Beginners help for editing files

I am having a very difficult time with several tasks on audacity.
I have finally figured out how to transfer my cassettes to the computer( a PC) windows 7 and it is also on an external hard drive. Yeah!
However other tasks are impossible and daunting for me. I cannot figure out the editing of various songs. I have over 100 songs in various files. I want to edit various sounds,beginnings,endings of songs- cut some out,etc.
I have watched three or four tutorials and do not understand them at all.
I wish I could have a phone conversation or have someone help me with this.
I live in New york City.
I need clear,easy to follow steps- to edit properly. I have ended up erasing the wrong music- and I am making no progress.
Also need help with mastering,labelling,and combining files.Cannot turn them into mp3’s as there is a problem message coming up- was able to figure out how to turn some into CDs.
Can anyone help?
Please do not direct me to one of the tutorials which ARE NOT AT ALL HELPFUL for people like me who are technologically challenged and need one to one hands on guidance.
Thank you!

If you are on Windows 7, why did you post in the Mac OS X forum? :confused:

Most of the video tutorials on YouTube are using old versions of Audacity. The quality of most of the tutorials that I have seen are terrible, so I’m not surprised that you have had difficulty following them.

Audacity is a free program. The support crew on this forum are volunteers. We do not provide telephone, email or Skype support. We do donate huge amounts of time to helping fellow Audacity users on the forum.

That is far too broad a question to answer.

Let’s start with: which version of Audacity do you have (see the pink box near the top of the page).

You’ll have to take it slow… This stuff isn’t easy for a beginner because you have to learn concepts, terminology, and how to use the software.

I want to edit various sounds,beginnings,endings of songs- cut some out,etc.

[u]Here is the basic editing tutorial[/u]. It shows you how to remove selected parts of the file, fade-out, and export to MP3.

Cannot turn them into mp3’s as there is a problem message coming up-

Before you can export to MP3 you need to install the optional [u]LAME MP3 encoder[/u]. Have you done that?

Note that MP3 is is lossy compression. If you are making an MP3 compress to MP3 once as the last step. And if you are making a regular audio CD, make the CD from a WAV file NOT from MP3!

and combining file

If you want to join two songs together, it’s usually best to use a [u]crossfade[/u] (fade-out, fade-in, and overlap). The crossfade can be a few milliseconds so you get a smooth splice but the crossfade is not really noticeable, or it can be a couple of seconds. Or if you are connecting two songs, you can use a “DJ style” crossfade where the beginning of the 2nd song overlaps the natural fade-out of the 1st song with no additional fading.


For MP3s, File → Edit Metadata. Or after creating the MP3 file, you can use a tag editor such as [u]MP3 Tag[/u]. (I believe you’ll need an application like MP3 Tag to add album artwork.)

Audio CDs are trickier and not all CD players support it, and the album/artist/title information isn’t on most CDs. When you play an audio CD on your computer, it usually takes a “fingerprint” of the CD and searches an online database for a match. Obviously, your homemade CD is not in the online database.

If you are playing an audio CD in your car (not an MP3 CD) and you see artist/title information, that’s [u]CD Text[/u]. Check the documentation for your CD burning application for how to add CD Text.


Also need help with mastering

Mastering (and re-mastering) is a BIG TOPIC. I’m just scratching the surface here…

I suggest you save an unaltered “original” because “It’s easier to break something with a hammer than to build or repair something with a hammer.” You can mess-up the file or over-do whatever you are doing and you might not realize it 'till later.

Assuming these are commercial cassettes, were already mastered once. Every file is different so every file will need different re-mastering and you have to use your ears. Pros normally have a known-good reference recording in the same genre to compare to and to “re-calibrate their ears” every so-often. Pros also listen to the recording on several different systems (comparing to their reference recording)… On headphones & earbuds, in their car, on their living room system, on a boombox, etc. This is even more important for an amateur who (presumably) does not have good monitor-speakers and an acoustically treated studio.

Some common re-mastering effects/tools will be -

Volume Adjustment -
Use the Amplify effect to adjust the volume (up or down). Amplify will scan the file and default to whatever gain is needed (if any) to adjust the peaks to 0dB (the digital maximum). This is called “normalizing”. Note that the peak volume does NOT correlate well with perceived “loudness”. If you are normalizing an album, normalize it as a whole or adjust all of the songs by the same amount so that all of the songs remain the same relative volume as they were originally mastered.

If you are making a compilation or a mix, the best approach is to normalize/maximize the tracks individually, then if they don’t sound equally loud choose the quietest song as your reference and bring the other tracks down to match (by ear).

Noise Removal - There is a Noise Removal “effect”. You feed it a sample of noise-only, and this becomes your “noise profile”. Then you run Noise Removal again and it tries to separate the signal from the nose. This is one of the more “dangerous” effects. There can be side-effects and sometimes, “The cure is worse than the disease.” It’s one of those things you have to try and then decide if it’s better to leave the tape hiss.

Generally, noise removal should be done first. Other adjustments and effects can change the background noise level, so it’s best to apply it to the whole recording at once as the 1st step while the noise is constant.

Equalization - If you are not familiar with EQ, it’s fancy “tone control”. There is an Equalization effect. The low frequencies (bass) is on the left and high frequencies (treble) is on the right. I recommend using the Graphic EQ mode instead of the Draw Curves mode. Older recordings may benefit from some high-frequency boost (maybe above 7KHz). Note that boosting the high frequencies will also boost tape noise.

Dynamic Compression - This is optional, but it’s very common in modern recordings in and in re-mastering. It’s used to make the recording “louder” by boosting the not-so-loud parts without boosting or clipping/distorting the peaks. If you want that modern “constantly loud” sound, that’s how you get it. If you like the dynamic contrast of the older recordings, avoid compression. (Most recordings, including older recordings have some dynamic compression and some older recordings were highly compressed too.) See [u]The Loudness War[/u].

Note that dynamic compression is totally unrelated to file-compression such as MP3.

After any processing, it’s a good idea to normalize (or re-normalize). Effects such as EQ can boost the levels into [u]clipping[/u] (distorted flat-top waves). Audacity itself can go over 0dB, but normal 16-bit and 24-bit WAV files, CD’s, your digital-to-analog converter and analog-to-digital converter are all limited to 0dB. So normalize before exporting to WAV or MP3. Or, you can run Amplify to check the peak and then cancel the effect if the peaks are not over 0dB. (If Amplify defaults to a negative gain, your peaks are over 0dB.)

I thought this was the windows forum- I really understand little which is why I asked these questions. I am using 2.0 for Audacity.

This IS the Windows forum.
I split your post from the end of someone else’s topic in the Mac OS X forum.

Audacity version numbers have three parts. The current version is 2.0.6.
You can find the full version number by looking in the “Help menu > About Audacity”.
If your version is older than 2.0.6 then you can get the new version from here: