Even the best musicians make jarring, song-ruining mistakes, and sometimes these mistakes can be really frustrating in the recording studio, particularly if a single instrument screws up an otherwise perfect take. Luckily, there are some ways to mask or eliminate instrument mistakes using digital recording software, and experienced producers can use their creativity to save an otherwise unusable song.
Here are a few tips for fixing musical mistakes caused by instruments by using Adobe Audition and its built in tools.
1. Cutting audio – For isolated mistakes, you can simply cut the audio out of the offending track in a multitrack session. Simply place the cursor right before the mistake and hit Ctrl + K, then right after the mistake and hit Ctrl + K again. Delete the mistake. You’ll want to zoom in as close to the mistake as possible to avoid cutting out good sections, and maybe use Audition’s fade in and fade out features to make the track sound smooth and stop the cut from being noticeable. This works best on instruments that play a single note at a time.
2. Using volume dips and swells – If the bad notes are too ingrained in the song to use a cut, you can use volume dips and swells to mask it. Simply add points to the offending track’s volume by clicking on the top line on the track–this is Audition’s volume control for individual wave forms. You can use a fade in or fade out effect or suddenly dip the audio yourself using the mouse. With some experimentation, you can usually mask the problem.
3. Effects – You can use Adobe Auditon’s autotune effect to correct minor tone issues. In the single track view, hit Effects, then Special, then Pitch Adjustment. You can move individual notes as far sharp or flat as you’d like. This is a great way to fix guitar bends that didn’t quite hit the note they were looking for. Other effects, especially flange and delay, can also be used to sometimes mask bad notes, or make them sound intentional, but they require some patience, experimentation, and creativity.
4. Masking – A final, worst-case scenario fix is to try to mask the effect by adding in more instruments to the recording. You can have them play over the mistake to create a sense of dissonance, or simply to overpower a series of bad notes or other problems. This is usually inadvisable, as it often sacrifices the quality of a song, but not always. Sometimes, you’ll find that the creativity you use to mask the bad note ends up helping the recording overall, so if your back’s against the wall and none of Audition’s tools seem to help, masking mistakes with other instruments may be a good last hurrah.
Do you have any other tips for fixing instrument mistakes in Adobe Audition? Post in our comments section below.