Audacity 1-2-3

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Revision as of 23:53, 13 February 2009 by Jc (talk | contribs) (Test)
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This is a guide on how to install Audacity.

Download and Install

(The steps below are a short outline. For a more complete tutorial, please check out this guide.)

  1. Download and install the Audacity software from this page: Audacity Sourceforge Download
  2. Download the lame mp3 encoder (instructions included).
    1. Install the Lame encoder. Please follow the instructions on this page

Note: It is recommended to download both the stable version and the Beta version. The main advantage to the Beta is that it offers a much improved noisecleaning effect. Some readers use the stable version to record, and the Beta to apply noisecleaning. Other readers will use the Beta for everything.


You might need to change the default settings in Audacity. This is to ensure that all our recordings are as technically uniform as possible.

  1. Open the Preferences Dialog Box: Edit > Preferences (or Ctrl + P)
  2. Under the Audio I/O tab:
    1. Select your input and output devices. (Microphone and speakers)
    2. Select 1 (Mono) in the Channels drop-down menu.
  3. Under the Quality tab:
    1. Check that the Default sample rate is 44100 Hz
    2. Change Default sample format to 16 bit float
  4. Under the File Formats tab:
    1. Uncompressed Export Format: WAV (Microsoft 15 bit PCM)
    2. (If you are using Audacity 1.2.6, under MP3 Export Setup, select Bit Rate of 128; click Find Library and locate and select the Lame encoder you saved:
* PC: in your Programs Folder, find the Audacity folder, and select the lame_enc.dll file
* Mac: in your Applications Folder, find the Audacity folder, and select the LameLib; press OK.)

More great information:

Please note that all those tutorials are illustrated with screenshots from the stable 1.2.6 version of Audacity. There are slight variations in the beta version but the same settings need to be set there, too.

Help! my mic is missing! -- See last section on this page.


TIP: audio is a lot of work for many computers. Always, always give your computer a little time to catch up -- whenever you click a button, whenever you stop, whenever you save, be a bit patient with your computer. Most crashes happen when commands are given too rapidly. Save early, save frequently.

Barest Basics

(Note: a short video is available here: Audacity vid )

Here we create and save an Audacity file: record, look, listen, and delete. (3 minutes!)

  1. Plug in your mic (always plug in your mic before you start Audacity)
  2. Start Audacity (quit and restart it if it was already open when you plugged in your mic)
  • in the top menu, select Audacity > Preferences > Audio I/O tab:
  • under Recording Device: select your mic from the pull-down menu;
  • and Channels: 1 (Mono) (this should be already correctly set up)
  1. Click the Record button (red circle) and read this into your mic:
  • "Peter Piper packed a paper pumpkin. Thank you thirty thousand thanks. Fine fun on the forums, fortunately."
  1. Click the Stop button (square) ... pause a moment ... then,
  • File > Save Project and look at the save window
  • select the folder you want (create a folder on your Desktop called LV, and a folder inside that called "testing" -- unless you have a better idea)
  1. Click the Play button (green triangle) and listen for a bit, then press Stop.
  • now press the spacebar ... press it again (it toggles play on, off)
1. Look at the waveform. 
 * click the + magnifying glass 3 times; 
 * click the - magnifying glass 2 times; 
 * highlight an inch of the waveform and click the 3rd magnifying glassBR(it fills the screen with what you've highlighted)  
 * now click the final magnifying glass.BR(it fits the whole file on the screen)
1. position the cursor at the beginning of a word (can you find the beginning?)
 * leisurely press the spacebar four or five times.BR(each time, it begins where you had placed the cursor)
 * click the triangle (play) and then the pause button; press pause ...again...BR(each time, it resumes from where it was paused)
 * highlight an inch or two of waveform and hit the spacebar; press it again.BR(it plays the highlighted section and stops)
1. At the far left side of your track, click the X in the upper left corner. It deleted your track. 
 * press Control-Z. Your track is back (because it undid your delete). 
 * press Control-Z. Your track is gone again (because it just undid your recording). 
 * press Control-Y (to redo your recording). 
1. Now click the X again to delete the track.

Trial 1 is done. Was that 3 minutes? Ready for Trial 2?