Audacity is a great tool that allows Podcasters and anyone looking to create quality audio production. This free software is versatile and easy to use with a basic learning curve.
This guide will go step-by-step with the basics on how to record and edit voiceover for podcasts.
Get your free copy here (consider giving a small donation): http://www.audacityteam.org/
Based on your person set up, you should adjust your settings in Audacity.
Go to: AUDACITY
Click “Preferences” then go to “Devices” to edit sound card and audio channel(s).
Adjust “Playback” and “Device.” For example, My “Host” is the default CoreAudio. I’m not utilizing an interface. I’m using an Apogee usb MiC for “Device.” Your microphone settings will be adjusted here. If you are looking for good USB Microphones, check out my top ten list. Set the channel to “Mono” for a voiceover track. This results in a smaller file.
Once you have your settings customized, click “OK.”
If you want to record multiple tracks, in Preferences, click “Recording.” Under “Playthrough” check “Overdub: Play other tracks while recording new one.” This is beneficial because you can compare previously recorded tracks.
Let’s check “Quality” settings. Under “Preferences” click “Quality.” For best settings, it should look like the picture below.
Sample Rate = 44100 Hz
Sample Format = 24 bit or 16 bit
Sample Rate Converter = Best Quality
Dither = None
Once you have the settings established, click, “OK.”
For Mac users: Go to “Sound” and check your input and output devices. Your “Plug and Play” or external devices should be displayed. And your output should be correctly displayed. You can perform a test to check.
For Windows users: Go to “Control Panel➣ Sound Settings➣ Change System Sound/Manage Audio Devices➣ Adjust Audio Input.”
Here you should have access to the volume mixer and all your devices to make sure the settings are correct.
If you are using a USB microphone, mute the built-in or default microphone under “Sound Recording Volume.”
*Check your levels in Audacity.
To record a track in Audacity, go to “File➣New.”
The audio controls are in the top left corner of the screen. The controls are: PAUSE, PLAY, STOP, BACK, FORWARD, RECORD.
Click the red circle icon to “Record” to begin recording a single audio track.
There are many helpful editing tools in Audacity. I’m going to share some of the most commonly used for voiceover purposes.
Zoom - (magnifying glass icon), allows you zoom in and out of your audio track. Left-click to zoom in, right-click to zoom out.
Envelope (hourglass icon), lets you gradually adjust the volume of the audio track.
Select (cursor icon), select and highlight blocks of audio for editing.
Draw (pencil icon), remove undesired noise profiles from your track.
MOVE/Time Shift (double-ended arrow icon), allow you to move segments of audio from multiple tracks.
For noise reduction, select the sample area of the undesired noise. Select Effect➣Noise Removal➣Click, Get Noise Profile. Then, select the entire track or all of the area where you want to reduce the noise. There should be yellow border around the track.
Select Noise Removal again➣click, “OK.”
If you want silence in a block of audio in your track, the “Silence” tool is useful for this. Select the area in the track you want to silence. Go to “Edit➣Remove Special, select “Silence Audio.”
Check your audio track for peaks or dips that fall outside desired levels. The amplify technique works best is boosted with a positive number to increase a dip. To decrease a peak utilize a negative number. Only use Amplify if the DC offset is not present. Go to Effect➣Amplify.
This technique is used to bring the track levels closer together. Over compression will leave a track sounding “flat.” Use this technique carefully to adjust the peaks and dips. Select the block of your track that you’d like to compress. Click Effect➣ Compressor.
Bring the gain of the audio track to its maximum without clipping. It’s best to Normalize with DC Offset Correction. Select and highlight the audio track. Then click Effect ➣Normalize and choose (best between -6DB and -3dB).
Once you’re satisfied with quality of the audio track and have removed the undesired sound profiles, normalizing your audio is important to the overall quality of your track.
It’s important to consider industry standards with your audio files.
Podcasting has a set standard of -16 LUFS for stereo and -19 LUFS for mono audio tracks.
In voiceover the general rule is: peak at or below -3dB, with RMS between -23dB & -18dB, noise floor at or below -60dB.
If you editing will require more edits or you are sending the file off for post production, export as a wav.
If your editing is finalized and you will not be requiring any post production edits, export your file into an MP3 format. Go to➣ “File” and choose to “Save as type” and select “MP3” or go to➣”File”➣Export Audio➣MP3.
Choose the following settings:
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