Tutorial – Recording and Editing

 

Step 1: Record for real this time

Click the red Record button image of red record button in the Transport Control toolbar then begin talking or playing. Continue for as long as you want. When you feel you’ve recorded enough, click the Stop button image of yellow stop button.

Try to aim for a maximum peak of around –6dB (see: dB) or 0.5 if you have your meters set to linear rather than dB.

Tip: Enlarging the Meter Toolbar by clicking and dragging helps considerably with this task.

Step 2: Remove any DC offset

DC offset can occur at the recording stage so that the recorded waveform is not centered on the horizontal line at 0.0 amplitude. This can be caused if you have a faulty sound card. If this is the case with your recording use the Normalize effect to remove any DC offset. Put a check mark in “Remove any DC offset…” but leave “Normalize maximum amplitude…” unchecked.

 

Step 3: Edit Recording

You now have a good recording, but there are likely some bits at the beginning and end that you don’t need – between the time you clicked the Record button and the time you starting talking or playing, and between the time you stopped talking or playing and the time you clicked the Stop button.

  • Click the Skip to Start button Rewind.png in the Control toolbar
  • Repeatedly click the Zoom In button Tool edit zoomin.png until the displayed waveform expands so you can see from the beginning of the recording to the time you started talking or playing
  • With the Selection tool, click just before the point where you started talking or playing
  • Choose Edit > Select > Track Start to Cursor
    • The region from the beginning of the track to the beginning of your performance is selected
  • Choose Edit > Remove Audio > Delete
    • The selected audio is removed from the track, and the rest of the audio moves left to fill the space left after the delete.

Similarly, you can delete the extra bit from the end of your recording.

  • Click the Skip to End button FFwd.png in the Control Toolbar
  • Repeatedly click the Zoom In button until the displayed waveform expands so you can see from the time you stopped talking or playing to the end of the recording
  • With the Selection tool, click just after the point where you stopped talking or playing
  • Choose Edit > Select > Cursor to Track End
    • The region from the end of your performance to the end of the track is selected
  • Choose Edit > Remove Audio > Delete
    • The selected audio is removed from the track

If you’ve made any mistakes in your performance you could edit them out. Use the Selection Tool to select each mistake and press the delete key. Listen back to each edit to make sure it sounds natural. If not, choose Edit > Undo Delete and try again.

 

Step 4: Amplitude adjustment

Since you were careful not to record too loud it is likely that your recording is not as loud as possible. To correct this you can use the Normalize effect.

  • Choose Edit > Select > All to select all of the track.
    • With default Tracks Preferences, you may not need this step – all the audio in the project is selected if you choose an effect without first selecting any audio.
  • Choose Effect > Normalize….
    • Accept (for now) the default choices in the Normalize dialog and click the “OK” button
    • The volume is normalized to -1 dB, so leaving a little headroom below the maximum possible 0 dB level.

Note that Normalize defaults to retaining the existing balance between stereo channels. However basic consumer-level equipment can often record with channels unbalanced. To correct unwanted volume differences between left and right, check “Normalize stereo channels independently”.

Extraneous noises in the recording can cause Normalize to create unwanted changes in the stereo balance, or prevent recordings being made as loud as they can be. Extraneous noises should be edited with Click Removal, Repair or Amplifybefore the Normalize step. Also see our tips for reducing noise in the recording chain.

Step 5: Save and Export

Choose File > Save, choose a name for your project and a place to save it.

You have now saved an Audacity Project to disk. The project file (ending in .aup) can only be opened by Audacity. You can come back to the project and make changes to it later. For example you could do more editing, record more audio, or apply other effects.

To listen to your performance in other audio software (such as iTunes or Windows Media Player), or to burn it to CD, choose File > Export….