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Alan Smith
Audio Training
on Aug 18, 2009 at 7:15:50 pm

I am looking for some training in audio mixing and finishing. I produce a tv program and use Final Cut to edit and Sound Track Pro to clean up the audio. I am wanting to be able to completely master the audio myself. However, I am in need of some quality training on how to sweeten an audio mix. I do not need a "how to use this program" course, I need a "how to make audio sound great" course. Our TV show is a documentary show and so the audio is rarely pristine so there is alot that has to be done and I would like some quality training on effective sweetening of audio for TV distribution.

Any ideas or suggestions?

Alan Smith

Check out my blog -

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John Livings
Re: Audio Training
on Aug 19, 2009 at 5:12:55 am

Hi Allen,

The main 2 books I study For Recording and Cleaning up Audio are:

Audio Postproduction for Film and Video, Second Edition (DV Expert Series) (Paperback)

Producing Great Sound for Film and Video, Third Edition (DV Expert Series) (Paperback)

Both by Jay Rose

I bought mine at Amazon, Used.

Most Helpful, I recommend BOTH.

This forum is also great along with the Broadcast Video forum

Just my opinion,


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Bill Davis
Re: Audio Training
on Aug 20, 2009 at 6:22:25 am

Jay's books are great.

And I highly recommend them to anyone wanting a good grounding in practical audio theory.

That said, I'm not sure you're going to find precisely what you're looking for in any form of print.

That's essentially because audio sweetening is more like cooking than like driving.

In a task based deal like driving, you learn the pedals, switches, rules of the road etc then with some basic practice you're good to go.

But cooking really isn't all that "task based". It's about learning the properties of the ingredients and how they REACT to each other. You add cinnamon to this combination - it's great. You add cinnamon to THAT combination - it's HORRIBLE. Cooking is too complex to distill down into simple rules.

Likewise audio sweetening.

Take a simple voiceover. Each voice has specific frequency fundamentals that make it unique. It also features patterns of delivery that are distinct. Let's say your voice talent hits their "s" sounds hard - So you naturally try to find the frequencies of those splashy sounds and trim them. So you drop a low pass filter on things. Which removes the splashy-ness - but also reduces intelligibility to unacceptable levels. So you consult your tables about human speech, figure out the general high frequencies involved, and try to tone down the splashy-ness with a notch filter, or a bit of parametric EQ...

But NONE of them get you the sound you want. Maybe rather than dropping the frequencies around the S's - maybe you try propping UP other frequencies to make the "s" sounds fit better in the overall mix? Or not. Perhaps compression will help on THIS recording. Or make those "s"s sizzle twice as bad.

That's half a dozen reasonable approaches to trying to generate one "recipe" for solving this one problem.

And the truth is, nobody can tell you which one will work. BECAUSE THE VOICE and it's relation to the OTHER SOUNDS in the track are UNIQUE to your mix. The way that voice sounded on the day it was recorded saying those words recorded properly or improperly - digitized at a particular level using this particular microphone which was set up in this particular space - HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.

I'm not being difficult - and yes, there are some conventions that can help in some situations and resources like Jay's can guide you to them. But in the end, the ONLY way to become a good audio mixer is the same way you become a good cook.

Study, study, study the basic skills of the trade.... then
practice, practice, practice.

Good luck.

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