[Ardour-Users] click free editing and zero crossings?

Lamar Owen lowen at pari.edu
Thu May 20 11:35:17 PDT 2010

On Thursday 20 May 2010 01:54:27 pm John Emmas wrote:
> Well my particular expertise is in dialogue editing where I guess that the
> equivalent of a beat would be to edit at the start of words.  But I can
> assure you that editing mid-word is every bit as common as editing on a
> transient (start of word).

I try to edit dialog on inhales, or on esses.  The most difficult edits are on 
or around plosives, in my experience.  And I do use pitch/time shifting when 
editing dialog in certain cases, to make the vocal pitch match the emotion of 
the sentence the edit is in.

> It's certainly easier to edit on a transient - not least because it's much
> less likely to disturb the rhythm of the material (whether music or
> speech). 

I used the example of a banjo as one particular instrument where edits in mid-
note tend to be easier than edits at the attack of the note; of course, edits 
in spaces are the easiest on most instruments, but the banjo is somewhat 
unique in its sustained tone resonance.

> Actually, you're talking to the guy who first came up with the idea of
> crossfading digital edits (at least for DAWs - I found out later that it
> was already commonplace for CD mastering).  

I don't remember the exact year, but I was doing edits in CoolEdit Pro, 
purchased with an Event/Echo Layla (that dates it pretty well, though), back 
when it was still a Syntrillium product, and the edits were crossfades rather 
than cuts.  Even deletions involved crossfades rather than hard cuts.  I don't 
know what year you did the work you mention, though.

And it's a great idea to do those crossfades, because it is very tricky to do 
a truly inaudible cut.  Even with tape; I remember well the splice block we 
used for two-track editing; looked more like a mitre saw box than a splice 
block, as diagonal splices perform a nice crossfade on a single track, or even 
on two tracks.  Not of course doable for more than that, though.... we even 
had a pair of Ampex single tracks with built-in splice blocks for that 

I always considered zero crossing detection as a 'get me close' operation, at 
least in Audition or Audacity.  And nearly 99% of the time, with the material 
I was editing, the automatic zero crossing detection produced an inaudible 
edit without me having to go more detailed.  

But I've only been editing my radio broadcast for 6 years now (well, 6 years 
June 12th), and editing/producing spots, promos, and heads/tails on songs for 
rotation for radio broadcast for the 12 years prior to that (we went all 
digital at this radio station in September of 1991; the editing capabilities 
of The Management's Digital DJ (later acquired by Scott Studios, IIRC) were 
very rudimentary, and CoolEdit was a huge step up for us when we got it a few 
years later).  The 6 years worth of radio broadcast totals right at 150 hours 
of material edited; not a lot, but something.

Having said all that, I don't miss zero crossing detection in Ardour, thanks 
to the powerfully configurable crossfade capabilities.

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