Aural Mixation: Stimulate their ears
Thank you for being part of Lola LeSoleil's Aural Mixation: Stimulate Their Ears! Workshop notes are available below or as a downloadable quick reference page. Happy Mixing!
Aural Mixation: Music Editing with Lola LeSoleil
analog data represented by continuously variable, measurable physical quantities such as length, width, voltage, or pressure
balance the relative level of various instruments or inputs within a mix
compression (bit rate) used to reduce the size of one or more files. When a file is compressed, it takes up less disk space and can be transferred to other systems or programs more easily. Examples of compressed media forms include JPEG images, MP3 audio, and MPEG video files
crossfade editing technique which creates a smooth transition between two audio files
decibel (dB) a unit of audio measurement of sound-pressure level, signal level and changes or differences in signal level
digital binary data system representing information as 1’s (on) and 0’s (off). Digital information is therefore only an estimation of analog (continuous) data
fade a slow change in volume - up from silence or down to silence
file extension suffix added to the end of a file name to indicate its coding, contents or usage. HUNDREDS of these exist for audio files. The most common are .mp3, .mp4, .m4a (iTunes), .wav (Windows), and .aiff (Mac OS) for simple audio recordings.
hertz unit of frequency measurement (cycles/second)
loop a sequence of audio data continually repeated
mute to turn off or silence an input or track
normalizing increasing or decreasing the amplitude (volume) of a digital audio recording. Typically used to maximize audio waveform amplitude without introducing distortion into the recording
sample rate the number of samples of audio carried per second, measured in Hz or kHz (one kHz being 1 000 Hz). For example, 44100 samples per second can be expressed as either 44100 Hz, or 44.1 kHz
solo a monitoring function that lets the operator hear a single track without affecting other tracks or signals
splice an abrupt connection of one audio file to another
VST Virtual Studio Technology - software interface of audio editors, effects plugins, and recording systems
Audio Editing Software for Windows:
Ableton Live – www.ableton.com Geared more to studio producers and dj’s. It’s like swatting a fly with a Cadillac if you just want to mix songs or sound effects together. But if you’ve the inclination, try the free demo. Everything works, except “Save”.
www.cnet.com is a wonderful resource for finding FREE or FREE TO TRY audio editing software. Below are just a few:
Goldwave – (free to try) Don’t let all the little icons overwhelm you, they’re common functions found in most VST software. The help is pretty straightforward and there are pre-set menu options to do all the basic tricks (crossfade, mix, compress/expand) without having to “do the math”.
Expstudio Audio Editor (free) - supports popular audio formats, as well as a recorder, cut/paste tools, essential effects (fade-in/out, reverb, changing tempo, and pitch), but only saves to wav or .MP2 files
Wavosaur (free) - includes all basic functions edit, cut/copy, paste, mix, bit-conversion, and a vocal-removal feature
As performers, we are often asked to provide our music tracks to producers prior to a show. I polled a few producer buddies and came up with a list of best practices relating to music files.
Audio ripped from YouTube is 1) likely a violation of the copyrighted song 2) often results in poor audio quality which affects the loudness of the reproduction. Original files have better sound integrity. Easy access software has made some of us lazy and cheap, but $.99-$1.29 is a small price to pay for a quality recording.
Common file types are common for a reason. Audio players should read these files with no problem, and most VST software (pro and consumer) will save to one of these formats: .mp3, .mp4, .m4a, .wav, and .aiff. When saving an audio project, opt to save as one of these types to avoid music snafus when you least expect them.
Use the best compression rate (bit rate) on your files. If you don't know what that means, go for the largest file size. Opt for 320 kbps, but 192 kbps will work.
Name your music files so they are easily identifiable by the producer or venue’s sound tech. “Track 03” doesn’t indicate who YOU are or the NAME of the song/act being performed. Help make their job easier by renaming the file.
Have a backup single song CD or jump drive with your music to give the sound tech just in case, especially if you are new to the venue or producer.
If you’re keen to edit your own music – remember to save your work often. A mix can sometimes take hours, especially if you’re learning along the way. Avoid hurt and frustration if the cat lies down on your laptop when you’re not looking and accidentally erases your work.
Be patient with your learning curve. If it audio editing isn’t your fortè, allow for mistakes and like with any projects, start early. If you’re not one for audio technology or you’re happy using your music as is - that works too! This is just another tool for your burlesque DIY kit.
- Lola LeSoleil "The Lady of Leg-itude"