Getting the Most from your Audio Editing Software
Editing has been a part of music production for 50 years, but the advent of ubiquitous nonlinear hard-disk editing has changed the face of music, for better and for worse. Systems like Samplitude, Pro Tools, SAW, and every other DAW give us unprecedented speed, accuracy, and flexibility in editing audio. We can fix mistakes, adjust timing, clean up recording flaws, experiment with rearranging the sections of our songs, and generally fly things around and chop them up in unexpected ways.
Enhanced efficiency is perhaps digital audio's greatest boon. One of the most important efficiencies, a feature used so commonly that we take it for granted, is the ability to make sophisticated edits quickly and to a level of precision that analog just can't touch. Even among some die-hard analogheads, it is now common practice to lay parts down to 2-inch, 16- or 24-track tape, then fly the tracks into a digital audio workstation for editing.
But we can take editing to obsessive extremes, robbing tracks of their feel as we try to attain a mythical perfection. Music producers routinely use editing as a crutch for subpar musicianship, fixing shaky timing and replacing wrong notes, cobbling together solos and vocal performances from dozens of takes, and disguising a band's sloppiness by painstakingly lining up and retiming the various tracks after recording.