Processing and Manipulating Audio Loops in Adobe Audition

As well as being a multitrack recorder, Adobe's Audition is a very capable audio editor with some useful features to help you edit and manipulate audio loops. Gary Hiebner shows how!  

Adobe Audition is a unique piece of audio software as it’s an audio sample editor, plus a multitrack DAW. So it really is a jack-of-all-trades in the audio world. I particularly like to use its sample editor, otherwise known as the single-waveform editor. I find that I can very quickly an easily edit an audio file in ways that are very different in your standard DAW. In this article, let me show you how you can quickly pull an audio loop into Audition, and manipulate and process it in very interesting ways.

Adding an Audio Loop into Audition

To add an audio loop into Audition, you can simple drag an audio file onto its interface and it’ll open up in the singletrack waveform view. 

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Or you can go to File > Open and navigate to where the audio loop is. 

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Now you’ll see a waveform view of your audio loop. I’ve pulled in a stereo file. You’ll see the left side on the top and the right on the bottom. I’ve used a stereo file as I’ll show you how can you can process each channel separately. Now let’s have some fun!

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Making a Selection

If you drag over an area in the waveform using the selection tool (which is chosen by default when you launch Audition) it’ll make a selection on the waveform. The selection area will be the area in white. 

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Let’s process this selected area using some of the bundled effects with Audition. How about reversing the selection. Go to the Effects menu, and choose Reverse. Now only that selection of the waveform will be reversed.

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How easy is that? Go in and reverse some other selections on your waveform. If you click elsewhere in the waveform outside of the selection it’ll deselect the area.

Adding Distortion and Delay Processing

Now how about adding some distortion to a section of the waveform. Make another selection, then go to Effects > Special >Distortion. This will bring up the Distortion effect window. Draw in some random nodes on this Positive and Negative graphs, and then click Apply.

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Now with this piece still selected, let’s add some further processing. How about some delay? Go to Effects > Delay and Echo > Delay. On the delay window, increase the Mix to 70% on the Left Channel and 80% on the Right Channel. Use a 120 ms delay time on the left and a 180 ms delay time on the right, and click apply. See how you can add multiple processing effects to the same selection. Go in and add some other delays to your audio, or even try out some reverbs on selections of the audio.

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Editing Volume on Waveform

If you find after some of the processing that elements of your waveform are peaking in volume, you can select that area and reduce it with the volume knob on the screen, and it’ll adjust the waveform accordingly. I found that I needed to edit the volume on the selections that I applied heavy distortion and reverb processing.

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Processing the Left and Right Separately

You can add separate processing to the left and right channel. To do this click either on the L or R to mute the channel, then if you make a selection you’ll see that it’s only created on the unmuted channel. I’m gonna go crazy and add different modulation effects on either channel. I’ll add some chorus on the left and some flanger on the right. You can really get some crazy effects, and really manipulate the audio of your loop.

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Using the Favorites

There’s also some handy presets under the Favorites tab. Try some of these out on your selection. I’m going to use the Telephone Voice preset on some of my audio, or maybe even the Raise Pitch preset.

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Time and Pitch Stretching

What also works really well is to time stretch or pitch shift your audio. Make a selection, and then go to Effects > Time and Pitch > Stretch and Pitch (process). Stretch the audio by something drastic like 200%, and set the Pitch Shift to -5 semitones

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Once you're happy with the audio manipulation and processing to your audio, go to File > Save As... and choose a format to save your audio loop.

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Conclusion

That’s how to use Audition to add effects and processing to unique areas in your audio waveform. It’s like working with your audio loops on quite a micro level, but it’s nice to get in there and add in this individualistic processing to you audio and create some different sounding loops. So try this out. You could export out audio loops, pull them into Audition, add different forms of processing (and also try some of the other effects that it has available), and then Save this audio loop and pull it back into your song.

Gary Hiebner is an enthusiastic South African Sound Designer and Apple Tech Head! Gary has been involved in the South African music industry for the decade, and in this time has also been involved in the sound design and music production for many advertising agencies and media houses. Gary is a devoted Logic and Ableton user, but he al... Read More

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