Why just crossfades as audio “transitions”?

This isn’t about HourGlass (at least at the moment), but just a general observation/proposal. Though actually the multiple sound sources weights morph ability in HourGlass is somewhat related to this.

I can’t think of a DAW or audio editor that has any other concept of “audio transitions” than volume based crossfades. This seems rather limiting if you compare the situation what the video people have at their disposal with all the wipes and other goodies. I don’t see why the concept of a transition in the context of audio processing could not be extended to a more sophisticated level.

This would really just involve having a concept of “deconstructing” and “constructing” sounds. In the traditional volume crossfade these would correspond to fading out the “left” sound and fading in the “right” sound on the timeline. But imagine if instead those processings could be lowpass/hipass/bandpass/bandreject filters, granular processors, spectral transforms etc. Someone really should do this! (And in the context of an audio editing paradigm. Obviously these kinds of things would be doable in Max/MSP, CSound etc, but then you’d also get the problem that those apps totally suck for doing anything that should resemble editing and arranging audio on a timeline.)

Now, someone will say “just put in some plugins, route the audio as desired and automate them blahblahblah…”. But that to me just doesn’t seem like a fluid workflow as we are living in 2011. I’d really just want to be able to overlap 2 sounds on the timeline and to get a more complicated transition than just a simple crossfade between those sounds…


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3 Responses to Why just crossfades as audio “transitions”?

  1. IXix says:

    Hear hear. Sounds like just the thing to fire a certain Mr. Frankel’s imagination. I bet it’d get done in a flash if someone mentioned it to him. 🙂

  2. Tom says:

    Yeah, totally.
    If you think what plethora of transitions there are for video editing…
    Audio in many ways is more “fragile” than imagery (and many of those video transitions are rather cheesy 😉 ), but still I think that many concepts in audio are pretty much recreations of old analogue stuff and only rarely are there really new concepts.
    You once mentioned thinking about creating a full DAW – in that context I’d think there is a place for a rather experimental DAW, that introduces new concepts like this in areas where everybody else is only thinking “crossfade”.
    I like that train of thought! 🙂

  3. Casey Basichis says:

    Its a great thought. The way DAW makers treat their music software as audio software is very annoying. Anything that isn’t analog to an analog mixer is a no go.

    Integrated transitions would be especially popular as many of the obvious transitions aren’t widely available as plugins (like spectral morphing and to some extent granular.) With morphing I almost am always creating a transition between two sounds so all the envelopes and routing hassle is totally roundabout

    The point you are making is that it is possible but not convenient to do those things. I know this isn’t hourglass specific, but if this were to find its way into hourglass — even with remedial editing features added, it still lacks all the convenience that a DAW or NLE offers. It would be a nice way of transitioning two sounds and bringing them back into the daw as a mixed audio file, but that would probably take as long as setting up a multichannel routing to do it in the DAW non destructively.

    I don’t mean to say it wouldn’t be a really cool feature for hourglass, but this is one that needs an intrepid DAW dev to tackle in an integrated way… I suspect that logic would be the first one to implement something like this.

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