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Requirements and Installation

Automatically Brings in the Following Sound-Related Packages, if not already Installed:

  1. Run 'yum install audacity'.
  2. Review the installation list, and push 'y' to approve it.
  3. It should be installed.


Normal (ALSA)

  1. On first run, you'll have to select a language.
  2. To configure, go to 'Edit > Preferences'
  3. Under "Devices", confirm that "Host" says "ALSA"
  4. Probably best to leave the Playback Device set to "Default"
    1. If playback doesn't work, try the Device "pulse", which won't be there if you uninstalled PulseAudio
    2. If "pulse" doesn't work, try the Device "... (hw:0,0)"
    3. if that doesn't work, then try the other options systematically
      • N.B. Tell them to choose the device manually, and NOT "pulse"
  5. If you have only three choices in Recording Device ("... (hw:0,0)" and "pulse" and "default") then any will work.
    1. If you want to put the audio through PulseAudio, set it to "pulse"
    2. If you want to skip PulseAudio (which may be more accurate), set it to "... (hw:0,0)"
  6. If you have different choices, then you'll need to choose the one that is connected to the sound card you want to use.
  7. Open an audio file (.WAV is easiest at this point) and press "Play" to test that playback works.

Testing That Recording Works (KMix)

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.

Testing That Recording Works (pavucontrol, pavumeter)

If only it were that simple!

Advanced (JACK)

Although Audacity has the capability to use the JACK audio backend, we suggest that users requiring JACK move to Ardour.

 1.) On first run, you'll have to select a language.
 2.) To configure, go to 'Edit > Preferences'
 3.) Under "Devices", confirm that "Host" says "JACK Audio Connection Kit"
 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

  1. Go to 'Edit > Preferences'
  2. Select 'Quality' from the sidebar
  3. CD audio is recorded with 44100 Hz (44.1 kHz) and 16 bits (right?????)
  4. Choose what you want. Higher numbers means better quality but (A) you may not be able to hear it, and (B) your hardware may be incapable of that level. So, if changing from default, then set it to highest your hardware can handle.

Recording a Session

  1. Make sure that your system is set up to record (hardware and samplerate properly selected).
  2. To begin the recording, hit the circular red "record" button to start the transport.
  3. When you have finished recording, hit the square orange "stop" button to stop the transport.
  4. Look at what you did!
  5. 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

  1. press 'Shift' as you click Record, so that it appends to the existing track

you want to record something to go along with what you already have

  1. Reset the transport to the start: press 'Home' or 'Transport > Skip to Start'
  2. Record again

you want to record something to go along with what you already have, but not at the beginning

  1. click in the existing track where you want to start recording
  2. Record again

you want to align your tracks (audacity-1)

  1. Select the "time shift tool" from the toolbar
  2. Click on the track you want to move, then slide it left & right to adjust to the right time
  3. 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.
  4. Select the "selection tool" from the toolbar
  5. Click to place the transport just before the splice, then press "Play" to hear what you've done
  6. 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'
  7. There are other alignment options in that menu; each option applies to only the currently-selected tracks.
  8. 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)

  1. Select that track.
  2. Go to 'Effect > Change Tempo' (no pitch-change; greatly affects sound quality) or 'Change Speed' (pitch & tempo change; better quality)
  3. Positive percent-change increases speed, and negative decreases.

you want to increase the volume of one track, and decrease that of another, so they are more equal (audacity-3)

  1. 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
  2. you use the selection too to select part of the track, then 'Effect > Amplify'
  3. You may want to enable clipping, or it can't be amplified by much. Clipping reduces sound quality by eliminating some of the signal.
  4. 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'
  5. 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'
  6. You think that the third track's entrance is too quiet, so you select the first portion, then 'Effect > Fade In'
  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

you want to remove some of the audio (audacity-4)

  1. the fourth track, after the noise bump, is just noise, and you don't want it
  2. You place the cursor at the start of the segment you want to remove, then 'Edit > Select > Cursor to Track End' and press 'delete'

you want to repeat a segment of a part (audacity-5)

  1. the ending isn't busy enough, so you decide that you want to make it seem like the second track "just won't leave"
  2. select the last second of that track, then 'Edit > Copy' and place the cursor later in the track, then 'Edit > Paste'
  3. You select another location in the track, and 'Edit > Paste', then another and the same
  4. You use the 'Time Shift tool' to move the time location of each particular occurence

You want to do something silly to the end (audacity-6)

  1. 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
  2. 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

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)

Files on FWT:

  • "audacity.aup" is what you've got after several recordings
  • "audacity-1.aup" is time-shifted
  • "audacity-2.aup" is time-adjusted
  • "audacity-3.aup" is volume-adjusted
  • "audacity-4.aup" has a part removed
  • "audacity-5.aup" has a part echoed
  • "audacity-6.aup" is phased

Saving and Exporting

  • when you save, it's in an Audacity-only format, which is fine for Audacity
  • you will get a warning that your tracks will be mixed into two channels. Explain what this means.

you are still working, and want to show a friend what a small portion sounds like

  1. select the portion that you want to show them
  2. then choose 'File > Export Selection'

you have completed your work and want to export the file for use in other programs, and for sharing

  1. it doesn't matter what's exported
  2. then choose 'File > Export'

the 'Export File' dialogue:

  • most of it is easy to figure out, but
  • read the section of this guide about "audio file formats" to decide which format to use
  • some of the formats have advanced options, but not all of them.

Using Simple Effects

I think I already covered this earlier.