Where to count the pregap from?


Can someone give me an advice regarding “trimming” my clips, leaving some pregap “built in” in the wav file.

I am unsure exactly where I shall consider as the “start of the audio”, with other words which point I shall use as a start point when drawing the pregap. Because if I zoom in a little on my audio track it looks like this: (see pic 1, “little zoom”)

…but if I continue zooming, it shows up more “signal” in the wav file, and I am unsure if this is actual audio or what it is? (see pic 2 “big zoom”)

Should I ignore the “audio signal” shown in the pic 2 “big zoom”, and instead count the beginning of the audio where the audio begins in pic 1? Any thoughts about this?
big zoom.jpg
little zoom.jpg

With these things, I usually decide if that little blip at the beginning is needed or not. If you listen closely enough, or loudly enough, you should be able to hear whatever it is and decide if it’s needed. If not, you probably don’t need it.

Sometimes these little blips are needed and sometimes not. I don’t think there is a definitive answer and it depends on the actual material, as well as if the client wants it there. Some clients are very particular about these things, and some have no clue.

When I do leave these in, instead of doing my usual 200ms of digital black between the track start marker and first audio, I usually split the difference and go closer to 100ms between the start of the track and start of the blip as this won’t be as alarming as a loud drum hit and is less likely to sound weird if the media player doesn’t accurately skip to that track compared to a loud drum hit or other loud event to start the song.

This is just my two cents, I’m sure others have a different approach.

Thanks for the answer.

The problem is that it goes so fast so I can’t determine its THAT audio that is playing. Is there any way to playback at slowmotion in wavelab?

What I usually do to hear what goes on in such examples, is to make a selection that includes the unknown ‘blip’ and play it as a loop. Even then it may not be clear what it is, and then I do as Justin said and increase the ‘safe area’ before the audio.

BTW, you can change playback speed by using the little clock icon on the extended transport bar. It opens a dialog screen where you can set a percentage of playback speed, like 25% etc.

So, with other words, when doing pregap, it isn’t necessarily from the first audio SIGNAL I count the pregap, but from the first note/beat of the actual music. For some of my tracks there are more audio “in front” of the piece of music waveform. I guess this can be for example very soft sounds of a ventilation system in the house, or maybe the sound of me moving my guitar in my knee, or the pick softly touching the strings. But all of these sounds, not belonging to the music, I can INCLUDE this in the pregap field if I understand you right? =).

This is all subjective but if I have a blip like that, I’ll usually do a slight fade in to make sure any noise floor before it doesn’t abruptly start and then let it live somewhere in the usual buffer space between the track marker and the first audible audio.

The way I see it, if this stuff is barely audible in a controlled studio environment on a nice playback system, it’s likely to be inaudible in the the majority of consumer listening environments.

So, if I normally leave 200ms between the marker and first beat of a song, but I have a blip that is roughly 50ms before the first beat or obvious sound, I may place the start of the blip 150ms away from the marker so the perceived start of the song doesn’t take too long to occur and as I said, it’s the louder/abrupt first beats that are most noticeable if there is a media player or system glitch when skipping to a track. These quieter blips are less likely to be problematic in those situations so I feel comfortable leaving them close to the marker.

The same is true for songs that have a long slow fade up. It’s mostly the louder/abrupt starts that I feel need closer to 200ms buffer between the marker and the first beat but I admit that is probably slightly on the conservative side but it works for me and my clients.

Of course, when two songs overlap where the first beat comes in during the sustain of the last note of the previous song, I put the track ID much tighter to the first beat so you don’t hear any remnants of the previous song before the first beat if you skip directly to it.

On the other hand, sometimes I clean up these blips and make a cleaner start to the song but I can of course easily get it back if the client wants it back. Most times they don’t think about it and it sounds good.

FWIW, experience has suggested that you try for as much pre-gap as artistically possible … up to around 300-500 ms.

Some CD players can take up to 200 ms to “unmute”.