Editing wav files in n-track

Hello people,

I know that I will find much of the info I need in help files and by trial and error and I expect to get very much involved with that when I get home from work tonight. In the meantime I am just wondering how much success I am likely to have based on other peoples experiences.

I recorded my guitarist playing over my bass and drum tracks yesterday, but in the short time we had he was not able to learn the track adequately to play the whole five minute piece in one go without error (due in no small part to a couple of female friends not being able to stop their constant gossiping chatter for long enough for the poor guy to be able to concentrate). To get around this I had him record each riff just once or twice as individual tracks. Tonight I would like to see if I can cut / copy / move the wav files sufficiently to make a listenable guitar track for the whole thing.

Is N track going to be a reasonable tool to try to achieve this? I have previously only recorded entire tracks in one go (with the mind set that if you can’t play it well enough as such sitting in your recording place you are never going to be able to do it on stage anyway) so this will be a completely new approach for me.

Do people think it’s worth me spending the time to learn to do this… or should we just kick the girls out of the flat next weekend and try again from scratch?


I can tell you what it is when you have a 4-track drum recording with 7 takes, spent about 3 hours to learn it and get one bearable track. That was pretty frustrating, but after I got some of the hotkeys and other stuff under control, it wasn’t so bad. This is the way it went:

0) save your original .sng file to a different name.
1) listen to each recording, mark up each part of the song with +,- or blank.
2) start farming markers. Where the + part ends to a - part or blank (if you have a + part elsewhere… you got the point), there goes a marker.
3) enable snap to marker and start splicing the tracks, splice them all at this point, you can adjust their sizes afterall anyway. Pick up the good parts to a new track where the final recording goes. There is a hotkey for moving parts in a way that the offset isn’t affected, was it ctrl+shift+drag?
4) Now that you have all the good parts in a track, we need to look after smoother transition from one part to another. After you splice a track, you can grab the little rectangles from each ends of the track and make it longer. Listen to the track first, many parts can usually be left untouched. After you notice an unnatural sound in transitions( chord starts after it was picked etc.) zoom in and stretch the tracks so that you move both ends a little left or right, until it sounds right.

There, again, if there’s some better way to do it, let me know. For example, is there a way to move multiple tracks at once? Select them all and just move? Haven’t tried that yet :)

Yup, n-Track is very good at this. You do it all in the “timeline” view, which you should maximize.

1) Be sure to set the grid to line up with the existing tracks. (In the future, always create a click track using the metronome and then convert it to a wave file and load that as the first step of recording a song.) If you can line the grid up, it’ll make this 100 times easier.

2) Make sure the bass licks are lined up to the grid. (Shift-click on the grid button – or is it control-click – to set grid properties. Set it to “Always show”. Then turn the grid off, and use the drag tool to slide the riff until it’s properly aligned with the grid. BTW, it’s usually best for the gridlines to lead the actual 1 beat by a bit, so that cutting there doesn’t chop off the beginning of a note.) Then turn the grid back on. Now make sure you’re in “non-destructive” editing mode, which is the default, and only would be different if you’ve been clicking on random buttons to see what they do since you just started n-Track. If you’re not sure and can’t find that toolbar button, just restart n-Track.

3) Create an empty audio track into which you’ll “comp” the bass part.

4) Right-drag to select the measures (or beats, if the figures have pickups) in a bass riff and COPY (or control-C). Then right drag where you want that riff to go, and hit “Paste” (or control-V). If you want to paste multiple copies one right after the other, use shift-paste. Don’t worry too much if some of the splice points have clicks or pops when you play them back.

5) Repeat step 4 until you have the song roughed in. SAVE THE SONG whenever you like what you see! That way if you really mess up, you can just reload the song. Of course, there’s also “undo”.


7) For each splice that has a click or pop, turn off the grid; zoom way in (both vertically and horizontally), and slide the splice points around until the ending part meets the starting part at the same level and with roughly the same slope, so there isn’t a noticeable vertical gap or sharp angle in the resulting waveform. BTW, it takes a little while and a little fussing around to figure out how to move a splice point. Note that sometimes you’ll be moving just the right part’s start point, sometimes just the left part’s end point, and other times, both the left part’s end point and THE WHOLE RIGHT PART, so pay attention. After a couple splices, you’ll probably get pretty good at it. I can usually fix a splice in about 20 seconds. Again, save whenever you’re sure you like what you see and hear.

Have fun!

Note: if you can’t align your existing tracks to the grid, you can still use this method, except you’ll have a lot more manual adjusting to do and it will take quite a bit longer. That would be true for any DAW program.

Another note: When you’re new to N, you’ll do a bunch of things the author never thought of, and sometimes N will crash. That’s one good reason to save frequently. As you get more used to how it thinks, you’ll naturally stop doing “nonsensical” things, and n-Track will seem a whole lot more reliable. This is more true for MIDI than audio; audio editing tends to be pretty stable.

Mr. Lear is right on. audio is very easy to do. I am an old Acid Pro guy and that is a dream for cut and paste audio work, but N does a decent job as well. the symbol on the top tool bar that looks like a cross with arrows on each end is the button you click to allow sliding audio wave files around. For instance if you have a guitar lead and you want to place it in a song import it to a new audio track, then slide it to the right place. you can move it till it fits perfectly, then reclick that button and lock it in place. do that with each wave file part of the guitar and soon you have a guitar track

Thanks guys, and learjeff in particular.

When reading the above steps it seemed like it might be a bit much for me to get the hang of… but after a bit of messing around it all began to make sense.

I got about two minutes of the track in order and sounding perfectly good for my purposes last night, and should be able to polish off the rest tonight.

And so I am slowly getting the hang of this DAW business.

Cheers :)

N-track also allows you to export files to an external editor such as Audacity, CoolEdit, or Soundforge for edits n-Track doesn’t do as well.

While planning the playing and editing I will do when I get home tonight I have remembere the one thing that drove me insane last night.

I could not de-select the dragging tool after using. Clicking on the button again did nothing.

I had a search in the help file but looking up ‘drag’ does not even refer to this tool… let alone how to disable it.

I had to re-start N each time… surely not the right way.

Am I just being a complete fool here?

Thanks people

I could not de-select the dragging tool after using.

Switch back by selecting the button with a cursor arrow on it. I'm using an older version of n-Track and it's right beside the button you refer to on mine. Maybe yours is in the same position.

Hope this helps you out.


Urscumug got it right. BTW, you can temporarly change tools using one of the shift keys (control, I think, maybe alt).

Sure, Razorback – it’s hard to write about GUI drawing and make it sound as simple as it really is. Fortunately, we can fiddle!


I didn’t have that button on my toolbar but managed to add it.

Also nailed the whole track reasonably well last night. There are so many old bits of track with partial riffs I can now patch together and do something with. :)

Thanks once again people… I would have made only a fraction of the progress I have over the last few months without this place.


Good for you!

That button’s there by default, you must have deleted it by accident!
Lots of funny things happen when we’re using a new program, though.

After you get a little used to the prog, you might want to reset settings to defaults, in case anything else got goofed up. There’s an option to do that in Preferences somewhere.