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Should An Audio Waveform Look A Certain Way

Posts 1 - 25 of 26
  1. 157151
    PatriciaEdwards : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    (wasn't sure what category to post this)

    Now that we can see wave patterns for loops, acapellas and tracks, just wondering if there is a "standard" of what a pattern should look like.

    There are so many shapes and forms: ones that are all one level, some with little squiggly lines in between, some perfectly ascending and descending in the beginning and many.

    Maybe it's easier to ask what a "bad/not so good" wave pattern looks like?

    Just curious.

  2. 510880
    SpadeOfficial : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Waveforms are defined mostly on the volume and panning of the audio. (I believe) the top half is the left pan, and bottom is right. (don't quote me there) So when it's "Squiggly" As you said, that's usually because it's panning. If they're little waveforms, it's quiet, and big is loud. So there isn't an "ideal waveform" So to speak, but you don't usually want to hear one that's taking up all the space, or is little more than just a line on the screen. Personally I think a good waveform is one that isn't too big, and isn't too little. (that's very subjective, I know) but the forms themselves have no effect on what the audio would've sounded like before looperman got these awesome new players.

    Now, this is all stuff I've picked up from being around them for a long time, but if anyone else has a better answer, please correct me.


  3. 157151
    PatriciaEdwards : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Hey cool! Thanks Shan :-)

  4. 268784
    3n0 : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    if u master youre track correctly u will have "good looking" waveform

  5. 510880
    SpadeOfficial : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Of course! I try to make my waveforms look real pretty (;

  6. 883744
    ElectronBlue : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    If your wave form is just a big black line then it's bad and noisy. If it's all wavy and sexy like a new crimp and only takes up half the space then it's cool to go. If it's all like a little squiggle at the bottom then it's way to quiet and you probably will not hear it and it's all pants. And that is the top 12string professional sound engineers view.

  7. 698780
    doudei : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    i agree on the volume, but also not quite sure about the panning top/bottom. usually when you have stereo information there are two waveforms, and panning left for example simply would be a line on the right channel (i.e. silence).
    i think the top/bottom part in a waveform is just exactly the position of the current sound. that sounds stupid so here is what i mean: if you imagine the speaker is moving back and forward to produce different densities in the air (i.e. sound), then optimally it moves exactly like the waveform, so in the top half the speaker would be a little bit in front of it's original position and in the botton half it would be a little bit behind the original position.
    when you zoom in on a waveform and you see it is not centered that isn't panning, i think it's the DC offset and can easily be removed by adding or subtracting the offset for every single sample.

    as for the waveforms that look like a rectangle: that means they have been compressed or boosted and limited a lot which makes the sound louder at the cost of dynamic range. usually in disco music you don't want a lot of dynamic range anyway, so brick-walling seems appropriate to retain a constant level over multiple tracks. in a classical piece you wouldn't want to compress and therefore reduce dynamic range at all to retain the emotion and sensitivity of all the played instruments (just as an example).

  8. 308224
    theHumps : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    doudei hits the nail on the head in his last paragraph. Don't overdo compression, let some dynamics shine. The loudness wars really have made an impact on the final product and has killed dynamics. Don't forget that there are volume knobs on every device out there. Don't sacrifice quality for volume, make those waveforms look good.

  9. 157151
    PatriciaEdwards : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    LOL @12STRING!

    I think I get it @Doudei, but you really lost me on that first paragraph, brain fry lol.

  10. 186161
    Spivkurl : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Since the waveforms went up, it's really easy to tell if someone isn't using their headroom properly. When the waves barely leave the center line, you know it's going to be quiet. Got to normalize those tracks people!

  11. 157151
    PatriciaEdwards : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Normalize? I'm guessing that "fattens" the wavform? How do you do that?

  12. 851137
    crucethus : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    normalize is a tool for adjusting the volume of audio files to a standard level. This is useful for things like creating mixed CD's and mp3 collections, where different recording levels on different albums can cause the volume to vary greatly from song to song. Audacity a free audio editor has this function built in as a plug in. I usually normalize in Sound Forge, but then again I'm Old Fashioned and like the software from the early 2000's

  13. 630386
    Unknown User : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Also watch the loudness and the boom factor. Your music might get lost or buried alive in it.

  14. 631823
    Mahloo13 : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Actually the blips and blops are nothing but sine waves of different amplitudes over different periods of time. You can't see panning in a waveform.

    Normalizing is not used to adjust the volume of audio files to a standard level. There are several loudness standard levels out there based on the work you do(music, film, post production etc.) and normalizing doesn't get you close to neither of those.

    It just takes you file and turns it up to 0dB.

    Most music is mixed and afterwards mastered and during the mastering process it is brought up to commercial(standardized) loudness level with the use of various tools (compressors, limiters, clippers, expanders etc.)

    Now for the "Looks" of the waveforms...the bigger the blob the louder the thing should be, if it's squared out it was either limited or clipped so there is no audio above that threshold thus the squared look. Usually fast transient sounds(drums, percussion) will appear as spikes, sustaining notes will appear as long blobs, etc. There is no standard as to how a waveform should appear.

    The loudness wars...don't even get me started on that subject.

  15. 208341
    drmistersir : Wed 12th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    i really like that you can see if it's one of those horrible brick samples, they irk me

    it's also nice to see where the quiet soulful sounds might be... rests turn MATH into MUSIC
    but i'm a visual cat...

  16. 157151
    PatriciaEdwards : Fri 14th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Got it, so Normalize makes all your tracks (say on a cd) the same volume. Oh how that makes sense.

    It really is cool to see all the prrreeettyyy waves lol.

  17. 631823
    Mahloo13 : Fri 14th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Mno! Normalizing does not make all your tracks the same volume....A Limiter does that.

    Normalizing just takes your highest peak in the song and calculates how much volume you need from that peak to 0dB and then boost your volume so that you reach 0dB.

    Normalizing is not something I recommend!

  18. 157151
    PatriciaEdwards : Fri 14th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Ok, so I don't have it...

    It isn't something I recommend either lol. I'm totally leaving all that jazz up to the EXPERTS!

  19. 186161
    Spivkurl : Fri 14th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    Okay maybe normalizing isn't for every mix. It can raise your noise floor, so you should have good clean recordings to begin with. If you master your song correctly normalization isn't needed.

  20. 983484
    Indozizz : Fri 14th Jun 2013 : 8 years ago

    really hard time to get my sounds loud without any crackling in it, maybe because i have a shitty laptop soundcard?

  21. 208341
    drmistersir : Fri 21st Jun 2013 : 7 years ago

    hey about this normalize thing....

    i don't have it... i run acid 5.0 for all my editing and such...

    any tips to make this part faster and more easily repeatable would be awesome!

    plus, my wave forms look pretty strange alot of the time...

  22. 631823
    Mahloo13 : Sat 22nd Jun 2013 : 7 years ago

    Ok so let's say you have a track that is already mixed and obviously that track has peaks and valleys, normalizing just scans for the highest peak and then turn the volume up so that highest peak reaches 0dB, it's the same thing as turning the fader of the track up to reach 0dB.

    If your highest peak already reaches 0dB then normalizing does nothing.

    If you want to make your recordings loud you will need a clean mix and then mastering and during mastering you apply several processing tools (compression, EQ, multiband compression, clippers, limiters, wideners etc.- not all of them and not in that order) all of which help you reach a desired loudness (RMS level if you wish).

    Usually the last processing tool is a limiter which acts as a safety so that you don't distort your converters or any other digital to analog converter (any playback system has a converter)

    The noise floor is raised by any processing tool that implies a boost (even EQ's) but assuming you have decent gear you shouldn't stress about it that much as it won't be audible.

    Normalizing has no sonic effect on the track. it's just a volume control applied to the track.

    You should not apply normalizing to individual tracks of a mix (kick, snare, bass, vocals etc.) as that would basically take away all of your headroom making you turn all your faders way down and that is very uncomfortable to work with and during mastering if you apply normalizing you are basically doing the same thing and you won't leave yourself no room for the processing that is to come (compression, limiter, EQ etc.).

    Just for the record I've never seen any mix or mastering engineer use normalizing on anything.

    Let me know if you need more clarification (better clarification) or any other tips.


  23. 111346
    Planetjazzbass : Sat 22nd Jun 2013 : 7 years ago

    When I was a kid a normalizer meant getting a haircut.

  24. 698780
    doudei : Sat 22nd Jun 2013 : 7 years ago

    i like that :D

  25. 678241
    J2age : Sun 23rd Jun 2013 : 7 years ago

    I try to make my waveforms look like weiner

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