Mixing Your Audio

Goal: Everyone mixes their Mixtape in Audacity!

The complete user guide can be found online at https://manual.audacityteam.org/

A quick start guide can be found online at http://www.yorkmusicservice.co.uk/resources/downloads/AUDACITY_quick_guide.pdf

You need to LOG IN AS guest user

On a Computer that has Audacity downloaded into Workspace.

You need a folder in  Workspace that includes (1) your interview recording; (2) a copy of your song; (3) album cover for song.

 

Some basics that we’ll use today:

IMPORTING EXISTING AUDIO

To import existing audio (like a soundfile or CD track already on your computer) click on ‘project’ on the menu bar and select import audio. A browser window will then open for you to locate the audio file you want to import. This must be a .MP3 or .WAV file. If you have Windows Media Player V10 or above (or iTunes) then the ‘rip format’ must be set to either of these file types to import a CD track into Audacity.

 

EDITING

All basic editing is the same wherever the sound source has come from (microphone,

imported audio, internet). Multiple tracks can be balanced in volume by using the individual track volume controls (if one track needs to be quieter or louder than another).

 

Removing parts of a recording

  • To completely remove a section Click and drag the selection tool (I) over the part of the recording you wish to remove and then click on the ‘scissor’ tool. This completely cuts out the section. The following part of the recording will be moved back to the previous part.
  • To silence a section select the part of the recording as before but click on the ‘silence selection’ tool. The selection is silenced but not removed.
  • To remove the unselected parts select the part of the recording as before but click on the ‘trim outside selection’ tool. The selected part of the recording is left by itself at the point in time where it was originally recorded.

Fading

  • To fade in and out (this is particularly useful for making a professional smooth beginning and end to a recording). Click and drag the selection tool (I) over the opening section for as long as you want the fade in to be. Then click on effect on the menu bar and select fade in. The opening section will now fade in gradually. Repeat the same process for the end of the recording and click on fade out. The end will now fade out gradually.

 

Envelope Tool

  • In Audacity, every track has an “amplitude envelope” which is controlled with the Envelope Tool on the Tools Toolbar. An amplitude envelope just means that you can control a track’s volume changes smoothly over time. People in the recording industry sometimes call this technique volume automation, because in a recording studio you would typically change the volume of tracks by moving volume sliders up and down, and fancy mixing boards had the ability to remember your movements and automate them from then on. Manipulating a track’s amplitude envelope in Audacity is similar, except that Envelope Tool is used to create and manipulate “control points” at various points in the track. The control points then determine its volume changes over time.
  • While using the tool, just click the mouse button anywhere in a track to create a new control point. The entire track follows your new control point until you add another one. Click in a different spot to add a new control point.
  • The audio will always change smoothly between each control point, so you only need to add as many as are necessary. You can click in either the top or bottom half of a track to create a new point. If you have a stereo track, the same envelope will apply to both channels.
  • If you want to place a new control point very near an existing one, Audacity might get confused and try to move the existing one rather than create a new one. It’s sometimes easier to click farther away from the existing one and then drag it closer.

 

Moving

  • (e) To move an entire track forwards or backwards in time then select the ‘time shift tool (<–>). With this tool you can click and drag the whole track forwards or backwards in time (the track does not have to be selected).
  • If you wish to move only a part of the recording, however, then you will have to duplicate/split the recording so that part can be moved on a separate track.

SAVING

If your mixing session is not quite finished, you may want to save your project as an Audacity Project File (.aup) which means that at another time you can open up the project and continue editing and mixing etc.

Click on file on the menu bar and select save project as. In the dialogue box that opens, give your project a name and choose which folder you want to save it to. These (.aup) files can only be opened by Audacity.

EXPORTING

When your recording is completely finished you will want to export the project. This

will mix down all the tracks to one single stereo track and will be saved in a format

(such as .WAV or .MP3) that can be opened with other programmes such as Windows

Media Player, iTunes etc. and can also then be burned to a conventional audio CD

etc.

Click on file as before and this time select export as MIXTAPE.YOURNAME.WAV

 

SOME KEYBOARD SHORTCUTS

  • ⌘ + N
    • Creates a new and empty project window to start working on new or imported Tracks.
  • ⌘ + O
    • Presents you with a standard dialog box where you can select either audio files, a list of files (.LOF) or an Audacity Project file to open.
  • ⌘ + W
    • Closes the current project window, prompting you to save your work if you have not saved.
  • ⌘ + S
    • Saves the current Audacity project.AUP file.
  • ⌘ + Shift + I
    • Similar ⌘ + O above, except that the file is added as a new track to your existing project.
  • ⌘ + Z
    • Undoes the most recent editing action.
  • ⌘ + Y
    • Redoes the most recently undone editing action.
  • ⌘ + X
    • Removes the selected audio data and/or labels and places these on the Audacity clipboard. By default, any audio or labels to right of the selection are shifted to the left.
  • ⌘ + C
    • Copies the selected audio data to the Audacity clipboard without removing it from the project.
  • ⌘ + V
    • Inserts whatever is on the Audacity clipboard at the position of the selection cursor in the project, replacing whatever audio data is currently selected, if any.
  • ⌘ + D
    • Creates a new track containing only the current selection as a new clip.
  • ⌘ + Option + X
    • Same as Cut (⌘ + X), but none of the audio data or labels to right of the selection are shifted.
  • ⌘ + L
    • Replaces the currently selected audio with absolute silence. Does not affect label tracks.

 

  • ⌘ + T
    • Deletes all audio but the selection. If there are other separate clips in the same track these are not removed or shifted unless trimming the entire length of a clip or clips. Does not affect label tracks.
  • ⌘ + I
    • Splits the current clip into two clips at the cursor point, or into three clips at the selection boundaries
  • ⌘ + A
    • Selects all of the audio in all of the tracks
  • Space Bar
    • Starts and stops playback or stops a recording (stopping does not change the restart position). Therefore using any play or record command after stopping with “Play/Stop” will start playback or recording from the same Timeline position it last started from.
  • X
    • Starts playback like “Play/Stop”, but stopping playback sets the restart position to the stop point. When stopped, this command is the same as “Play/Stop”. When playing, this command stops playback and moves the cursor (or the start of the selection) to the position where playback stopped.
  • Shift +Space
    • Plays the selection over and over again.
  • P
    • Temporarily pauses playing or recording without losing your place.

BY END OF CLASS:

  • Students will have made significant progress on Mixing their own My Mixtape.
  • Holly, Colin, Gabe, and James will rotate around the class and help students with their mixing projects.