Audacity for multi-tracking

Brand new forum member here, I just downloaded Audacity yesterday and wanted to know if this software is adequate for simple multi-tracking & mixdown of basic guitar & vocal tracks. I did a couple of guitar tracks & 1 vocal track last night and it sounded pretty good but it seems I couldn’t adjust the levels of the guitar tracks after I did them. I did one guitar track, then a second one, then the vocal track. On playback I could vary the level of the vocal track but the guitar tracks stayed the same level even when adjusting the slider controls. Maybe I have a setting in preferences I need to change? I’ve been recording on a Fostex digital 8-track unit but wanted to get into PC recording, so suggestions/advice would be appreciated. :slight_smile:

Yes you can do simple multi-track recording with Audacity.

I’m not sure why you had the problem changing the volume on the guitar tracks. The recording procedure should be the same for both the guitar tracks and the vocal tracks (although you may be using a different input on your soundcard device). So it sounds like you did it right with the vocal track, but something wrong with your guitar tracks ? ! ?

Definitely worth just spending a bit of time playing around with Audacity before you try doing any serious work with it. Take special note of the difference between “Save” and “Export” (one of the most common reasons why people loose their work).

If you want to do more complex multi-tracking, you might like to try “Reaper” (very cheap shareware - Windows) or “Krystal” (Free software - Windows) or “Ardour” (Free Software - Linux), but for simple stuff, Audacity is great. (Note also that the other programs are NOT audio editors, they are multi-track DAW’s - so you will probably still end up using Audacity for editing. :smiley:

I beg to differ!

Audacity can do much, much more than just edit audio. I have been using it as a multi-track recorder for nearly two years. Nothing beats it for simplicity and power. Of course, I come from the old days of 1/4 inch tape.

I dabbled with Reaper, Krystal, Ardour, and Magix Music Studio, but was not that impressed. I’ve seen enough ProTools videos and workshops to know that I won’t have the patience to learn such a complicated program. One other program I like is Mixcraft 3, made by Acoustica.

Here are some examples of what you can do in Audacity:

Whoa, I got linked. Bonus.

Don’t buy anything from that online store just yet, I need to set it up so that people can buy the whole album for less than the sum of each track, but I have to make some cover artwork for that. I think the whole thing will be $8 initially.

And just so we’re clear, I used Audacity 1.2.6 to do all of the multi-track recording and editing on those songs. Working with Audacity is very similar to working with a 4-track tape deck (only there is no track limit), so if you’ve used one of those, Audacity is a very comfortable environment once you figure it out. It’s not quite as nice as a DAW (you can’t arbitrarily change a song’s tempo, there’s no real midi support, realtime effects aren’t implemented, etc), but I find DAWs to be overly complicated for the vast majority of multi-track recording that I do.

Thanks for the replies! I’ll be checking out the Myspace link above. As far as my not being able to change the guitar levels as mentioned in my post, last night was the first time I’ve ever messed with Audacity so I’m sure I just need to work with it some more, read the documentation, etc. and I’ll figure it out.

Nice place you got here. :slight_smile:

btw, here’s a couple of tunes from me done on my Fostex MR8.

Rick, you can find excellent tutorials for A everywhere. Just Google “Audacity Tutorial,” and you’ll find more than you need. FREE! Even movies! Some of the effects, reverb and such, are not that great, but you can use outboard real time effects going in. The compresor and other effects are fine.

Keep in mind that you will be doing one track at a time! I think Andy has some posts that illustrate how to do more at once - just search the posts.

I’ll listen to your stuff over the weekend and reply.

Nice job, Rick. I like Rick’s Tune. You’ve got a good sense of melody, and I don’t know how you got such a great chunky rhythm tone out of an acoustic guitar, but I like it.

Thanks a lot, Andy! That’s an Applause/Ovation accoustic/electric plugged into a Digitech RP50. I may have also used a little 'verb from the Fostex. I recorded that back around May, I think it was, and haven’t done much in a while - comments such as yours tell me I need to find some time to come up with something new. Hopefully, I’ll get my feet wet with Audacity and the next tune will be recorded with that. Thanks again and I’ll check out your tunes and comment later this weekend. :sunglasses: