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Using Audacity to Record and Edit Audio Files
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Using Audacity to Record and Edit Audio Files

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Used for students in my Social Media class

Used for students in my Social Media class

Published in: Education

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  • 1. Author - unknownUsing Audacity to Record and Edit Audio FilesAbout Audio TracksLike most audio editing programs, Audacity allows you to work with a number of audiotracks as the basis for a digital audio project. I like to think of audio tracks as one personsinging or one instrument playing. People can be singing solos, one after another, withpauses or space in between. In this way you may have only one audio track at a time,perhaps one audio track for the entire "song" or multiple audio tracks one after the other.This is ideal for lectures, narrations, or conversations. Alternatively people can besinging together, with their voices overlaying each other. You can do the same thingwith audio tracks, perhaps having one track be vocal narration and another track beingsoft background music. Tip: Have a script ready before you begin recording narration or lectures.Checking Your MicrophoneSetupIn order to record voice in Audacity you’llneed to have a microphone connected toyour computer. It’s likely that just byplugging your microphone into yourcomputer Audacity will select it, but toconfirm setup of your microphone: 1. For Windows: In the Edit menu click Preferences... 2. For Mac: In Audacity menu click preferences. 3. In the Audio I/O or Devices tab Figure 1 look under Recording and make sure that your audio device or microphone is selected (Figure 1). a. If you’re using an internal microphone select “Built in microphone” 4. For voice recording 1 (Mono) channel is fine. 5. Click OK to confirm. Tip: if your mic is not picking up well, try adjusting the Record Level Meter Toolbar to increase or decrease the mics sensitivity.
  • 2. Author - unknownRecord a New Audio TrackTo begin recording audio: 1. Click the red Record button (Figure 3) to begin recording a new audio track, as indicated by the blue waveform display (Figure 4). Figure 2 2. To pause recording, click the blue Pause button. 3. You can restart recording where you left off by clicking the blue Pause button again. Figure 3 4. Click the yellow Stop button to finish recording this audio track. 5. You can click the red Record button to begin recording a new audio track, overlaying the first audio track.Note: If you click the yellow Stop button, and wish to begin recording where you left off,click the purple Skip to End button. Then click the red Record button to begin recordinga new audio track appended to the end of the first track.Deleting Part of an Audio TrackYou can delete part of an audio track by dragging your cursor over a section of the audiotrack, then clicking the Delete or Backspace key on your keyboard.Playing Audio Tracks 1. Click the green Play button to playback the audio tracks youve recorded from the current cursor position. 2. Click the purple Skip to Start button to move your cursor to the start of the track.Adding Silence to an Audio TrackYou can insert silence at any point in anaudio track: 1. Position your cursor where you want the silence to begin. 2. Under Generate click Silence (Figure 5). Youll be prompted to decide how Figure 4 many seconds of silence you want. Type in the number of seconds and click Generate Silence. 3. The silence will be inserted where ever your cursor is positioned, pushing the audio track up or back as necessary. Figure 5
  • 3. Author - unknownYou can also replace part of an audio track with silence: 1. Drag your cursor to select the portion of the audio track that you wish to replace. 2. Click the Silence Selection button (Figure 6).Saving an Audacity ProjectWhen youve finished recording and editing your audio file, be sure to save the Audacityproject. An Audacity project file preserves thetracks and effects, as opposed to a WAV or MP3file, which preserves only the audio tracks. 1. Go to the File menu and click Save Project As... 2. Select a location on your local computer to save the project. 3. Type in a file name for the project (Figure 7). 4. Click Save. Figure 6 Note: Audacity project files are not appropriate for distribution--youll need to make a WAV or MP3 file for that.Make a MP3 File From an Audacity ProjectMP3 is a widely-adopted standard for encoding audio files in a format that’s shareableacross computer platforms and media players. You’re probably somewhat familiar withthe concept of MP3 if you’ve ever heard of iPod,Napster, or eMusic.Before you save your audio project as an MP3you’ll want to ensure that the bitrate of the MP3file is adequate for your purposes. Generallyspeaking, the higher the bitrate, the better qualitythe audio file. Files encoded at higher bitrate arealso larger in size than those encoded smallerbitrates. To check the bitrate for MP3 encoding: 1. In the Edit menu choose Preferences... 2. Click the File Format tab Figure 7 3. Under MP3 Export Setup coose an appropriate bitrate (e.g. 96kbps) (Figure 8).Tip: Many MP3 music files are recorded at a bitrate of 128kbps. If you’re just recordingvoice, 64 - 96kbps will be sufficient.
  • 4. Author - unknownTo save your Audacity project as an MP3: 1. In the File menu choose Export as MP3. 2. Select a location on your local computer to save the MP3 file. 3. Type in a file name for the MP3 file 4. Click Save.

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