Hokusai 2


What's the problem you're having?

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.

  1. The Built-in Help
  2. Importing, Exporting & iTunes
  3. Finding All The Effects
  4. AudioCopy/AudioPaste Support
  5. Clipping and Headroom
  6. Track Length and File Sizes

The Built-in Help

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, check out the user guide, as it might get you an answer without having to wait!

Importing, Exporting & iTunes

Sharing audio is a lot easier than it used to be, as many cloud services are available. After tapping the export button, simply pick “Save To…” and select the service you require. You must have the service’s app installed on your device first! If the app is installed but it doesn’t appear in the list, tap “More…” and you should be able to enable it.

If you want to transfer audio to a computer over a USB or Lightning cable, pick “Save To Hokusai Documents”. You can then use the App File Sharing feature of iTunes to copy the files to your computer. Apple explain on their website how to find File Sharing in iTunes.

Or, if you’re using a Mac running macOS 10.15 “Catalina” or later, you can use Finder instead of iTunes. Information on that is also on Apple’s support site.

You can also transfer audio in to Hokusai the same way. Any files you add to Hokusai’s Documents folder will appear in Hokusai’s “Import” panel. From the Import panel, you can also access your Music Library, or (by tapping “Services…”) other cloud services.

If you’re using iOS 11 or later on an iPad, you can drag audio in and out of the Import panel to transfer files between Hokusai and other apps that support Drag & Drop (you can also drop audio into the Projects list to create a new project, or into an existing project to add it).

Or from a Mac, you can also AirDrop audio to your device.

You can remove files from the Import panel by swiping across them with your finger and picking Delete. But, note that you cannot “undo” deleting files, so be careful!

Finding All The Effects

If you just purchased the Pro Upgrade and are wondering where all the new features are, select some audio (e.g. by double- or triple-tapping on a track) and choose “More…” from the selection menu. This will open the effects browser with the full list of commands — there are dozens of them, arranged in groups. You can also “star” your favourites for quick access later.

If you instead tap the “Create” button, you’ll only see some of the commands — it’s a much smaller list, because these are the ones that can create new audio “from scratch”. The rest of the commands require audio to work with, which is why you need to select some audio first and access them from there.

AudioCopy/AudioPaste Support

Retronyms AudioCopy/AudioPaste (which allows you to copy audio in one app, and paste it into another) is available in Hokusai as part of the 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 Hokusai’s built-in 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 a lower-quality AudioCopy-compatible format. When you’re copying audio from one Hokusai track (or project) to another, that would be unnecessary, degrade audio quality, 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.

Clipping and Headroom

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 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.

If you need more information on this, there’s also a longer post about clipping and normalisation on our blog.

Track Length and File Sizes

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 run out of space on your device.

We originally designed Hokusai for creating sound effects for games. For very long audio, or for complex multi-track production, you probably want to look at Ferrite Recording Studio, which was designed for lengthy audio recordings like podcasts or audiobooks. Ferrite uses a different technique (“non-destructive” editing), which is better suited to long audio or for arranging clips into larger pieces, such as for radio journalism.

The reason is that Hokusai requires more space is that it lets you completely “destructively” 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 Hokusai needs to track everything that changes, and because it needs 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.