Aurally Finding the Music Section to Edit - dummies

By Jeff Strong

The traditional way to perform a musical edit is to find it aurally, in the other words to play the song on the tape deck until you hear the general area of the music that you want to edit. You then stop the tape and manually rock it back and forth against the play head to find the precise place to make the cut.

You mark the back of the tape with a wax pencil and go looking for the next edit point. This process requires careful listening, and finding the exact spot to edit often takes quite a while.

Finding an edit point aurally is often a two-step process: First you need to find and mark the general section that you want to edit using a marker (also called an anchor point), and then you need to identify the exact spot for your beginning and end points. You do this with the Scrub function, as detailed in the following steps:

  1. Listen to the song and place a marker (sometimes called an anchor point) on the fly as the section you want to edit passes.

    Do this by clicking the appropriate Marker button (the Insert key on a Tascam 2488, for instance). Mark both the beginning and end points as accurately as you can. Your markers will be a little off, but don’t worry about that now. Your next step involves honing those points using the Scrub function.

  2. Use the Scrub function that’s associated with your system to zero in on the spot you need.

    The Scrub function works much like analog tape where you can “rock” the music back and forth (this is called scrubbing, hence the name) to find the precise spot that you’re looking for.

    In some systems, such as the Tascam 2488, you can scrub using the Jog wheel. Start from the marker points that you set on the fly and dial the wheel back and forth until you find the exact spot to edit. This may take a while, so be patient. Do this for both the beginning and end points for your edit.

    Other systems, such as the Roland VS-1880, don’t allow you to scrub like analog tape. Instead, the Scrub function uses a short loop — from 25 to 100 milliseconds. The overall process of scrubbing is the same, except you have a couple more steps to follow. The Scrub feature on most digital recorders works pretty well; each just works a little differently and one approach may work better for you.

Not all digital recorders have a Scrub feature that works as well as the old analog tape rocking technique. So if being able to scrub is important to you, be sure to test this feature on the systems you’re looking at before you buy.

If you have a computer-based system, you may find a scrub-type feature on the Tool palette. In Cubase, for instance, the Scrub tool uses an icon that looks like a small speaker. Look at your system to see whether you have this function.