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Hello,

I have been recording alot of ambient sounds the last weeks and now i got over 100 of 1-2 min clips that im going to edit into useble ambient sounds in 48.1kHz/16bit from 48.1kHz/24. What DAW do sound designers use? And if for example ProTools, what method is used?

I use PT myself and I am asking myself the question: How could I edit all these files and let the DAW bounce each file separately and have each clip being given its original name (like the date).

Also, i am new to editing ambient sounds, what is usually done? Is there anything special i should keep in mind?

P.S i also wonder how i can apply dither (and what dither to prefer) to all edited ambient sounds while bouncing them (24 to 16 bits quantization).

Kind regards Johan

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  1. stick with 48/24 without applying any dither? Dither adds noise. Noise * 100 tracks = more noise
  2. Use any DAW. Literally any DAW. They all allow varying degrees of automation, but there is no DAW "sound designers use" (pro tip: everyone uses two or more) - whatever you, yourself, can do it quickest or easiest in, is what you should be using. I'd use a two-track editor like Audition if no rush, or Pro Tools if really in a hurry. There are basic sound editing apps out there that would allow you to set markers and export clips by marker. So it's down to your own workflow.
  3. 1-2 minute clips may be too short for your needs down the line. Consider 5-6 minutes better length for a clip you will edit down later.
  • 1. Dither is also a scientifically sound method for getting rid of quantization errors (which also adds noise). – Internet Human Aug 18 '13 at 17:47
  • Thanks for your answere. Next time i will consider longer takes. I will go down to 16 bits in the future to upload some ambient sounds to my homepage, but i could keep them in 24 for the moment. I always use dither when I quantize down the bit depth. Those apps, are they plugins that can be used in the DAW? – Wedoh Aug 18 '13 at 18:26
  • no, i'm talking about software like Audacity, Sound Studio, etc which you can do basic cutting with. Re bits, I suggest you forgo 16 bit completely. Use 24 always. – georgi Aug 18 '13 at 22:04
  • I could look into these programs some more. And i might just stay with 24 bits. – Wedoh Aug 18 '13 at 23:16
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I have been recording alot of ambient sounds the last weeks and now i got over 100 of 1-2 min clips that im going to edit into useble ambient sounds in 48.1kHz/16bit from 48.1kHz/24. What DAW do sound designers use? And if for example ProTools, what method is used?

Why do you need to reduce the bit depth?

I use PT myself and I am asking myself the question: How could I edit all these files and let the DAW bounce each file separately and have each clip being given its original name (like the date).

It wasn't until PT11 that batch export became feasible, in prior versions there's no option to do batch bounces of tracks or files/regions. It might be even that it's just in PT11 HD and not the normal version (great job, Avid).

Also, i am new to editing ambient sounds, what is usually done? Is there anything special i should keep in mind?

Not really. There are some topics about "mastering" sound effects, if they're for distribution. Generally it's advisable to leave the recordings as they are and only do small fixes, if there's something to fix (e.g. too much mic noise or small EQ adjustments).

Also, you may want to cut out parts that don't belong to the ambience (e.g. if there are car pass-bys or an aeroplane flying over or people talking etc. that doesn't really "belong" to the ambience, although a good recordist would've avoided these already during recording). It's probably advisable to not try to stitch together cut parts by cross-fading (it would be done by the editor using the ambience, if needed. And it doesn't necessarily work).

P.S i also wonder how i can apply dither (and what dither to prefer) to all edited ambient sounds while bouncing them (24 to 16 bits quantization).

Again, not feasible in PT (expect for PT11 perhaps).

Reaper is the easiest to acquire DAW that does everything you need.

  • Thanks for your answere. 1. I reduce the bit depth to save space for future homepage upload sharing so i was thinking ill make the files smaller. 2. So PT is not a good option for multi editing/bouncing? Might just go with Reaper then i think, i know reaper got non realtime bounce and option to export tracks separately. Do you know if Reaper can bounce files with their original name? 3. I think that the start and end is the parts that will be cut away in most takes, like the sound of stoping the handheld recorder. 4. Is dither added to the master track to be added before quantization? – Wedoh Aug 18 '13 at 18:32
  • 1. Ok, you might also consider compressed audio files (e.g. mp3, aac, ogg). For downloading the file size shouldn't matter that much (internet speeds are generally fast, and the downloader would want the highest quality you can give). 2. I don't know/remember about the specific features of Reaper, but those can be viewed or searched easily. 3. Yeah sure you can add volume fades to the tracks. 4. Dither can be added to any track, but it should be applied only once per track (or the master track/bounce, if a mix is being bounced). – Internet Human Aug 18 '13 at 18:59
  • 4. Dither is generally applied automatically during an audio file export, if the dither option has been selected. – Internet Human Aug 18 '13 at 19:01
  • Oh thats right about dither, i forgot that reaper got it built in. I could use 24 but i dont know the size of my future server :). Hopefully all files could be uploaded to the server as they are but edited. – Wedoh Aug 18 '13 at 23:14
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As both Georgi and Internet Human has mentioned, any DAW is possible but of course not all DAW's are the same. I use PT 10 and edit and master on this and I find it absolutely fine.

As far as the sample rate conversion, I am wondering why you are going from 48kHz 24 bit to 16 bit. When mastering, this can pose a few problems. Also, I and many field recordists record at 96kHz 24 bit and stay this way until it has been mastered. More room to play without compromising quality.

Also, I have found that a minimum of 10 minutes recording length is required to remove any unwanted discrepancies that inevitably crop up. On many sound libraries, the final mastered deliverable is 5 minutes of smooth ambiance. In the future, record as much as you can and when mastering, make it smooth as possible so if you need to make it longer, the are clean places to make your ambient transitions.

Good luck

  • Thank you for your answere. I will keep these usefull tips in mind when recording in the future. How do you edit your field recordings? Do you take one at a time as separate tracks? Or put out flags and bounce regions in protools? Would you solo and bounce one track at a time if separate tracks? After editing is done with basic eq, cutting out unwanted sounds etc. – Wedoh Aug 20 '13 at 13:24

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