your recording, use the effect Noise Reduction (translation error in Audacity). For this to work best, select a noise-only piece from your recording and click Obtain noise profile click. For example, Audacity can analyze the noise profile of your recording and use it to remove the noise from, for example, spoken text.

Tip 08: Mixing

Do you want to blend (mix) two audio files? Then drag two files into Audacity, or drag a second file under your already open file. Select the bottom file and choose To process / To cut. Now put the cursor where you would like the second file to start (a little before the end of the first song for example) and choose To process / To stick. The second file now starts a little before the first file ends. But they don't blend nicely yet. For this you have to select a part of both files. Start at the end of the top file and hold down your mouse until you get to the beginning of the second file. You have now selected the transition of both files, both parts are highlighted in white. Click now Effects / crossfadetracks. You can leave the settings as they are and click OK click. The top file will now fade out when the second file starts, the second file will fade in. Useful!

Tip 09: Add effects

Audacity has even more effects on board, so you can reverse certain parts of a file or change the playback speed of an audio file. To add reverb to a file, choose Effects / reverberation. You will now see a lot of parameters. The room size is important: if this is a high percentage, you are in a large space such as a church or factory hall, a smaller percentage means a small basement or recording studio. With the slider Reverberation (%) determine how much reverb you add to the file. This actually determines how close you, as a listener, are to the sound source. If you want to imitate that you are standing close to the speaker on a recording in a church, then you choose a relatively large room size with a relatively small reverberation.

One of the better apps for iPhone is Hokusai Audio Editor

Tip 10: Apps for audio

If you prefer to edit audio on your mobile, there are a few options. There is more choice for iOS than for Android. One of the better options for your iPhone is Hokusai Audio Editor. You have a lot of editing options at your disposal with the app and the editor looks wonderfully well-organized. For Android, Audio MP3 Cutter Mix Converter and Ringtone Maker is a good option. It also allows you to easily create ringtones or play songs from your music library.

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