Anatomy of an audio clip
An audio clip icon on the Timeline has several parts. The boundaries of each clip are denoted by vertical bars. The actual content of the audio is indicated by a waveform graph:
Waveform graph excerpt from three neighboring clips.
The appearance of the waveform graph tells you something about the character of the sound. A quiet sound has a narrow waveform, close to the centerline of the clip. A loud sound has a waveform with larger peaks and troughs, reaching almost to the borders of the clip. A continuous sound, such as a car engine, has many pulses packed closely together. A staccato sound has brief pulses separated by silences where the waveform is a horizontal line.
The orange volume line graphically models the volume changes you have made to the track and clip. If you have not adjusted the volume at all, the line runs straight along the clip at about three-quarters of the clip height. This is the “zero gain” (0 dB) level, where the clip’s original volume has been neither increased nor decreased.
If you raise or lower the volume of the entire track, the volume line remains horizontal, but is now higher or lower than the zero-gain base level.
Finally, if you make volume adjustments within the clip, the line consists of sloping segments that meet at volume adjustment handles.
Unlike the waveform graph, or the adjustment lines for balance and fade (see below), the volume adjustment line is scaled logarithmically. Perceived volume varies logarithmically with the strength of an audio signal, so this feature allows the adjustment line to model more accurately what you really hear. For instance, an upward-sloping line segment will produce a smooth, steady fade up from the starting to the ending level.
The green stereo balance line and the red front-back balance (“fade”) line work similarly to the volume line, except that in both cases the neutral position is the vertical center of the clip, and the adjustment scale is linear.
Raising the stereo balance line positions the audio clip’s output further to the listener’s left, while lowering it positions the clip further to the listener’s right. Similarly, raising the fade line moves the clip away from the listener, and lowering it brings the clip towards the listener.
Note: You can only view and edit a clip’s fade line when the Volume and balance tool is in surround mode. The effect of adjusting the line can be previewed only on systems where surround-sound playback is available.
To select which of the three adjustment lines is currently displayed, use the audio clip’s right-button context menu:
Availability: Surround sound is supported in Studio Ultimate only.