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{{admon/note|This Is out of Date|The most recent revisions of the Musicians' Guide are now available from the [https://fedorahosted.org/musicians-guide/browser/en-US git repository].}}
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Address: User:Crantila/FSC/Recording/Audacity
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DocBook: "Audacity.xml"
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== Introduction ==
 +
There are no clearly-defined roles that '''Audacity''' can play.  Once you have used the program for a while, and especially if you become familiar with other audio-processing software, you will begin to realize that certain situations are more or less suited for '''Audacity's''' capabilities than others.
 +
 +
'''Audacity''' was designed to play the role of a simple, multi-functional, integrated audio editing program.  It is less sophisticated but easier to learn than the other digital audio software in this Guide ('''Ardour''', '''Qtractor''', and '''Rosegarden''').  As such, it can be appropriately classified as an ''Audio Editing'' program.
 +
 +
If you have ever used a consumer-market audio recorder, based on either flash memory or tape, then you can think of '''Audacity''' as being roughly the equivalent to those hardware devices.  '''Audacity''' offers some additional features that make it more useful and flexible than those devices, and can therefore be used to do things which hardware recording and editing devices cannot.
 +
 +
=== Knowing When to Use Audacity ===
 +
'''Audacity''' should be the program of choice for most people interested in recording audio because it is fast, flexible, and easy to use.  It doesn't require advanced setup of audio hardware, or more than basic knowledge of audio recording techniques.  It is capable of recording and producing audio files of the same quality as any other audio software.  If you want to plug in the microphone, record, and export your work to show your friends, then '''Audacity''' is the program for you.
 +
 +
'''Ardour''' is an advanced recording program, requiring some specialized knowledge of audio hardware and recording techniques, as well as more intensive setup of system hardware.  '''Ardour''' also has basic ''MIDI'' capabilities.  If you are using audio with more than two channels, recording multiple tracks in multiple takes, and looking for the most fine-grained control of levels, panning, and your hardware, then '''Ardour''' is the program for you.  '''Ardour''' must be used with '''JACK''', and it is therefore recommended to also use a ''real-time enabled'' kernel (SEE SOME SECTION SECTION).
 +
 +
'''Qtractor''' and '''Rosegarden''' are both best-suited for work as ''MIDI'' sequencers, although they are capable of working with audio in ways similar to '''Ardour'''.  Since '''Audacity''' is not intended for use with ''MIDI'' signals, users looking for this capability are encouraged to investigate the differences between these two programs, and choose whichever suits their needs.
 +
 +
!! link to "Which DAW to Use" !!
 +
 
== Requirements and Installation ==
 
== Requirements and Installation ==
Automatically Brings in the Following Sound-Related Packages, if not already Installed:
+
=== Requirements ===
  soundtouch
+
In addition to '''Audacity's''' files, the program requires the installation of several other libraries and applications.  These will be installed automatically with '''Audacity''', so there is no need to install them yourself.
  taglib
+
!! clear this up; focus on letting the reader know that the dependencies will automatically be taken care of !!
  flac
+
 
  libid3tag
+
The '''JACK Audio Connection Kit''' is required by '''Audacity''', even if you do not intend to use it.  This software package is relatively large (at 11 MB), but is a requirement.  If you have installed the Planet CCRMA repositories, and not already followed the '''JACK''' Guide's installation procedures, then you are strongly encouraged to do so immediately after installation of '''Audacity''', for security reasons.  An explanation and instructions are available [[User:Crantila/FSC/Sound_Servers#Installing_JACK|here]].
  libvorbis
+
 
  jack-audio-connection-kit
+
=== Installation ===
  alsa-lib
+
# Run <pre>su -c 'yum install audacity'</pre>  or use '''PackageKit''' or '''KPackageKit''' to install the <code>audacity</code> package.
  libogg
+
# Review the requirements list, and approve it.
  libsndfile
+
# It is a good idea to test '''Audacity''' before using it for a real recording.  If you don't test it first, then '''Audacity''' may not record what you want. !! explain why !!
  vamp-plugin-sdk
+
 
 
+
=== Post-Installation Testing: Playback ===
# Run 'yum install audacity'.
+
# Locate an audio file that you want to use to test the playback.
# Review the installation list, and push 'y' to approve it.
+
#* Files in ''*.WAV'' or ''*.AIFF'' format will be the easiest to use at this point.
# It should be installed.
+
#* The file should not be especially quiet; you should easily be able to know whether it is playing correctly.
 +
#* The file can be located anywhere on your computer, as long as you have permission to read it.
 +
#* If you do not already have a file, you can use <code>/usr/share/sounds/alsa/Noise.wav</code>, which is intended for test purposes like these.
 +
# After starting '''Audacity''', you can find and select a file by selecting ''File > Open''.
 +
# Play the file repeatedly, as needed.  Adjust the volume levels on your speakers and audio interface, if necessary.
 +
# If playback does not work as intended, first verify that your hardware is setup correctly.  If it is, then verify that '''Audacity''' is setup correctly - see the !!"Configuring Audacity to Use Your Hardware" section!!.
 +
 
 +
=== Post-Installation Testing: Recording ===
 +
# Set up your microphone (or other audio source) so that it is connected to the input of the sound card you are using.
 +
# Start '''Audacity''' with an empty session (no audio file is open).
 +
# In the toolbar, there should be two volume level meters.
 +
#* During the playback test, one of them should display green bars.
 +
#* The other one will display red bars, representing the input level from your audio interface.
 +
#* If you do not see it, it may have been accidentally closed.  You can ensure that it is displayed by selecting ''View > Toolbars > Meter Toolbar''. There should be a check mark next to it.  
 +
# There is a small, downward-pointing arrow next to the microphone icon on the level meter.  Click the arrow, then choose ''Start Monitoring''.
 +
# Ensure that your source is producing an audio signal.  If your source is a microphone, then sing or talk into it.
 +
# The recording level meter should react to the input.
 +
# Press the ''Record'' button on the toolbar to start a test recording.
 +
# After a few seconds, press the ''Stop'' button on the toolbar to stop the test recording.
 +
# Press ''Play'' on the toolbar to start playing the test recording.  The playback should represent the sound that you wanted to record.
 +
# If recording does not work as intended, first verify that your hardware is setup correctly.  If it is, then verify that '''Audacity''' is setup correctly - see the "Configuring Audacity to Use Your Hardware" section.
  
 
== Configuration ==
 
== Configuration ==
=== Normal (ALSA) ===
+
=== The First Time You Use Audacity ===
# On first run, you'll have to select a language.
+
When you run '''Audacity''' for the first time, you will be asked to select a language to use for the interface. Also, if you have installed the Planet CCRMA repositories, and have not already followed the JACK Guide's installation procedures, then you are strongly encouraged to do so before using '''Audacity'''.
# To configure, go to 'Edit > Preferences'
+
 
# Under "Devices", confirm that "Host" says "ALSA"
+
Before recording for the first time, you are encouraged to test '''Audacity''' to ensure that it is set up correctly.  SEE ABOVE.
# Probably best to leave the Playback Device set to "Default"
+
 
## If playback doesn't work, try the Device "pulse", which won't be there if you uninstalled PulseAudio
+
=== Configuring Audacity to Use Your Hardware ===
## If "pulse" doesn't work, try the Device "... (hw:0,0)"
+
Especially in cases where your computer has multiple sound cards, or where a single sound card provides multiple, independent input and/or output busses (streams), '''Audacity''' may not correctly guess which busses you want to use.
## if that doesn't work, then try the other options systematically
+
 
##* N.B. Tell them to choose the device manually, and NOT "pulse"
+
# After starting '''Audacity''', select ''File > Preferences.''
# If you have only three choices in Recording Device ("... (hw:0,0)" and "pulse" and "default") then any will work.
+
# Choose ''Devices'' from the left tab-list.
## If you want to put the audio through PulseAudio, set it to "pulse"
+
# The ''Host'' should usually be '''ALSA,''' unless you want to use '''Audacity''' with '''JACK'''.
## If you want to skip PulseAudio (which may be more accurate), set it to "... (hw:0,0)"
+
# The right setting is for both recording and playback devices is probably ''default.''
# If you have different choices, then you'll need to choose the one that is connected to the sound card you want to use.
+
# If ''default'' doesn't work, then the next best choice is any of the devices that have names ending with something like <code>(hw0:0)</code>
# Open an audio file (.WAV is easiest at this point) and press "Play" to test that playback works.
+
#* If you cannot make an educated guess, then try the devices systematically.
 +
#* This connects '''Audacity''' to your audio interface(s) in such a way that '''PulseAudio''' will not be able to use the devices at the same time, but it gives '''Audacity''' the greatest amount of control.
 +
# As a last resort, you can use the ''pulse'' devices, which connects '''Audacity''' to '''PulseAudio.'''  Because '''Audacity''' does not have direct control of the audio hardware in this case, it can lead to poor performance.
 +
 
 +
=== Setting the Project Sample Rate and Bit Rate ===
 +
The related concepts of ''sample rate,'' and ''bit rate,'' are explained IN THIS CHAPTER (Sound Cards).  '''Audacity''' refers to ''Bit Rate'' as ''Sample Format.''
 +
 
 +
# After starting '''Audacity''', select ''File > Preferences'' to open the ''Preferences'' menu.
 +
# Select ''Quality'' from the left tab-list.
 +
# Select the settings that you wish to use.
 +
#* CDs hold audio with a sample rate of 44100 Hz, and a sample format of 16 bits. This is sufficient for most uses.
 +
#* Setting 96000 Hz and 24 bits should be enough for almost any use.
 +
#* You should not provide settings that are greater than your audio interface can provide.  It is probably not dangerous to do so, but it may decrease sound quality.  If nothing else, it will use extra space on your hard drive, with no added audio quality.
  
=== Testing That Recording Works (KMix) ===
+
== The Interface ==
On some mixers, you'll have to play around with settings.  It won't always make sense, but the labels should roughly correspond to the input and output labels on your audio interface.  On my Azalia HD Audio interface, "Line" and "Mic" have no effect, but the devices called "Capture" control the recording.  There is also a drop-down list of which input jack should be used as the input source, and for "Independent HP", whatever that means.
+
This tutorial could use a picture of the interface, with an explanation of what the buttons do.
  
=== Testing That Recording Works (pavucontrol, pavumeter) ===
+
== Tutorial: Creating a New Login Sound ==
If only it were that simple!
+
To follow this portion of the tutorial, it is strongly recommended that you download the '''Audacity''' working-file, and begin doing the actions described, as instructed in the tutorial.
  
=== Advanced (JACK) ===
+
=== Tutorial Files ===
Although Audacity has the capability to use the JACK audio backend, we suggest that users requiring JACK move to Ardour.
+
The following files will be useful, if you choose to follow along with the tutorial. Only the ''Starting State'' file is necessary; the other two are provided as possible completed forms.
  1.) On first run, you'll have to select a language.
+
* [[File:FMG-audacity_start.tar.lzma|Tutorial Starting State]] (audacity-1)
  2.) To configure, go to 'Edit > Preferences'
+
* [[File:FMG-audacity_end.tar.lzma|Tutorial Finishing State]] (audacity-6)
  3.) Under "Devices", confirm that "Host" says "JACK Audio Connection Kit"
+
* [[File:FMG-audacity_final.flac|Exported FLAC]]
  4.) The other devices should be set to "system", which means that JACK is in control.
 
  5.) Open an audio file (.WAV is easiest at this point) and press "Play" to test that playback works.
 
  6.) Audacity shows up in QjackCtl as "PortAudio", and it is present only as long as something is playing or being recorded.
 
  
== Setting the Project Samplerate and Format ==
+
=== Scenario ===
# Go to 'Edit > Preferences'
+
You were telling a friend about Fedora Linux's open-source audio programs, and you mentioned that '''Audacity''' makes it easy to create and edit audio filesThe friend reminds you of their long-standing desire to create a new sound to be played whenever they log in to their computer, and suggests that '''Audacity''' can be used to make just a soundYou decide to work on it together.
# Select 'Quality' from the sidebar
 
# CD audio is recorded with 44100 Hz (44.1 kHz) and 16 bits (right?????)
 
# Choose what you wantHigher numbers means better quality but (A) you may not be able to hear it, and (B) your hardware may be incapable of that levelSo, if changing from default, then set it to highest your hardware can handle.
 
  
== Recording a Session ==
+
=== Inspiration ===
# Make sure that your system is set up to record (hardware and samplerate properly selected).
+
You choose a starting-point for your new login sound. After thinking about it for a while, you decide to record some clips from a CD that you own, and mix them together.
# To begin the recording, hit the circular red "record" button to start the transport.
 
# When you have finished recording, hit the square orange "stop" button to stop the transport.
 
# Look at what you did!
 
# To record more, ensure that the transport is in the right spot, then repeat steps (2.) and (3.) as required.
 
  
=== you finished a segment, and want to continue it ===
+
=== Starting Out ===
# press 'Shift' as you click Record, so that it appends to the existing track
+
# Make sure that your system is set up to record (with hardware and sample/bit rates properly selected).
 +
# You can use the level meter to monitor the input level.  Before recording, you should test the input level, adjusting the audio interface as required.
 +
# To begin the recording, hit the circular red ''Record'' button.
 +
# When you have finished recording, hit the square orange ''Stop'' button.
 +
# After recording a portion of audio, it should show up in the main portion of the window, with a blue, sound-wave-like shape representing the volume level of the recording.
  
=== you want to record something to go along with what you already have ===
+
=== Continuing to Record ===
# Reset the transport to the start: press 'Home' or 'Transport > Skip to Start'
+
There are three main ways to record something additional:
# Record again
+
# You want to continue recording from the end of the already-recorded material.
 +
#* Hold the '''[Shift]''' key as you click ''Record'' 
 +
#* '''Audacity''' will continue recording in the last-selected track, from the end of all already-recorded audio.
 +
# You want to record something new to go along with what you already have, starting at the beginning.
 +
#* Move the transport to the start: press '''[Home]''' on the keyboard or select ''Transport > Skip to Start.''
 +
#* The transport is the vertical line, which represents the place where '''Audacity''' will begin playback or recording if the ''Play'' or ''Record'' buttons are pressed.
 +
#* When you click ''Record'', '''Audacity''' will record onto a new track, and not erase what you have already recorded.
 +
# You want to record something new to go along with what you already have, starting somewhere else.
 +
#* Locate the place from where you want to continue recording.
 +
#* Use the cursor to left-click on that place in an already-recorded segment.
 +
#* When you click ''Record'', '''Audacity''' will record onto a new track, and not erase what you have already recorded.
  
=== you want to record something to go along with what you already have, but not at the beginning ===
+
=== Aligning Tracks (audacity-1) ===
# click in the existing track where you want to start recording
+
At this point in the tutorial, you can begin to follow along by modifying the '''Audacity''' working-file.
# Record again
 
  
=== you want to align your tracks (audacity-1) ===
+
If you accidentally record something at the wrong time, or if you change your mind about when a track should be playing, you can easily move it.
# Select the "time shift tool" from the toolbar
+
# Select the ''time shift tool'' from the toolbar.
# Click on the track you want to move, then slide it left & right to adjust to the right time
+
# Click on the track you want to move, then slide it left or right to adjust it as desired.
# To align the start of one to the end of another, drag the later track so that its start is near the end of the earlier one, then move it slowly around that area until a yellow line appears to show alignment.
+
#* To align the start of one segment to the end of another, drag the later track so that its start is near the end of the earlier one; move it slowly around that area until a yellow line appears, showing that the segments are aligned.
# Select the "selection tool" from the toolbar
+
#* To align a segment so that it begins at an arbitrary point, use the ''selection tool'' to move the transport to that point.  Then, from the menu select ''Tracks > Align Tracks > Align with Cursor.''  
# Click to place the transport just before the splice, then press "Play" to hear what you've done
+
#* There are other alignment options in the ''Tracks > Align Tracks'' menu, and they apply only to the currently-selected tracks. To select multiple tracks, click on the portion of the track at the left, which has information about it.  Then, hold down '''[Shift]''' on your keyboard, and select the others.
# To align a particular track to the cursor, use the "selection tool" to select the point in that track where you want it to begin, then 'Tracks > Align Tracks > Align with Cursor'
+
# Select the selection tool from the toolbar.
# There are other alignment options in that menu; each option applies to only the currently-selected tracks.
+
# Click to place the transport just before the splice, then press ''Play'' to hear it.  Adjust again if necessary.
# To select multiple tracks, click on the portion of the track at the left, which has information about the track, to select the first; then, click in the same place in each respective track, while holding down Shift.
 
  
=== you want to stretch one track, so that it takes twice the time (audacity-2) ===
+
=== Stretching Tracks (audacity-2) ===
# Select that track.
+
You can stretch or compress tracks, so that they take up more or less time. There are two tools which do this:
# Go to 'Effect > Change Tempo' (no pitch-change; greatly affects sound quality) or 'Change Speed' (pitch & tempo change; better quality)
+
* The ''Change Tempo'' tool, which adjusts speed but not pitch.  This degrades sound quality quite a bit.
# Positive percent-change increases speed, and negative decreases.
+
* The ''Change Speed'' tool, which adjusts both speed and pitch.  This does not degrade sound quality as much.
  
=== you want to increase the volume of one track, and decrease that of another, so they are more equal (audacity-3) ===
+
To stretch or compress a track,
# the bottom track is hardly audible, so you press its "solo" button and listen to it alone, realizing that it's very quiet, and mostly humming
+
# Select that track by clicking on the portion at the left, which has information about that track.
# you use the selection too to select part of the track, then 'Effect > Amplify'
+
# Select ''Effect > Change Tempo'' or ''Effect > Change Speed''.
# You may want to enable clipping, or it can't be amplified by much. Clipping reduces sound quality by eliminating some of the signal.
+
# Use the window to adjust the degree of stretching/compression:
# There is still a lot of noise, so you want to remove that; select about a second of audio from later in the track, then 'Effect > Noise Removal', then 'Get Profile', then select the whole track, then 'Effect > Noise Removal' then 'OK'
+
#* Positive values increase speed and compress the audio.
# You think that the first track's end is too loud & interferes with the rest, so you select the last 2 seconds of it, then 'Effect > Fade Out'
+
#* Negative values decrease speed and stretch the audio.
# You think that the third track's entrance is too quiet, so you select the first portion, then 'Effect > Fade In'
+
# You can use the ''Preview'' button to get an idea of the speed change that will happen with your selected settings.
# there's a bit of noise in the fourth track at about 13:00 that you want to bring out, so you amplify it
+
# After clicking ''OK'', it may take a few seconds for '''Audacity''' to process and apply the changes you requested.
  
=== you want to remove some of the audio (audacity-4) ===
+
=== Adjusting a Track's Volume and Removing Noise (audacity-3) ===
# the fourth track, after the noise bump, is just noise, and you don't want it
+
If you want to make a track louder or quieter, you can adjust the volume of individual tracks, or portions of tracks.
# You place the cursor at the start of the segment you want to remove, then 'Edit > Select > Cursor to Track End' and press 'delete'
+
# The bottom-most track in the tutorial file is hardly audible.  You press the ''solo'' button on that track to hear it alone, and realize that it's mostly very quiet humming.
 +
# You use the ''selection tool'' to select part of the track.
 +
# Select ''Effect > Amplify'', which is a tool that, in effect, adjusts the volume level of an audio segment.  If you enable clipping, then you will be able to adjust the level much higher than if you don't.  However, you may lose part of the audio signal, and the sound quality may deteriorate.  You may have to experiment to find an acceptable balance.
 +
# This track still has a lot of ''noise,'' which was created by the recording tools, rather than what was supposed to be recorded.
 +
## Select about a second of audio, which is going to serve as a the model of ''noise'' that should be removed.  Ideally this portion of audio will contain only noise, and no signal that you wish to save.
 +
## Select ''Effect > Noise Removal'' to open the ''Noise Removal'' tool.
 +
## In the ''Noise Removal'' window, click ''Get Profile'', so that the tool will take the selected portion of audio.
 +
## Now select the whole track, which is the portion of audio from which you wish to remove the ''noise.''
 +
## Return to the ''Noise Removal'' tool's window, and select ''OK''.
 +
# Now you realize that the end of the upper-most track is too loud, so it interferes with the other.
 +
## Select the last two seconds of that track.
 +
## Select ''Effect > Fade Out'' to use the ''Fade Out'' tool.
 +
# You think that the third track's entrance is too quiet, so you select the first portion, then 'Effect > Fade In' (huh?)
 +
# there's a bit of noise in the fourth track at about 13:00 that you want to bring out, so you amplify it (double-huh?)
  
=== you want to repeat a segment of a part (audacity-5) ===
+
=== Removing a Portion of Audio (audacity-4) ===
# the ending isn't busy enough, so you decide that you want to make it seem like the second track "just won't leave"
+
# The fourth track, after the noise-bump that we just amplified, is just noise.  We don't need it, and it sounds strange, so let's take it out.
# select the last second of that track, then 'Edit > Copy' and place the cursor later in the track, then 'Edit > Paste'
+
# Place the transport at the start of the segment that you wish to remove, by left-clicking in the existing audio track.
# You select another location in the track, and 'Edit > Paste', then another and the same
+
# Select ''Edit > Select > Cursor to Track End,'' which will select the portion of audio in the currently-selected track between the transport and the end of the track.  There are many other options for selecting audio available in that menu.
# You use the 'Time Shift tool' to move the time location of each particular occurence
+
# On your keyboard, press '''[Delete]'''.
 +
=== Repeating an Already-Recorded Segment (audacity-5) ===
 +
While you like the beginning of the sound, the end doesn't seem ''busy'' enough.  You decide to repeat a portion of the second track, to make it seem as though it "just won't leave."
 +
# Use the cursor to select the last second of the second track from the top, then select ''Edit > Copy.''
 +
# Place the transport arbitrarily, later in the track, and select ''Edit > Paste'' from the menu. Repeat this, so there are two copies.
 +
# Select the ''Time Shift tool'' from the toolbar, and adjust the time of the two copied segments as desired.
 +
# You might also wish to adjust the volume of a segment, depending on whether it sounds too loud for you.
  
=== You want to do something silly to the end (audacity-6) ===
+
=== Add a Silly Effect: Using the Phaser (audacity-6) ===
# select the portion of the third track from the last occurence of the second track to the end of the third track, using the yellow lines to guide your alignment
+
!! make it more clear that this is supposed to show the various effects and plug-ins available; consider explaining what the Phaser settings do !!
# go to 'Effect > Phaser' and experiment with the settings, changing them and using 'Preview', then settle on
 
  Stages: 2
 
  Dry/Wet: 128
 
  LFO Frequency: 0.4
 
  LFO Start Phase: 0
 
  Depth: 128
 
  Feedback: 90
 
  
 +
!! maybe link to a page which explains what the most popular effects/plug-ins do !!
  
In the final version, be sure to mention how, when you change one thing, other things must change, too (like after time-adjusting, you time-shifted, too)
+
The third track has a significant portion of audio after the end of every other track.  You decide to experiment with a tool called ''Phaser'', so that you can make it more interesting.
 +
<ol>
 +
<li>Select the portion of the third track which begins after the last occurrence of the second track, and goes to the end.  There are a few different ways to do this.</li>
 +
<li>Select ''Effect > Phaser'' and experiment with the settings.  Use the ''Preview'' button to sample the outcome of your currently selected settings.</li>
 +
<li>You can use whatever settings seem appropriate.  The tutorial file uses these settings:
 +
<pre>Stages: 2
 +
Dry/Wet: 128
 +
LFO Frequency: 0.4
 +
LFO Start Phase: 0
 +
Depth: 128
 +
Feedback: 90</pre></li></ol>
  
Files on FWT:
+
=== Further Comments ===
 +
If you followed along with the '''Audacity''' working-file, the chances are that your result is different from the completed model available above.  There are a few reasons for this:
 +
* The tutorial's instructions are intentionally vague.  This allows you to easily see how they apply to different uses.
 +
* The tutorial's instructions allow room for creative experimentation.  This allows you to create a different result from the same starting material, by harnessing your own creative power.
 +
* While the model completion was being created, some extra steps were used to modify the sound.  While the result was reached with all of the same tools and techniques described in the tutorial, they were used many more times than the tutorial explains.  In particular, the tracks were time-shifted between most steps.
 +
<!-- Files on FWT:
 
* "audacity.aup" is what you've got after several recordings
 
* "audacity.aup" is what you've got after several recordings
 
* "audacity-1.aup" is time-shifted
 
* "audacity-1.aup" is time-shifted
Line 125: Line 208:
 
* "audacity-4.aup" has a part removed
 
* "audacity-4.aup" has a part removed
 
* "audacity-5.aup" has a part echoed
 
* "audacity-5.aup" has a part echoed
* "audacity-6.aup" is phased
+
* "audacity-6.aup" is phased -->
  
 
== Saving and Exporting ==
 
== Saving and Exporting ==
* when you save, it's in an Audacity-only format, which is fine for Audacity
+
When you save a file in '''Audacity''' with the ''Save'' or ''Save As'' commands, it is saved in an Audacity-only format.  This is good, because it allows '''Audacity''' to save extra information about the audio, which is impossible to store in conventional formats like ''OGG'', ''FLAC'', or even ''AIFF'' and ''WAV.''
* you will get a warning that your tracks will be mixed into two channelsExplain what this means.
 
 
 
=== you are still working, and want to show a friend what a small portion sounds like ===
 
# select the portion that you want to show them
 
# then choose 'File > Export Selection'
 
  
=== you have completed your work and want to export the file for use in other programs, and for sharing ===
+
If you want to share your audio work, or use it with another application, you will need to ''export'' it.  This means that all of your tracks will be reduced to one track, and all of your channels will be reduced to stereo audio (with two channels).  When you export, '''Audacity''' may warn you that your audio is being mixed into two channels.  This will only affect the exported audio file, not the Audacity-format file.
# it doesn't matter what's exported
 
# then choose 'File > Export'
 
  
the 'Export File' dialogue:
+
=== Exporting Part of a File ===
* most of it is easy to figure out, but
+
# Use any means to select a portion of audio.  You can click-and-drag with the cursor, or place the transport and select ''Edit > Select,'' or use another means.
* read the section of this guide about "audio file formats" to decide which format to use
+
# Select ''File > Export Selection.''
* some of the formats have advanced options, but not all of them.
+
# Use the ''Export File'' window to choose the format of your exported audio, and to configure advanced options of the format.  Not all formats have advanced options.
 +
# After clicking ''Save'' in the ''Export File'' window, some formats will provide a window where you can configure ''metadata'' about the file.  ''Metadata'' is information about information - in this case, it describes qualities about the audio in the exported file, like Artist, Title, Genre, and so on.  You can leave the fields blank, or complete as many as you prefer.
  
== Using Simple Effects ==
+
=== Exporting a Whole File ===
I think I already covered this earlier.
+
# Select ''File > Export.''
 +
# Use the ''Export File'' window to choose the format of your exported audio, and to configure advanced options of the format.  Not all formats have advanced options.
 +
# After clicking ''Save'' in the ''Export File'' window, some formats will provide a window where you can configure ''metadata'' about the file.  ''Metadata'' is information about information - in this case, it describes qualities about the audio in the exported file, like Artist, Title, Genre, and so on.  You can leave the fields blank or complete as many as you prefer.

Latest revision as of 06:35, 2 August 2010

Note.png
This Is out of Date
The most recent revisions of the Musicians' Guide are now available from the git repository.

Introduction

There are no clearly-defined roles that Audacity can play. Once you have used the program for a while, and especially if you become familiar with other audio-processing software, you will begin to realize that certain situations are more or less suited for Audacity's capabilities than others.

Audacity was designed to play the role of a simple, multi-functional, integrated audio editing program. It is less sophisticated but easier to learn than the other digital audio software in this Guide (Ardour, Qtractor, and Rosegarden). As such, it can be appropriately classified as an Audio Editing program.

If you have ever used a consumer-market audio recorder, based on either flash memory or tape, then you can think of Audacity as being roughly the equivalent to those hardware devices. Audacity offers some additional features that make it more useful and flexible than those devices, and can therefore be used to do things which hardware recording and editing devices cannot.

Knowing When to Use Audacity

Audacity should be the program of choice for most people interested in recording audio because it is fast, flexible, and easy to use. It doesn't require advanced setup of audio hardware, or more than basic knowledge of audio recording techniques. It is capable of recording and producing audio files of the same quality as any other audio software. If you want to plug in the microphone, record, and export your work to show your friends, then Audacity is the program for you.

Ardour is an advanced recording program, requiring some specialized knowledge of audio hardware and recording techniques, as well as more intensive setup of system hardware. Ardour also has basic MIDI capabilities. If you are using audio with more than two channels, recording multiple tracks in multiple takes, and looking for the most fine-grained control of levels, panning, and your hardware, then Ardour is the program for you. Ardour must be used with JACK, and it is therefore recommended to also use a real-time enabled kernel (SEE SOME SECTION SECTION).

Qtractor and Rosegarden are both best-suited for work as MIDI sequencers, although they are capable of working with audio in ways similar to Ardour. Since Audacity is not intended for use with MIDI signals, users looking for this capability are encouraged to investigate the differences between these two programs, and choose whichever suits their needs.

!! link to "Which DAW to Use" !!

Requirements and Installation

Requirements

In addition to Audacity's files, the program requires the installation of several other libraries and applications. These will be installed automatically with Audacity, so there is no need to install them yourself. !! clear this up; focus on letting the reader know that the dependencies will automatically be taken care of !!

The JACK Audio Connection Kit is required by Audacity, even if you do not intend to use it. This software package is relatively large (at 11 MB), but is a requirement. If you have installed the Planet CCRMA repositories, and not already followed the JACK Guide's installation procedures, then you are strongly encouraged to do so immediately after installation of Audacity, for security reasons. An explanation and instructions are available here.

Installation

  1. Run
    su -c 'yum install audacity'
    or use PackageKit or KPackageKit to install the audacity package.
  2. Review the requirements list, and approve it.
  3. It is a good idea to test Audacity before using it for a real recording. If you don't test it first, then Audacity may not record what you want. !! explain why !!

Post-Installation Testing: Playback

  1. Locate an audio file that you want to use to test the playback.
    • Files in *.WAV or *.AIFF format will be the easiest to use at this point.
    • The file should not be especially quiet; you should easily be able to know whether it is playing correctly.
    • The file can be located anywhere on your computer, as long as you have permission to read it.
    • If you do not already have a file, you can use /usr/share/sounds/alsa/Noise.wav, which is intended for test purposes like these.
  2. After starting Audacity, you can find and select a file by selecting File > Open.
  3. Play the file repeatedly, as needed. Adjust the volume levels on your speakers and audio interface, if necessary.
  4. If playback does not work as intended, first verify that your hardware is setup correctly. If it is, then verify that Audacity is setup correctly - see the !!"Configuring Audacity to Use Your Hardware" section!!.

Post-Installation Testing: Recording

  1. Set up your microphone (or other audio source) so that it is connected to the input of the sound card you are using.
  2. Start Audacity with an empty session (no audio file is open).
  3. In the toolbar, there should be two volume level meters.
    • During the playback test, one of them should display green bars.
    • The other one will display red bars, representing the input level from your audio interface.
    • If you do not see it, it may have been accidentally closed. You can ensure that it is displayed by selecting View > Toolbars > Meter Toolbar. There should be a check mark next to it.
  4. There is a small, downward-pointing arrow next to the microphone icon on the level meter. Click the arrow, then choose Start Monitoring.
  5. Ensure that your source is producing an audio signal. If your source is a microphone, then sing or talk into it.
  6. The recording level meter should react to the input.
  7. Press the Record button on the toolbar to start a test recording.
  8. After a few seconds, press the Stop button on the toolbar to stop the test recording.
  9. Press Play on the toolbar to start playing the test recording. The playback should represent the sound that you wanted to record.
  10. If recording does not work as intended, first verify that your hardware is setup correctly. If it is, then verify that Audacity is setup correctly - see the "Configuring Audacity to Use Your Hardware" section.

Configuration

The First Time You Use Audacity

When you run Audacity for the first time, you will be asked to select a language to use for the interface. Also, if you have installed the Planet CCRMA repositories, and have not already followed the JACK Guide's installation procedures, then you are strongly encouraged to do so before using Audacity.

Before recording for the first time, you are encouraged to test Audacity to ensure that it is set up correctly. SEE ABOVE.

Configuring Audacity to Use Your Hardware

Especially in cases where your computer has multiple sound cards, or where a single sound card provides multiple, independent input and/or output busses (streams), Audacity may not correctly guess which busses you want to use.

  1. After starting Audacity, select File > Preferences.
  2. Choose Devices from the left tab-list.
  3. The Host should usually be ALSA, unless you want to use Audacity with JACK.
  4. The right setting is for both recording and playback devices is probably default.
  5. If default doesn't work, then the next best choice is any of the devices that have names ending with something like (hw0:0)
    • If you cannot make an educated guess, then try the devices systematically.
    • This connects Audacity to your audio interface(s) in such a way that PulseAudio will not be able to use the devices at the same time, but it gives Audacity the greatest amount of control.
  6. As a last resort, you can use the pulse devices, which connects Audacity to PulseAudio. Because Audacity does not have direct control of the audio hardware in this case, it can lead to poor performance.

Setting the Project Sample Rate and Bit Rate

The related concepts of sample rate, and bit rate, are explained IN THIS CHAPTER (Sound Cards). Audacity refers to Bit Rate as Sample Format.

  1. After starting Audacity, select File > Preferences to open the Preferences menu.
  2. Select Quality from the left tab-list.
  3. Select the settings that you wish to use.
    • CDs hold audio with a sample rate of 44100 Hz, and a sample format of 16 bits. This is sufficient for most uses.
    • Setting 96000 Hz and 24 bits should be enough for almost any use.
    • You should not provide settings that are greater than your audio interface can provide. It is probably not dangerous to do so, but it may decrease sound quality. If nothing else, it will use extra space on your hard drive, with no added audio quality.

The Interface

This tutorial could use a picture of the interface, with an explanation of what the buttons do.

Tutorial: Creating a New Login Sound

To follow this portion of the tutorial, it is strongly recommended that you download the Audacity working-file, and begin doing the actions described, as instructed in the tutorial.

Tutorial Files

The following files will be useful, if you choose to follow along with the tutorial. Only the Starting State file is necessary; the other two are provided as possible completed forms.

Scenario

You were telling a friend about Fedora Linux's open-source audio programs, and you mentioned that Audacity makes it easy to create and edit audio files. The friend reminds you of their long-standing desire to create a new sound to be played whenever they log in to their computer, and suggests that Audacity can be used to make just a sound. You decide to work on it together.

Inspiration

You choose a starting-point for your new login sound. After thinking about it for a while, you decide to record some clips from a CD that you own, and mix them together.

Starting Out

  1. Make sure that your system is set up to record (with hardware and sample/bit rates properly selected).
  2. You can use the level meter to monitor the input level. Before recording, you should test the input level, adjusting the audio interface as required.
  3. To begin the recording, hit the circular red Record button.
  4. When you have finished recording, hit the square orange Stop button.
  5. After recording a portion of audio, it should show up in the main portion of the window, with a blue, sound-wave-like shape representing the volume level of the recording.

Continuing to Record

There are three main ways to record something additional:

  1. You want to continue recording from the end of the already-recorded material.
    • Hold the [Shift] key as you click Record
    • Audacity will continue recording in the last-selected track, from the end of all already-recorded audio.
  2. You want to record something new to go along with what you already have, starting at the beginning.
    • Move the transport to the start: press [Home] on the keyboard or select Transport > Skip to Start.
    • The transport is the vertical line, which represents the place where Audacity will begin playback or recording if the Play or Record buttons are pressed.
    • When you click Record, Audacity will record onto a new track, and not erase what you have already recorded.
  3. You want to record something new to go along with what you already have, starting somewhere else.
    • Locate the place from where you want to continue recording.
    • Use the cursor to left-click on that place in an already-recorded segment.
    • When you click Record, Audacity will record onto a new track, and not erase what you have already recorded.

Aligning Tracks (audacity-1)

At this point in the tutorial, you can begin to follow along by modifying the Audacity working-file.

If you accidentally record something at the wrong time, or if you change your mind about when a track should be playing, you can easily move it.

  1. Select the time shift tool from the toolbar.
  2. Click on the track you want to move, then slide it left or right to adjust it as desired.
    • To align the start of one segment to the end of another, drag the later track so that its start is near the end of the earlier one; move it slowly around that area until a yellow line appears, showing that the segments are aligned.
    • To align a segment so that it begins at an arbitrary point, use the selection tool to move the transport to that point. Then, from the menu select Tracks > Align Tracks > Align with Cursor.
    • There are other alignment options in the Tracks > Align Tracks menu, and they apply only to the currently-selected tracks. To select multiple tracks, click on the portion of the track at the left, which has information about it. Then, hold down [Shift] on your keyboard, and select the others.
  3. Select the selection tool from the toolbar.
  4. Click to place the transport just before the splice, then press Play to hear it. Adjust again if necessary.

Stretching Tracks (audacity-2)

You can stretch or compress tracks, so that they take up more or less time. There are two tools which do this:

  • The Change Tempo tool, which adjusts speed but not pitch. This degrades sound quality quite a bit.
  • The Change Speed tool, which adjusts both speed and pitch. This does not degrade sound quality as much.

To stretch or compress a track,

  1. Select that track by clicking on the portion at the left, which has information about that track.
  2. Select Effect > Change Tempo or Effect > Change Speed.
  3. Use the window to adjust the degree of stretching/compression:
    • Positive values increase speed and compress the audio.
    • Negative values decrease speed and stretch the audio.
  4. You can use the Preview button to get an idea of the speed change that will happen with your selected settings.
  5. After clicking OK, it may take a few seconds for Audacity to process and apply the changes you requested.

Adjusting a Track's Volume and Removing Noise (audacity-3)

If you want to make a track louder or quieter, you can adjust the volume of individual tracks, or portions of tracks.

  1. The bottom-most track in the tutorial file is hardly audible. You press the solo button on that track to hear it alone, and realize that it's mostly very quiet humming.
  2. You use the selection tool to select part of the track.
  3. Select Effect > Amplify, which is a tool that, in effect, adjusts the volume level of an audio segment. If you enable clipping, then you will be able to adjust the level much higher than if you don't. However, you may lose part of the audio signal, and the sound quality may deteriorate. You may have to experiment to find an acceptable balance.
  4. This track still has a lot of noise, which was created by the recording tools, rather than what was supposed to be recorded.
    1. Select about a second of audio, which is going to serve as a the model of noise that should be removed. Ideally this portion of audio will contain only noise, and no signal that you wish to save.
    2. Select Effect > Noise Removal to open the Noise Removal tool.
    3. In the Noise Removal window, click Get Profile, so that the tool will take the selected portion of audio.
    4. Now select the whole track, which is the portion of audio from which you wish to remove the noise.
    5. Return to the Noise Removal tool's window, and select OK.
  5. Now you realize that the end of the upper-most track is too loud, so it interferes with the other.
    1. Select the last two seconds of that track.
    2. Select Effect > Fade Out to use the Fade Out tool.
  6. You think that the third track's entrance is too quiet, so you select the first portion, then 'Effect > Fade In' (huh?)
  7. there's a bit of noise in the fourth track at about 13:00 that you want to bring out, so you amplify it (double-huh?)

Removing a Portion of Audio (audacity-4)

  1. The fourth track, after the noise-bump that we just amplified, is just noise. We don't need it, and it sounds strange, so let's take it out.
  2. Place the transport at the start of the segment that you wish to remove, by left-clicking in the existing audio track.
  3. Select Edit > Select > Cursor to Track End, which will select the portion of audio in the currently-selected track between the transport and the end of the track. There are many other options for selecting audio available in that menu.
  4. On your keyboard, press [Delete].

Repeating an Already-Recorded Segment (audacity-5)

While you like the beginning of the sound, the end doesn't seem busy enough. You decide to repeat a portion of the second track, to make it seem as though it "just won't leave."

  1. Use the cursor to select the last second of the second track from the top, then select Edit > Copy.
  2. Place the transport arbitrarily, later in the track, and select Edit > Paste from the menu. Repeat this, so there are two copies.
  3. Select the Time Shift tool from the toolbar, and adjust the time of the two copied segments as desired.
  4. You might also wish to adjust the volume of a segment, depending on whether it sounds too loud for you.

Add a Silly Effect: Using the Phaser (audacity-6)

!! make it more clear that this is supposed to show the various effects and plug-ins available; consider explaining what the Phaser settings do !!

!! maybe link to a page which explains what the most popular effects/plug-ins do !!

The third track has a significant portion of audio after the end of every other track. You decide to experiment with a tool called Phaser, so that you can make it more interesting.

  1. Select the portion of the third track which begins after the last occurrence of the second track, and goes to the end. There are a few different ways to do this.
  2. Select Effect > Phaser and experiment with the settings. Use the Preview button to sample the outcome of your currently selected settings.
  3. You can use whatever settings seem appropriate. The tutorial file uses these settings:
    Stages: 2
    Dry/Wet: 128
    LFO Frequency: 0.4
    LFO Start Phase: 0
    Depth: 128
    Feedback: 90

Further Comments

If you followed along with the Audacity working-file, the chances are that your result is different from the completed model available above. There are a few reasons for this:

  • The tutorial's instructions are intentionally vague. This allows you to easily see how they apply to different uses.
  • The tutorial's instructions allow room for creative experimentation. This allows you to create a different result from the same starting material, by harnessing your own creative power.
  • While the model completion was being created, some extra steps were used to modify the sound. While the result was reached with all of the same tools and techniques described in the tutorial, they were used many more times than the tutorial explains. In particular, the tracks were time-shifted between most steps.

Saving and Exporting

When you save a file in Audacity with the Save or Save As commands, it is saved in an Audacity-only format. This is good, because it allows Audacity to save extra information about the audio, which is impossible to store in conventional formats like OGG, FLAC, or even AIFF and WAV.

If you want to share your audio work, or use it with another application, you will need to export it. This means that all of your tracks will be reduced to one track, and all of your channels will be reduced to stereo audio (with two channels). When you export, Audacity may warn you that your audio is being mixed into two channels. This will only affect the exported audio file, not the Audacity-format file.

Exporting Part of a File

  1. Use any means to select a portion of audio. You can click-and-drag with the cursor, or place the transport and select Edit > Select, or use another means.
  2. Select File > Export Selection.
  3. Use the Export File window to choose the format of your exported audio, and to configure advanced options of the format. Not all formats have advanced options.
  4. After clicking Save in the Export File window, some formats will provide a window where you can configure metadata about the file. Metadata is information about information - in this case, it describes qualities about the audio in the exported file, like Artist, Title, Genre, and so on. You can leave the fields blank, or complete as many as you prefer.

Exporting a Whole File

  1. Select File > Export.
  2. Use the Export File window to choose the format of your exported audio, and to configure advanced options of the format. Not all formats have advanced options.
  3. After clicking Save in the Export File window, some formats will provide a window where you can configure metadata about the file. Metadata is information about information - in this case, it describes qualities about the audio in the exported file, like Artist, Title, Genre, and so on. You can leave the fields blank or complete as many as you prefer.