If you've run across a problem, please, drop us a line and we'll try to sort it out for you! Read on for some tips and additional info about Hokusai.
Quite a few people email us to ask questions that are already answered in the help that's built in to Hokusai. Now, that's OK — we don't mind! But, you'll probably have to wait until office hours before someone can write you a reply. So, if you haven't read through it already, look for the help button at the bottom of the Documents list, as it might get you an answer without having to wait!
Probably the single most common thing people ask us about is how to get audio in and out of Hokusai. This is because it uses the File Sharing feature of iTunes, and Apple, in their wisdom, have made this a little bit hard to find.
On their website, they explain how to find File Sharing in iTunes. You can then simply transfer audio in to, and out of, Hokusai. Exported audio will show up in the File Sharing list in iTunes, and can be saved to your computer. And any files you add to Hokusai in this way, will appear in Hokusai's "import" panel.
Another way is to use Dropbox. If you have a Dropbox account, you can browse through it for audio to add to a Hokusai project, and when you export, you can choose to store your audio in your Dropbox.
Sonoma AudioCopy/AudioPaste (which allows you to copy audio in one app, and paste it into another) is available in Hokusai as part of either the Tools Pack, or the Complete Pro Pack. Something to be aware of, though, is that you need to ask Hokusai to use it — the standard copy/paste tools use Hokusai's built-in pasteboard, rather than the shared AudioCopy/AudioPaste one.
The reason the built-in copy/paste tools don't use AudioCopy/AudioPaste all the time, is because that would require Hokusai to convert the selected audio from Hokusai's high-quality internal format, to an AudioCopy-compatible format. When you're copying audio from one Hokusai track (or project) to another, that would be unnecessary and slow the app down.
To AudioCopy, simply select a piece of audio with your finger, tap the "More..." menu option, then tap AudioCopy in the list of tools that appear — your selection will be AudioCopied ready to paste into other apps.
To paste audio from another app into Hokusai, tap the "Create" button in the "Add New Track" tray, tap AudioPaste, then choose a piece of audio previously copied from another app. Hokusai will paste it into a fresh track. You can also insert a piece of AudioPasted audio into an existing track by pressing your finger on the track for a moment at the spot where you want it to be placed, so the "Play/Insert" menu appears. Tap Insert, then tap AudioPaste and pick the audio.
Note: Copying to the AudioCopy pasteboard, also copies to the General Pasteboard, for compatibility with older apps that don't support AudioCopy. You can also paste from the General Pasteboard: when you tap AudioPaste and browse the list of previously copied tracks, if you scroll to the bottom of the list, you'll find a section marked "Compatibility with non-ACP apps" which contains the contents of the General Pasteboard.
Hokusai projects are always stored in 32-bit floating-point format, which means it never permanently clips your audio due to running out of "headroom".
if you're not familiar with these terms, this means that if you record or edit a piece of audio such that it's "too loud", causing distortion (the kind of digital distortion caused by this is known as "clipping"), you can simply turn it back down again and your audio is still intact. Some other audio packages would have permanently destroyed the sound, so turning it down again would only result in a quieter version of the distorted sound!
(If you want distorted sound, you can always use one of Hokusai's grunge filters!)
When you export audio, if you export in "High Quality Wave File" format, Hokusai will write files in the same high-quality floating-point format it uses internally, so no clipping or audio degradation will occur. Not all apps can read files at this quality level, though!
Hokusai can also export to lower-quality wave files, or compressed mp4 files. These formats can cause clipping, so Hokusai will check your project when you export to these formats: If clipping would occur, it turns down the levels slightly (normalises) as it exports, to prevent this. This only affects the audio file you export to — your project inside Hokusai is untouched; and if your project doesn't clip, Hokusai will not affect the levels.
Hokusai can, in theory, edit files of any size that will fit on your device, but as you might expect, the larger the file, the slower everything will be. In some extreme cases (very long recordings), even if it seems like the file should fit, due to the high-quality file format Hokusai uses internally (to store your audio and prevent it from deteriorating during editing), you may not be able to load the audio.
We originally designed Hokusai for creating sound effects for our games, and cleaning up and editing together short sections (eg a minute or two) of voice-over work. Our customers are successfully using Hokusai for longer recordings, but for very long audio you may find that either another tool is a better match or that you want to break the audio down into pieces, edit them separately, then put them together again.
The reason is that Hokusai lets you completely edit the audio, with full undo and redo, whereas many tools only allow you to cut pieces down to size and they permanently change the recording, with no way to get back the parts you've lost. Because we need to track everything that changes, and because we need to store the audio at a high quality-level, Hokusai projects take up more space and are slower to work with than, say, a typical voice recorder app. But you gain far more power, flexibility and quality.
Remember, Hokusai is free to download — so if you're not sure if it will be a good match for your projects, you can simply try it out at no cost, and upgrade to the full version if it meets your needs.