Can I import a file directly into a project?

Hi Folks,
I’m relatively new at this, so pardon if this is covered somewhere and I couldn’t find it. I run Audacity 2.1.2 in Windows10 x64. I use it to put together an internet radio show, using as many as 35 audio files (songs) with recorded commentary to put together a two-hour show. The only way that I can figure out how to do it is to import the songs in order as individual tracks, then cut and paste them up into a master track. Is there a way to import directly into the master?

Thanks for listening.
ex-pat who lives in France and records The Blend for

You don’t need to cut and paste into one track. Audacity is a multi-track audio editor, so as long as your computer can handle the number of tracks, you can leave them all as separate tracks.

You will of course need to move the new tracks to the right so that they don’t all play simultaneously. To move audio clips manually you can drag them using the Time Shift tool. There is also a command to automatically move audio clips so that each track starts where the previous track ends (Align End to End:

An advantage of keeping audio clips separate is that you can then easily and precisely crossfade the audio clips (see: and Another advantage is that it is easy to apply different effects to different clips (very useful for matching the loudness of each clip)

If you have more tracks than your computer can handle, you can “mix down” some or all of the tracks so as to reduce the number of tracks (see:, or, you can drag some clips (with the Time Shift tool) into other tracks and then delete the empty tracks. To drag an audio clip vertically while maintaining its time position, hold down the Ctrl key while dragging.

Don’t be scared of using multiple tracks - it’s a very flexible and powerful way of working once you get the hang of it.
On Export, all non-muted tracks are mixed down into a single file.

Thanks for that.I didn’t realize that you could export into one file that way. I also appreciate the cross fade tip, although I generally prefer not to do that. One last question. The way I have been doing it, I compress the file before export. I can see compressing the files individually and I can see exporting to a single file, bringing it back in, then compressing it. Is there a better way?

Thanks again.

There’s many different approaches, and everyone has their preferred workflow, so I can only tell you how I would approach it (and why). You can then try it this way, then take from it what is useful for you.

I’m assuming that the “songs” are pre-recoded and don’t require any additional processing or “mastering” other than perhaps volume adjustment so that they all play with about the same “loudness” (how “loud” the music sounds may be very different to its “peak level”, so don’t expect the meters to tell you how “loud” the track is - you need to listen to the tracks).

I would deal with the music tracks first. This is a bit laborious, but it’s easy. When this is done we can move onto the fun bit :wink:

  • Import all of the music tracks (easiest if you have them all in one folder so you can import them all together). They will appear in Audacity as separate tracks, one above the other.
  • Use the track “Solo” buttons to listen to one track at a time and find the quietest track. Move this track to the top (either drag the track by it’s “track control panel” or use the command in the track control panel menu:
  • Then go through each track and, using the track “Gain” slider, adjust the level so that every track sounds right against the quiet track. (we have to go quieter rather than louder, otherwise we are likely to make some tracks distorted).
  • Optional: If some of the tracks are too long, you may want to trim them down at this stage, but if you’re not sure how much of each track you need, be generous and retain a bit extra - you can trim it down later.
  • When all of the tracks sound right, export them to a new folder in WAV format using “Export Multiple” ( Always use WAV during the production stage - if you need MP3 for the final show, convert as the final step, but keep a WAV format backup copy.

Your music files are now ready to drop into the show, and save for a bit of trimming they are now “drop and go” ready.

Check that the files have exported OK, and then close the project so we start the next part with a fresh project.

Now start to build up the show by importing the commentary and the processed files.
Group similar audio clips together on the same track. For example, if there are two voices, use a separate track for each voice. If one voice was recorded in two different sessions, then you may need to tweak one session differently from the other session, so give each its own track.
Because the volume for all of the music tracks are matched, we can group those one one track.
Use the Time Shift tool to move each audio clip into the right place on an appropriate track (I generally move them “roughly” to the right place first, then go through and precisely adjust them to get a nice flow.)

Each Audacity track should now, individually, sound OK, but some tracks may be louder, quieter, have more/less bass, more/less treble … than other tracks. So now you can process the tracks with Equalization, compression, and whatever else you need, one track at a time, so that the you end up with a show that “gels” as a homogeneous whole.

Back-up, back-up, back-up… Don’t forget to make regular back-ups, and don’t overwrite your back-ups. Give each back-up a unique name so that you have a trail of backups going back to when you started the project. Back-ups are a worthless waste of time, until you need one :stuck_out_tongue:

When you have “finished” the show (and made a back-up), export the show in WAV format, then take a good long break and give your ears a rest.
When you come back to it, listen critically to your exported WAV file, preferably on several different systems with different speakers / headphones. What did you do wrong? Can you live with it or do you need to go back and fix something? If it’s about right, go back into the project and export a new copy in whatever format you need.

Thanks again. Good ideas, some I will accept, some that I’ll pass on. Great forum. Thanks for all of the help.