Tag Archives: degrade

Don’t Let Your Audio Degrade

clean_music_by_fatihakgungorWhen editing, cutting or mixing music yourself, don’t let the audio degrade. Be careful when you do audio editing. Sometimes I get requests to fix or clean already-edited songs, and when I hear the edit supplied, it sounds like a bunch of squirrels have gotten in and trenched the music.

There are many reasons audio can get degraded, and many different types of problems that inexperienced music cutters can create. When you put degraded music on stage, it’s really not much different than putting a dancer on stage with a tattered costume.

Here are just a few things to watch out for:

  • Don’t let the volume drop. You don’t want your music to be far softer than everyone else’s. Trust me, this happens.
  • Don’t turn up the volume either. You may not hear the distortion on your laptop or iPad, but when played on a large sound system, the distortion sounds terrible and piercing. I’ve heard this in competition a number of times as well.
  • Don’t make a copy of a copy of a copy of a copy of an mp3, or get the audio from YouTube. People think that you can make a copy of a digital audio file, and it will never degrade. That’s true of AIFF or WAV files, where all of the audio information is retained in the file. But mp3 degrades the audio a little bit every time it’s saved. So when you make a copy of a copy it gets worse, just like a cassette (though not as dramatically worse of course). One generation of high quality mp3 is not that much worse than the original. But several copies like this, and it sounds awful compared to the original.

There are many other pitfalls that inexperienced music editors introduce into audio they are creating, including fade-outs at strange places, pops, clicks or irregular jumps in the beat, copying bad audio from YouTube, and more.

Of course you can prevent degraded audio by taking advantage of the services offered by a professional music editor/remixer who has years of experience manipulating audio. One service springs to mind as someone who specializes in understanding the musical needs of competitive dancers. But if you already have edited your music, and you need it fixed up or cleaned, we are happy to help.

The reason you don’t want audio from YouTube videos

youtube logo (6)There are many reasons why it’s a bad idea to extract audio from YouTube.

1) It’s illegal.

2) Even pristine audio is somewhat degraded since YouTube uses mp3 encoding of any audio submitted. In many cases, it’s an mp3 of an mp3 of an mp3….. and the audio gets worse every time it’s re-encoded in this manner.

3) But if the above reasons are not enough to convince you it’s a bad idea to extract audio from a YouTube clip, then realize this:  In many cases, what you are listening to on a YouTube clip is the room in which the audio was played. Even if the clip doesn’t have audience noises, like coughing, moving around in seats, and other assorted venue noise, the audio is playing back over a sound system, and being picked up by a microphone, along with all of the reverb, reflections, and echoes of the room in which the music is being played. All of these things combined downgrade the audio, sometimes a little bit, and sometimes to the point of pure garbage. But it’s never as clear as it could be. And once degraded in this way, there is no practical way to restore it, except to go back to the original source. That is why, when creating music edits and remixes for dance teachers, Squirrel Trench Audio always goes back to source audio whenever possible.

If you want GOOD, CLEAN audio, DON’T get it from YouTube!