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Adobe Audition: Multi-track Editing for Radio and Podcasting : Research Guides | UTC Library

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This guide will help you get started using Adobe Audition to create podcasts and radio content. Adobe Audition features two editing environments, making it especially useful for radio and podcasting. The Multi-Track editor allows you to record, rearrange, layer, and apply effects to multiple audio clips in a non-destructive manner, which keeps your original recordings untouched.The Waveform editor allows you to quickly edit a single audio recording in a destructive manner, so your original recording will be altered when you save, but allows for more in-depth analysis and effects. Each environment has its uses and can be used to work on a single project.

This guide focuses on the Multitrack Editor.

Audition is available for all UTC students and full-time staff and faculty in the Studio on the 3rd floor of the UTC Library. Audition, and other programs that come in Adobe Creative Cloud, is on all 24 workstations in the Studio. In order to use Adobe products, you need to have an active UTC login.

Get Organized

Get Organized

Before you start working on your podcast or radio show, you should take some time to prepare your files.

Create a folder for your project where you will save all your assets (the songs, sound effects, or other audio files that will make up your project). This folder can be on your desktop, on an external hard drive, or somewhere else that will be easy for you to find. You will also save your Audition project file into this folder, so you can come back and continue to work on your project and know where all your files are.

When deciding where to make your project folder, consider where you will be doing your editing. Think about the computer you will be using and how much available space it has. If you are using a Studio computer for all or part of your recording and editing, we recommend using an external hard drive. Please note that Library computers do not retain your files or settings after being restarted.

As you are working on your project, remember to name your files so that you can find them and know what they are. Rename your files with names that make sense, rather than whatever name the file has when you download it. You should also rename your files with the date you recorded it and the name of the subject so it's easier to keep track.

Multitrack Editing Environment

Multitrack Editing

The Multitrack environment in Adobe Audition is where you can edit multiple audio tracks together into one project. You can rearrange, layer, and apply effects to multiple audio clips in a non-destructive environment (your original recordings will be untouched). Multi-track editing is best for creating podcasts and radio shows, and can also be used for music projects, creating sound effects, and cross-platform editing of audio in Premiere Pro video projects.

Explore the interface.

New projects will open in the Default workspace, which features the following windows:

Adobe Audition with the default interface

Files The Import File icon is the middle icon in the Files window

When you start your project, the only file listed here will be your Audition file (.sesx). Import your existing files into your project by clicking the file icon with an arrow on it. Once your files are added to the Audition session, you can add them to your project in the Mixer window.

Effects Rack

Use the Effects Rack to change the sound of individual clips or entire tracks.You can apply a variety of effects to your audio recordings to change how they sound, and even create your own effects. If you find that you are often making the same type of changes to your voice tracks, consider making your own effect preset that you can apply to clips or tracks with just a couple of clicks.

Note that this window has a variety of other tools in the same spot, including the Media Browser (another way to access your files for your project), Properties (where you can find basic information and make simple changes to your clip), and Match Loudness (where you can adjust the loudness of multiple audio clips at the same time).

HistoryThe History Window shows you every step you've made since opening the project.

The History window keeps track of everything that you have done while working on your project. If you need to go back one or two steps, you can use the Undo function (CTRL+Z for Windows, CMD+Z for Mac).

You can go back many steps by using the History window by selecting the step before the one you want to undo.

 

MixerUse the Essential Sound window to change the mix style of your clips.

This is the largest window in Audition, and it is where you will be doing the actual editing for your project. The next box will go over the Mixer window in much more detail.

 

Essential Sound

This tool lets you do professional-level sound mixing with the click of your mouse. Select the clip you want to adjust, then choose the audio type (dialogue, music, SFX, or ambience). This gives you different presets appropriate for the type of audio; select the present that will give the effect you want for the clip. For example, you can adjust your voice recordings to a stereotypical "podcast voice," or make it sound like it's coming from an intercom.

The Mixer Window

This is where you will be doing your recording and editing. The top of the Mixer window gives you an overview of your project: how long it is and where the audio clips are. You can zoom in and out on your project by using the handles on the left and right end of gray box in this overview area. To scrub through your project, click and drag the gray box to where you want to focus. There is a vertical scroll bar on the right side of the mixer window that works the same way.

Playback

Playback tools

At the bottom of the Mixer window, there is a toolbar to control the playback. From left to right, the tools are:

  • Stop: Stop the recording or playback completely. This is very similar to the Pause button in the Multitrack environment, but works differently in the Waveform editor.
  • Play: Start the playback.
  • Pause: Temporarily stops the recording or playback. This is very similar to the Stop button in the Multitrack environment, but works differently in the Waveform editor.
  • Move Playhead to Previous: Brings the Playhead to the end of the last clip on any track.
  • Rewind: Scrub backward through your mix.
  • Fast Forward: Scrub forward through your mix.
  • Move Playhead to Next: Brings the Playhead to the beginning of the next clip on any track.
  • Record: Starts recording on any track that is armed for recording. Stop recording by clicking the Stop button. You can also click the Record button again to stop recording but continue the playback on other tracks.
  • Loop Playback: If this is highlighted blue, when the Playhead gets to the end of the mix it will return to the beginning and continue playing.
  • Skip Selection: This tool only works in the Waveform editor.

The PlayheadThe Playhead

The Playhead indicates the current time position when playing back your audio mix. It is sometimes called the Current Time Indicator (CTI).

The Playhead is a blue irregular pentagon in the time display at the top of the mixer window, and there is a red line that extends from the tip of the Playhead through all of the tracks in your project.

Click and drag the Playhead across the timeline to start your playback or recording at different timecodes. 

The Track Header

Track Header

When you start a new project, Audition gives you 6 tracks, and to the left of each track is the track header. You can use the track header to control playback during the editing process, adjust the stereo balance of the track, and more. The buttons in the track header that you're most likely to use are:

  • Volume adjustment. This is the knob icon next to the increasing lines. You can make the volume of your track higher or lower by turning the knob. You can also doubleclick on the blue number next to the knob to type in a positive or negative number to make the track louder or softer.
  • M button. The M here stands for mute. Click it to silence individual tracks during the editing process. Remember to turn it off before exporting, or the track content will not be in your final mix.
  • S button. The S stands for Solo. When you click it, you silence all tracks except for the soloed track. Like the Mute tool, remember to turn it off before exporting your mix so that all of your tracks can be heard.
  • R button. The R stands for record. When you click the R button, you are arming the track to record on it and activating the track-specific level indicator. Arming the track to record does not start recording.
  • I button. The I stands for Monitor Input. You can only turn this on when the track is armed to record, and it will let you hear your microphone through your headphones.

You can also double click on the track number to change the name of your track. This can be helpful when working with many tracks.

Zoom Bar

The Zoom Bar is at the top of the timeline and it provides an overview of the entire project. Use this section to zoom in and out in your project, or to shift the visible area of the project. The different colored horizontal lines represent clips on different tracks, and the red vertical line is the playhead.

Zoom bar showing an overview of the project

To zoom in and out on your project, click and drag the gray handles in the bar. To shift the timeline, drag the gray box over the zoom bar until you get to the clip or timecode you want.

Creating a New Multitrack Project

Open Audition and start a new multitrack session (File > New > Multitrack Session). Give your project a name and choose where to save it. You can also choose between a stereo mix and a mono mix. If you're not sure whether to use stereo or mono, think about what kind of project you're making. If you are making a podcast or radio show with music, the songs you use will likely be in stereo so your mix should be stereo. A talk or interview-based show can be in mono or stereo.

New Multi track session window

Importing Audio Files

Importing Files

Once you have a handle on the Audition interface, it's time to import your existing audio clips. These can be songs, station IDs, interviews, or anything else that has been pre-recorded. Audition supports more than 30 audio formats, including common formats like .MP3, .WAV, and even .M4A and .AAC. For a full list of the supported formats, refer to the Helpful Links section at the bottom of this page.

There are several ways to import audio into Audition. The video below shows two ways you can bring your audio files into your Multitrack session.

  1. In the Files window, click the import icon (a folder with an arrow on top of it) to open the Import File dialogue box. Select the files you want to import and click "Open."
  2. Use the Media Browser window to find the folder with your audio files in it. Click and drag the file you want onto a track in the Mixer window. This automatically adds the recording to the list in the Files window.

You can also use the keyboard shortcut CTRL+I (Windows) or CMD+I (Mac) to open the Import File dialogue box. Select the files you want to import and click "Open."

Adding Clips to Tracks

Once you have imported your clips, you can start adding them to the tracks in your project.

When putting your clips on the tracks it is a good idea to slightly overlap the clips on the tracks, especially if you are making a music podcast or radio show. Overlapping the tracks will set you up to create fades. When two clips are placed immediately after each other, this is called a butt cut and it can be jarring for the listener. Overlapping the tracks while you're setting up the skeleton of the show will also help you avoid dead air in the final show.

Recording Audio

Where to Record

You can record your podcast or radio content directly in Audition without the need for a separate recording device. To get the best audio quality possible for your recording, consider using the Audio Suite in the Studio. The Audio Suite can be booked for up to three hours at a time and has been sound-treated for optimum sound quality and room tone. 

If you're not able to use the Audio Suite, that's okay! You can easily record at home using Audition or any other digital audio workstation or audio recorder. Check out this library guide for best practices on recording at home.

Recording Audio

Prepare your track

To start recording in Audition, click the R button in the track header. This "arms" the track for recording, which just means that the track is now set up for recording. If a track is not armed for recording, you can still use the record button but nothing will be recorded. You will know that the track is armed for recording because a track-specific level indicator will turn on.

Before you record, you may also want to check your input settings to make sure that you are recording the way you want to. Even if you are working on a project in stereo, you can record your voice breaks in mono by changing the input settings on your voiceover tracks. You can also mute other tracks if desired.

Change your input settings between mono and stereo when recording your voice

Start recording

Once you have armed your track for recording, start recording by clicking the red circle record icon in the playback toolbar. When you click the record button, any tracks that have been armed for recording will be highlighted in red. When you're done recording, hit the stop button in the playback toolbar.

Editing Tools in Audition

Editing in Audition

The Editing Toolbar

The toolbar is above the file window and below the Help menu.

In the multitrack environment, there are four main tools. There are other tools in the toolbar, but they are grayed out when in the multitrack environment. Let's focus on the tools you will use in this editing environment.

Move Tool  The Move Tool icon is a mouse pointer with crossed double-ended arrows

The Move Tool does just what it sounds like: it moves clips on the timeline. You can use the move tool to move clips left or right to change their position on your timeline, or you can use it to move them up and down to put them on different tracks.

Razor Tool Razor Tool

The Razor Tool looks like a razorblade, and it is used to split clips into multiple segments. After you use the razor tool, you can move or delete the segments on the timeline. Because the multitrack editor is a nondestructive environment, using the razor tool will not affect your original files.

Slip Tool Slip Tool

The Slip Tool lets you shift the contents of a trimmed clip without changing the length of the clip. 

Time Selection Tool Time Selection Tool

Use the Time Selection Tool to select a portion of your timeline. This is useful for removing part of a recording that you don't need, like a cough or a long pause. The video below shows how to use the Time Selection Tool along with the Ripple Delete function to seamlessly remove a cough from a recording.

Trimming and Cutting Clips

Cutting Clips

There are several ways to trim, or shorten, clips in Audition. This guide has already shown you how to use the Razor Tool to cut clips, as well as the Time Selection Tool to remove portions of a clip. These tools are perfect for removing segments from the middle of a clip: either use the Time Selection Tool to select the section to remove, or use the Razor Tool to split the clip into several sections. Once you have the section you want to remove separated from the rest of the clip, you will be able to move or delete it.

If you want to keep the segment of the clip, use the Move Tool to drag it to another track or a different part of the timeline.

Removing a clip

To delete the clip, click the segment to select it and hit either the backspace or delete key on your keyboard. This will remove the segment, but will leave an empty space on the timeline.

Delete

Ripple Delete

To seamlessly remove a clip, use the ripple delete function. Select the clip you want to remove, then press the Shift key and the Delete key on your keyboard at the same time. This will remove the selected clip and move the rest of the clips on that track down the timeline at the same time.

Trimming the end of a clip

To shorten a clip from either the beginning or the end, click and drag the edge of the clip in towards the center. When your mouse is over the beginning or ending edge of the clip, it will turn into a red bracket with an arrow pointing into the clip.

Fading Between Clips

Fading Clips

There are lots of ways to fade your clips. Fading your clips in and out makes for a generally more pleasant listening experience, and prevents accidental dead air in your show. This guide will show you how to crossfade two clips on the same track, and how to create fades in and out on individual clips.

Crossfades

In order to crossfade two clips, they need to be on the same track. Use the move tool to overlap the clips, and Audition will automatically make a crossfade. The crossfade is represented by two arching yellow lines that make an X between the tracks. 

There is a square next to the yellow X called the crossfade box, and you can use this box to adjust the length or style of the crossfade. By default, Audition will create a symmetric crossfade where the fade out on the first track and the fade in on the second track are the same level and rate. You can change the crossfade by holding down different keys when dragging the crossfade box:

Crossfade

  • Hold the ALT key to change the length of the crossfade while keeping the crossfade symmetric
  • Hold the CTRL key (CMD on a Mac) to change the shape of the fade and make the fade asymmetric
  • Hold the SHIFT key to change either the length or shape of the crossfade. Drag your mouse left-right to change the length of the fade, or drag it up-down to change the shape.

Making automatic crossfades is very easy, but your crossfade is ultimately limited by the length of the overlap between your two clips. For even more control over your fades, put your clips on separate tracks and create individual fades on each through manual fades.

Manual fades

Each track has a fade in box at the beginning of the track and a fade out box at the end of the track. It works a lot like the crossfade box. You can use this box to make your fades manually, and even crossfade clips while keeping them on separate tracks.

Click on the track to select it, then click and drag the fade box to make your fade. Your fade is represented by a curved yellow line. 

Just like with the crossfade box, you can use different keys to change the shape of fade in or out.

Cleaning Up Audio

Cleaning up audio

Now that you have content of your show finished, it's time to clean up your audio a little. This section will go over removing background noise and normalizing audio. These are both processes that happen in the Waveform editor in Audition rather than the Multitrack editor that we have been using, but they are important steps to making your podcast or radio show sound great.

Before you start cleaning up your audio, remember that the Waveform editor in Audition is a destructive editor. This means that any changes you make in the Waveform environment will be applied to the actual file. After you make your edits in the Waveform editor and return to the Multitrack environment, you cannot undo the changes you made to your clips.

Reducing background noise

The amount and kind of background noise in your recordings can vary greatly based on where you record. Recording in the Library Studio's Audio Suite will result in very little background noise, but recording at home or in a public place can add more background noise. Luckily, Audition will do almost all the work for you to remove any background noise, whether it's the sound of an air conditioner or the ambient noise of a music festival where you're interviewing an artist. In general, this will be most useful for your voice clips and is not necessary for professionally mixed music clips.

  1. Select the clip with the background noise.
  2. Click the icon for the waveform editor.
  3. In the waveform editor use the Time Selection Tool to select a part of the track that is silent except for the background noise you want to remove.
  4. Open the effects menu to find the Noise Reduction process: Effects > Noise Reduction/Restoration > Noise Reduction (process).
  5. Click the Capture Noise Print button to tell Audition what to remove.
  6. Click the "Select Entire File" button.
  7. Make adjustments to the amount of noise being reduced using the sliders. Preview the adjustments by clicking the play button at the bottom of the window.
  8. When you're happy with the noise reduction, click apply.
  9. Click the Multitrack icon to return to the Multitrack environment.

Normalizing Volume

Normalizing boosts the audio levels across all your clips to make the volume match more closely, making for a more consistent volume level and a more pleasant listening experience. Take a look at the clips in this project and notice how varied the volume levels on the different clips are, especially between tracks called Music 1 and Music 2. The clip on Music 1 is much quieter than the track on Music 2.

After Normalizing, notice how the waveforms on these tracks are much more similar.

For the best results, you will need to normalize the volume of each clip individually. Like reducing background noise, normalizing takes place in the Waveform environment.

  1. Select the clip in the Multitrack environment.
  2. Click the icon for the waveform environment.
  3. Open the Effects menu to find the Normalize process: Effects > Amplitude and Compression > Normalize (process).
  4. In the Normalize window:
    1. Make sure that the box for Normalize To is checked
    2. Select dB
    3. Change the level to -2*
    4. Make sure that the box for Normalize All Channels Equally is checked
    5. Click Apply
  5. Return to the Multitrack environment and repeat on all your clips until everything has been normalized

*If you are making a show for the Perch, you will normalize all your clips to -2 dB. If you are making a podcast or other project on your own, you can choose the dB level.

Make Your Podcast Sound Even Better

Make Your Podcast Sound Even Better

This section will show you a couple of tricks to make your podcast sound even better than it already does. This step is completely optional, but using a high-pass or low-pass filter (or both!) will help your recordings sound professionally produced.

High/Low-Pass Filters

A high-pass filter reduces the volume of all the frequencies below a certain threshold that you decide (usually somewhere around 60-100 Hz), while a low-pass filter reduces the volume of all the frequencies above a certain threshold (usually 18-20 kHz). These filters increase the clarity of the voices on a recording by clearing out the low "rumble" and high hissing sibilant noises that just distract us from the frequencies we can actually hear well.

In the Waveform editor,

  1. Open the Effects Rack
  2. Click the arrow on the first open line of the Effects Rack > Open the Filter and EQ menu > Select Parametric Equalizer
  3. Add your filter
  4. Using the Presets dropdown menu, select either "80 Hz HP" for a high-pass filter or "Generic Low-Pass" for a low-pass filter.
    • For a high-pass filter, click the "HP" button and enter the frequencies you want to eliminate. 60-80 Hz is usually recommended, and don't go higher than 100 Hz.
    • For a low-pass filter, select "Generic Low-Pass" from the Presets drop-down menu. The Preset is set to reduce frequencies above 20kHz, but you can adjust this if you want.
  5. Close the Window
  6. Click "Apply" in the Effects Rack.

Finishing Up

Finishing Up

If you are making a show for the Perch, refer to the box just after this one, titled Mixing Down - The Perch.

This is the last step in making your radio show or podcast. You just need to turn your Audition project into a playable file. To export your entire session, open the Multitrack Mixdown menu: File > Export > Multitrack Mixdown > Entire Session.

In the Export window:

  1. Name your project
  2. Tell Audition where to put the final mixed file
  3. Select the export format.
  4. Click Ok.

Which file type is right?

The most common formats are .MP3 and .WAV. Both of these file types are playable on any device, but .WAV files are generally better quality (and larger) than .MP3 files.

When making a podcast, check the requirements for different podcast distributors. Generally, podcasts work best when exported as 128 kbps .MP3 files.

  • Apple Podcasts Connect accepts .WAV, .MP3, and .FLAC files
  • Apple Podcasts accepts only .MP3 and .AAC files through RSS feeds
  • Spotify for Podcasters supports .MP3, .M4A, and .WAV files

You may need to export in a different file type depending on where you will be sharing your show.

Mixing Down - The Perch

Finishing Up Your Show for the Perch

This is the last step before you have a completed podcast or radio show for the Perch. If you are making a show for somewhere besides the Perch, refer to the box just above this one, titled Finishing Up.

First, you need to turn your Audition project into a single, playable file. To export your entire session, open the Multitrack Mixdown menu: File > Export > Multitrack Mixdown > Entire Session.

In the Export window:

  1. Name your project
  2. Tell Audition where to put the final mixed file
  3. Select the export format. When you are making a show for the Perch, choose mp3.
  4. Click Ok.

Keep in mind that exporting takes the time it takes. The longer your project and the more content in it, the longer the export will take. If you are on a deadline, give yourself plenty of time to export.

Normalize the mixdown

If you are making a show for the Perch, you will need to normalize your final mixdown.

  1. Open the mp3 you just exported in the Waveform editor
  2. Follow the steps in the Normalizing Volume section of this guide
  3. Change the dB level to -1

Save the show file to your show file in Dropbox. All Perch hosts will have a specific Dropbox link where they will upload all of their shows.

Perch Dropbox Folder

If you can't find your Dropbox folder, refer to the File Request Link that was sent to your UTC email.

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