Enhance Voice-Over Audio in Adobe Audition! | Scott Luu | Skillshare

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Enhance Voice-Over Audio in Adobe Audition!

teacher avatar Scott Luu, YouTuber

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

14 Lessons (56m)
    • 1. Class Introduction

      1:56
    • 2. Quick Rundown of the Process

      5:16
    • 3. Optimize Settings & Mic Technique

      6:31
    • 4. Workspaces, Shortcuts, & Favorites

      5:38
    • 5. Make a Back Up

      1:12
    • 6. Noise Reduction

      5:26
    • 7. Restoration Effects

      4:56
    • 8. Compression & Dynamics

      4:34
    • 9. Understanding EQ

      3:50
    • 10. Limiters & Loudness

      5:13
    • 11. Cleaning Up Audio Quickly

      5:59
    • 12. Shorten Silences Automatically

      2:54
    • 13. Dynamic Link with Premiere Pro

      1:32
    • 14. Conclusion

      1:06
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About This Class

In this class, you'll learn how to use Adobe Audition to enhance voice-over and dialogue audio. This class is for beginners who are new to Audition and those who have edited in Audition but don't fully understand the effects.

Lessons will include topics on:

  • Optimizing Settings
  • Mic Technique
  • Changing Audition's Workspace
  • Navigating Audition
  • Creating Favorites
  • Noise Reduction (Article I Mention)
  • Restoration
  • Dynamics & Compression
  • EQ
  • Limiters
  • Loudness Optimization
  • Using the Waveform Editor to Edit Quickly
  • Shortening Silences Automatically
  • Dynamic Linking with Premiere Pro

By the end of the class, you will learn everything you need to be efficient at using Audition to edit and enhance voice-over and dialogue audio.

Meet Your Teacher

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Scott Luu

YouTuber

Teacher

Hello, I'm Scott. I'm a video creator that loves teaching and creating random projects for fun. My favorite activities are playing the piano, creating videos, doing gymnastics, playing board games, and talking about movies/anime. Check out my courses to learn more about the various skills I've gained as I do more projects!

Since a lot of my courses are on Video Creation, here's a link to the list of my gear.

See full profile

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Transcripts

1. Class Introduction: When it comes to crafting a great video or a compelling podcast, audio is one of the most important aspects you need to learn about, and that is what this class will be focused on. Learning how to enhance your audio using Adobe Audition. Hi guys, my name is Scott Lu, and I'm a video creator on YouTube. Across my different channels, I have gained a lot of experience editing audio for video, editing audio for podcasts, as well as spending four plus years on Adobe Audition. I've gotten to know the tool quite well. For my YouTube channel dreamland, I started off creating videos that primarily had voice-overs and podcasts like audio. That's what this course will be focused on, how to edit and enhance voice-over and dialog audio. You guys will be learning my personal method on how I do this, as well some some tips and tricks I picked up along the way after spending a lot of time in the program. Here's a quick outline of the class. How to use good mic technique, how to optimize your settings in Adobe Audition, and alter your workspace to edit more efficiently. How to apply a clean noise reduction. Understanding certain effects like compression, normalization, EQ, and limiters. Walls will cover my method of cleaning up audio quickly. This covers how to remove dead spaces and unneeded audio in a fast way. I'll also cover my personal keyboard shortcuts that I use so you can save a lot of time every time you edit. At the end, I'll show you one of my favorite workflows which is dynamic linking with Premier Pro. The class project will be to come out with a well-polished a voice-over audio clip by the end of the class. Each lesson will have an action step that will get you one step closer to completing the project. Be sure to do the assignments after each lesson to get the most out of the class. The topic of the project is completely up to you, just to have fun with it. Be sure to download the worksheet attachment for the class. It'll have an overview of the assignments for each lesson, as well as suggestions for your project topic if you don't have any idea where to start. Again, welcome to the class. I'll see you guys in the first lesson. 2. Quick Rundown of the Process: Before we actually start the lessons, I'm going to show you guys how I personally edit my audio from start to finish. This way you guys can keep the bigger picture in mind while I go through every individual step. While I edit, I'm going to go over what I do quickly, and highlight the biggest points. But don't worry if I'm going a bit fast, I will be going over everything in depth in the later lessons. Here we go. The first thing I do before even opening audition is connect my microphone to my computer. In this case, I'm going to be using the Shure SM7b, and it's a dynamic mic, so I need to connect it using an XLR cable to my Zoom H6 audio interface, which then connects to my MacBook Pro via USB. From there I open audition, and create a new solo track to record on by clicking the shortcut Command Shift N. I record in 24-bit and in mono. I then open up the audio hardware preferences to make sure the input is indeed my Zoom H6, which it is. Then I hit the Record button to make sure the audio is being recorded through my Shure SM7B. If everything checks out, that's when I begin to record. After I'm done, I begin the audio editing process. The first thing I do is reduce background noise. I capture a noise print first, and then use the noise reduction effect. Most of what I'll be doing throughout the course can be found in the effects section. I try not to go too hard on the noise reduction as to not damage the audio. Here are the settings I generally use. Again, I'll get into depth on each effect in their dedicated videos later. After that, I apply a compression using the dynamics effect. I pretty much just eyeball this part based on the waveform. You can see where the average peak is at. I usually compress a little bit below that at a ratio of 3-1. Compression is normally done to level out the loud, and soft parts so that the overall volume is more even. After compression I normalize to negative 3 decibels, and then check check out the loudness level. You can do this simply by dragging your audio into the match loudness window, which you can add by clicking window at the top bar, and then looking for it. Since we're recording in mono, we want the LUFS as indicated here, to be around negative 19 LUFS. It's just a standard that a lot of people have agreed on for podcasts and other platforms. Usually what happens after I check the value LUFS is that I'm allowed negative 21 or so. What I'll do from there is a hard limit to negative 5 decibels, and then normalize to negative 3 decibels again. All the hard limiter does, is cut off everything above the indicated number. From there, I'm pretty much done with adding effects. Take note that for this example, I didn't use any EQ. I personally like the way my voice sounds on the Shure SM7B, but say I wanted to use EQ, I would have done it right after doing the compression step. Let's go back a few steps by undoing. You can see your past edits in your History window and click on the one that you want to go back to, or you can just undo by clicking Command Z. EQ. You can think of this as sort to what color grading is to film. Just like how you can change the contrast and colors of what you see. You can also boost the lower end for more base, or the higher parts for greater clarity. The general rule is to be subtle about it. Unless you're purposely trying to go for something different, EQing is very different depending on your voice and your microphone. For my situation, the Shore SM7B has a good amount of base already, so increasing it will only muddy my voice. If I were to use EQ, I would add a slight boost to the 8,000 hertz area to add extra brightness and clarity. Then I would apply it to the whole thing, and that's it. From there, I will do the same loudness matching, and hard limit. That's all there is to the effect section, assuming that you are able to record a clean audio. The next steps depend on the type of audio content you're going for. If it's a voice-over, then what I would do is sift through the audio to cut out any arms and any mistakes. All you need to do is highlight this section, and you click Backspace. You can also silence areas as well. If it's audio you're editing to sync to video, then you don't want to do any deleting or cutting out arms and mistakes because you need to keep the audio synced up with the video. You have to edit out the mistakes in a video editing program like Premiere Pro. All you need to do after finishing is save. In my case, most of the time what I do is close the audio file after finishing, and move it into a project file because my default save location for audition is my desktop. I put it there because it's generally easier to find one. Everything goes into one place. The audio is pretty much good to go from there. As a quick summary of what I just did. Number 1, I connected my mic and tested that it worked in audition. Number 2, I recorded my audio. Number 3, I performed noise reduction. Number 4, I did a compression. Number 5, if I were to use EQ, I would use it on this step. Number 6, I tested the loudness levels, and hard limiter to match it to negative 19 LUS. Number 7, depending on what audio I'm recording for, I'd either cut it up or go straight into video syncing and editing. As you can see, it's a pretty quick process. From here, we can go into each step individually, and really break down why we're doing what we're doing, as well as what all the different settings do. 3. Optimize Settings & Mic Technique: Let's talk about how to set up your microphone and how to optimize the settings in Adobe Audition. The first step is to plug in your microphone. The two most common microphones you'll probably be using are USB mics, and mics with an XLR connection, which will require an audio interface or mixer. For a USB microphone, all you need to do is make sure you have it plugged in and there's usually a light indication to let you know that it's on. If you're instead connecting to an audio interface or mixer, you need to connect your microphone to the interface and connect the interface to your computer. After connecting your microphones, you should always go to the top bar where it says Audition and go into the Preferences and Audio Hardware. From there, you'll see something that says Default Input, and that's where you'll click to find your USB mic or audio interface. If you often switch between using different mics for different occasions like I do, you need to do this every time because addition will always have the default input set to whatever you used the last time. Next, create a new single-track audio file by hitting Command+Shift+N, or going up to the File and hovering over New, then hit "New Audio File". As soon as you do that, there will be a pop-up prompting you to change the name of the file, as well as the sample rate, bit depth, and channel type. Since I record for video, I use 48 kilohertz, but 44.1 kilohertz is also fine. I always do Mono since it's only a recording of my voice and it saves storage space, then I choose 24 as the bit depth, which ensures a good quality recording. Now hit "Okay". From there, first things first. Always test your microphone before doing your actual recording. That means talking to the microphone in the same exact way that you're going to talk during the recording and then listening back on either your speakers or your headphones. Make sure that they're good speakers or headphones, otherwise, you will not be able to tell the difference between bad audio or good audio. I'm lucky enough to only have one incident where I used the wrong microphone, and that was my laptop's microphone. I was wearing these cheap Amazon earbuds when I did the recording and I quickly played it back to listen to whether or not it sounded fine and it did to me so I just continue recording with the wrong microphone. As an extra measure, you can tap on the microphone as well as any other microphones that might be connected to your computer and make sure that the right one has the biggest signal. As a quick mention to a common problem I experienced, if your audio doesn't sound good, but you've done everything in the setup correctly, you might need to check your wires. I've had experiences where a Blue Yeti Snowball and a regular blue Yeti mic both sounded terrible because of a wire issue. After replacing the USB wire, it sounded good again. Most microphones are pretty resilient and long-lasting, so don't freak out and think that your microphone is broken. Instead, try to replace the cable as the first troubleshooting method that you do. If you're instead using a mic with an XLR connection, just make sure you know what type of microphone you're using and whether it requires phantom power or any other special needs. I'm currently using the Shure SM7B which doesn't need phantom power, so I make sure to set it off. From there I just need to arm the correct channel and adjust the gain to hear the microphone. There's always a gain knob somewhere that you can adjust. That is the next step. Make sure your levels are set correctly. In Adobe Audition, you can see the levels on a panel called Levels. As you're testing your levels, try to set your gain to a spot where the peaks are hitting around at negative 12 decibels to negative 18 decibels. This leaves you with some headroom, so you don't clip just in case you get excited and talk a bit louder than usual. Clipping means that you've gone above zero decibels. If this happens, your audio will sound distorted and sound pretty bad. After that set, you're pretty much good to record. While recording, try to keep about six or so inches away from your microphone. If you're too close, you'll get the proximity effect, making the bass of your voice a lot stronger. If you're too far away, it's just not going to sound good. So find the right spot for your voice by just testing out different lines at different distances. Of course, if you purposely want to add extra bass to your voice, feel free to get close to the microphone, just be careful about plosives. Any Bs and Ps will create a lot of air hitting against your microphone, so, you need a pop filter or if you happen to have the Shure SM7B, it does have an internal pop filter. But most USB condenser microphones don't. So you'll need to buy one. You can check out the About section to find my Kit Link, to see all the gear that I personally use, including the pop filters. One other thing that you need to be cautious about is your recording location. If you're recording with a condenser mic, you'll want to be in a location that minimizes reverb. Large locations or spots next to a wall, mirror, or window will cause a lot of reverb because the sound is bouncing off those objects. The ideal situation is a smaller location where you can do a little bit of sound treatment by placing curtains, blankets, towels around you. A lot of people record in their closets filled with their clothes because it helps dampen the sound a lot, which produces the best sound. For me, I'm using a dynamic microphone, so, it won't be as much of an issue since they aren't as sensitive as other microphones. But that also means they won't capture as much detail in your voice. All right. Once you have levels set and your distance is good, all you need to do is hit the "Record" button and give your best performance on the read. Assuming you are reading a script, there's different ways to approach this. You can record continuously and just reread a line if you made a mistake, or you can segment your recordings by pausing after a paragraph, cleaning it up afterwards, and then listening back and making sure it sounds good. I've done both methods, but I find that after you've gained enough experience, you know whether or not you gave a good performance without needing to listen back. These days I pretty much just record through the entire script without stopping to check. If I make a mistake, I just rerecord the line afterwards. I recommend the segment method if you're a beginner so that you get immediate feedback and can adjust. Also if you're recording voice-over, be sure to record with headphones that are connected to the USB microphone or audio interface, and it will just let you hear yourself while you give your voice over and that really helps with adjusting your performance. That is pretty much it on setting up your microphone for Audition as well as using proper mic technique to get the best sound. The assignment for this lesson is to familiarize yourself with your microphone, find the best location for recording, determine what the optimal distance is between you and your microphone, and to practice setting up new files in Adobe Audition with the correct settings. Remember that the most important aspect of getting good audio is the recording phase. It's only when you capture good sound that your options open up during the editing phase. Always remember that when working with audio. 4. Workspaces, Shortcuts, & Favorites: In this lesson, we're going to cover how to set up your workspace in Adobe Audition. We're also going to cover how to locate certain things, as well as how to gain a more intuitive sense of where everything is. The default workspace for Audition looks like this and I'm not a fan. I will show you my preferred layout by moving some stuff around right now. But after going through the lessons of this course, feel free to change it to however you'd like. In order to move something, click and hold the name of the panel and drag it to wherever you want. You'll see a blue indicator that shows you where it'll land if you let go. You can also resize windows by hovering in-between them and then just dragging to the size you want. If you don't want a window to be there, you can close it by clicking on the three lines and then select "Close Panel." If you did this by mistake and wanted to show up again, just go to Window at the top bar and then find it by name. You can click on it and it'll pop back up to where it was last. You can also undock it if you prefer to work with undocked panels. I almost never do this unless I'm using my iPad as a second screen, which I never really do with Audition. Still, those are options for you if it fits your work sale. For my workspace, I have the main editor as the biggest panel and then grouped together pretty much every other panel in the area below the files panel. It's super simple and I think it's the cleanest setup. Feel free to copy my setup if you'd like, just go to Window and click on the panels that I have checked and then drag them into this area here. After you have it the way you want, you can save it as a new workspace by going to the top-right, hitting the three lines, and then clicking "Save Workspace", set a name, and then it'll pop up on the right. One of the main reasons mine works well is because I have keyboard shortcuts set up for each window, allowing me to switch in between them quickly. Before I get into it, just note that I'm using a mouse called the Logitech MX Master 3, and it has extra buttons that I assign as the keys K, delete, equals symbol, minus symbol, and return. This allows me to edit while not moving either of my hands much because my left hand is at the left side of the keyboard and my right hand is using the mouse. With that said, let's specifically cover the shortcuts that help me navigate between panels quickly. To access keyboard shortcuts, go to Edit and then hit the Keyboard shortcuts at the bottom. For switching between panels, I decided to always use shift with a letter on the left side of the keyboard. Shift Z is files, Shift X is the effects rack, Shift D is diagnostics, Shift W is match loudness, Shift E is essential sound, Shift F is toggle spectral frequency display, Shift Q is preview editor, and Shift G is history. It'll take some time to get used to if you decide to use my shortcuts. But after you get used to it, you'll be navigating between panels a lot faster compared to moving your mouse over each panel and clicking it. When assigning keyboard shortcuts, you need to type the name of the effect or panel and then look for it, and then click the space below where it says shortcut, and then from there, just press on the shortcut as if you were using it. Feel free to come up with your own convention for keyboard shortcuts. But generally, the rules are to make them easy to remember and easy to press quickly. With that, you should have a good workspace setup. Now let's cover two areas that you'll find yourself using very often; they are Effects and Favorites on the top bar. Luckily, Audition makes it easy by categorizing their effects. The ones I use most often are in the categories of amplitude and compression, which deals with adjusting the levels, dynamics, and loudness of the audio. Filter and EQ, which have different tools to equalize noise reduction then diagnostics which are dedicated for special edits. I'll be going over my most used effects in the separate lessons. For now, I'm mainly mentioning this as a way for you to gain an intuition of where to go when looking for certain effects. As for Favorites, I found that creating your own favorites can be pretty helpful. In order to create your own favorite, go to where it says Favorites at the top bar and then click on "Start Recording Favorite." From there, you can apply a single effect at a specific value. Like, let's say I want to normalize to negative three decibels. I go into Effects, then amplitude and compression, and then normalize. Then I'll change the settings to negative three decibels. After I do that, I can stop recording the favorite and name it "Normalize to negative three decibels", except I already have that one, so I won't save it. From there you'll see it pop up in the favorite menu. The cool thing about this is that you can apply more than just one effect in a single favorite. You can have a favorite compress, normalize, equalize, and hard limit by recording all of it, and then after you click the favorite, it'll do those things to your audio file with the same values you used, which is pretty cool. You can also edit the values later in the edit section or delete the favorite if you no longer have use for it. As an extra tip that can be important for some people in terms of customizing your workspace, if you want to change the color of the waveform, go into Adobe Audition, Preferences, Appearance. In there, you can change the waveform color as well as the entire layout if you want. I've made my waveform a teal-like blue, and I find it more visually appealing to look at while I'm editing. You can also try their presets if you want. From there, assign keyboard shortcuts to help you switch between panels quickly, and lastly, try messing around with the Create Favorite function to get a feel for it. With that, you should be able to work as efficiently as possible in Adobe Audition. 5. Make a Back Up: Before we dive into how to edit and enhance audio in Audition, I want to mention a good practice that you want to get into the habit of doing, and that is to always make a backup of the audio file before you start editing. Now, you don't necessarily have to do this if you're confident that you'll create a polished final edit. But just know that when you edit audio in Audition waveform editor, and then close the file or close Audition, you will lose your edit history. Basically, every audio you apply is altering your audio file in a permanent way after you close the program or file. This is called destructive editing. The only way you'll be able to access the original audio file will be if you made a copy of it before editing. Try to keep this in mind before you edit. If you forgot to do this and you're in the middle of a project, just go to your edit history, hit the original audio, copy all of it, and then create a new file, naming it the original and then paste the copy audio in that and then go back to the audio file you were working on and click the most recent edit in the history window. Now you have your original audio backed up. Again, this isn't an absolutely necessary step. But if you want the ability to edit your original audio file that you recorded in the future, be sure to make a copy of it before editing. 6. Noise Reduction: In this lesson, we're going to take a deeper look into how to apply noise reduction, as well as other effects that might help clean up your audio. Before we begin, I want to explain why noise reduction is the first step. It's primarily because if you want to do effects like compression and EQ first, what's going to happen is the noise which sits below, mainly the actual signal that we want to here, it's called the signal to noise ratio. It's pretty good when you first record. But if you start doing compression and EQ, what's going to happen is the noise gets closer to the signal. Then if you want noise reduced later, at that point, it's going to just be harder to do. That's the main reason we're doing it first. With that said, it's pretty important to do these in the correct order, otherwise, you will get different sounding audio depending on the sequence. All right, let's get into it. The first step to noise reduction is capturing a noise print. Highlight a section of your audio waveform that you consider noise. When I record, I usually leave some silence for around five seconds in the beginning for the purpose of using it as a noise sample. Once you have the part highlighted, go into Effects, Noise Reduction and capture Noise Print. I highly recommend using shortcuts for this. I believe the default one is set up as a Shift P, but I use a combination of my mouse and keyboard, control and return. After taking the noise sample, make sure you click away from the highlighted part, because if you were to leave it highlighted, you'd only be applying the Noise Reduction on the highlighted section of the waveform. If you don't have anything highlighted, effects will be applied to the entire audio file. This is true for any effect. Now let's apply Noise Reduction by going to Effects, Noise Reduction and Noise Reduction Process. The shortcut key is Command Shift P, and my personal one is Command Control Return. In the noise reduction window, you have a lot of options that you can adjust. But generally, these are values in the range that are recommended by Adobe's own article going over how to use the Noise reduction. I'll be covering a summary of what the most important settings are. But if you want the detailed version, I'll leave a link to the article for you guys to check out. Let's go over what the most important settings do. The first one is Noise Reduction Percentage. This value can change a lot depending on the noise sample that you use. I personally keep it around 80 percent. Now, in order to determine that the value you chose is not destroying your dialogue audio, check the output noise only box and play back the audio. What you'll hear is supposed to be only noise. So if you're hearing some of your voice or dialogue, you should lower the Noise Reduction Percentage or choose a different noise sample. The second adjustment you can make is how much you want to reduce the noise by. I stick to a value around 20 decibels. Adobe says that values between 6 and 30 decibels work well. Again, adjust this according to the output noise that you hear. Conversely, you can listen to the audio with the effect present by unchecking the output noise box. Just make sure that the power button is turned on. If you play your audio while it's off, you'll hear the original audio before the effect. If you play it while the power button is on, you hear what the audio is like as if you already hit the apply button. This works for every effect with a power button, so keep that in mind as we're moving forward. That's pretty much all you need to do to get a good noise production going. But if you want to further explore the tool, you can open up the advanced area by clicking the arrow next to advanced. I personally just use Adobe's recommended values and here they are. For me, this section is where it's just set it and forget it. If you really want to dive deep into what each of these settings do, the article is there. Just know that you really don't have to mess with these too much to achieve a good noise reduction. A lot of what you can do to get a good noise reduction actually lies in how you grab the noise print. Here's a more advanced way you can do that. Let's close the Noise Reduction and reset. Instead of grabbing a noise sample from the waveform editor, we're going to do it from the spectral frequency display, which you can open by clicking here or using a shortcut which I set as Shift F. This display is basically just showing you the frequencies of your audio over time. For the noise sample, we want to create a box by clicking and holding and dragging over the area we want. You can also adjust the box after letting go. As you can see from the frequency display, we're just grabbing a certain low frequency to eliminate noise. This way we don't affect the higher frequencies of the audio file which contain the information of your voice. From there, remove the highlight by clicking away, open the Noise Reduction and the settings are fine, so let's just hit apply. As you can see, we've gotten rid of the noise at that frequency level. You can also use this technique to get rid of any high pitch noises that are consistently at a certain frequency. Another effect to that can help with cleaning up a dialog audio is using the Parametric Equalizer to apply a high-pass and low-pass filter. You can find this in effects, under Filter and EQ. In the window, hit the buttons HP and LP, to enable the high-pass and low-pass filters. What they do is eliminate frequencies that are really low or really high, like high-pitched noises or low hums. These frequencies are outside the range of human speech, so it won't affect the sound quality of your dialogue audio or voice-over, which makes it a very simple tool to use. All right, those were two methods on how to eliminate background noise as well as weird pitches. The assignment for this lesson is to record an audio clip and then practice applying noise reduction to that clip. The more you familiarize yourself with this tool, the easier it will be to use it when those problems come up. 7. Restoration Effects: In this lesson, we're going to cover a few effects that you can use to fix problems that came about in the recording. The effects are called DeReverb, DeClipper and De-Esser. Just note that I actually don't really use these effects that often because I do try my best to take the time and make sure I'm recording in a space that doesn't have a lot of reverb. I always check the level so I don't clip and then I also have microphones that are good enough to not really amplify the S sounds. If you also do these things, you most likely won't need these effects but just in case, I'm going to go ahead and cover it. Let's start with the DeClipper. The purpose of this effect is to help restore parts of your audio that happen to clip. Addition will do its best to make it sound undistorted, but this heavily depends on how badly your audio clipped. You can find this effect in "Diagnostics" or you can just open the Diagnostics window, which is what I do. "Shift D" is what I set it to, make sure you select the DeClipper where it says "Effects" and from there, the fastest way to get started is to just select one of the presets like "Restore Lightly Clipped". You can see in the settings that they change based on the preset. For Lightly Clipped negative four decibels is the gain amount that addition will pull your audio back by. I personally think it's better to check the "Auto" box, so that the entire audio file doesn't go down by negative four decibels and just the clipped parts get brought down. Here's an example of both situations. The first one is where I scanned and repaired while it was negative four decibels and let's just undo that. Here's what happens when I use "Auto". Only the clipped parts are brought down. The next two settings, I generally just keep it the same as what it is for the preset. If for some reason after you hit the "Scan" button, "Addition" says that there aren't any clipped parts even though you can clearly see that there are. You'll need to just increase the tolerance percentage, and from there, the effect should work. Just note that this isn't a miracle tool that can fix all your clipping issues, at least in my experience, so try your best to set the gain levels right, every time. Next is the DeReverb. Let's say you had no choice but to record in a room with a lot of reverb. In order to try and fix this a little bit, you can try applying the effect "DeReverb", which you can find in the "Noise Reduction" category. The shortcut I made for this is command "Shift D". It's a pretty simple effect. You can choose the focus on the frequencies that you want the effect to apply to, as well as change the strength of the effect. For this effect, I never go beyond 50 percent because it just destroys the original audio way too much. Whenever I use this effect, I usually keep it around 20 percent or lower. You have to mess with which frequencies you want to process, since every voice is different, but I generally keep mine to all. With any luck, using this effect will help decrease the reverb of your audio. Just try your best to not actually need this effect in the first place, by trying to treat your space even just a little bit. Putting up a couple blankets or towels around the room can actually help a lot. Next is the De-Esser, which helps with toning down siblets, which is the harsh S-sound like an hiss or a sizzle. You can find this effect in the "Amplitude and Compression" category. I use the shortcut "Control S", anyways, the De-Esser has a couple of presets you can try out depending on your voice type. I generally stick with the default settings and adjust it from there. In order to optimize your settings, you want to find out where the harsh S parts are, frequency wise. That's what the graph is for. The center frequency is where the harshest S-sounds should be, and the bandwidth is how much you're extending the area that you'll be applying the De-Esser to. You can try to find the general frequency area using the Spectral frequency display. Just find a section of your audio where you hear the harsh S-sound and most likely you'll see it in the display and it'll probably be around the 4,000-8,000 Hz area. Once you locate it, just go back into the effect and set the center frequency there. Next, the "Threshold" setting will determine how strong the De-Esser affects your audio. The lower it is, the more you'll be damaging your original audio. So you want to set it to a point where it's primarily only affecting the siblets. This is highly dependent on your audio and microphone, so I can't give you a solid value to go off of, but generally you don't want to have threshold lower than negative 30 decibels. You can use the Gain reduction meter to help you determine where the threshold should be set to. If the meter is going off while you're not making any harsh S-sounds, that means the threshold is too low and the De-Esser is going to affect your original audio a lot. You need to raise it back up to the point where when you see the meter going red, it's only at parts where there are harsh S-sounds and after applying the effect, hopefully the siblets in your audio will be toned down. Those were three issues that you can try to minimize by using these three effects. Hopefully you don't run into these problems in the first place but if you do, you have these tools to try and minimize the damage. 8. Compression & Dynamics: After applying noise reduction, the next step is to apply compression. The primary reason behind this effect is to decrease the dynamic range of an audio file. For instance, it's going to make the loudest parts quieter as well as the quieter parts louder. This makes it a lot easier for listeners to hear so that they don't have to keep adjusting the volume in the quiet parts and then the loud parts, they have to turn down the volume and whatnot. It's just a better listener experience. Let's get into how it works. You can find the effect in Amplitude and Compression. There's different tools people can use to decrease dynamic range, but I'll be talking about the one I use the most, which is dynamics. The shortcut I use for this is the D key. Dynamics is actually a tool that contains three separate effects. The one we'll talk about right now is the compression section, so you can uncheck the other two. The most important settings are the threshold and ratio. Whatever you set as the threshold, the audio that is above that decibel level will be the audio that you are lowering in volume, so let's take this waveform as an example. If I were to set that threshold to negative 20 decibels, the audio that is affected by the compressor will be the portion that you see as read. The rest of it will be unaffected. If we were to set the threshold to negative 10 decibels, then that area goes up and the way that area is affected is determined by the ratio. If you were to set the ratio to two, for instance, the audio above the threshold gets divided by two in terms of decibel levels. Now the volume is softer and the loudest parts are closer to the softer parts, therefore evening out the volume. Generally for ratio, I set it to three and I just keep it there. I think four is still a safe ratio for dialog audio, but if you go past that, depending on what microphone you have, your voice might start to sound overly processed. Personally, I really don't like that type of sound, but if it's your thing, then feel free to compress as much as you want. The main goal for when I compress is to try and keep my voice sounding natural while still bringing up the quieter parts, so I always try to set it at a reasonable threshold right below what I perceive to be the average peak by looking at the audio waveform. If you have a longer audio file, you need to zoom in to see the details. An easy way to do this is to highlight a section and click Shift+S which is the zoom to selection shortcut. From this view, I basically just eyeball the waveform to see what would be a good threshold. I usually set it to somewhere around negative 20 to negative 24 decibels. But this depends on the levels that you recorded your audio at, so don't just copy those numbers. You have to look at your waveform. Now let's look at attack and release. These settings are generally fine left the way they are, but if you really want to fine tune it, then let's explain what they do. The attack time is how long it takes the audio signal to be fully compressed to the ratio set after it has crossed the threshold. The slower you set the attack time, the more you'll see that the beginning of your waveform has this bigger spike area. The faster it is, the faster the compressor will work, so it'll be pretty immediate and you won't really see that spike at all. If you want to keep that initial punch for your audio, make the attack slower. I generally go on the faster side since it's more important that the audio is evened out. Next is release time. The release time is how long it takes the audio signal to revert from being affected by the compressor to being uncompressed. It primarily focuses on the areas at the end of the audio waveforms after the threshold is no longer met. Adobe says that fast release speeds sound the most natural. These two settings don't affect your voice-over audio that drastically, in my opinion, so I keep them at the default settings of one millisecond for attack and 50 milliseconds for release. The last setting is makeup gain. Basically, all it does is increase the gain of the entire track by the level you set after the compression is finished. I pretty much don't touch this because I always normalize to negative three decibels after applying the compressor so that is the more fine tune increase in gain basically. I personally created a favorite for it and set the keyboard shortcut to be C. Those were the basics of compression. As the assignment for this lesson, go ahead and use dynamics and compress your audio using different settings so that you can get a feel for what each of them do. Try making the threshold really high or increasing the ratio by a lot and messing around with different attack and release speeds. The goal is to get comfortable with understanding how these effects change your audio. 9. Understanding EQ: In this lesson, we're going to talk about how to use the parametric equalizer in Adobe Audition. Let's jump right into it. Understanding EQ-ing is a pretty big topic that I can't fully break down in a single video. This video will basically give you a basic rundown on how I personally EQ. But first, what exactly does an equalizer do? To put it simply, an EQ is a tool we use to adjust specific frequencies, making them louder or softer. Let's open up the parametric equalizer so that you can have a visual of what I'm talking about. As mentioned in a previous lesson, you can find it in the Filter and EQ category under Effects, or I use the hotkey E. From here, you can see the different frequencies displayed on the x-axis and the decibel levels that you want to adjust it by on the y-axis. The boxes labeled one are points you can shift around using the inputs that align with the numbers. If I felt like there was too much bass, I would go to the 125 hertz area and lower it a bit. Let me go ahead and list out the different frequencies and what they are known for. Common frequency ranges that you can EQ are from 32-16,000 hertz. I'll go ahead and indicate what happens if you were to increase the decibal levels by a lot, as well as what would happen if you decrease them. At 32 hertz, if you were to boost it up higher, you'd get a thick and boomy sound. If you were to lower it, the sound would get rumbly and thin. At 64 hertz, high is thick and muddy, and low is thin and weak. If the 125 hertz area is high, it gives off a muddy body sound. If it's low, it creates a natural but weak sound. At 250 hertz, high creates a warm, boxy sound, and low creates a natural but weak sound as well. I'll go ahead and display other ones so we can go over this quickly. But notable ones are also two kilohertz: High creates a present nasal honky sound, while low makes the sound seem far away. Four kilohertz high creates a defined S sound, siblings basically. Then eight kilohertz high creates a bright but potentially harsh sound. The point in knowing all of this is so that you have a guide to compare your audio to. For instance, if your audio sounds very harsh and too bright, you would want to set one of the boxes to eight kilohertz and then lower it until it sounds better. If the audio sounds too muddy, then we can lower the 125 hertz a bit and increase the eight kilohertz area to add greater clarity by brightening the sound. The hard part is usually being able to tell what needs changing. It takes a good amount of practice to do so. But the more you practice with EQ, the better you'll be able to hear the nuances. This is why EQ is generally considered to be an advanced tool and why people recommend that you don't go overboard with it. Whenever I use it, I usually only do minor adjustments that change the audio only slightly. Another setting that I haven't mentioned yet that can definitely affect how the audio turns out is the Q factor or width. The default is two but if you increase it, you can see that it becomes more like a spike, meaning you're affecting less of the frequencies around you and primarily targeting the one you set the box to. If you decrease it, you'll see that it begins to affect the frequencies around it quite a bit. For me personally, I would only use EQ heavily if I were working with a microphone on the cheaper side. It really depends on the mic you use, your voice, and a lot of different factors. The best thing you can do is simply practice by listening and understanding what each frequency adjustment usually alters. For this assignment, go ahead and familiarize yourself with how to use the parametric equalizer tool in Adobe Audition. For the sake of testing, try changing the frequencies to the extremes to see how it affects your audio. This way in the future, if you notice that an audio clip has a certain sound to it, where it has too much of it or too little of it, you'll be able to pinpoint what that is and fix it in the EQ. 10. Limiters & Loudness: In this lesson, we're going to cover how to use the hard limiter and also how to test the loudness level of your clip, as well as how to get it to the right levels. So let's start with the hard limiter. You'll find this effect in amplitude and compression. I use the hotkey G primarily because it's right next to H, and H is just a little too far from my left hand to reach it comfortably. The hard limiter is a pretty simple tool that basically chops off audio above the value you set as the maximum amplitude. So if I set it to negative 10 decibels, you'll see that everything above that got chopped away and I'm left with the audio that's quieter than negative 10 decibels. The purpose of this is to decrease the dynamic range. Basically similar to what a compressor does. Sometimes after compressing and normalizing, you'll still see that certain peaks in the audio file make the rest of the audio quieter. This is because normalization simply brings up the highest peak to the level you set it to. So if you happen to have a really high peak, it'll just make that high peak go to negative three decibels, even though the rest of the audio is much softer. In cases like these, I just use a hard limiter to chop off the bit so that it's closer to the other areas of the waveform, and then I normalize again to negative three decibels. Now before we move further, let's cover a few of the settings other than maximum amplitude. So Input Boost, pre-amplifies audio before you limit it, making a selection louder without clipping it. This basically means it's going to increase the audio clip by this amount of gain before hard limiting. Look Ahead Time sets the amount of time to attenuate the audio before the loudest peak is hit. Adobe says to always make sure that this value is at least five milliseconds. If this value is too small, you will hear distortion effects happen. I pretty much always keep this at the default value as well. Then we have the Release Time which sets the time roughly needed for the audio to resume normal volume if a loud peak is encountered. In general, a setting of around 100, the default, works well and preserves low bass frequencies. If this value is too large audio can remain quiet and not resume normal levels for a while. Again, I pretty much just leave this as is. The extra settings are more so for other things like music production rather than editing dialogue audio. So you only really ever need to worry about the maximum amplitude setting, but I just wanted to list out the settings just in case you were curious. So the question is now, how much hard limiter can you use before your audio begins to sound weird? You can actually hard limit it quite a lot, and the audio will still sound pretty good. But generally speaking, as long as you're doing this after your compression step, you probably won't run into any issues with hard limiting too much to the point that audio distorts. With that said, another reason I use hard limiter is to reach a certain loudness. As mentioned before, the optimal loudness for a mono file is negative 19 LUFS and for a stereo file it's negative 16 LUFS. You can check this by opening the window, Match Loudness. From there, you drop your clip in and it'll tell you the LUFS. You might need to adjust the tabs for this window. The one that we want to see is the ITU Loudness. Once you find that, you'll find out whether or not you're at the correct loudness. If you're slightly off, like you're at negative 20 LUFS, the easiest way to adjust is to use the hard limiter at negative four decibels and then normalize back to negative three decibels. If you're off by a lot, like you're at negative 25 LUFS, you might want to go back to the compression step and compress with a higher threshold. If you happen to be louder than the optimal loudness, for instance, you're at negative 16 LUFS, then you might have compressed a bit too much and you want to lower the threshold. You can go back to the step in the history, or you can just decrease the entire audio file by a decibel or two using the gain wheel. Another option that I don't use as often is the Match To function in the Match Loudness window. You can hit "Setting" and this will pop up. You want to set it to the ITU setting in the drop-down menu, set the target loudness, and I would set the max true peaks at negative three decibels. You can adjust things to whatever you like, but I tend to never let my audio go above negative three decibels, just in case I stack audio on top of it later in the final edit. So for instance, if I were to add background music to the edit, what happens is my voice-over audio and the background music combine to create a decibel level that's higher than negative three decibels depending on how loud the background music was. The same thing happens with sound effects. So making the peaks at negative three decibels is just a safer method in general. So after you have that set, you can hit the "Run" button and it'll adjust your clip to match the loudness. The primary reason I don't use this that much is because basically all it does is increase or decrease the gain and then hard limit it to whatever you set the max peak at. I personally like being particular about the way I edit my audio, but as long as it sounds fine in the end, and you went through the compressing an EQ beforehand, making this the final step, it should work fine. All right, so the assignment for this lesson is to test out the hard limiter. Try changing the maximum amplitude to make sure you fully understand what it's doing. Then open up the match loudness window and then test your audio levels, and then from there, optimize them. 11. Cleaning Up Audio Quickly: After all the effects are applied to your audio, depending on what type of audio you're working with, you might want to clean it up a bit. I always do this for voice-overs where you don't really see me talking to the camera, you just hear my voice. But for videos where you do see me talking to the camera like right now, those ones are cut up in Premiere Pro. You won't actually do this step if you're synching audio with video. Let's go ahead, and cover how to clean up audio quickly, if you're working with something that doesn't need to be synched up with video. To clean up audio, the first thing I do after applying all the effects is listen back from the beginning. Unfortunately, when you playback audio in Audition at two times speed, which you can do by pressing the key "L" twice, it makes you sound like a chipmunk. If it's a short clip, I just listen back at normal speed. Once I hear an um or a large pause, I highlight the area, and hit "Delete". That's one way to make a selection and delete it. But the way I usually do it that's a bit faster is to hold "Shift" while your playhead cursor is at one end of the selection, and then just click the other end, and then hit "Delete". It will only be slightly faster in my opinion, so both ways work pretty well. Sometimes, you might need to zoom in in order to do a precise cut. To do that, I always use the shortcut keys, the minus sign for zooming out, and the equal sign for zooming in. Again, I have this on my mouse to speed up the process, and I also have different zoom levels added to further increase the speed that this is done. In order to set a Zoom Preset, first go into your keyboard shortcuts. I believe that the default shortcut key for the numbers 1-5 is "Save Current Zoom to Preset 1-5". If not, you can type it in, and set it to be those numbers. In order to find these shortcuts on the list, just type in "Zoom" and you'll be able to find all of them. Afterwards, you'll need to assign each Zoom Preset to a shortcut key. I basically just assign them to different combinations with "Command Shift" option, and control with the equal sign and a minus sign. Let's go ahead, and try it now that you have it set up. I'll click "Okay" and then zoom in to a certain point by hitting the "Equal" shortcut a lot, then I'll hit the "5" key to make this my Zoom Preset 5. Now, I'm going to zoom all the way out so that you can see that when I hit the combination I assigned for Zoom to Preset 5, I'll now be at the same zoom level I was when I set that preset. It's a pretty cool trick that helps us speed up editing by quite a lot. You can do it for five levels. You just need to set each of them up like I did with the Zoom Preset 5. Also, there's two other zoom shortcuts you should assign. The first one is "Zoom to Selection", which by default is "Shift S", and I keep it like that, which basically means it'll zoom to whatever you highlight it. Then there's "Zoom Reset", which zooms all the way out. I set this to be "Command Shift Minus". Again, you can find all this by typing zoom in the keyboard shortcut finder, and then assigning the keyboard shortcuts by pressing the combination that you want. I'll scroll through my list so that you guys can see the shortcuts that I've assigned. After you have the zoom keys all set up, you now have the ability to quickly zoom in, do fine-tune cuts, and then zoom back out to continue listening. Another thing I do sometimes when I listen through is silence any super loud breaths or parts that I just don't like. I assigned it the shortcut key as "S", just because it's easy that way. All you need to do is highlight and hit "S" to silence a breath or um or anything you don't want, in case you don't want to actually erase the space in between. Let's say you did accidentally erase the space in between words too much, you can add back some space by just copying a silent part of your audio, and then pasting it while the playhead cursor is at the spot you want the space to be. I do that sometimes when I did a cut that left too little space in between sentences. Another way to speed up the process after you've gained some experience is to look at the waveform while you edit. If you know that you did some retakes on lines that you made mistakes on, you can actually see that the waveform looks exactly the same in terms of the shape, and just cut out the earlier take because the last take is the one I felt satisfied with before moving on. If you really want to, you can listen to all the takes if you think you did an earlier one better. But usually, the last take for me is the best, so I just delete without looking back. It does save time in the end. Finally, if you're editing a very long audio file, and you just want to make sure everything sounds okay, there's actually a way to listen to it at a faster speed while not having it squeak like a chipmunk. We haven't gone into this yet, but just follow these instructions exactly. "Create a New Multitrack Session", you can either do this by hitting "Command N" or going up to "File", "New", and "New Multitrack Session". You can name it whatever you want, but just make sure you have the same settings as the audio file that you're going to drop in. After it's created, drag and drop your audio file from the project window into the "Multitrack". Then go to the top bar where it says "Clip", and then find "Stretch" and make sure "Enable Global Clip Stretching" is checked. You'd be able to see these small triangles at the top corners of the clip once it is. From there, you can hover over where those triangles are, and see a circular watch. What you can do is click and drag to resize the clip, and make it smaller. I'll leave it at 50 percent, which basically means, I'm playing the clip at two times speed. You can go faster if you'd like. Once you play it, you can hear that it still sounds the same pitch, just a lot faster. If you want to add a section, you just need to hit the toggle editor shortcut key, which is set to the key "F", and then it brings you into the single audio file editor. From there, you can do your edits, and then click "F" again. It'll bring you back to the "Multitrack Session" where you can listen back at a faster speed. Just note that after you delete the audio, it does unsync the toggle editor. If you go back and forth clicking "F", it won't appear at the same spot anymore. It's just something you have to get used to if you are trying this method. That is how I personally clean up audio in Audition. The assignment for this lesson is to practice cleaning up audio quickly by going over your own audio file, and taking out any long pauses, any um's, or bad takes. 12. Shorten Silences Automatically: In this lesson, we're going to cover an extremely useful tool that can save you hours of editing by shortening silences automatically. You can find this tool in the Diagnostics panel. In the panel, you'll find a drop-down menu next to the word Effect. Select the option called Delete Silence. After you click on that go down to find another drop-down menu and choose Shortening Silence instead of Delete Silence. What Shortening Silence does is it scans the entire audio file to look for what you define as silence, and then shortens those silences to the amount that you set here. Here's an example. I'm going to define my silence to be a signal that's under negative 38 decibels for more than 140 milliseconds and then define an audio signal to be above negative 34 decibels for more than 25 milliseconds. These settings are the default settings and I have adjusted the settings before by lowering the decibels, that's considered silence. Just in case someone spoke very quietly, just make sure that you go through your audio file afterwards to check that it didn't accidentally delete silent dialogue. But most of the time, even for the default settings, that will never happen. But if you're really worried, negative 45 decibels seems to be a pretty safe number. After that set, I click on "Scan" and Audition will look for the signals that I defined as silence and then display those sections in the list below. You can click on them to see exactly where they are at and from there adjust the amount of time you want your silences to be. I'll set it as one second and then just click "Shorten All" and [inaudible]. You'll see that the silences have been shortened to one second. I'll go ahead and do multiple examples on the screen for you guys to see, just in case it's a little hard to notice when you're looking at the entire file. I'm going to highlight this portion and you can see that I'm just shortening the silence in that section. If you think that shortening the silence to one second is a little long, you can adjust it to be shorter by changing it to something like 500 milliseconds or something even lower than that, then you can click "Scan" and click "Shorten All" again. This is a great way to handle long pauses in podcasts. Say you did a mixed down or recorded something with a friend on a single microphone and you wanted to edit the audio afterwards. Instead of going through the entire audio file shortening the pauses manually, you can instead use the shortened silences and then you have yourself a much tighter discussion without any dead space or long pauses, and it takes a lot less time to do that. Because you can adjust the duration of the silences. You can keep it natural by setting it to be around 1-2 seconds, which is 1,000-2,000 milliseconds. If it were a voice-over, I would probably not shorten the silences too much, maybe 1.5-2 seconds would still sound natural. It's a super simple tool to use that has a great amount of applications. Basically, if you ever find yourself manually taking out pauses a lot, try using this effect. 13. Dynamic Link with Premiere Pro: Here's a quick lesson on how to dynamic link between Adobe Audition and Premiere Pro. If you don't know what dynamic linking is, it's actually pretty simple to understand. Say you're editing in Premiere Pro and you brought in some footage with audio. Instead of editing the audio in Premiere, you can edit in Audition instead by right-clicking on the clip or clips if you have multiple, and then click "Edit Clip In Audition." Once you do that, Audition makes a new audio file which adds on extracted to the name and it'll replace the original audio file in the timeline. You'll be able to see this new audio file in the project window as well. From there, you can edit the extracted file in Audition. Whatever edits you do in Audition will transfer over to Premiere Pro in real-time. Just make sure you hit the "Save" button in Audition, otherwise you won't see the changes. I personally prefer editing audio in Audition just because it's a lot less guesswork on how you're shaping the audio in my opinion, and you just have more control overall. But this isn't the only way to connect Premiere to Audition. You can also go from Audition to Premiere Pro by finding the audio files saved location and importing it into Premiere. Every edit you make in Audition will be reflected in Premiere. I usually go from Audition to Premiere Pro for voice-over audio, but vice versa when it comes to camera audio that's connected to the video file. Dynamic linking is just a great way to have some flexibility in how you choose to work, and it makes working in Adobe Audition and Premiere Pro pretty seamless. Be sure to keep it in mind if you're editing a lot in Premiere Pro. 14. Conclusion: Congratulations, you have made it to the end of this course. Hopefully, you were able to complete the class project coming out with a well-polished voice-over audio clip. Practice is the best way to really internalize the lessons throughout this class. With enough practice, you should be able to edit your dialog audio quickly and effectively. You learned about how to manipulate the audition workspace, how to record with proper settings and technique, how to reduce background noise, apply compression, use EQ, [inaudible], and optimize the loudness. You also learned techniques on how to edit finished audio files rapidly. If you feel like any of these areas are weak for you, just review the video lesson and practice that step until it becomes second nature to you. If you guys enjoyed the class, be sure to follow me on Skillshare because I will be creating more courses on audition and eventually Premiere Pro. In the meantime, I do have a YouTube channel called dreamland that you guys can check out for how I edit and film specific projects as well as general tips on YouTube and video production. Let me know what you thought of the class and if you have any suggestions for future classes, I would love to hear from you guys. For now, it's been fun. I'll see you guys around.