Audacity is an open source, free and easy to use audio editor and recorder. It includes powerful audio post-production tools to help create professional podcasts and music.
This class introduces the basic concepts and interface of Audacity. By the end of the class, you will gather basic knowledge of how to import, record, edit and export your audio project with Audacity. Some more advanced editing tools will also be mentioned such as auto duck and noise reduction. You will also have the opportunity to record or use our excercise file to create your own podcast. We encourage you explore Audacity's other advanced features that are briefly mentioned at the end of this class.
Go to www.audacityteam.org and download the newest version of Audacity. The version we use for this class is Audacity 2.2.2. Then install Audacity by following the basic procedure of your computer operating system.
From the STS Canvas Course Homepage, download the Class Files for Audacity. These will help you complete the exercise below!
When you open Audacity, it will automatically create a new project for you. If you want to create an additional new project, go to File > New
Let's go ahead and import some audio! There are two ways to do this:
For this exercise, let's use File > Import > Audio... to import the voiceover file and melodyloops-season-of-joy file from our downloaded Class Files into the same project.
Audacity will prompt you how do you want to import your audio, we recommand you choose Make a copy of the files before editing (safer). Audacity will keep the original files untouched so that you have a backup if anything goes wrong. Click OK once you have made your selection.
The default tool of Audacity. Use it to select, or highlight, any part of the audio to edit it.
The light grey area shows that this audio has been selected with the Selection Tool. You can hit spacebar or click the Play Button to play the highlighted section.
Use to zoom in and out on wave forms. To zoom in, click on the waveform. To zoom out, hold the Shift Key and click on the audio.
Press the View Fit Tool icon and Audacity will automatically rescale your entire audio file(s) to fit your project window.
The other way to gather audio is to record it yourself directly in Audacity! To do this, make sure you have access to a microphone or a computer with an internal microphone (such as Mac laptops). Let's start recording by following these easy steps:
Find the microphone level bar at the top right of the interface, and click to start monitoring.
If your mic level is too low or too high, or cannot see the shifting green bar, you can change your voice volume, or adjust the microphone sensibilit on the top left.
Choose the type of the microphone you want to use for recording. In this case, I am using the Internal Microphone directly from my laptop.
Click on the Record Tool to start recording in a new track. Press the Pause Tool to take a break while recording, or Stop Tool once you finish recording.
To delete a part of the audio file, select the part of the audio you want to delete using the Selection Tool. Press backspace or delete to erase the selected audio.
The Edit Menu includes basic tools to edit your audio.
This option allows a selected audio to be copied onto a new track within a project.
Use the Move Tool to move the audio you just split to the location you want it to be.
Use the Fade Tool to adjust the sound level of your audio. Click on the audio to reveal four dots on the waveform. These points allow you to adjust the sound level as shown by the wavelength.
Audacity includes many audio effects for more advanced audio editing. To apply an effect, first use the Selection Tool to highlight the area of the audio you want to modify. Then, from the Effect Menu, select an effect option to add to the selected audio.
There are many powerful audio effects in Audacity. This section will mainly focus on how to use the Noise Reduction Effect and Auto Duck Effect.
Record your own audio, or import the noise-reduction.wav file from the downloaded Class Files into your project
Use the Selection Tool to highlight some "empty" space between words within the recorded speech. This selection will be the reference point for Audacity to know what noise to filter out once we apply the effect.
Go to Effect > Noise Reduction... and click Get Noise Profile
Increase the Noise reduction (dB) to filter out more background noise. Keep in mind that if you choose to filter out too much noise, the audio might become distorted. Always make sure to Preview your effect before hitting OK
Auto Duck is an especially useful effect for podcasting. The effect reduces (ducks) the volume of one or more selected tracks automatically whenever the volume of a single unselected "control track " placed underneath reaches a particular threshold level. For example, you can have the volume of the track with background music reduce once the track with a voiceover is introduced at a certain volume.
Import the music file melodyloops-season-of-joy.mp3 and voiceover.wav file. Make sure the music file is on the track above the track of the voiceover file. If not, click on the small triangle next to the audio name, and choose Move Track Down
Adjust the Duck amount and outer and inner fade up/fade down length. The lower the dB of the Duck amount, the lower the volume of the music will be once the voiceover appears. The Outer fade down/up length is the amount of time it takes to gradually fade the music out or in before the voice audio enters. The inner fade down/up length is the amount of time given to continue the fade after the voice audio enters. Remeber to always Preview your edits before clicking OK.
BEFORE AUTO DUCK:
AFTER AUTO DUCK:
When you finish working with your audio files, you have several options for saving and exporting your files.
Saving as an Audacity project allows you to open the project later and add further changes to your audio. The information of your multiple tracks will be saved into the project. This is the best option if you want to continue editing in Audacity. Note that this project is only compatible with Audacity, meaning you won't be able to share your creation with people who don't have Audacity downloaded onto the computer they want to open your project from.
If you want to export your file to a compatible format, and you want to keep the best quality of your audio, export your audio as .wav (Waveform Audio File Format) file format. This file format is commonly used for uncompressed audio files and is compatible with most media players. It is also a larger file size compared to other formats.
If you want your audio files to have relatively good quality and smaller file size, export your audio as a .mp3 file. In order to export .mp3 files with Audacity, you will need to download a free MP3 encouder called lame.lib.