To Edit Or Not To Edit? - That Is The Question - Part 1

05-19-2014 11:34 AM

In another article submitted by a community member, Niklas Blixt will be considering when we should edit and in the next part of this two part series will consider when we shouldn’t edit but leave well alone. Over to you Niklas…
Two Reasons Why You Should Edit In Pro Tools

Pro Tools has some of the best editing tools out there. You have Elastic Time, Pitch Shift, etc. Tools that weren’t even thought of back in the days of tape recording. Using Pro Tools as your DAW of choice you have one of the best set of tools to make a production theoretical perfect. So here are 2 reasons I think you should edit your audio…
Noise And Unwanted Sounds

To remove unwanted noise from your recorded material is probably the number one reason to grab your editing tools and start editing. Compared to back in the days where music was recorded onto tape, the computer based recording studio gives you far more options to edit out sounds that you don’t want. However it is easy to go over board and edit out every little noise that you can hear that’s not supposed to be there, like breaths from a singer, guitars strings squealing, etc. In my opinion sometimes editing all of that out can some times kill the vibe of the song. Depending on what style of music you’re dealing with you want to edit out anything that’s distracting. Sometimes a breath or nose from the guitarist moving his fingers on the strings can be noise you want to make it feel more alive. My rule of thumb is if the noise distracts you from hearing the music it has to go.
Pocketing and Pitch Correction

Pocketing is a technique referred to as adjusting and aligning recorded parts so that they’re lined up in time, so it sounds like the band is playing tight. Some people think this is cheating. I’d say it depends on what music style is and what feel you are after. I also know as a session drummer that it’s harder to play tight when recording overdubbing afterwards, compared to being able to play live together with the rest of the band.
A lot of people also look at pitch correction as cheating. Again I’d say it depends on what style you’re working with, your personal taste, and what the client wants. As a producer or sound engineer you’re there to make the client happy and it is possible to pitch correct without it being audible, again it is about resolving issues that would be distracting.
It’s all about the music

How much you should edit is ultimately for you to decide. You can go all crazy and edit out every little noise you can hear, quantise everything to the grid and make every note perfectly in tune. Personally I try to edit as little as possible. My rule of thumb is, if it distracts the listener from hearing the music I’ll edit.
In part 2 we will look at reasons why we should not edit.