Book Image

Getting started with Audacity 1.3

By : Bethany Hiitola, Stephen Daulton
Book Image

Getting started with Audacity 1.3

By: Bethany Hiitola, Stephen Daulton

Overview of this book

Using the Audacity software as the starting off point, we discuss what the software is, what it can do, how you can use it, and where you go to get started installing it. All of this information is grounded in some basic audio editing terminology and background for those that aren't so technology inclined.Then we'll start digging into a sample project! You'll learn about how to set up a project, create a voice track, record an interview with Skype, and basic audio editing techniques. All of this done in an easy to follow, task based approach with lots of examples. Here, we plan to go a step further, we teach how to wrap all of these steps together and create a podcast that can be posted on your own website or blog.There's always more you can do with Audacity! The last portion of the book is dedicated to just that - discussing more advanced editing and mixing techniques, using affects, adding music, adding additional plug-ins to the software. All still incorporating examples and easy to follow tasks you can try on your own audio projects.
Table of Contents (18 chapters)
Getting started with Audacity 1.3
About the Author
About the Reviewers
Giving Your Audio Some Depth: Applying Effects
Toolbar, Menu, and Keyboard Shortcut Reference
Glossary of Terms

Using the best equipment

To get the best sound, you need a good microphone. But let's keep this in perspective. It is your first time using Audacity and creating a podcast, right? So our project doesn't need to be professional in its quality of sound. Any microphone will do the trick, including any internal microphone that your computer may have. However, it is worth recommending some microphone options that will make editing and cleaning up the vocal tracks easier. For any future projects, you may want to upgrade your equipment—because a better microphone, sound card, and audio setup will record your audio with much less degradation up front. When you compress your recording to create an MP3, your recording will sound better, and will also require less of your time for post-production.

Generally, here's what you'll need:

  • A computer (or laptop) with a sound card

  • A microphone

  • A microphone stand, or something to secure the microphone while you are recording, may be useful, so that you can avoid any additional interference

Sound cards

The sound card allows your computer to record audio. There are hundreds of sound card varieties, some with many "lines in" for recording multiple items at once (say, if you're part of a band and want each instrument to have an individual microphone) or just one input. Others have microphones bundled with the product, and there are even a few that include additional useful software packages, including Audacity. Again, for our project, any sound card will do, as long as it has a line-in and is functional. For ongoing projects, you should research the best sound cards for the best recording quality, depending on what will best fit your needs.


For the microphone option, there are several different types to consider in the long run, depending on what you are recording, your other equipment, and the purpose that your audio track will serve. Your range of choices is as follows:

  • The most inexpensive option is to use your computer's internal microphone (if it has one). This is definitely enough to get you started on our sample project.

  • The next least-expensive option is a simple headset of the kind that are easily available in most big department stores, and are used commonly by computer gamers. The headphone portion uses your computer's sound card and lets you listen to stereo sound from music, games, movies, and more. The microphone, is usually incorporated into the headset, is often noise-canceling, and generally offers decent quality sound recording. With a headset, no microphone stand or other equipment is required to get started.

  • The next best choice is a dynamic microphone. They are durable, with few moving parts, and are ideal for someone who wants that little bit of extra quality when recording vocals. No additional power source is needed, but a microphone stand is recommended.

In addition to these basic options, there are several other varieties of microphones that vary in both price and the quality of sound that they record. However, many of these will require even more equipment to work effectively. Hence, sticking to the basics will get you through your project.