I occasionally get some flack from people when I talk about audio editing.

First, there’s a group of people who believe that editing is cheating. They say that using audio editing tools to change the performance in ANY way makes it less musical, less real, less awesome.

Then there’s the other group of people who say I’m too “old school” in the way I do editing. My approach is super-simple, and it just requires basic editing tools. (Heck, I don’t even currently own any tuning software.) I just use the features in my DAW to get the job done.

But I personally think editing is an awesome tool, just like EQ and compression. It helps me ENHANCE the recordings, to polish them and make them ready to be mixed.

One of my readers left this comment on the site a while back:

Editing reminds me of pre-computer animation, in a way, because you’re zeroing in on brief events that will whiz by a listener’s ears… but you know and understand that the cumulative result of fine-tuning all these brief moments is a more satisfying song to listen to.

(Thanks Keith! I’m imagining that old Mickey Mouse “Steamboat Willie” cartoon.)

This is an AWESOME analogy for editing audio. You’re making small timing changes here and there. A little nudge here, a little cleaning up there, and suddenly you’ve got a bunch of audio tracks that don’t sound “edited.” They just sound good.

If you’ve done your job editing, you won’t hear the edits. The audio will “whiz by,” undetected by the listener. All they’ll know is that things sound tight and clean.

THAT’s what editing does.

And in my opinion, editing is a HUGE part of the recording process.

If you want to see how I go about editing drums, bass, guitars, vocals, and more (all using the “free” tools included with Pro Tools or any recording software) go here: