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Chapter 4. Managing Audio Files > Working with Audio File Types

Working with Audio File Types

Audition allows you to work with a range of audio file types. The types of files you use will depend on a number of factors: how much hard disk space you have available, what type of audio source you used to import your files, and what other programs you'll be working with. (For a complete list of supported file types, see the sidebar “Supported Audio File Types” later in this chapter.)

Audition offers a great deal of flexibility in audio file conversion. Once you've opened and edited a file in Audition, you can save it in the format that best suits your needs.

To save changes to a file currently open in Edit view

  • Do one of the following:

    • Choose File > Save (Ctrl+S) (Figure 4.2) or

      Figure 4.2. Choose File > Save to save an open file in Edit view.


    • Click the Save Waveform button on the toolbar (Figure 4.3).

      Figure 4.3. The Save buttons on the toolbar.


    Audition saves the current file to the current location.

To save your changed file in a new format or as a separate file:

  • Do one of the following:

    • Choose File > Save As (Ctrl+Shift+S)

    • Click the Save Waveform As button on the toolbar (Figure 4.3).

  • In the Save As dialog box, browse to the folder in which you want to save the file.

  • If desired, edit the name in the File Name field, and choose a file format in the Save As Type drop-down menu.

  • Click Save.

    Audition saves the file in the chosen format or with the new file name to the selected location (Figure 4.4).

    Figure 4.4. Click the Options button in the Save As dialog box to configure settings particular to the file format you've selected.


To save an identical copy of the file currently open in Edit view, leaving the original active and intact

  • Do one of the following:

    • Select File > Save a Copy

    • Click Ctrl+Alt+S.

  • In the Save Copy As dialog box, browse to the folder in which you want to save the file.

  • If desired, edit the name in the File Name field, and choose a file format in the Save As Type drop-down menu.

  • Click Save.

    Audition saves the file copy to the selected location.

To save just a portion of an open audio file as a new file:

1.
In Edit view select the part you want to save.

2.
Do one of the following:

  • Choose File > Save Selection

  • Click the Save Highlighted Selection button on the toolbar.

3.
In the Save Selection dialog box, browse to the folder in which you want to save the file.

  • If desired, edit the name in the File Name field, and choose a file format in the Save As Type drop-down menu.

  • Click Save.

✓ Tips

  • To save all open files, choose File > Save All. If the files already exist on your computer, they will be updated to reflect any changes you've made. If one or more of them do not yet exist on your computer, a Save As dialog box will appear asking you to specify a folder location, a name, and a file type.

  • In the Save As dialog box, you can select the Save Extra Non-Audio Information check box to save information such as header and cue-mark data along with the file you are saving (See Figure 4.4). Beware of using such files in CD-recording applications other than Audition, however; some may convert the nonaudio information to a burst of unpleasant extraneous noise added to the beginning of your track on the burned CD.


Supported Audio File Types

Audition can open and save your audio files in any of the formats in the following list. Depending on the one you choose, you may be able to configure various options by clicking the Options button in the Save As dialog box (Figure 4.5); for a comprehensive discussion of these options, see the Audition help files.

  • Windows PCM (.wav)

  • PCM Raw Data (.pcm or .raw)

  • Windows Media Audio (.wma)

  • 64-Bit Double (.dbl)

  • 8-Bit Signed (.sam)

  • A/mu-Law Wave (.wav)

  • ACM Waveform (.wav)

  • Amiga IFF-8SVX (.iff or .svx)

  • Apple AIFF (.aif or .snd)

  • ASCII Text Data (.txt)

  • Audition Loop (.cel)

  • Creative Sound Blaster (.voc)

  • Dialogic ADPCM (.vox)

  • DiamondWare Digitized (.dwd)

  • DVI/IMA ADPCM (.wav)

  • Microsoft ADPCM (.wav)

  • MP3/mp3 Pro (.mp3)

  • NeXT/Sun (.au or .snd)

  • SampleVision (.smp)

Figure 4.5. The Options box in the Save As dialog lets you set MP3 bit rates to adjust file sizes.



Choosing an Audio File Type

In general, when you want to save your work in an uncompressed format, it makes sense to use the Microsoft PCM, or WAV, file format. It can store mono or stereo audio at various resolutions, sample rates, and bit depths. Stereo 44.1 kHz/16-bit WAV files are typically burned to CD-Rs to make audio CDs; this is the standard for the uncompressed LPCM (linear pulse code modulation) format used in the Red Book specification for audio CDs. The 80-minute CD-Rs in common use today can accommodate 700 MB of such files. LPCM WAV files can get quite large (about 9 MB per minute of audio), so make sure you have enough disk space available if you plan to store a lot of them.

The common practice of streaming audio, or making it available for download, over the Internet has necessitated the availability of compressed audio-file formats, and MP3 and Windows Media Audio (WMA) are among the most popular. Audition supports direct encoding of both MP3 and WMA files with a variety of options; you'll want to consider using these if your audio will end up on the Internet or if file storage space is an issue.

If your source files are MP3 or WMA, don't bother re-encoding them as CD-quality WAV files if you don't have to. While MP3 and WMA use sophisticated algorithms to compress audio data, and sacrifice quality in some cases, you can't add quality by bumping the file up to WAV. The software doesn't restore any information lost in the compression process; it basically just blows some air into the file.

The Audition Loop (.cel) file format is similar to MP3, but it's optimized for use in looping applications. Typically, very short silences are added to an MP3 file during encoding, either at the beginning or end (or both). This would wreak havoc in a looping situation, so built into the .cel format is a header that stores information about these silences so that they can be removed when the file is looped.

Most of the other formats you can use when saving files in Audition are specific to particular platforms or applications, and you need only consider them when your project requires it. For example, if you typically transfer your work between Windows and Macintosh systems, you may find the use of the Apple AIFF format (an uncompressed format analogous to WAV in Windows) very handy; otherwise, you probably won't need to use it. If you're working primarily in Windows and Audition, WAV (uncompressed) or MP3 and WMA (compressed) files should cover you well in most situations.


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