Sound advice for audio organisation.
May 9, 2010 6:54 AM   Subscribe

OS X software for cutting, organizing and editing audio?

I have 30+ hours of audio to sort through, and will need to cut out individual snippets of sounds and dialogue as well as whole segments, and organise them somehow (Speaker A, Speaker B, laughter, noisy, funny, b-roll, etc.), after which I'll be editing the whole thing into something new. It's much more granular than regular interview material, with some cuts no longer than one second.

I'm familiar enough with sound editing and software, but have no good solution for organizing clips. Some naming, rating and categorizing options would be swell (Pony: Transcription) and if it comes down to it I can do the editing in a separate app — I just imagine that it's easier to keep track of what audio I've already used if the editing is done in the same app. No need for anything fancy out of the editor, only multitrack + fades.

On previous projects I've brute forced it, using Audacity or similar to "Copy marked -> paste to new file -> save file as -> 'ambient sound day one folder'" but surely there are better ways of doing this? B
posted by monocultured to Computers & Internet (8 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
What about a combination of Audio Hijack and Logic pro?

You can create the snippets in Audio Hijack and open and rename them as a Logic pro with the various names (e.g. laughter_1, laughter_2, talking_3, etc). This will also give you the opportunity to shuffle them around.

I was putting audio samples from movies into a music track I was working on and it worked quite well)
posted by tbonicus at 7:24 AM on May 9, 2010

Fission, by the makers of Audio Hijack, seems to be just what you're looking for. I use it and love it.
posted by zachawry at 8:20 AM on May 9, 2010

Cubase, of course, is magnificent for this sort of thing, but I don't know what your budget is.
posted by mykescipark at 9:09 AM on May 9, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions all.

To clarify, I'm looking at creating and working with 300-600 samples, so any method which might save me ten seconds per clip would be a benefit; The method tbonicus suggest is a good suggestion for workflow, but not an improvement in time or work over labeling the files from Audacity or what have you.

I did try out Fission before posting but didn't find a "crop to separate file and save in library" function which is what I need, only a regular crop which again leaves me with creating a new file and saving it separately — I might very well have missed the function though and would love to be corrected since Rogue Amoeba make pretty apps.

As for Cubase, I just recall it as a MIDI sequencer app from fifteen years back. I guess it's time to take a new look at it. Would this offer non-desctructive editing by using a mark-in/out or have they included a traditional audio editor in the app? (Budget is an issue, but they used to have "light" version if I recall) Nuendo from Steinberg does seem to fit the bill, but not a demo-version in sight…
posted by monocultured at 9:29 AM on May 9, 2010

Ardourwill do at least some of what you want. It allows you to create and name regions (areas within tracks). Within a session each of these are available from a list for easy organization. You can export these individually , or just a selected range, to a separate audio file with a right click operation. What you can't do is export these on mass, or to a library, but you can import in bulk.

Generally I find the work flow in Ardour better and faster than audacity, especially because the former has shuttle controls which make all the difference when you are doing this kind of work.

You might also want to look at Rezound. It's only single track editing but it has some great controls which make it good for chunking up audio like this.
posted by tallus at 12:38 PM on May 9, 2010

You should look at AudioFinder.

Asset management of audio clips, granular editing, and much more. Frequently updated.
posted by conrad53 at 1:03 PM on May 9, 2010

Yes, Cubase offers completely non-destructive editing. You can rename any slice of audio to whatever keyword or sub-category you want and still leave it as part of a larger track. You can also color-code segments within the track for easier visual recognition if they are all part of a group. It is at least as flexible an audio editing/production program as Pro Tools. I produce a NPR show on it every week. They do have a light version which will do all the things you need for this calibre of editing.
posted by mykescipark at 1:18 PM on May 9, 2010

Response by poster: Thanks for all the great suggestions! Tapestrea looks like an awesome timesink; Not very useful for the extraction/cataloguing, but I'm looking forward to playing with it.

A friend told me of Sample Manager, and they seem indeed to be on the money for the extracting / naming thing anyway, if I only could get it to work… It looks like an Automator workflow but seems to bog down…

AudioFinder doesn't work with clips longer than 30 minutes, but that's easy enough to work around and other than that it looks promising. Will have to check out the manual in the morning.

Gave Adobe Soundbooth a try which is actually rather handy and quick, except that it doesn't allow subfolders of samples and that list will become unweildy… Plenty of metadata & transcription tools though…

Looking at the pricing of Cubase I'll have to wait until I'll have a client to pass the cost along to, even though the Studio version wasn't that expensive.

Thanks for your posts!
Feel free to continue, I'm not going anywhere in any hurry…
posted by monocultured at 3:20 PM on May 9, 2010

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