The Audacity program is an example of an 'audio editor'. This means that Audacity can record and edit audio. Typically, you use Audacity for recording sounds, like interviews or musical instruments. You can then use the program to combine these sounds and edit them to make documentaries, music, and podcasts.
In the past, audio editing was done with huge machines that recorded sound to tape (similar to the tape in tape cassettes).
Audio engineers would then edit these tapes using razor blades and sticky tape. Much of the jargon used in audio editing today comes from this process. Making a 'cut' meant literally cutting the audio tape at a certain point. 'Multitrack' referred to recording many separate sounds onto extra wide tape to fit more 'tracks'. The recording industry still uses these terms today. Many of the fundamental techniques which formed good audio recording and editing practices in the past, laid the foundation for recording and editing software today.
While many of the terms and techniques remain the same today, computers replaced tape machines, and digital files succeeded tapes. Hence, you now record audio and edit with a computer using software such as Audacity. You then store these sounds in files on a computer. This makes the process faster and requires a lot less physical storage space.
Audacity is a powerful tool for recording and editing audio on a home computer. It's a very sophisticated program and can do everything you would expect from a modern audio editor. Audacity perhaps falls short of meeting the needs of professional recording studios, but not by much.
You can install and run Audacity on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows.
Sounds are waves of air. We hear sounds because our ears are sensitive to these waves. One of the easiest types of sound wave to understand is a short, sudden sound like a hand clap. When hands clap together, they create a pressurised wave of air which moves at about 340 meters per second ( "the speed of sound" ). When this wave reaches your ear, it pushes on the eardrum slightly, causing it to vibrate and you hear the clap.
A hand clap is a short event that causes a single wave of air that quickly dies out. The image above shows the shape of the wave ('waveform') for a typical hand clap.
Other sound waves are longer events. A ringing bell is a good example. When a bell rings, after the initial strike, the sound comes from the ongoing 'ringing' of the bell. While the bell rings, it vibrates at a particular speed ('frequency') and this causes the nearby air to vibrate at the same speed. This causes waves of air to travel from the bell at the speed of sound. Pressure waves from continuous vibration look more like this:
Both of these types of waves are called sound waves or acoustic waves.
A microphone consists of a small membrane which vibrates when these acoustic waves meet it. The microphone translates movements of the membrane into electrical signals. Basically, a microphone converts acoustic waves into electrical waves.
If you examine the shape of an electrical wave from a microphone, will notice that it looks very similar to the shape of the original sound wave. The following is the sound wave we saw in the above explanation:
The following is the electrical wave created by the microphone (notice the measurement for 'Current'):
You could say that the shape of the electrical wave is analogous to ('similar to') the shape of the original sound wave. This is why these electrical waves that represent sound waves are called analog waves.
The main device used in digital recording is an Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC). The ADC measures the voltage of an electrical wave thousands of times per second. It then uses these measurements to create a map of an electrical wave:
Each dot in the figure above represents one audio sample. The more samples per second, the more accurate the mapping of the electrical wave.
Playback of digital audio uses a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC). This takes the samples and converts them back into an electrical wave. In a computer, this electrical wave is sent to a sound card's headphone or speaker sockets and the speakers recreate the original sound wave by vibrating their diaphragms.
A computer's sound card comes with an Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) for recording, and a Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) for playing audio. Your operating system (Windows, Mac OS X, Linux, etc.) talks to the sound card to actually handle the recording and playback, and audio applications talk to your operating system. In that way you can play sound files, capture sounds to a file, edit them, and mix multiple tracks.
Two factors determine the quality of a digital recording.
Sample rate: this is the rate which the ADC records samples or a DAC plays them back. Sample Rate is measured in Hertz (Hz), or samples per second. An audio CD has a sample rate of 44,100 Hz (often written as "44 KHz" for short).
Sample format or sample size: Essentially, this is the number of digits in the digital representation of each sample. Think of the sample rate as the horizontal precision, and the sample format as the vertical precision. An audio CD has a precision of 16 bits.
Higher sampling rates allow a digital recording to accurately record higher frequencies.
Higher sample sizes allow for more dynamic range—better reproduction of loud and soft sounds.
There are two main types of audio files on a computer.
Pulse Code Modulation (PCM). This is just a fancy name for the technique where each number in the digital audio file represents exactly one sample in the waveform. Common examples of PCM files are WAV files, AIFF files, and Sound Designer II files.
Compressed audio files are the other type. Modern compressed audio files use sophisticated psychoacoustic algorithms to represent the essential frequencies of the audio signal in far less space than PCM files. Examples include MP3 (MPEG I, layer 3), Ogg Vorbis, and WMA (Windows Media Audio). Creating one of these files sacrifices some quality in order to use less disk space.
You will need to have an audio file available to edit. If you don't have one and you are online then download an MP3 from somewhere. Make sure its not too big, a 1 minute file is fine. Choose the 'Open' option from the File menu :
You will then be presented with a window where you can browse to the location of the audio file on your computer :
You can see in the above example there are a couple of audio files. I will click on one (06_ice_cake.mp3) :
If I now press OK the file will be imported into Audacity.
Now its worth noting that Audacity has its own way of storing audio files. These are known as 'Audacity project files'. So when audio is imported into Audacity it is stored in the Audacity format. You cannot then go and edit these files with another audio editor unless you first export the file to another format (for example, to MP3).
Once the import has finished you will see the audio file displayed in the Audacity window :
Temporarily pauses playing or recording without losing your place. Press Pause a second time to resume.
Standard-speed playback. If an area of track is selected, only that selection will be played. Otherwise, playback begins wherever the selection cursor is. To loop-play (play the track or selection over and over until you press Stop), hold down SHIFT while pressing Play. This causes the button image to change to loop-play: .
Stops playing or recording immediately, and releases Pause if depressed. You have to Stop before you can use the "Skip" buttons below and before you can edit any audio.
Move the cursor to the beginning of the project. This is useful if you want to play everything, or record a new track starting from the beginning.
Move the cursor to the end of the project.
Recording begins at either the current cursor location or at the beginning of the current selection. Pressing Record always creates a new track, but you can append-record (start recording at the end of the currently selected track(s)) by holding down SHIFT while pressing Record.
You edit audio waveforms in Audacity in much the same way as you would edit text in a word-processing document. When you are editing text you first select the text you want to change and then choose what you want to do with it. You might want to cut or copy the text, delete it, paste new text in it's place, or change it to bold. You do the same thing in Audacity: first zoom and select the range of audio you want to change, and then choose what you want to do with it. (Source1)
This chapter contains a summary of the use of some of the tools that will allow you to start to edit your file.
To zoom in to get a closer look at the waveform, first choose the Selection Tool , then click near the point you're interested in, then click the Zoom In button. Keep clicking the Zoom In button until you see the detail you need. Note that when you click the Zoom In button the cursor is centered on the screen.
There are also menu commands and keyboard shortcuts for zooming. CTRL + 1) is the same as clicking the Zoom In button. (or CTRL + 3) is the same as clicking the Zoom Out button. (or CTRL + F) will zoom the waveform so it fits in the window.(or
Use the Zoom commands so that you can make maximal use of your Audacity window to see as much detail as you need, or to make sure you see the entire file when necessary.
Now click the left mouse button anywhere inside of an audio track, and click and drag to the other edge of your selection, and release. Some tips:
To extend or contract an existing selection, hold down the SHIFT while clicking the mouse. The nearest edge of the selection will jump to the current mouse pointer location. This is really useful if you know exactly what you want to select but it doesn't easily fit on the screen at once:
You can also extend or contract a selection by hovering the mouse near the edge of a selection, then clicking and dragging. When you hover close enough to the edge of a selection, the mouse pointer changes to a hand with pointing finger, indicating you can now click and drag the selection:
Press Space to listen to the entire selection. Playback will stop when the end of the selection is reached.
A convenient way to listen to only the adjusted start of the selection is to move the mouse pointer a little after the start of the selection then press B. The selection plays from the start of the selection to the pointer. To hear the adjusted end of the selection, move the pointer close to the selection end, then press B to play from the pointer to the selection end.
You can also play a length of audio either side of the selection by pressing C. This lets you make sure there is no audio you want to keep that will be removed. Playing either side of the selection would also be useful if you later wanted to cut a small piece out of that selection - you would select the small piece to be cut, then could preview how the audio would sound after the cut. To adjust the length of audio played before and after the selection, go to Cut Preview in the Playback Preferences.
There are some simple methods that form the basis of editing with Audacity. We will look at deleting sections of audio ('cutting') and shifting audio by pasting it in . With these two methods you can already do quite a lot.
You've now selected the portion of the audio that you want to keep. Make sure you have pressed Space to stop if the track is still playing, then to delete everything except the selected audio, click on .
If you make a mistake, you can always click on. Audacity has unlimited Undo and Redo. You can undo your editing actions all the way back to when you opened the file. You can also Redo actions that you have undone.
You now have a region of audio that starts several seconds (or perhaps minutes) from the beginning of the track. You could move the audio to the beginning of the track, using
You will of course have Audacity open in front of you with an audio file ready to edit. The process of editing requires that you first know your source file (the file you will edit). You need to know where a cut needs to be made so play the audio file and listen for where you want to make your first edit.
Lets assume you have chosen the area to be cut. You need to know select the area by clicking on where the cut should start, holding down the mouse button, and dragging the mouse to the end of the area to be cut. If you do this correctly the area to be deleted will be highlighted in grey :
In the above example you can see that I have highlighted the area from 1 minute (1:00) to one and a half minutes (1:30). A selection of thirty seconds. To delete the file I can now click on the Edit menu and choose 'cut' :
When you release the mouse button you will see that the selected area has disappeared and the length of your file will have been reduced.
If you wish to shift audio from one place to another then you can easily do so with Audacity. First select the area you wish to shift. I will use the same area I used in the cutting example :
Now choose cut like you did in the above example.
The audio will now be cut from the track. Now click on the audio that is left at the point you where you want this audio to be shifted to.
In the above example you can can see that I ahve decided to insert the audio at the 4 minute mark. Now choose the Edit menu and select Paste:
The audio will now be inserted and you if you look at the Audacity window you should see the selected audio in its new place :
Now experiment with cutting and pasting audio!
Zoom In until you can see the last two or three seconds of the audio clip and then Select the last one second of the waveform.
Click on . The last second of the audio is smoothly faded out.
Note that we always select some audio first, then choose what action we want to perform on it.
Other effects can be applied in the same way although other effects may need you to input information about how you want the effect to be applied.
It is important to know the different between saving your Audacity project file and exporting a file from Audacity. This becomes important when you start to use more than one track of audio and use the more advanced features of editing.
Projects created in Audacity are always saved in Audacity's own unique file format that cannot be opened by most other software.
If you are working on a project with more than one track then when you have finished your project you should save it as an Audacity file .aup. Audacity can save all the tracks separately the small changes to volume levels and effects that you have made. In this way you can come back and work on your project again. This may be impossible to do if you save your work only as an audio file like an MP3 or WAV.
If you want to archive your project onto portable media, an external hard drive for example then you should copy not only the .aup file that is created when you save it, but also the directory of the same name. Inside the _data directory is the raw audio data, so your project won't open properly if you don't copy that as well.
Because it is necessary to export projects to more common file formats in order to use them with other audio software or media players, Audacity will give you a warning when you start to save as .aup project files.
Audacity can export in a multitude of different formats these include: AIFF, MP3, WAV, FLAC and Ogg Vorbis.
AIFF, WAV and FLAC files provide uncompressed CD quality audio so this format should be used if you want to open your Audacity project with other music production software or CD authoring software.
MP3 and Ogg Vorbis are both compressed? audio formats so they have lower sound quality but much smaller file sizes making them ideal for use in media players. The most important difference between these two formats is that Ogg Vorbis is completely open while MP3 is not. For this reason you will need to download and install the LAME MP3 encoder before you can export in MP3 format.
To export a file from Audacity you need to have your an Audacity project open.
To export the file click 'File' then click on 'Export'.
You should now see the Export File window.
This file browser gives you an option on where to save your files, what to call it (Name) and the file format you save it in.
You can choose from several popular audio file formats by clicking on the arrow next to the WAV (Microsofr) signed 16 bit PCM text.
If you choose the mp3 format, you may need to download and install the LAME MP3 encoder if you want to save as Mp3. See the separate information about that.
There may also be Options for the kind of file you have chosen. Click on the Options button to set them.
Once you are happy with the name, file format and folder then click on Save.
The next window you see should be Edit Metadata.
You may see see a window which asks says Warning: Your tracks will be mixed down to a single mono/ stereo track in the exported file.
Mixing down our tracks into two stereo channels is exactly what we want here so click OK. If we think we'll want to come back to edit our multi track project then we should save that later as a .aup audacity file.
The time it takes to export the project will depend on the length of the recording and the speed of your computer.
When exporting is complete the above window will disappear. You should now be able to see the file in the folder that you chose to save it into.
That's it. You can now enjoy listening to the results of your Audacity project through other audio software, upload it to the Internet or transfer it on to your portable media player.
There are many sources of help on distributing audio files and podcasting which can be found by using a search engines.
However two popular websites stand out as being easy to use and a reliable home for your audio files; Sound Cloud1 and the Internet Archive2. There is help on using the Internet Archive as a Floss manual.3 There is also good help on using Soundcloud on their website.4
Software name : Audacity
Software version : 1.2
Recording sound with Audacity is very straightforward you just need to have a computer that has a sound card with at least a microphone (mic) or line input.
Before making a recording you need to make sure that what you want to record from ( the "sound source") connected to the audio input of your computer's sound card. Once you have done that you can launch Audacity.
OS X has a unique way to configure the audio hardware, which is not shared by other operating systems (Windows, and Linux). So if you use OSX you will need to make sure that it is set up appropriately. To do this first open the "Preferences" window by clicking on "Preferences" under "Audacity" in the Menu Bar :
The Preferences window open and look something like this:
Click on "Audio I/O". The use of "I/O" means "Input or Output", so "Audio I/O" means "Audio Input or Output". The Audio I/O preferences page is where you can choose the sound source (audio input) and how you play back the sounds so you can hear them (the output settings). This can turn into a jungle of terms but essentially these things are the same:
and these are the same :
The way you configure the input effects how you will record sounds. The configuration of the output effects how you will play back sounds so you can hear them.
Lets start with the output settings, these are refered to within the "Playback" section. In the "Playback" section use the "Device:" dropdown menu to select the audio output you wish to use. Unless you have another sound card installed "Built-in Audio" will be the only option available.
The input settings are chosen from the "Recording" section. In the "Recording" section use the "Device:" dropdown menu to select the audio input device you wish to use. Unless you have another sound card installed "Built-in Audio" will be the only option available.
In the "Recording" section use the "Channels" dropdown menu to select the number of channels you wish to use. A "Channel" (also known as a "track") refers to the number of audio signals you wish to use to record or playback. A mono recording uses one audio signal (1 channel), and a stereo recording records two audio signals (2 channels).
Audacity defaults to "1 (mono)" so you can leave it at this if you are recording from a mono audio input. Most microphones are only capable of producing a mono signal. Select "2 (stereo)" if you are recording from a stereo audio input such as a cassette or mini disc player (or a stereo microphone). It is possible to select up to 16 channels but do not select more than 2 unless you have something other than a 'normal' sound card.
Below the "Playback" and "Recording" sections are three check boxes.
The first check box is not important for this exercise because we are only recording one channel. If you want to listen to the sound as you are recording it you will need to have either "Hardware Playthough" or "Software Playthrough" ticked. "Hardware Playthrough" lets you hear the sound directly from the input source while "Software Playthrough" lets you hear the sound as it will be when the recording is played back.
Now click on "Quality" to bring up this page of preferences:
For this exercise you only need to worry about the first two settings; Default Sample Rate and Default Sample Format. Unless you really know what you are doing, use the dropdown menus to set Default Sample Rate to "44100 Hz" and Default Sample Format to "16-bit". This will give you CD quality recording.Those are the only preferences you need to adjust before beginning to record so click "OK" to save the changes and close the Preferences Window. Audacity remembers these preferences so the next time you go to make a recording you will not have to repeat the steps above unless you wish to make changes.
Windows and Linux use the same kind of controls. First you need to choose the input device. The Mixer Toolbar has three controls, used to set the volume levels of your audio device and choose the input source.
The leftmost slider controls the output volume, the other slider controls the recording volume, and the control on the right lets you choose the input source (such as "Microphone", "Line In", "Audio CD", etc.). You will need to choose "Mic" or "Line In" as one of the inputs. If you are using a microphone choose "Mic". If you are using another audio device (CD Player, Mini disc etc), choose "Line In".
Now that you have everything set up and ready to go you can begin the recording process.
Before making the recording it is important to preview the loudest section of the source audio so that you do not end up with a distorted recording.
First you need to switch the input meter on. This can be set in the main interface :
Simply click on the bars above the microphone symbol or click on the arrow next to the microphone symbol and select "Monitor input" like so :
Now play the loudest passage of the audio you are recording and, while doing so, look at the input level meter.
At the loudest point the red bars should be at about -12. You can adjust the input level by moving the slider next to the microphone symbol.
Keep playing back the loudest passage while adjust the input level until it peaks at about -12. Once you have done that click the "Stop" button :
Now you are ready to make your proper recording.
Click the "Record" button,
then play the audio you wish to record. Once the sound source has finished click the "Stop" button.
Your recording is now complete so save it immediately by selecting "Save Project" from the "File" menu.
That's it! Your recording is completed and saved. You can play it back by clicking the "Play" button.
If you are a Linux user and you see a message similar to this "Error Initializing Audio: There was an error initializing the audio i/o layer. You will not be able to play or record audio. Error: Host error." then you may have to try one of the following :
It maybe that the esd sound server is running which is not permitting Audacity to access the sound card. You can try running this in a terminal:
ps ax | grep esd
If you see an output similar to this :
5164 ? Ss 0:00 /usr/bin/esd -terminate -nobeeps -as 1 -spawnfd 18 10352 pts/1 R+ 0:00 grep esd
Then you can see from the first line that esd is running ("/usr/bin/esd"). To kill the esd sound server you need to type this in a terminal (you need to have the permissions to run the sudo command) :
sudo killall esd
You will then be prompted for a password, enter your password not the superuser password (also known as the "root" or "admin" password). Then try and start Audacity again, hopefully you won't get this error.
Start with aRts
You could also try running Audacity through the aRts sound server ("analog Real time synthesizer"). To do this quit Audacity if you already have it opened and restart it with this command in a terminal:
Lastly, you may wish to try starting Audacity after killing the aRts sound server. You can try this:
sudo killall artsdThen try starting Audacity again.
Software name : Audacity
Software version : 1.3
There are some more advanced steps for editing that you can carry out with Audacity. Some of these include, adding silence, trimming audio, splitting and joining tracks, using panning.
You may want to add a silence to a track for several reasons. If we take the example of a two track project with one track as music and the other track as a voice track then we can imagine a situation where we would want to insert a silence in the voice track for several seconds to allow us to fade up the music. This would work in an advert or introduction for a radio show.
To start with your workspace should look a little like the still below.
Click in the voice track where you want to insert your silence.
When the voice track is selected you will see the whole track go a darker colour.
You are now ready to insert some silence. Do this by selecting Generate > Silence from the menus at the top of the screen.
When you are inserting a number of seconds for your Silence, it is easier to add more and then delete some silence later than to add to it. So I'm going to over estimate and put in 20 seconds of silence, as shown below.
Enter the number of seconds silence you want to insert and then click 'OK'. You'll see the silence appear as a flat line on the relevant track of your project.
What we are going to do next is to decrease the volume of the music track while the voice track contains some voice audio.
This is done using a combination for the Time shift tool and the Envelope tool.
The time shift tool allows you to alter the time location of the audio on a particular track. This is useful when you are arranging audio on different tracks to be placed on after the other in a sequence.
In the example below we have imported two audio files into a project. They both are set to start at 0.00 seconds.
Our goal is to place the music track after the audio track. To do this use the mouse to select the Time Shift tool from the menu at the top of the workspace.
You can select the track you want and drag it left or right to occupy a new time location.
As you click and drag the second track to the right you may see some yellow guidelines appear to shows you the ending point of the other tracks. In the shot above the yellow guideline appeared when the start of the second track matched up with the end of the first one.
You should let go of the mouse when you are happy with the new time location of the track you a shifting.
Trimming audio tracks is useful when you only want to keep one part of the track. It is also different from using the cutting function as it maintains the time location of the part of the track you want to keep.
As an example we are going to trim a music track to only include the first 30 seconds or so. To do this select only the part of the track that you want to keep. Use the Selection tool to do this
When you have selected the part of the audio that you want to keep it should show up in a darker colour. You should then select 'Edit > Trim' .
If all works well then only the part you had selected will still be present on your track
Sometimes when you are recording you may only record one channel of your track correctly. Or there may be another reason that you want to only work with either the left or right channel.
Below shows a track with one channel much louder than the other.
We are going to work on only the left channel (the top one). So we need to Select 'Split Stereo Track' from the drop down menu by the right of the track.
We can then delete the Right channel signal, as it has now become a separate track. Click on the X on the left of the track area.
If we play the remaining track then we'll be able to hear that the sound is only coming through one channel. This can be seen in the green signal in the screenshot below.
To adjust this we can select 'Mono' from the drop down menu on the left of the track bar.
This track will now play the same mono audio signal through both channels. You can export it to a stereo track if you need to.
Software name : Audacity
Software version : 1.3
Audacity enables you to mix multiple sounds together. You will need Audacity open and an audio file already loaded, and then you can add as many new files as you like.
Ok, so Audacity should be open in front of you and you will have some audio already loaded. In this example we will be working with a sound file I have opened from my computer, and so my Audacity window looks like this :
Now, we wish to add another sound file. To do this you will need to have another sound piece on your computer ready to go, and you will need to know where this file is located on your computer. Then click on File and choose 'Import' and then 'Audio...' :
When you have done this a file browser will open :
In the above example I am very lucky as the file I wish to load is in the directory shown. If the file was not here I would have to use the file browser to locate the file on my computer. To do this you would open directories by double-clicking on the directory icons, or you can go 'up a directory' by clicking on the button with the directory icon and green arrow :
In my case I will click on the 'myfile.ogg'. You may want to choose a 'wav', 'aiff', 'flac' or an 'mp3' file also all of these are supported in Audacity.
I know press OK and the file will be imported. 'Importing' means that the file will be converted into a format that Audacity understands and appear in the Audacity window as a new track. So you when you press 'OK' the importing process begins :
When it is complete the new track can be seen in the Audacity window :
You will notice that in the above example there is a new stereo track added at the bottom of the window. If you don't see this then you might need to scroll down on your Audacity window.
If you now press the 'Play' Button :
The envelope tool is probably the most important tool for Audacity users. It allows you to alter the volume of the sounds in Audacity which is especially important when you are combining ('mixing') several tracks together.
You will first have to have Audacity open with more than one track. We will use two stereo music files to mix together using the Envleope Tool. So my Audacity initially looks like this :
The Envelope Tool has an icon in the Audacity Tool Bar, it looks like this :
When you click on it there are two parts of the Audacity interface that change, the first is that the Envelope Tool button looks like it has been pressed :
The second is that the tracks are surrounded by a blue line. Before pressing the Envelope Tool a track looks like this :
After pressing it looks like this:
You can see the blue line around the track in the above image. This means the Envelope Tool is activated.
The thin blue line actually represents the volume of the track. You can now lower the volume on chosen sections of the track by changing the shape of this blue line. To do this click on the blue line, you will see small white squares appear where you clicked :
Now you can 'grab' the blue line at the point where these squares appear. To show you how this can change the volume of just one part of the audio click on the blue line close to where you first clicked :
Now point your mouse cursor on the top white square on the left side, and while your mouse finger is still down, drag the square downwards :
You will notice the area to the left gets smaller (the volume is lowered), and the area to the right gets bigger until it reaches the second set of squares. If you now play back the track you will hear the volume levels follow the lines you have made.
Using the Envelope Tool is the secret to mixing two or more tracks together into one sound piece. You can now experiment using the Envelope Tool and playing back the audio so you can hear how the tracks blend together. At the end you might have a lot of sections affected to create a single sound piece :
For more help with Audacity you can try these avenues:
You should first look at the very good documentation at the developers site - http://audacity.sourceforge.net
Also try the Audacity FAQ (Frequenctly Asked Questions) - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/faq
You can also try searching through the forums for information.
The forums contain a lot of postings from users on many topics. You can use the search system to locate topics or just browse the categories. If you don't find what you want then try subscribing to the forums and posting your question to the relevant category.
There are a few things to keep in mind when asking a question in a forum or to a mailing list. First, be as clear as you can with your question and provide any infromation that you might think would help some to try to help you. You might, for example, include information about the operating system you are using, or various specifics that relate to what you are trying to achieve. Additionally, it is always good practice to also post back to any forum or mailing list if you manage to solve your query and include clear information on how you solved the puzzle. This is so that someone else that may have the same issue can resolve it using what you have found out. If possible post back to the same thread (discussion topic) so that anyone searching through the forum can follow the discussion including the solution.
Mailing lists are good places to look through for answers to questions. The subscription (also the archives are listed on each info page) information is located here :
You can also subscribe to the mailing lists and ask a question. Please note the suggestions about posting to forums and mailing lists in the above section.
IRC is a type of online chat. it is not the easiest to use if you are not familair with it but it is a very good system. There are a variety of softwares for all operating systems that enable you to use IRC. The IRC channel for Audacity is where a number of the developers are online and some 'superusers'. So logging into this channel can be useful but it is very important that you know exactly what you are trying to find out before trying this route. The protocol for using the channel is just to log in, and ask the question immediately. Don't try and be too chatty as you are probably going to be ignored. It is also preferable if you have done some research using the other methods above before trying the channel. The details for the IRC channel are:
Searching the web is always useful. If you are looking for problems arising from errors reported by the software then try entering the error text into the search engine. Be sure to edit out any information that doesn't look generic when doing this. Some search engines also enable you to try searches of mailing lists, online groups etc, this can also provide good results.
All chapters copyright of the authors (see below). Unless otherwise stated all chapters in this manual licensed with GNU General Public License version 2This documentation is free documentation; you can redistribute it and/or modify it under the terms of the GNU General Public License as published by the Free Software Foundation; either version 2 of the License, or (at your option) any later version.
This documentation is distributed in the hope that it will be useful, but WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. See the GNU General Public License for more details.
You should have received a copy of the GNU General Public License along with this documentation; if not, write to the Free Software Foundation, Inc., 51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA.
ADD A NEW TRACK
Free manuals for free software
Version 2, June 1991
Copyright (C) 1989, 1991 Free Software Foundation, Inc.
51 Franklin Street, Fifth Floor, Boston, MA 02110-1301, USA
Everyone is permitted to copy and distribute verbatim copies
of this license document, but changing it is not allowed.
The licenses for most software are designed to take away your freedom to share and change it. By contrast, the GNU General Public License is intended to guarantee your freedom to share and change free software--to make sure the software is free for all its users. This General Public License applies to most of the Free Software Foundation's software and to any other program whose authors commit to using it. (Some other Free Software Foundation software is covered by the GNU Lesser General Public License instead.) You can apply it to your programs, too.
When we speak of free software, we are referring to freedom, not price. Our General Public Licenses are designed to make sure that you have the freedom to distribute copies of free software (and charge for this service if you wish), that you receive source code or can get it if you want it, that you can change the software or use pieces of it in new free programs; and that you know you can do these things.
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We protect your rights with two steps: (1) copyright the software, and (2) offer you this license which gives you legal permission to copy, distribute and/or modify the software.
Also, for each author's protection and ours, we want to make certain that everyone understands that there is no warranty for this free software. If the software is modified by someone else and passed on, we want its recipients to know that what they have is not the original, so that any problems introduced by others will not reflect on the original authors' reputations.
Finally, any free program is threatened constantly by software patents. We wish to avoid the danger that redistributors of a free program will individually obtain patent licenses, in effect making the program proprietary. To prevent this, we have made it clear that any patent must be licensed for everyone's free use or not licensed at all.
The precise terms and conditions for copying, distribution and modification follow.
TERMS AND CONDITIONS FOR COPYING, DISTRIBUTION AND MODIFICATION
0. This License applies to any program or other work which contains a notice placed by the copyright holder saying it may be distributed under the terms of this General Public License. The "Program", below, refers to any such program or work, and a "work based on the Program" means either the Program or any derivative work under copyright law: that is to say, a work containing the Program or a portion of it, either verbatim or with modifications and/or translated into another language. (Hereinafter, translation is included without limitation in the term "modification".) Each licensee is addressed as "you".
Activities other than copying, distribution and modification are not covered by this License; they are outside its scope. The act of running the Program is not restricted, and the output from the Program is covered only if its contents constitute a work based on the Program (independent of having been made by running the Program). Whether that is true depends on what the Program does.
1. You may copy and distribute verbatim copies of the Program's source code as you receive it, in any medium, provided that you conspicuously and appropriately publish on each copy an appropriate copyright notice and disclaimer of warranty; keep intact all the notices that refer to this License and to the absence of any warranty; and give any other recipients of the Program a copy of this License along with the Program.
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END OF TERMS AND CONDITIONS
We will use the Ubuntu Software Centre for installing Audacity. First open the Ubuntu Software Center through Applications -> Ubuntu Software Center:
Type into the search field 'Audacity' and search results should be returned automatically:
Highlight the Audacity item (it should be highlighted by default) and click 'Install' and you will be asked to authenticate the installation process.
Enter your password and click 'Authenticate'. The installation process will begin.
When the process is completed you get very little feedback from Ubuntu. The progress bar at the top left disappears. The 'In Progress' text on the right also disappears. Audacity should now be installed available in your Applications menu.
The latest stable version of Audacity for Microsoft Windows can be downloaded from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/windows
Click on the "Audacity 2.x.x installer" link to begin downloading.
Once the download is complete you should see a downloads window like this:
or something like this on your desktop or downloads folder:
Open this file to begin installing Audacity by double clicking on the icon or clicking on "Open" on the downloads window.
You should now see a Setup Wizard like this:
Click "Next" to proceed.
The next step asks you to read and accept the License Agreement.
You cannot continue with the installation until you have accepted the agreement, so click on the radio button labelled "I accept the agreement" and then click "Next" to continue.
You should now see an Information window like this:
This window contains information such as credits and a changelog that you may find useful to read. Click "Next" continue.
You will now be prompted to select the folder Audacity will be installed into.
The Setup Wizard will automatically create a folder called "Audacity" in your "Program Files" folder so unless you want to install it somewhere else you can simply click "Next" to continue. If you wish to install Audacity somewhere else click "Browse".
You will now be asked to select which additional tasks you would like Setup to perform during the installation.
Click the check boxes to select or deselect the additional tasks then click "Next" to continue.
You will now see a window displaying the destination location and additional tasks.
Check that this information all correct and if it is click "Install" to continue. Click "Back" if you wish to change any of the installation settings.
You should now see a window like this:
Click "Finish" to complete the installation. If the check box labelled "Launch Audacity" is ticked Audacity will open straight away.
Installation is now complete. If you didn't choose "Launch Audacity" in the options above then you can launch Audacity by double clicking the following icon in the Audacity folder:
The first time you launch Audacity you will be prompted to select which language you want it to use.
Click on the dropdown menu to select the language you want.
Once you have chosen the language you want, click on "OK" to finish launching Audacity.
The Audacity interface should look like this:
That's it! You now have Audacity up and running and can begin making and editing recordings.
You will need to install an extra library to be able to export a file as an mp3. There are instructions on where to download this library and how to install it in the Audacity team manual.1
The latest stable version of Audacity for OS X can be downloaded from http://audacity.sourceforge.net/download/mac.
Click on the link labeled "Audacity 2.x.x" to begin downloading.
Once the download is complete, you should see something like this on your desktop or in the folder that your web browser is set to download into:
Double click on it to begin installing the software.
You should now see a finder window with a disk image named "Audacity 2.x.x"
All you need to do now to complete the installation is copy the disk image into your "Applications" folder. To do this, click on the disk image to select it then press the Apple and C keys together to copy it. Now select your Applications folder and press the Apple and V keys together. This will paste an Audacity folder containing all of the contents of the disk image into your applications folder.
The installation is now complete, so you can eject the installer folder (by dragging it to the eject icon) and start using Audacity.
To open Audacity double click on the following icon in the Audacity folder:
The first time you launch Audacity you will be prompted to select which language you want it to use.
Click on the dropdown menu to select the language you want.
Once you have chosen the language you want click on OK to finish launching Audacity.
You should be able to see the Audacity interface which looks like this:
That's it! You now have Audacity up and running and can begin making and editing recordings.
Software name : Audacity
Software version : 1.2
In Audacity, a channel of sound is represented by one mono audio track, a two channel sound by one stereo audio track. The example below is a stereo track :
Lets look at some of the controls available to you from this interface :
|Name||edit the name of the track|
|Move Track Up/Down||move Track Up or Down in the display|
|Waveform||traditional display of audio material.|
|Waveform (dB)||like Waveform, but logarithmic instead of linear vertical units .|
|Spectrum||displays the frequency spectrum of the audio over time.|
|Pitch (EAC)||tries to detect the pitch of the current audio and displays that information over time.|
|Mono||set playback of this single channel track on the left and right channels.|
|Left Channel||set playback of this single channel track on the left channel.|
|Right Channel||set playback of single channel track on the right channel.|
|Make Stereo Track||the selected track and that beneath it is turned in to one stereo track.|
|Split Stereo Track||turn one stereo track in to two single channel tracks.|
|Set Sample Format||pick the sample format for this track.
|Set Rate||set the sample rate of this track.
In solo mode, only tracks that have the solo button activated.
With mute a track is switched off without deleting it.
This slider set the panning position of the track in the stereo field.
This slider controls the track volume, or rather the overall gain of that particular track.
Software name : Audacity
Software version : 1.2
Lets look at the basic elements of the Audacity Menu Bar :
The Menu Bar is a typical element in many applications. It will look slightly different to this if you are not using Linux, most notably in Mac OSX this Menu Bar is not located on the application window itself but at the top of the screen in the "Apple Menu". Lets go through the Menu Bar one item at a time.
By clicking on "File" in the Menu Bar you get a drop down menu with several options to choose from. Some options maybe "greyed out" meaning you can't select them, you will only be able to choose the options that appear in solid black. The options available depend on the state of Audacity at the time. For example the following image was taken from Audacity with when the program had just been opened and no recording or editing had been started:
The File Menu is where you can process all the things related to the audio and project (.aup) files.
|New||creates a new empty project window.|
|Open...|| selecting "Open" presents you with a dialog where you can choose a file to open.
|Close||closes the current project window.|
|Save Project||saves the current Audacity project (AUP) file.|
|Save Project As...||allows you to save the current Audacity project (AUP) file with a different name or in a new location.|
|Recent Files...||gives a list of recent files you ahve been working on.|
|Export As WAV...||exports the current Audacity project as a standard audio file format such as WAV or AIFF.|
|Export Selection As WAV...||this is the same as Export, but it only exports the part of the project that is selected.|
|Export As MP3...||exports the current Audacity project as an MP3 file.|
|Export Selection As MP3...||this is the same as Export MP3, but it only exports the part of the project that is selected.|
|Export As OGG...||exports the current Audacity project as an Ogg Vorbis file.|
|Export Selection As OGG...||this is the same as Export As OGG, but it only exports the part of the project that is selected.|
|Export Labels...||if you have any Label Tracks, this command will export them as a text file. This feature is commonly used in Speech Recognition.|
|Export Multiple...||this allows you to do multiple exports from Audacity.|
|Exit/Quit||closes all project windows and exits Audacity. It will ask you if you want to save changes.|
The Edit Menu is only accessible when you are editing an audio file.
|Undo||this will undo the last editing operation you performed to your project.|
|Redo||this will redo any editing operations that were just undone.|
|Cut||removes the selected audio data and places it on the clipboard.|
|Copy||copies the selected audio data to the clipboard without removing it from the project.|
|Paste||inserts whatever is on the clipboard at the position of the selection cursor in the project.|
|Trim||deletes everything but the selection.|
|Delete||removes the audio data that is currently selected without copying it to the clipboard.|
|Silence||erases the audio data currently selected, replacing it with silence.|
|Split||moves the selected region into its own track or tracks.|
|Duplicate||makes a copy of all or part of a track or set of tracks into new tracks.|
||selects part of the audio depending on the option chosen.
|Find Zero Crossings||moves the cursor or the edges of the selection to the nearest point where the audio waveform passes though zero.|
|Selection Save||saves the current selection and position.|
|Selection Restore||restores the selection to the project.|
|Move Cursor...||these commands provide quick and accurate ways to manoeuvre the cursor around the project to the start and end of tracks and selections.|
|Snap-To...||turns snapping of the cursor to a grid of time values on or off.|
|Preferences||opens a dialog window that lets you configure Audacity.|
The View Menu is used to manage the display of the tracks ("channels") and various options to show and hide some interface elements :
|Zoom In||zooms in on the horizontal axis of the audio displaying less time.|
|Zoom Normal||zooms to the default view, which displays about one inch per second.|
|Zoom Out||zooms out displaying more time.|
|Fit in Window||Zooms out until the entire project just fits in the window.|
|Fit Vertically||adjusts the height of all the tracks until they fit in the project window.|
|Zoom to Selection||zooms in until the selected audio fills the width of the screen to show the selection in more detail.|
|Set Selection Format||sets the format in which selections are measured in at the bottom of the application window.|
|History||brings up the history window. It shows all the actions you have performed during the current session.|
|Float or Dock Control Toolbar||toggles between displaying the Tool Bar docked at the top of each project window, or in a separate floating window.|
|Float or Dock EditToolbar||toggles between displaying the Edit Tool Bar docked at the top of each project window, or in a separate floating window.|
|Float or Dock Mixer Toolbar||toggles between displaying the Mixer Tool Bar docked at the top of each project window, or in a separate floating window.|
|Float or Dock Meter Toolbar||toggles between displaying the Dock Meter Bar docked at the top of each project window, or in a separate floating window.|
The Project Menu is used to add / remove / align tracks in the existing project :
|Import Audio...||imports audio into your project.|
|Import Labels...||import Label Tracks (text files).|
|Import MIDI...||imports MIDI files.|
|Import Raw Data...||tries to open a file in virtually any format, as long as it is not compressed.|
|Edit ID3 Tags...||opens a dialog allowing you to edit the ID3 tags associated with a project, for MP3 exporting.|
|Quick Mix||this command mixes all of the selected tracks down to one or two tracks.|
|New Audio Track||this creates a new empty audio track.|
|New Stereo Track||creates a stereo version of the new audio track above.|
|New Label Track||creates a new Label track.|
|New Time Track||creates a special track that can be used to speed up and slow down playback over the course of the project.|
|Remove Track(s)||this command removes the selected track or tracks from the project.|
| Align Tracks
||aligns tracks according to the options chosen.
|Align and move cursor
||same as "Align Tracks" but it also followed by the "Move Cursor" command (from the Edit Menu).
|Add Label at Selection||this menu item lets you create a new label at the current selection.|
|Add Label at Playback Position||like "Add Label at Selection" but the label is added at the current position during playback.|
The Generate Menu allows you to insert various generated audio elements into a track :
The length of the generated audio is determined by the length of your selection and the position by the left boundary of your selection. If no selection is made, the default length inserted at the cursor position is 30 seconds.
|Tone||inserts a wave of chosen type, frequency and amplitude.|
|White Noise||inserts white noise.|
|| there are too many plugins to describe here, experiment!
The Effect Menu allows you to apply effects to audio. Note : this menu cannot be accessed while any tracks are in Playback or Record mode.
|Amplify||this effect increases or decreases the volume of a track or set of tracks.|
|Bass Boost||this is a smooth filter which can amplify the lower frequencies while leaving most of the other frequencies alone.|
|Change Pitch||changes the pitch/frequency of the selected audio without changing the tempo.|
|Change Speed||changes the speed of the audio by resampling. Making the speed higher will also increase the pitch.|
|Change Tempo||changes the tempo (speed) of the audio without changing the pitch.|
|Click Removal||this effect is designed to remove the annoying clicks on recordings from vinyl records without damaging the rest of the audio.|
|Compressor||compresses the dynamic range of the selection so that the loud parts are softer while keeping the volume of the soft parts the same.|
|Echo||this effect repeats the audio you have selected again and again, softer each time. There is a fixed time delay between each repeat.|
|Equalization||boost or reduce frequencies.|
|Fade In||applies a linear fade-in to the selected audio.|
|Fade Out||applies a linear fade-out to the selected audio.|
||you define a curve that shows how much louder or quieter each frequency in the signal should be made.|
|Invert||this effect flips the audio samples upside-down. This normally does not affect the sound of the audio at all.|
|Noise Removal||this effect is ideal for removing constant background noise such as fans, tape noise, or hums. It will not work very well for removing talking or music in the background.|
|Normalize||allows you to amplify such that the maximum amplitude is a fixed amount, -3 dB.|
|Nyquist Prompt||allows you to express arbitrary transormations using a powerful functional programming language (for advanced users).|
||the name "Phaser" comes from "Phase Shifter", because it works by combining phase-shifted signals with the original signal.|
|Repeat||repeats the selection a certain number of times.|
||this effect reverses the selected audio.
||just like that guitar sound so popular in the 1970's.|
||there are too many plugins to describe here. Experiment!
The Analyze Menu gives you many options for measuring your audio :
||displays the Power Spectrum of the audio over a selected region.|
|Envelope Tracker (Maximum Peak)
|Envelope Tracker (Maximum RMS)
|Envelope Tracker (Peak)||
|Envelope Tracker (RMS)||
|| Marks periods of silence within a selection.
Software name : Audacity
Software version : 1.2
The Tool Bars are where you choose tools to directly work on the tracks. There are three main Tool Bars in Audacity :
Lets look at each button:
this is the main tool you use to select audio.
||the envelope tool gives you detailed control over how tracks fade in and out.|
||this tool allows you to change the relative positioning of tracks relative to one another in time.|
||this tool allows you to zoom in or out of a specific part of the audio.|
||enables the user to draw in to the actual waveforms.|
||places the cursor at the start of the project.|
||press the play button to listen to the audio in your project.|
||press the record button to record a new track from your computer's sound input device.|
||will pause during playback, or during recording. Press again to unpause.|
||press the stop button or hit the spacebar to stop playback immediately.|
||places the cursor at the end of the project.|
These sliders control the mixer settings of the soundcard in your system. The selector on the right controls what audio input you wish to use.
Pick the input source you wish to record from. All these items are exposed by the soundcard driver, so the this of options will vary with different soundcards.
This is the left hand slider that lets you control the output level of your soundcard. It actually controls the output setting of the soundcard driver.
This is the right hand slider that lets you control the level of the input selected in the Input Selector. It actually controls the recording level setting of the soundcard driver.
All these tools perform the exact same function, as those accessible through the "Edit" menu, "View" menu. Lets look at each button individually :
||removes the selected audio data and places it on the clipboard.|
||copies the selected audio data to the clipboard without removing it from the project.|
||inserts whatever is on the clipboard at the position of the selection cursor in the project.|
||deletes everything but the selection.|
||erases the audio data currently selected, replacing it with silence instead of removing it completely.|
||this will undo the last editing operation you performed to your project.|
||this will redo any editing operations that were just undone.|
||zooms in on the horizontal axis of the audio displaying less time.|
||zooms out displaying more time.|
||zooms in until the selected audio fills the width of the screen to show the selection in more detail.|
shows entire project