r4x2 wrote:I don't need it to be 12-bit, all I need is the sound,
These instructions are for Audacity 1.3.12. If you're using an earlier version I'd highly recommend upgrading to 1.3.12.
To get the same effect at 12 bit, go to "Edit menu > Preferences > Quality" and set "High Quality Conversion > Dither" to "None".
Click "OK" to close the Preferences dialogue.
Look at the box on the left side of the track that you want to process.
If it says "32 bit float", then click on the track name and in the drop down menu go down to "Set Sample Format" and set it to "16 bit PCM"
(If it already said "16 bit PCM" then just miss out this step).
Now select the entire track (double click on it).
From the Effect menu, select "Amplify".
In the top box of the Amplify effect, type -24 (minus twenty four).
What we are doing here is to drop the volume so that the waveform is within a 12 bit (72 dB) range, instead of a 16 bit (96 dB) range.
Click "OK" (the waveform will go almost flat vertically).
Now select the Amplify effect again, but this time just type 24 (plus twenty four) in the top text box and click OK.
This will restore the amplitude to it's previous height, but with scaled values from the small waveform - that is, 12 bit values.
I expect that this will not sound as "lo-fi" as you are expecting - while not brilliant, 12 bit audio is not as bad as many MP3s that people happily listen to.
To undo the previous steps, press Ctrl+Z repeatedly (each time you press Ctrl+Z it will undo the previous action).
Try it again, but instead of dropping the amplitude by -24 dB, try dropping it by -50 dB. This effectively makes it the same sound quality as 8 bit audio.
When you amplify it back to normal, you should hear quite clearly that the sound quality is much lower (it will sound hissy).
After doing all this, you may decide that it is not the effect that you wanted, but at least you now know what it will sound like at 12 bit and at 8 bit.
For an alternative type of distortion, try the "Leveller" effect.
Suggested settings: Use the Amplify effect with default settings first, then apply "Leveller" with "Degree of levelling" = "Heaviest" and "Threshold for noise" = "-20dB".
That may be too "gritty". If so, Ctrl+Z to undo and use a lower "Degree of Levelling".