IPhone Voice Memo Help

Today I was at a friend’s funeral & got the idea to record the service. I’d LOVE someone to help me with this so I could give copies to the family. I recorded it through Voice Memo, uploaded to itunes, was too long for a CD so downloaded latest version of Audacity to edit it. Figured out how to change it to a .wav file and have been trying to edit it for the last 7 hours and haven’t made much progress. There are a few problems that I could see: 1) Scale it down or condense to fit on a CD (74 mins.?) 2) Have it all the same volume - when music plays it’s extremely loud compared to the talking parts; 3) Take out background noises. 4) Burn it to a cd that will play in car, cd player, computer, etc. Not sure if any/all this is possible? Could anyone help or direct me to a service or company that does this type of thing? As you probably can tell, I’m old and not from the iphone or computer generation and am extremely frustrated!! Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Maybe a couple of days work…for a professional.

That’s quite a list.
Any one of those tasks is usually presented as one forum help posting: Help me level out the volume variations, Help me get rid of background noise, How to I burn to a CD, etc.

To read that back to you:
How do I become an Audacity Expert so I can turn my ratty field sound recording into a studio production.

Do you know anybody good with Audacity? Do you know anybody good with any audio program? While I have no doubt we could probably guide you through that whole list eventually, it would take many, many days and you would be a working Audacity Expert — with, by the way, no guarantee of success at the end. Leveling out volume variations and noise reduction can easily be show killers depending on severity.

Did you tell anyone you were going to do this?


Make sure that you have at least one backup copy of the original recording before you do anything else.

The first thing that I would do would be to split it up into sections, delete any label the sections so that you can identify them.
See here for information about basic editing: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/tutorial_editing_an_existing_file.html
Don’t worry about fades or effects at this stage.
See here about adding labels: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/label_tracks.html

While you are doing this, delete any really bad and really boring bits. No-one will want to listen to 5 minutes of shuffling feet.

While you are working, make periodic backup copies of the project: “File menu > Save As” and save the project with a new name each time (you can just number each one consecutively). This will use a lot of disk space, but if anything goes wrong you will have a recent backup to go back to rather than having to start all over again.

When you have done that, you can then go through and adjust the level of each section using the Amplify effect: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/amplify.html
To apply an effect to just one section, select the section (http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/audacity_selection.html) and then apply the effect.
Aim to get all sections to sound a “medium” volume level. This may require amplifying loud sections by a negative amount so that they are quieter than before. You are aiming for a fairly even level, not a maximum level.

When you have done that (which will probably take a good while to do, I’d suggest that you make a CD. If you still have the will to refining the recording then this can be your first draft. Select the entire recording (Ctrl+A) and apply the Normalize effect (http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/normalize.html) with the “maximum amplitude” set at -1.0 dB.
Export the project as a WAV file (default).

Use a CD burning program to make the CD. If you want the CD to work on a normal CD player, ensure that you select “audio CD” as the type of CD.

The first obvious refinement is to split the CD into different tracks rather than one long track. To do this see here: http://manual.audacityteam.org/o/man/splitting_a_recording_into_separate_tracks.html (note that if you followed the above instructions, you are halfway there already).

From this point on you are on a path of diminishing returns. More time invested for smaller improvements, so I would highly recommend that you aim to complete a rough draft as described before worrying about other improvements. If the sound in any part is so bad that you can’t hear what is happening, then it is probably beyond repair, so I’d just cut it out. Hopefully you have at least one backup copy of the entire recording if you want to try and salvage bad parts later.

Could anyone help or direct me to a service or company that does this type of thing?

I don’t know any companies that do this, but I would probably start with the companies that photograph weddings. They will almost certainly have run into video shoots that had sound problems.


Thank you both Koz & Steve for your kind replies. After reading them I see what a huge undertaking this is…I don’t know what I was thinking and am almost embarrassed I posted on here. And no, this wasn’t planned. I was just sitting there & the thought came to me - it would be something the family would appreciate…Nice thought but doesn’t seem doable…I ended up cutting it down to fit on the cd . made some copies “as is”, and, as you can imagine, sounds pretty crappy, but it’s the thought that counts, right? Maybe in my next life I’ll be an “Audaologist”. Until then I’ll leave the ingenious recording ideas up to the youngsters. Thank you again. It was very sweet of you to help!

Well done, and you managed that without being “talked through” it.
Yes it’s the thought that counts, and as you now have a CD copy it is something that you (or anyone else) can come back to at a later date should you get the urge.