Tag Archives: editor

How to avoid clicks and pops when editing music

I’m in the middle of doing a couple of fun song remixes for the talent portion of a state pre-teen pageant, and I thought I’d take a second to explain how to avoid those annoying clicks and pops when editing music for competition or recital dance routines.

If you’ve ever taken the grill off of your speakers, you’ve probably seen the cones of your speakers move in and out. This is how we hear sound; sound is vibrations traveling through air. If you’ve ever looked at the waveforms in your audio editing program, you can see that the squiggily lines representing sound move up and down over a center line. You can think of this center line as the “rest” position of your speakers. To make sound, the speaker cones travel in and out, and that can be thought of as the audio signal moving above and below the center line of your waveform.

A click or pop occurs when there is an abrupt “jump” in the way the waveform moves up and down. Basically, you are trying to avoid a straight vertical line in the transition point between the two audio segments you are splicing together.

In the image below, the audio segment on top is cut at a point where the waveform is far from the center “at rest” line. It is joined to a waveform on the bottom that is at the center line. It is the jump from one spot in the waveform to the other that causes the pop. Click on the image to enlarge:

There are two main ways that this can be avoided. One way is to only make edits at what are called “zero-crossings”…. that is, the waveform is “at rest”. In the image below, both audio segments are cut and joined together at a spot where they are both at the zero-crossing:

The other way you can avoid clicks and pops is to make a relatively short (but not ultrashort) crossfade between the two pieces of audio that you are splicing together, such as in the image below:

Here are some key points to understand why the above is a seamless edit:

  • The peaks are lined up in both tracks.
  • The crossfade occurs at a low point in the audio signal.
  • The crossfade transition between the two tracks is extremely fast, but not so ultra-fast as to create a square-wave click or pop.
  • There is never a point in the crossfade where the volume dips. (The lower track has reached full volume before the upper track begins to fade out.)

As always, your ears are the ultimate judge of the success of the crossfade.

For more audio editing tips, check out this video on how to avoid awkward fade-outs, or view all of the articles here containing audio editing tips.

Happy editing!

I know you are struggling with cutting your music

I know you are out there, and you are frustrated. You are a busy dance teacher, and you’ve got a boatload of choreography you have to create and teach. And in addition, you have to pick out the perfect music for each of your groups and soloists. Now you have the task of cutting down a song that is 4:10 to a competition-ready length of 2:45, or to a recital-ready length of 2:00. You grab your trusty music editing program of choice, and start listening. You stare at a bunch of strange squiggly lines on the screen, trying to figure out what-in-the-heck they mean. How on earth do these squiggles represent MUSIC? They look like a bunch of scribbles that your 3-year-old toddler drew in pre-school! They sure DON’T tell you where the bass guitar plays a riff, or the saxophonist starts wailing on a solo!

Instead of pulling your hair out, trying to figure out what needs to match up to what, just shoot me an email and I’ll solve your music cutting problems for you. And all at a VERY reasonable price! And maybe save you a from a few gray hairs in the process. After all, your students test your patience often enough, you don’t need more aggravation from trying to wrangle your music into shape!

Behind the scenes of a Beatles remix

It’s been a pleasure, a joy, and labor of love creating the Beatles remix called Somehow Someway. I can’t wait to see the choreography for this routine performed at Regionals and National dance competitions in 2012.

I’d thought I’d give folks a sneak peek at what went into the creation of the music for this piece.

More behind-the-scenes peeks of this remix will be posted soon. Let me know if this is useful to you, and I’ll do this for other remixes I’ve made. Questions? Comments?