The most common task that we have to do when working with audio track is detecting definitely time of each sound accent that we need to link with generated timecode.

When an audio track is simple we don’t have any problems. However sometimes we have to deal with complicated tracks where enormous numbers of accents can happen in couple seconds. It’s possible to get a time of each accent by putting time markers on the timeline.

The default in the audio edit software audio track has a Waveform appearance and by this view we can seen any stress part of the audio and figure out where we have to put time marker.

When we have a very complicated audio track where a lot of accent take place close each other it’s nearly impossible to detect definite place of each of them. Fortunately there is another way to manifests an audio track on the timeline. It’s Spectral Frequency view.

In reality we don’t need a common excitation level of volume in definitely time as the Waveform shows us. For us the more important information is excitation of exactly frequency because each accent usually takes a narrow frequency range.

Adobe Audition has the most qualitative frequency analyzer that I’ve ever used. Let’s see how this tool can help us when we work with an audio track.

So, after an audio track has been added in Audition app by default it shows us the Waveform on the timeline. Let’s turn on Spectral Frequency View. For that we have to click on necessary button that appears on the top side of the software.

Now our time line is divided into two parts. Upper part is Waveform and lower is Spectral Frequency. So, let's look at three types of accents that the frequency view allows us to identify in the track.

The first accent type is pretty clear accent in the music, drum beat or similar which is very well visible even in Waveform view. When in the moment of this accent other Instruments and sounds exist occasionally even such an obvious accent is not easy to find on the track. Especially when audio track has the break beat.

On the image above we can see that all this type accents was marked. Now we can compare what we can see on the Waveform view and on Spectral Frequency view. We can see that in some places, this bold accent is difficult to detect on Waveform because of the presence other sounds. Regardless of this on Spectral Frequency view we can see each accent clearly! Owing to the fact that each music accent takes certainly frequency.

The second type is accents that are located very close to each other and at the same time the volume of these accents lower than the first type of accent. On the Waveform, these accents are practically indistinguishable but on Spectral Frequency view we can see each accent clearly.

The third accent type is a musical accent that takes a long time. It can be a voice that pulls a note, it can be synthesized effect.

When I design a lighting show I prefer neat, frame to frame linked music actions and what happens on the stage, be it lighting or other technology. Therefore, the approximate point of entry and exit of accents has never satisfied me.

Above in the image in Spectral Frequency view we can clearly see when the accent begins it’s curve and when the accent finishes. Waveform doesn’t show such subtle changes in the music.

When I work with synchronization and I have to prepare an audio track for work I often use Adobe Audition Spectral Frequency view as you can see above it’s so useful. I hope this tool makes your sync life easier.