Cheat Sheet delivers concise, explicit information on how to do specific recording/audio-related tasks. This installment describes essential techniques for Sony Sound Forge.
CHANGE TIMELINE CALIBRATIONS
Right-click in the timeline or any of the Selection time fields (start, end, or length) in the file window’s low right. Choose the calibration from the context-sensitive menu.
Select what you want to cut. Type Ctrl-K to initiate a pre-roll before the cut and a post-roll after the cut (you won’t hear the selection itself). To change pre-roll or post-roll times, go Options > Preferences > Previews and change the values under Cut Preview Configuration.
CREATE A FAVORITE COLLECTION OF PLUG-INS
Go FX Favorites > Organize. Click on folders in the left pane to show the included plug-ins in the right pane. Drag plug-ins from the right pane into the FX Favorites folder. Adding to the FX Favorites folder does not remove the plug-in from its source folder.
Go Options > Preferences > Toolbars and click on the toolbar you want to customize. Click on the Customize button. Click on a tool in the left pane, then click on Add; this adds the desired tool to the toolbar. To remove a tool from the toolbar, click on the tool in the right pane and click on Remove.
SET UP CUSTOM VIEWS
Go Options > Preferences > Toolbars and enable the Views toolbar. Make the file exactly the way you want to see it, with the desired zoom and selection. In the Views toolbar, click on Set then click a number that will correspond to the view. You can create up to eight views. Click on the number in the toolbar to jump immediately to that view.
CONVERT CHANNELS, SAMPLE RATE, OR BIT DEPTH
The lower right of the main Sound Forge window shows fields for sample rate, bit resolution, and channel configuration (mono/stereo/surround/etc.). Right-click on any of these to bring up a corresponding context menu, then change the parameter. Or, go File > Properties > Format tab, and make your changes there. Note: To add dithering or noise shaping when decreasing bit depth, go Process > Bit-Depth Converter instead. For more control over channel conversion, go Process > Channel Converter.
The scrub tool is in a file window’s lower bar, just to the right of the mini-transport controls. Drag left or right to scrub. Or, use the keyboard letters J (reverse), K (pause), or L (forward).
LOCATE AUDIO EVENT
This is similar to scrubbing, but lets you jump to anywhere in a file and play back a section of audio at normal speed. Click and drag in the Overview bar just below the file header. When you stop dragging, a selection of audio plays back and loops as long as the mouse button remains held down. Edit the audio selection duration by going Options > Preferences > Previews and set the Loop Time parameter under Audio Event Locator.
INCLUDE FILE NOTES/COMMENTS/ THUMBNAIL PICTURE
Go File > Properties > Summary tab, and enter your notes under Comments. To include a thumbnail picture in Properties, click on the Picture button and browse to the desired picture. This is particularly useful for adding pictures to impulses.
QUICK ZOOMING SHORTCUT
To zoom in, press the keyboard’s Up Arrow key. Each press zooms in further. Press and hold to zoom in continuously. Use the Down Arrow key similarly to zoom out.
INSERT MARKERS DURING PLAYBACK OR RECORDING
Type M wherever you want a marker. To play back audio starting at a marker, go Views > Regions List. This lists each marker. Click on the small Play button associated with a marker to begin playback.
CREATE TWO ZOOM LEVEL PRESETS
Go Options > Preferences > Display tab. Choose the desired zoom levels for Custom Zoom Ratio 1 and 2. Click Apply, then OK. Make sure Num Lock is on for your numeric keypad, and use the 1 and 2 keys to choose the associated zoom level.
CHANGE LEVEL CALIBRATION
Right-click on the level ruler to the left of the waveform window and select Label in Percent or Label in dB.
SET SELECTION START/END DURING PLAYBACK
During playback, type I at the desired selection start, and O at the desired selection end. Type Q to make this a loop.
SNAP TO ZERO CROSSING SHORTCUT
Type Crtl+B to toggle between enable/disable snap to zero crossings when making a selection.
ENABLE PRERECORD BUFFER
Sound Forge can always be recording audio into a buffer so that if you hit the record button a bit late, the audio before you hit record will still be recorded. This is also important if you use Threshold Recording when sampling, to make sure you catch any transients and “air” if the threshold is set a bit too high. To enable the prerecord buffer, go Special > Transport > Record. Click on the Advanced tab, and check Prerecord Buffer. Set a buffer time from 0 to 30 seconds.
REPEAT AN OPERATION
After processing a section of audio, you can apply the same process to a different section of audio by selecting the audio, then going Edit > Repeat.
FIND CLIPS THAT HIT 0 DB
Select the audio you want to analyze, then go Tools > Detect Clipping. I usually choose the preset Detect All 0dB Clipping. Click on OK. Sound Forge will place markers at all 0dB clips lasting more than three samples. You can then use the Clipped Peak Restoration function (go Tools > Clipped Peak Restoration) to restore any clipped peaks you find.