Here is what you know how to do so far:

  • Set microphone preferences
  • Use the monitor function
  • Make a recording in Audacity
  • How to examine a waveform
  • Use the solo and mute functions
In this lesson, you will learn how to master your recording.  Basically, this means preparing your recording to be exported.  Here are the skills you'll get from this lesson:
  • Use the select and mover tools to edit recorded audio.
  • Use the gain control
  • Master your audio using the equalization presets.

Open up Audacity.  For this lesson, you will need to record two short tracks.  Record two short tracks of whatever you want and let's get started!

Use the select and mover tools to edit recorded audio 

For this section, we are going to focus on the two of the tools in this section at the top of the window:
     The select tool    works just like the cursor in Word or Google Docs.  You can use it to highlight audio and do many different things.  Try highlighting a section of audio and deleting it by pressing backspace.  Now, go to the Edit menu and select ‘undo'.  Undo is going to be one of your best friends when using Audacity.  If you need more precise views, use the View menu and select ‘Zoom In'.  This will give you a closer view of your waveform and allow for more precise editing.
     Next, let's use the mover tool.  This tool moves any chunk of audio within and between tracks.  Select the mover tool.  Click and drag any chunk of audio around.  This tool is helpful when you record audio on different tracks.  Notice when you move the audio to the beginning of a track or right next to another chunk of audio, a yellow line appears.  This is Audacity telling you the track is lined up perfectly.

Use the gain control

     Now it's time to use the gain control.  This will help you control the final volume of your track.  
audacity-gain-control
     Think of gain like the hot water control on your kitchen faucet.  The recording is a steady flow of water, and when you increase the gain, you make the water hot.  Experiment playing your recording and manipulating the gain, you'll hear the difference you can make with the gain.  (Bonus:  If you hold Shift and click play, you'll loop your recording so it will repeat until you press
stop.  This is easier than repeatedly clicking play over and over again).

Master the audio using Equalization presets

     One of the coolest tools to use is Equalization, EQ for short.  EQ is one of the tools recording engineers use to manipulate audio, and a whole course could be developed to cover the intricacies of this great tool.  For this course, we will learn how to use the presets that come with Audacity.  Let's have some fun with our audio and make it sound like it would on a telephone.
  1. Using the select tool, highlight the audio you want to manipulate.
  2. From the Effects menu at the top of the window, choose ‘Equilization'
  3. A window will pop up, find ‘Select Curve' This menu has preset EQ for your audio.
  4. Select ‘Telephone'
  5. Click ‘OK'

Now you know the basic tools to master your audio!  In the next lesson, we'll learn how to export your audio for use on your computer and mobile devices as an mp3.