Ever needed an audio file and that Jerk Mitch was too busy to help you out? If you answered yes to ANY or ALL of the preceding questions, then read on my friend.
First off, sounds are nothing to fear… unless, of course, they’re coming from Foster The People. But the type of sounds we have to deal with on a daily basis are much easier to bear. Whether you need SFX or voice acting for a video game or you need music for a video, follow these easy steps and you’ll be able to get the job done without the hassle of waking Mitch up:
1. Go to SoundSnap.com
- I have posted all the necessary information for SoundSnap as a Quick Reference Note in the “Know” section of our Intranet. This includes Username and Password information.
- We have an annual membership that allows us unlimited access to any and all the sounds and music tracks on the website (Literally hundreds of thousands of quality tracks).
2. Use the handy search feature to find what you are looking for
- A little tip, try not to be too specific with your search; SoundSnap is kind of picky about keywords.
- Take advantage of their filtering options. For example, a great way to differentiate between looking for music or sound effects is with the “Shortest/Longest Duration” filters.
- If you find certain sounds or music tracks that clearly stand above the rest as far as quality or style, note the user that made them and try searching strictly through their sounds. You’ll have better luck once you weed out the skilled authors from the poopy ones. For example, here are couple of great users for music: Dynamedion & Jonathan Geer. Here is one of the top choices for SFX: SFX Bible.
3. When you find what you need, download it.
- It’s always best to download at highest quality (either aiff or wav) and compress later.
Now that you know how to acquire sounds, you’ll want to know how to handle them. In order to edit, mix, and manipulate sounds and music, I just use Adobe Audition. It comes standard with the CS6 Master Collection. My instinct tells me that when most of you downloaded that, you un-checked “Adobe Audition” just as quick as you un-checked “Adobe Flash Builder”. However, if you do want to make your life a little easier, I urge you to go back in and re-check that little bugger.
Here are a couple of walkthroughs of Audition to help illustrate why it’s important and to give you a ground floor to start from.
BATCH PROCESSING AND CONVERTING AUDIO FILES
**WARNING** – Those with a short attention span, may not want to jump into Adobe Audition. If that is you, don’t give up, instead just download “Switch“. It is an incredibly easy audio converter and it’s free. You don’t have as much control, but if you just need to change a WAV to an MP3, this isn’t a bad way.
If you do have the attention to spare, I strongly recommend you continue on with Audition.
1. Open up Audition and select Edit > Batch Process.
2. This will open up the Batch Process window. Next you can drag and drop any files you want from finder to the window.
3. Next click Export Settings to change things like format and files size for the files you are about to convert.
4. Choose your file type of choice.
5. Then, click Change… and adjust the Sample Rate, Channels, and Bit Depth to match your needs.
- If you are putting sounds into a playable format for a client, chances are the default will work fine.
- For most games, where file size matters, you might want to make some adjustments. A great middle ground would be to set your Sample Type Settings to 32000Hz, Mono, 32 bits and your Format Settings to a Constant 80 Kbps. There is almost no noticeable dip in quality but the files size will go down significantly. If you need just a little lower size, bring the Format Settings down to 60Kbps. There will be a little more hiss in this but it should get low enough (possibly to the window or to the wall).
6. Finally, select your save location and output file name. Then hit Run and you’re done DMC!
EXTRACTING AUDIO FROM LARGE AUDIO FILES (SUCH AS VO)
Often times we might get VO tracks from a client for a flash game. This VO may need to be cut up, either to get rid of bad takes, or just to separate the good parts into unique files. To do this in Audition, here are a few tips:
1. First off, if you want to do it the really easy way, there is a little process called Mark Audio that will scan your audio clip and detect breaks of silence. Then it will make selections of only the parts where noise is being made. To start this process, select Effects > Diagnostics > Mark Audio (process).
2. Next, hit the Scan button in the newly-opened Diagnostics panel.
3. As you can see, this will make selections at certain time-codes. If any of the selections are marked incorrectly, now’s the time to make your adjustments. Then, select Mark All.
4. This has turned all your selections into Markers. From the Markers panel, you can export each selection to it’s own individual file.
If you trust computers about as far as you can throw them… and you’re using an iMAC, then here is another way to execute that process:
1. First, after importing your audio, double click it in the Files panel. This will bring up its waveform in an Editor window. With the mouse, make a selection by clicking and dragging from the start point to the end point of the desired area of your waveform. Then, select Edit > Marker > Add Cue Marker (do yourself a favor and remember the hotkey: M).
2. Do this for every piece of the waveform that you wish to extract.
3. Open your Markers panel ( 8) and select the icon Export audio of selected range markers to separate files. The icon looks like a floppy disk.
4. Now you can export your clips (refer to the export tutorial above on how to do that).
Sick of audio yet? If not, click here: