I am new to field recording and do need to catch up on the basics to not re-invent the wheel.

What i do is, i go out and record up to 1-3 min atmospheres with my Sony D100 in 48 kHz 24 bit to later on transfer the files to my computer.

And here is where im stuck :-). My first thougth is to set up a session with some master plugins to use if needed on each track and cut the good parts out one by one in Pro Tools 11. But it feels like it aint very effective.

How do you guys do this? How do you edit and archive your field recordings?

  • hi and welcome! Good subject, however your asking two questions at least. 1. How do I edit recordings efficiently? 2. How do I archive field recordings. Perhaps ask another seperate question on archiving? Feb 20, 2015 at 10:00
  • Hello, thank you! I guess i could instead make this into two questions instead. I have so many questions, but what i first of all need to understand is the process behind editing atmospheres. :) Feb 20, 2015 at 13:01

2 Answers 2


Welcome, good question! If your recording atmospheres why are you recording only 1-3 minutes? An atmosphere develops over time and has interesting changes in it's sound, I'd advice to at least record 5 minutes. 10 minutes is even better. And chopping on in PT11 is fine, as long as you haven't change perspective in the recordings. You could use 'strip silence' to extract unwanted loud noises and neatly crossfade between the 'clean' regions. Example video

And regarding 'mastering' plugins. I seldomly use those unless there's a specific issue with a recording (bass overload or other technicalities).

  • Thank you for your help, i will watch the video. How do you approach the laying of tracks and exporting sounds btw? Do you import the sound files as clips to separate tracks? To later on export each track after cutting out the bad parts? Feb 20, 2015 at 13:04

Normalize and cut the parts you are absolutely sure you don't need. Leave some noise surrounding good elements since that could be useful for noise reduction.

Everything else should be done case by case basis. Destructive post-processing will just limit your later options so it should be avoided.

  • Thank you, i will think about not doing to much destructive post-processing. Do you save one raw track without editing, one track that's been cut and one processed track or just raw and cut/minor processed track? Feb 20, 2015 at 13:05
  • I personally never use normalisation when I'm editing recordings for my archive. Normalisation in my experience is only necessary with final products like sfx for games etc. Feb 21, 2015 at 17:40
  • I usually just cut what I'm absolutely sure I don't ever need like parts with horrible microphone wind noise or airplane noise. If there are parts that are not useful in context, but could be useful like nearby helicopter or preamp running out of batteries I'll cut and save those parts separately. Rarely I also make heavily processed versions in the fly - if there are for example lots of hifrequency bird sounds that can be separated with noise reduction and hipass filter I might do that and save the hpf+nr version separately. I don't keep the raw recordings.
    – sauli
    Feb 21, 2015 at 19:32
  • Arnoud Traa: Don't see any harm in normalizing and it can save a small amount of time later.
    – sauli
    Feb 21, 2015 at 19:34

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