If you are trying to find out what crossfade means and are still confused, this is just the place to find out what it is! Crossfade is a digital editing process that you can use to create a smooth transition in digital audio production.
But before we go into that in detail, let us discuss what fade means. Fade is an audio term that means just what it sounds like. Even if you have not used fade as an audio editing term, you will surely have heard fading.
Songs often used to end with fading in the past. You may also have seen it frequently on sheet music, where it says ‘repeat and fade’. This means that instead of ending abruptly, the song continues at a gradually lowering volume. It finally ends when the volume becomes inaudible. In other words, it fades out.
Fading In & Fading Out
Once you start thinking about fading, you will realize that in addition to soundtracks, you have heard fading in movies and television. The soundtracks or music in movies and television programs often start at an inaudible level and then gradually move to a higher volume, until they are playing at full volume.
The same technique is used for audio recording projects. It is especially useful and applicable when doing narrations or voiceovers with background music.
Before the narrator begins their dialogues, the music fades in. Often, the music does not continue during the radio show or podcast and fades out once the narrator speaks.
Fading is used most commonly in multitrack recording projects for smooth starting and finishing of audio items. If the ends of audio items don’t fade out or fade in a little bit, you may hear pops or clicks because of the sudden starting or stopping.
Now let us talk about crossfading. Crossfading is when one small section of the first audio file fades out precisely when the second one fades in.
While recording your vocal track, you may make mistakes. When this happens, most of us wait for a bit and redo the part we messed up. During this time, the recording program keeps working in the background. This strategy works better than stopping and then redoing the entire vocals again.
However, this also means that once the recording is complete, you have to go back and remove the part where the mistake occurred. This is where crossfading comes in very handy. You can simply highlight the problem segment and cut it.
You will now have two separate audio items, the item that comes before the mistake and the segment that you redid. To join them both together, you can pull both audio segments and connect them together, somewhat like a train.
Some of you may remember that in analog days, crossfade meaning was very different. It meant dubbing the input from two source tapes to a new one while turning the volume down on one tape as you turned up the volume for the other tape.
You may think of crossfading as a digital process, yet audio engineers have been using this technique for years. In the past, they used two-channel faders on mixing consoles for crossfading between tracks or segments.
The difference is that the process is now very easy because of computer-based audio editing. As a digital editor, you can crossfade two or more audio files by fading out a source file as you fade in the other.
The outcome is a smooth transition and for a very short period, your listeners will hear both audio files play simultaneously.
Importance of Seamlessness
It is important that your listeners find your audio performance seamless. For this to happen, you may usually overlap your segments slightly. This means bringing the end of the first segment and the start of the second one in the overlap.
However, this may still give you an unnatural, abrupt sound transition. To fix this, you can end the first segment with a fading out precisely when the second segment starts with a fading in.
Many audio editing programs have an inbuilt default that automatically crossfades audio items with an overlap. You may try to do this yourself without using such audio programs or use one for greater precision.
When the objective of the crossfading is to edit one audio file, it is important that it is seamless. It should not appear as an effect where one segment fades in or out slowly or pleasantly. This is why the fade happens quickly. Crossfade is very useful when you want to avoid the clicking and popping that comes up often when you delete or cut an audio file is cut or deleted.
Crossfade Items On Different Tracks
The items that you want to crossfade don’t necessarily have to be on one track. You can use the same two audio segments and put one on a separate track.
They will both overlap; however, one will fade out when the second one begins fading in. What is different is that they will be on different crossfaded tracks.
Crossfade is also used for video editing. It is called cross-dissolve for video editing and is used as a video editing technique post-production.
Video crossfade is an alternative technique used instead of a jarring transition presented by a plain jump cut. You can use it to gently enhance the opacity of a scene over the preceding one. with one scene fading into the one after, both images overlap briefly.
Crossfade on Spotify
Applications such as Spotify also offer the option to crossfade. Users can follow specific setting options to eliminate the awkward gaps between tracks so that the music plays seamlessly.
All you have to do is follow a few simple steps for your mobile, tablet, or personal computer, and your music will never stop. You now have a good understanding of crossfade meaning. You also know how to use crossfading to smooth the disrupting transitioning between two audio segments. It is surely a very good and useful tool for better quality audio recording.