4 track to stereo mix down

I’m using a MAC Mini, OSX 10.8.5 and a new installation of Audacity. This is my first post and my first attempt to Use Audacity. My raw recording was made with a ZOOM H4n. I used the internal mice plus two external mikes. This resulted in a four track recording.

I have successfully created a new project on Audacity and the four tracks are displayed on the screen. My next step is to do a mix down and render to a stereo file. I will then do the editing and create a CD with 10 tracks or so.

Here is the question: The four tracks recorded represent Internal mic1 (left), internal mic2 (right), external mic1 (left), and external mic2 (right).

The order I gave them in is the order of their appearance on the screen from top to bottom. BTW, they came into the Audacity project file in two pairs. The top pair came from a file with an I at the end of the name, which I assume it came from the internal mic. The other pair has an M on the end. I assume that is for the external, but … maybe not.

What I want from the mix down is that the mic1s are mixed and the mic2s are mixed. I read tutorials and have searched this forum, but, so far, I haven’t found anywhere that states this clearly.

Thanks for your indulgence and help.


To “mix down” specific tracks within a project, select the tracks that you want to mix down, then apply “Tracks menu > Mix and Render”. The mixed track will appear below any other tracks in the project.

See here for selecting tracks: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/audacity_selection.html

Thanks Steve! I missed it because I was looking for specifically “four to two” tracks. I’ll do better as I go along.


You have those (mono) tracks:

Go to the drop down menu for i1 and choose “Make Stereo”
do the same for m1.
The resulting tracks are in stereo, one internal and one external.
You could now proceed with export, this would automatically mix down the two tracks into one (stereo) track.
But you might first want to adjust the gain for the two tracks in order to avoid clipping or to give one mic-pair more weight over the other.
You can “simulate” the exported track with “mix and render to new track” (Tracks menu) and both tracks selected. That’s probably Cmd + Shift + M.
Select now all tracks (Cmd + A) and use amplify, which brings all to 0 dB.
You can now delete the mixed track.
Use the gain sliders to adjust the balance by bringing the prominent track down.

You could now render those tracks down into a single one, normalize it and export this one, however you like.

No worries :wink:

There is some additional information about “Mix and Render” here: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tracks_menu.html#mix

Steve, Robert, group,

I’m learning rapidly. I’m also a novice with the H4n and am reading the manual on it. Guess I should have done all of this “before” making the recording … oh well. The H4n in 4 channel mode always pairs the right and left tracks in the Internal(built-in) and the external mic files. Thus the last letter on each track -I for internal mics and M for mic, meaning the external mics.

Robert – to my credit, I did a great job of balancing the gains of both sets of mice before the concert started. I also left at least 12 dB of head room and after mixing I still should have 9 dB left.

I’'m afraid that the two pairs of files being always slaved with its partner is throwing me a curve. I can’t separate them when entered into Audacity. I’m studying the H4n manual and will visit their website so see if there is some built in export function that will create a stereo file from the 4 channel format.

You all have helped me greatly and I thank you for your help.


ps – BTW, I’m a retired EE and a musician with 60 years of experience – just not a recording specialist. If I have anything going for me it is that I understand technical terms. I’ll figure it out eventually. The trip is the fun part … cheers.

Splitting stereo files into mono tracks is easy once they have been imported into Audacity.
See: Audacity Manual

Excellent. As you become more familiar with Audacity, no doubt you’ll be able to help some of our less technical users :slight_smile:
This forum is run by and for the Audacity community - we’re all volunteers. Helping to answer a few questions is a great way to deepen your knowledge of the program, and there’s always new tips and tricks cropping up here :wink:


Thanks for this reference to splitting tracks! This will get me going.


I went to the “tracks” position on the menu bar and clicked on it. A menu selection window opened I could find no selection anywhere in the menu or in the expansion sections of the selections “make stereo” or Make Stereo Track. or “Split to Mono” or anything that remotely suggested that I can do what I want. I’m at a loss to know what to do. Under Edit, I had a “Split Cut” option. Since the entire recording had been selected, could that be considered a “cut”? If so, selecting “Split Cut” might do the job.

I checked the version number of my Audacity Program and it is the latest available on the website. I don’t understand why I’m not seeing the selections that the manual is telling me I should have.


Wrong menu.
There is a “Tracks” menu in the main menu bar at the top of the main Audacity window. That’s the menu that you clicked on.

The menu that you need is the drop-down menu attached to the actual track.
Click on the name of the track (at the top of the information panel on the left end of the track) and you will see something similar to this:

Found it! Thanks


Thanks to Steve and others, I now have a stereo file, mixed down from four track. It is ready for editing to several tracks for the making of a CD. BTW – this recording is of a one hour concert given by the Central Kentucky Concert Band on May 4, 2014, It was in a beautifully restored Opera House, dating from the late 1800’s, in Lexington, KY. It features two, world class Euphonium soloists.

I was pressed into making the recording, since the professional group we normally hired to do it was unavailable. It was my first time to do this sort of thing. At this point I am thrilled with the quality of the recording and my progress in using Audacity. I am saving every successful step in the process, so that I can always drop back one step if things become messy.

Thanks to you all for walking me through this.

Now – on to CD production. I’m sure I’ll be back :smiley:


We are making progress – got the 4 tracks split and mixed down into a stereo file. The I even did a little (-3dB) reduction before mix down and it looks like I came out with adequate overhead in the final product.

I need to start selecting sections of the whole thing and turn them into individual songs that can be burned to a CD. Sorry for the non-standard language. It has always bugged me that the stereo file is called a track and each song on the CD is called a track —

I’ve been reading the manual and tutorials , but so far have not figured out what it is called when you select a section of the file to save for burning a CD.

The manual and tutorial are good for showing what features are in the program, but a bit short when it comes to step by step instructions. I’m sure once I get the hang of it, I won’t even think about it again.


Me too :smiley:
I tend to use the term “song” when referring to tracks on a CD (even though it may be spoken word or music without lyrics).

Have you seen these:

Of particular relevance are:
4) Splitting a recording into separate tracks
5) Burning music files to a CD

There are two ways to do this.

You can do it manually by Selecting a song then “Exporting the Selection” as a WAV file (“File menu > Export Selection”)
Then repeat for each song.
“WAV” (the default export format) is recommended for making audio CDs.

The other way is to use “Labels” to mark each song, then use “Export Multiple” to export each song as a separate file (again, use WAV format). This method is described in detail here: Audacity Manual