The folks at Audacity deserve a round of applause for providing a free platform where people interested in home recording can learn the basics and record quality audio. In part two of our series, we hand things over to Jerry Stevens (aka SomeAudioGuy) who provides excellent tutorials on using Audacity. If you missed it, take a look at Part One of this series. To download the free software see HERE.
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Before we get into the basic of editing your audio after the recording session is over, let's take a look at a few good production habits to get into from the start.
1. Save your master file as a high quality wav file at 128 kbps, 44,100, 16 bit. There are many other options, but this is best practice for beginners. Find out more about digital audio files.
2. Save your master file by naming it so that it is easily identified, then leave it alone! For example, say your recorded the vocal of a poem titled, "Awdball." Save the file in a folder named "Awdball Audio Tracks" and name it awdball_masterfile.wav . From this point on during the editing process, save the file under a different name such as awdball_edits . By doing this, the master file remains unchanged and is always available to go back to if, for example, you lose your mind and make some crazy edits or effects additions that you later decide sound, well...stupid. If you have not closed out the file, then you can always undo the insanity, but if you've closed out the file and the software, then you will need to go back to the master file, open it, and then save-as awdball_edits_version 2.
3. Save often. As you are making changes to your audio file, remember to save it after every significant edit.
4. Frozen Computer? WAV files tend to be large and while it hopefully will never occur, you may be in the middle of editing your work when the computer chokes and freezes. Fear not, all may not be lost. When you record audio on your computer, it is written directly to the hard drive. If you experience a lock-up and the audio software is not responding, here is what I suggest:
Video Tutorial: Basic Audio Editing in Audacity | by Jerry Stevens