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Thread: Scrubbing/Scrolling a Track in Audacity

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    Scrubbing/Scrolling a Track in Audacity

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    I apologize in advance if this is the wrong place to post the following.

    As I don't use Audacity all that much I am not overly qualified in its use and or features.

    I currently have to edit a recording that was done about 55 years ago and ultimately converted into a VERY limited vinyl LP --- the original tape has long since gone AWAL. The audio has been captured by the client from the vinyl LP into Audacity then saved to a usb stick as an Audacity AUP file which I have since imported into my copy of Audacity.

    At one point in the recording I need to be able to cut into the audio and remove a section and then replace this with another section from elsewhere in the track --- I will almost be cutting in the middle of a sung line at the end of a word and then from the other section cutting just before the next word and ultimately joining the two together so that the song flows easily.

    I can do this on my digital recorder quite easily, but can not see how to do it in Audacity.

    Basically what I need to be able to do is what we did on analogue reel to reel recorders all those years ago --- hold both spools and slowly manually advance/rewind the tape across the playback head so that you could hear the audio (definitely not at play speed or pitch) and by rocking back and forward position exactly any required point on the tape, mark the point and cut the tape, then do this for the end of the section to be cut, remove the unwanted section and splice the required section into the tape.

    Can this be done in Audacity and if so how.

    David

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    As long as you're working in a nondestructive mode you can do it by trial and error, undoing and redoing until you get it right.

    But I'd much prefer doing this in a DAW than an editor so I could move the two parts relative to each other and easily apply a crossfade. That would actually be more like a diagonal tape splice.

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    You can copy the part you want to splice in to a new track in the project (I suggest creating a new project copy). Align it where you want and use fade in/out FX on it and the part being replaced to smooth out the transitions.

    If you want to just make a splice, make your edit cuts at “zero-crossing” points.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CSP View Post
    I can do this on my digital recorder quite easily, but can not see how to do it in Audacity.
    I would probably recommend that as a course of action then. Export the entire project from Audacity as a wav file; import that into your DR; then do your edits there.

    But to actually answer your question...
    Can this be done in Audacity and if so how.
    Yes. The general steps are. (If you're on mac, use the cmd button instead of ctrl)
    1. Click and drag on the waveform to highlight the section you want to move.
    2. Ctrl+x to copy it
    3. Click and drag on the waveform to highlight the section you want to replace with the moved audio (if you only want to insert without replacing, just click where you want to position it)
    4. Ctrl+v to paste

    As BSG suggested, make sure you're in nondestructive mode and use trial and error to hone in on the best results.
    Last edited by VomitHatSteve; 05-30-2019 at 08:03. Reason: Formatting typo

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    Sorry for not getting back sooner, but I have been out of town for a few days.

    I thank you all for the information given, but I think that what I need to do was possibly not made clear in the first instance --- or I am just getting to old !!!!!

    What has happened is that in one section of the recording there is obviously a scratch or jump in the track grooves and in the middle of a sentence/line it repeats from the jump point, it does this jump three times but then starts to play perfectly from the jumped point to the end of the song.

    What I need to be able to do (and I will describe it in old analogue tape fashion) is to scroll back and forth to the find the exact end of the word before the jump, then mark this point (we used to do it with a white pen). Then I have to find the very next word on the third jump (where it proceeds to play correctly to the end of the song) and mark the very start of this word.

    Then (again using the analogue example) I need to cut the track at the exact first marked point then cut the track at the exact marked point of the remainder, remove the unwanted bit in the middle and join the two bits together so that the track plays without the edit (or fault) being noticed.

    Back in the days of analogue tape, this process would have taken me possibly one minute to achieve, but in the DAW domain to expand the track to the point where a successful edit could be made, the timeline is traveling too fast to be able to do anything, unless I can somehow rock and roll the track while hearing the audio, then I could cut the track/separate track and do the same with the the point I want to join on to the cut.

    I hope that this all makes some form of sense.

    My only other option as I currently see it, is as Steve suggested, transfer the file to my digital recorder and do it there, but even there it is not as easy as in the analogue tape days !!!!!

    Any further advice will be greatly appreciated.

    David

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    No, I got what you're trying to achieve. In mine, Vegas Pro, you can scrub the audio if you want.

    The thing about using a DAW is that you have a visual reference. You zoom in and play while looking at the waveform, then make a cut where you think it should be, slide the downstream audio out of the way, play again to confirm the cut, then adjust as needed*. Do the same for the in as for the out, slide them so they butt up against each other, check the timing and adjust as needed, then stretch the clip edges to overlap them for the amount of desired crossfade. It's easier than it sounds. I've done it literally many thousands of times.

    *When you slice (that's the term Vegas Pro uses) the clip, you aren't stuck with where you sliced it. You can drag the edge of the clip in or out. If you drag it out the audio that you cut off reappears. For example, if I cut a clip in half and delete the later (right) half, I can still drag the right edge of the remaining piece out to expose the "missing" audio. Because of this flexibility it's best to let go of the old paradigm of scrubbing and use the power of the visual reference and nondestructive editing.

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    @CSP , you have to spend a fair amount of time to learn how to use whatever DAW you choose, and once you do, you'll realize that what you are trying to do is actually easier, more accurate, and probably faster than any kind of tape manipulation you used to use.

    I would just select a region covering approximately the part I want to cut and in most DAWs, that's going to limit the part that plays. Just keep playing it, and zoom in on the view and move the ends of the region until the area that play is exactly what you would have marked on tape. Cut it out, pop in the part that will replace it (marked the same way, with a little for x-fades) and slide that into an adjacent region/take/whatever-it's-called in your DAW.

    P.S. In Audacity, you can slow the play speed down and then restore it with that little playback speed slider. Might help.
    "... I know in the mornin' that it's gonna be good
    when I stick out my elbows and they don't bump wood." - Bill Kirchen

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    Thanks guys, I will give it another bash over the weekend when I get a bit of time.

    My main reason for not transferring it to my digital recorder is that (even at my geriatric age !!!!) I want to learn a bit more about this DAW thing that you all rave about !!!!!!!

    David

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