Audacity FAQ – Editing

1.1 Why can’t I use the effects or other menu items?
1.2 Why can’t I select less than one second or click between whole seconds?
2.1 How do I combine two files into one longer file?
2.2 How do I mix two tracks together?
2.3 Can I remove the vocals from a recording to make a Karaoke track?
2.4 Can I create Ringtones with Audacity?
2.5 Why do I see a lot of vertical red lines in the track I just recorded?
2.6 Can Audacity preview or apply effects live, in real time?

Continue reading

Audacity FAQ – Opening and Saving Files

1. How do I open an Audacity project (AUP file) in another program?
2. Why does Audacity create a folder full of .au files when I save a project?
3. Audacity crashed! Can I recover any unsaved data?
4. Can Audacity import or export formats like WMA, AC3 or iTunes files (M4A/MP4)?
5. Why can’t I play MIDI files?
6. How do I import a track from an audio CD?
7. How do I save my recording on an audio CD?
8. How can I split a long recording into multiple files or CD tracks?
9 Why does Audacity warn about the name or nothing happens when I export?
10 I copied the .aup file to another computer or sent it by e-mail to a friend; but now when I open it there’s no sound, why?

Continue reading

Audacity FAQ – Recording

1.1 Why can I not record in Windows Vista or 7?
1.2 Why can’t I hear what I’m recording?
1.3. Why do my recordings fade out or sound as if they were made in a tunnel?
1.4. Why isn’t my new track in sync with the previous ones?
1.5. Recording from YouTube (or other streaming audio) does not work.
1.6 Why do I get crackles, pops, or distortion when the recording is loud?
1.7 Why do I see a lot of vertical red lines in the track I just recorded?
1.8 How do I make a recording without small skips or duplications?
1.9 Why does my recording keep pausing automatically or why is my recording cursor stuck ?
1.10 Why do I get only a flat line and no sound when I try to record ?
1.11 Why do I get a periodic noise every 6 – 12 seconds?
1.12 Why do I get an unbalanced stereo recording?
1.13 Why is the recorded waveform not centered on the horizontal line at 0.0?

2.1 How can I record in stereo?
2.2 What is an optimal recording level to aim for?
2.3 How do I record from vinyl records, cassette tapes or MiniDiscs?
2.4 Can I play a track while recording a new one on top of it?
2.5 Can Audacity record YouTube, internet radio or other streaming audio?
2.6 How long can I record for?
2.7 Can I set Audacity to record at a certain time?
2.8 Can I record from a multi-channel device (more than stereo)?
2.9 Can I record from two microphones (or even two sound cards) at the same time?

Continue reading

Audacity Tutorial: Noise Removal – Removing Hiss

I’ve tried various tools to remove hiss (or noise) from home recordings and I think Audacity has the best noise removal tool of all. While most other software packages use a noise gate to remove unwanted noise, Audacity goes about it differently.

I won’t launch into how the techniques differ but I shall say this, Audacity’s tool is far superior to any other I’ve tried. The end result is noise removal not only from “gaps” (the parts where the recording is supposed to be silent, like spaces between sentences and paragraphs) but also from spoken parts.

Let’s say there’s a constant hiss in a recording. That hiss will be audible even “below” the spoken parts of the recording (you’ll hear the hiss when you’re saying something too). Noise gates remove the hiss from the gaps but the hiss will still be audible in the spoken parts. Not so with Audacity’s Noise Removal tool. If you use Audacity to remove noise you’ll have no hiss throughout the recording.

Here’s how to remove hiss (noise) from a recording:

Open a pre-recorded file or record your piece.

Click-drag a “gap” (part where there was nothing being said – the beginning of a recording usually has a gap) to select it:

This is a sample of the noise or hiss that you want Audacity to remove.

Next, go to Effect–> Noise Removal

Select that and you’ll get the following dialog box:

Click the “Get Noise Profile” button. This tells Audacity that what was selected is noise that you want removed from the recording.

You’ll be taken back to the wave form of your recording. Hit Ctrl+A (keeping the Ctrl key pressed, hit A) to select the entire recording. Your recording should look a bit like this:

Go to Effect–> Noise Removal again

Move the slider to the left so it’s positioned about halfway between the start and its current position:

Next, hit the “Preview” button in the dialog box:

Listen to the preview. If there’s still noise (99.99% of the time there won’t be) move the slider to the right. If there’s distortion of the voice move the slider to the left. (If there’s noise AND distortion have your sound card and microphone checked by your hardware guy).

When you’re satisfied that the noise has been removed without distorting the voice hit the “Remove Noise” button. You’ll get the following message:

You’ll then be taken back to the wave form view (you’ll notice that the recording looks much cleaner, in the sense the jagged waveforms in the gaps have given way to flat lines). Listen to the ENTIRE recording and check for distortion in the voice. If there is any distortion hit CTRL+Z (holding down the Ctrl key, hit Z) to undo the noise removal, go back to Effect–>Noise Removal, move the slider further left, hit the Remove Noise button again and listen to the entire recording again. Keep doing this until you’re satisfied with the recording.

Tutorial – Recording Multi-track Overdubs

This set of tutorials describes known, good, working methods of creating a multiple sound track overdubbing session in Audacity. That is, you record one track and then play it and add a second track against it — drums, guitar, voice; repeat as needed. You will be able to hear a mix of your live recording and the previous tracks simultaneously in your headphones (also required).

Continue reading