Editing audio files can seem like a daunting task, especially if you’re not familiar with the fundamentals of sound design. But with some simple tips and basic tools, even a beginner can learn how to edit audio files like a pro.

In this article, we’re going to provide some simple instructions for things like deleting audio segments, adding sound effects or music, and other easy ways to use audio editing. With these simple tips, you’ll be able to create high-quality audio content that represents your brand in the best way possible.

What is Audio Editing?

In a nutshell, audio editing is a term used to describe the process of manipulating recorded sounds, including dialogue, sound effects, and music. Audio editing can be used to enhance the audio quality of existing recordings or create new ones.

Types of Audio Editing

The two main types of audio editing are destructive and non-destructive. Destructive editing means that the original recording is permanently altered, while non-destructive leaves the original recording intact while creating a new version with edits.

There are pros and cons to each type of audio editing, so you’ll need to decide which one is best for your purposes.

Pros of Destructive Audio Editing

  • Export times are faster since you won’t need to render the edits.
  • Stack effects don’t require a lot of processing power.
  • You can see simple changes in compression or volume in the waveform.

Cons of Destructive Audio Editing

  • Edits must be undone in the order in which they were made.
  • It can be difficult to correct mistakes.

Pros of Non-Destructive Audio Editing

  • You can make edits in real-time.
  • The order of effects can be changed without altering the original recording. In other words, you can add, remove, or reorder effects without altering the original project.

Cons of Non-Destructive Audio Editing

  • You may need more processing power.
  • Changes to the waveform may not be visible until after your project has been rendered.

How to Edit Audio: Basic Techniques

It’s always best to start with the basics, so let’s dive into a few techniques every beginning audio editor should master. The techniques listed below can be done quite easily with just a free virtual studio software download installed on your laptop or home computer.

Some good options are Audacity, Power Sound Editor, Wavosaur, and Mp3DirectCut. Working with one of these beginner-friendly programs will give you a solid foundation on which to build more complex techniques when you’re ready to move on to more advanced audio editing software.

Recording and Transferring Audio Files

The first step is to record an audio clip by connecting a microphone as the input device on your laptop. You can record multiple tracks if your laptop has more than one microphone port. Or, dub over existing tracks by recording new tracks while previously recorded ones play in the background.

You can also transfer audio recording and audio files from external devices via USB. Most programs will allow you to import and export audio in various formats, including MP3, WAV, AIFF, and OGG VORBIS.

Once you have all the clips you want to use for your project in your workspace, begin dragging and dropping them into your timeline in the order you want them to play.

Sound Editing

Now that your first track is ready to play with, it’s time to start learning how to edit audio. There are three basic sound editing techniques you’ll want to master first. They include:

  • Fading: Fading is when you gradually increase or decrease the audio track's volume. It’s often done at the beginning or end of the track (sometimes both) to create a smooth transition between two clips.
  • Adding or Inserting: Learning how to add or insert an audio segment into your existing track is useful when you want to add dialogue or layer music or sound effects.
  • Cutting: Cutting simply removes a section of the track that you don’t want. It’s probably the most essential technique to master first since it’s usually the first thing you do when you’re editing an audio file.

Every software is a little different, but in general, you can simply copy and paste various parts of your track to rearrange the composition, delete unwanted sections, or mix tracks together and adjust the volume levels of each track individually.

Once you’ve mastered these basics of sound editing, you can edit any audio file like a pro. Experiment with different combinations to which effects you can achieve. There are no rules in audio editing, so don’t be afraid to get creative.

Trimming Audio Files

The next thing you’ll want to learn is how to trim audio files. This is a great way to remove pauses, dead space, or breaths in your audio track. Simply select the section you want to trim from your timeline and give it a listen to see how you like the effect.

Adding Audio to Video

Learning how to add audio to video is a great way to enhance your project, add background music, and achieve a more professional result. There are several ways to do this, depending on which software you’re using.

  • Adobe Premiere Pro: Start by importing the audio file you want to use into your project. Then drag it to the timeline to add it to the video.
  • Final Cut Pro: Create a new audio track by opening the “File” menu and choosing “Import Media. Import your audio file and place it in your video.

Making Audio Transitions

Audio transitions are used to smooth out the switches between sections in your audio track. Here are a few different types of transitions you can use and what they do:

  • Hard Cuts: A hard cut simply means that the first track cuts off abruptly and the second track is suddenly started. This technique is often used for comedic effect or to create a sense of suspense or tension.
  • Fades: When the volume gradually increases or decreases from one section of the track to the next, it’s called a fade. This technique can make two individual tracks sound like they belong together or it can be used to create a dramatic effect.
  • Crossfades: A crossfade occurs when the end of one track fades out and the beginning of the next is faded in. It’s a useful technique for creating a smooth transition between two separate tracks.

To experiment with these transition effects, simply drag and drop them into your timeline between two tracks to see which effects you like the most.

Basic Sound Mixing Techniques

There are tons of options for mixing audio tracks, but here are some of the most useful and basic techniques to experiment with when you’re first learning how to edit audio.

  • Pitch Correction: Whenever a recording has been made in the wrong pitch, pitch correction can be used to fix it or simply to change the pitch for creative reasons.
  • Delay: Delay adds a repeating echo that fades a little more each time the sound is played.
  • Reverb: Reverb adds an artificial echo to a track, which makes it sound like the recording was made in a larger space.
  • Compression: Reducing the dynamic range of a track to make the louder parts quieter and the quieter parts louder is called compression.
  • Equalization: Equalization is an adjustment in the frequencies of each track to make them sound better when combined.
  • Panning: Placing tracks in the left or right channel is called panning. It creates an effect that makes it sound like the tracks are coming from different directions.

The techniques can be used separately or in combination to create a more professional sound mix by removing unwanted elements and making separate tracks flow smoothly together.

Editing Music Before Adding it to Your Audio File

So, what’s the easiest way to edit music before you add it to your project? That’s where Track Club comes in.

Track Club by Marmoset is a meticulously curated music licensing subscription app for high-volume content creators. It gives you access to high-quality music at an affordable subscription price, plus the ability to customize each track to suit your needs, all right within the app.

Simply choose your plan and sign up for Track Club. Find the perfect song for your project using our Smart Filters to narrow down your search. Then use MixLab to customize your song and create unlimited custom stems.

When you’re ready, you can export your song as an MP3 or WAV file and add it to your podcast or video. Once your project is ready, you can upload it with confidence, using Track Club’s TrackID feature to ensure you have proper clearance to use the track.

Wrapping Up: Moving ow to Beyond the Basics

Once you’ve mastered these basic audio editing techniques, you’re ready to start working with professional audio editing software. Each software will come with different features, so be sure the one you choose will meet your needs.

For example, if you are editing audio for a podcast, you’ll need software that’s designed especially for recording and editing audio files. If you’re adding music and sound effects to videos, you’ll need one designed for videos.

Taking the time to do some research before you purchase will help you avoid paying for features that you don’t need, while also ensuring that the software will suit your purposes. It will also make your audio editing process much easier.