In the Waveform Editor, the Editor panel provides a visual representation of sound waves. Below the panel’s default waveform display, which is ideal for evaluating audio amplitude, you can view audio in the spectral display, which reveals audio frequency (low bass to high treble).
View audio waveforms and spectrums
Viewing the waveform and spectral displays
A. Drag the divider to change the proportion of each. B. Click the triangle to show or hide the spectral display.
To identify specific channels in stereo and 5.1 surround files, note the indicators in the vertical ruler.
About the waveform display
The waveform display shows a waveform as a series of positive and negative peaks. The x‑axis (horizontal ruler) measures time, and the y‑axis (vertical ruler) measures amplitude—the loudness of the audio signal. Quiet audio has both lower peaks and lower valleys (near the center line) than loud audio. You can customize the waveform display by changing the vertical scale and colors.
With its clear indication of amplitude changes, the waveform display is perfect for identifying percussive changes in vocals, drums, and more. To find a particular spoken word, for example, simply look for the peak at the first syllable and the valley after the last.
Stereo file in waveform display
About the spectral display
The spectral display shows a waveform by its frequency components, where the x‑axis (horizontal ruler) measures time and the y‑axis (vertical ruler) measures frequency. This view lets you analyze audio data to see which frequencies are most prevalent. Brighter colors represent greater amplitude components. Colors range from dark blue (low‑amplitude frequencies) to bright yellow (high‑amplitude frequencies).
The spectral display is perfect for removing unwanted sounds, such as coughs and other artifacts.
Spectral display, with high frequencies selected
View layered or uniquely colored waveform channels
For stereo and 5.1 surround files, you can view layered or uniquely colored channels. Layered channels better reveal overall volume changes. Uniquely colored channels help you visually distinguish them.
Channel View options
A. Uniquely Colored B. Layered (with Uniquely Colored still selected)
Customize the spectral display
Determines the Fast Fourier transform shape. These functions are listed in order from narrowest to widest. Narrower functions include fewer surrounding frequencies but less precisely reflect center frequencies. Wider functions include more surrounding frequencies but more precisely reflect center frequencies. The Hamming and Blackman options provide excellent overall results.
Specifies the number of vertical bands used to draw frequencies. As you increase resolution, frequency accuracy increases, but time accuracy decreases. Experiment to find the right balance for your audio content. Highly percussive audio, for example, may be better reflected by low resolution.
To adjust resolution directly in the Editor panel, right-click the vertical ruler next to the spectral display, and choose Increase or Decrease Spectral Resolution.
Changes the amplitude range over which frequencies are displayed. Increasing the range intensifies colors, helping you see more detail in quieter audio. This value simply adjusts the spectral display; it does not change audio amplitude.
Change the vertical scale
Indicates amplitude on a scale that shows the range of data values supported by the current bit depth. (See Understanding bit depth.) 32-bit float values reflect the normalized scale below.
More Logarithmic or Linear
Gradually displays frequencies in a more logarithmic scale (reflecting human hearing) or a more linear scale (making high frequencies more visually distinct).
Hold down Shift and roll the mouse wheel over the spectral display to show frequencies more logarithmically (up) or linearly (down).