Loading and saving audio in Melodyne Stand-Alone

In this tour, you will learn how to open and save audio files in Melodyne Stand-alone and which file formats are used.

Opening files from the File menu

Choose ‘Open’ from the File menu of Melodyne Stand-Alone and navigate in the file selection box to the desired audio file. Select this, confirm your intention to load it, and the file will open.

The ‘Open Recent’ submenu offers direct access to the last twenty documents loaded. Simply select the desired entry and the corresponding document will open (provided it has not been deleted from the hard disk or moved to another location in the meantime).

If you have already saved an edited document, you can revert at any time to the most recently saved version by selecting ‘Revert to Saved’, in this way discarding any changes you have made since the file was last saved.

Opening files by drag-and-drop

If Melodyne Stand-Alone is already open, you can drag an audio file into the empty window Melodyne displays when first launched (or that you yourself have created by choosing ‘New’ from the File menu). An outline will appear, allowing you to drag the file to exactly the desired position in the time ruler.

As soon as you release the file, it is analyzed and the notes detected are displayed in the editing area.

In this way you can also drag multiple files into the window, positioning them wherever you like, in order, for example, to compose a new sample from multiple takes. The tempo of the document is derived from the first file loaded, though it can naturally be altered at any time.

Saving your work

When, after editing a file, you choose ‘Save’ from the File menu, the ‘Save As ...’ dialog opens, allowing you to select a format for the new file.

By default, the name and format of the original file will appear there; if you now click ‘OK’, the original version of the file will be replaced by the edited version. Don’t worry: the original file is still there; it is stored alongside the new file but now has an ‘.orig’ in its name. The saving of such backups is the default behavior of Melodyne Stand-Alone. If this is not what you want, clear the option ‘Backup existing file before saving’ in the Preferences dialog.

Once you have chosen a file format and saved the file for the first time, you will no longer see this dialog when saving subsequently. Each time you use the ‘Save’ command, the previous file will be replaced by a new file in the same format.

In the ‘Save As ...’ dialog, either the first time you save or at any time subsequently, you can select another format and assign a new name to the file. You can choose between the commonest audio file formats as well as ‘Melodyne Project Document’.

Save as Melodyne Project Document

The Melodyne Project Document offers a non-destructive means of saving your work provisionally and is comparable with the ‘One-Track-Song-File’ of a DAW.

What does that mean? Suppose you save your work as an audio file. In that case, your edits will be ‘burned in’ to the new file. If you later wish to change something, you will have to load the file again, which means a new analysis of the file will have to be conducted, which in turn you may have to check through and edit once more before you can begin working on the audio file. Since your earlier work is burnt into the audio data, there is no way to undo your actions. Saving your work in the form of an audio file is therefore the preferred choice only when you have really finished working on a file and wish to use the edited file in another software application.

The format ‘Melodyne Project Document’, on the other hand, saves your edits separately from the audio data. In the resulting ‘.MPD’ document, Melodyne saves not only data based upon its earlier analysis (or ‘detection’) but also a record of your editing. The audio file does not, therefore, when edited subsequently have to be analyzed a second time, and you can continue with your editing exactly where you left off. The audio file itself has still not been changed, since your edits are always implemented by Melodyne in real time. If you want to continue your work later, you should save the document in MPD format and only save it as an audio file when you are sure you have finished working on it.

One further note: a file in MPD format does not integrate the audio file(s) it uses but merely refers to them. If you want to move your work to another computer or pass it on to someone else, you have to transfer not only the MPD file but also the audio files involved. To facilitate this, Melodyne’s Save window includes the option, “Save Audio File(s) in Copy”. If this option is selected, the audio files used will be copied to a subfolder in the same location as the MPD file.