17 June 2014

Audacity Tricks + Podcast

You may have heard of Audacity, the free audio recorder and editor that you can download from a website that looks like it came from 1996. The interface of the software itself isn't much better.

But what it lacks in style, it makes up for in power. (I already mentioned it's free, right?) I created a podcast highlighting three features that I think are rad. You can listen here:

Or you can read on for text and pictures.

The Generate menu.

1. Generate Sounds.

I'll just explain what each does with my go-to unordered list:

  • Chirp... a sound that goes from one pitch to another in a determined amount of time.
  • DTMF Tones... I don't know what DTMF stands for, but it's basically the sound of dialing numbers.
  • Noise... good old fashioned white noise. It builds character.
  • Silence... use it to push everything further along on a track, that's the only use I can think of.
  • Tone... select the waveform, the hz (pitch), the volume, and the time.
  • Click Track... a tempo meter for those musicians out there.
  • Pluck... a single guitar string, for those times you need the sound of a single guitar string. Like if you're the sound guy on Lost and you need a dramatic way to go to commercial.
  • Risset Drum... if you really wanted to, you could make a pretty nice beat out of a bunch of different drum noises.
In the podcast I used this to create what sounds like the start of a Mariokart race.

All of Audacity's effects.

2. Effects.

There are a lot of effects, some very professional, some just fun, and some I have no idea what they do. Here are the ones that are most useful and easy:
  • Amplify... changes the volume, measured in Db.
  • Change Pitch... exactly what you think it does.
  • Change Speed... which will also change the pitch.
  • Change Tempo... will change the speed without changing the pitch.
  • Fade In/Out... highlight the length of the fade and apply.
  • Invert... you'll use this later to create a minus track, if you want.
  • Noise Removal... highlight a few seconds of 'silence' (room noise), go to Noise Removal > Get Noise Profile. Then highlight the whole recording, go to Noise Removal again and just click OK. Hopefully the default parameters get the job done.
  • Paulstretch... you can slow things way down in a dramatic fashion.
  • You can experiment with the rest.

3. Minus Track.

I don't know why you'd need a minus track. Maybe you need a soundtrack with no words, maybe you want a karaoke version of a song, maybe you're trying to learn to play the song. Whatever the reason, you can get the job done with Audacity. At least, you might. It depends on the song...

See step 2 below.
  1. Import the song.
  2. (Pictured) Click the name of the track and click Split Stereo to Mono.
  3. Highlight one of the mono tracks.
  4. Click Effect > Invert.
  5. Listen to it. The instruments might sound a little weird, and you might hear the reverb of the voice track, but for the most part you should have a decent minus track.

No comments:

Post a Comment