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Advice on Editing Sound Effects for Sound Effect Libraries

Jun 19, 2008
Editing your raw audio recordings into professional quality sound effects is the step that takes place after the initial recording period. Hunt down an audio editing software that has eqs, the ability to cut audio, normalization, and fade in/out capabilites. You may use either a freeware readily found online or purchase one of the many digital audio workstations (DAW) available on the web.

The first step in editing your sounds is to import all of the various raw .wav recordings into your software. This can be done one at a time but for efficiency I usually import 40 audio tracks at once and then solo each track, in other words muting all but one tracks. Once you've imported all of your tracks and you are ready to edit and bounce your edits down to completed sound effects. These following tips should help ease your experience and provide the best sound effects possible.

1. Use normalization on each recorded sample first. Normalization increases the amplitude of each .wav file, in other works amps the volume as loud as can be.

2. Secondly, some frequencies may affect the quality of your sound effect and you should use eq to eradicate these sonic culprits. A great sounding bird chirp, for example, may be compromised by an offending air conditioner. But, by cutting all frequencies below 2,000 Hz you can get rid of the AC and keep the lovely bird sound.

3. When your sound is normalized and cleaned up with eq find a clean beginning point to the sound and either create a fade-out or more desirably let the natural reverb ring out for 1-2 seconds.

4. Bounce your sound down to a 48k 24bit .wav file for video editing. 48k 24bit are high quality files that are valued by sound effect libraries and licensees who pay good money to use sound effects in their productions.

5. Make as many versions of each sound recording as possible to increase your number of products. For example, if you have a dog barking 20 times then create sound effects with one bark, three barks, six barks, 10 barks etc. switching up the combinations of barks. This could easily give you 50 or more sound effects from just that one sequence of dog barks.

6. You can further increase your number of effects by using pitch shift or other filters on each sound sample. For instance, the sound of a stream can be pitch shifted up to make it sound lighter and less tumultuous and pitch shifted down to make it sound larger and deeper.

With some prior knowledge of audio editing, one can follow the above tips to take raw audio recordings and create professional quality sound effects that can be licensed for profit to media creators.
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