Is Audacity Audio Editing Really Necessary For YouTube Lets Plays? If So, What Settings Should I Use?

I just decided that I want to start using Audacity to record my voice for my YouTube lets play videos. However, as someone who isn’t really an audiophile, I’m having trouble determining what effects I should apply to the audio afterward to make it sound the best it can for YouTube.

Here is a sample recording with my fan on in the background:

Here are some questions I have:
Please read this first question before answering anything else:

  • First off, how important is editing the audio in Audacity? In the past, I’ve just been using the raw mic audio and it’s been working, so realistically would it be that bad to keep doing that? You can listen to some of my other videos with raw mic audio in my recent YouTube videos. I only ask because I’m not great with audio and I worry that at some point the audio will start sounding bad and I won’t notice or something like that. I also worry about how much my environment changes due to me recording in my ordinary room, and that a small change in my environment or, say, moving my fan during one video, will make my audio settings not work and screw up the audio. The only thing that I ever notice with my raw mic audio is my fan that I leave running to prevent hearing my family outside of my room, but with game audio as well, I don’t think it’s that bad. These days I even hear people like Jacksepticeye with slight fan-like noise in the background, but the video is still good. There are also some times that I talk louder and the audio kinda spikes, but I can tone those down during video editing. Plus, it just kinda stresses me out and it adds another step to the process. So, would it be okay to use my raw mic audio, or do I really need to edit the audio with Audacity?
    And, if you really think I should make changes to the audio, are there simple steps that I can take to ensure good audio each time without the worry of audio sounding bad all of a sudden?

If you insist that I try out editing audio with Audacity:

  • Usually, I leave a fan running near the back of my room because my family commonly makes noise outside my room, which I don’t want in the video. My thought process would tell me that leaving the fan on and using noise reduction would overall sound better as the fan is a more predictable sound for Audacity than random voices and such outside my room, but as I said, I don’t know much about Audacity and audio in general. Should I have a fan running, or will it be better to leave it off?

  • Overall, what audio effects should I use? I don’t want to demand a right answer because I know with stuff like this there isn’t one, but since I’m not an audio expert I’m hoping maybe you guys have some feedback on what effects would be best to use?

  • This may sound stupid, but once I figure out the best settings I can just ctrl+a and apply them every time I record then I’ll be done, right? I don’t have to do some complicated steps each time or listen through the audio and change settings that I don’t quite understand?

Thank you so much in advance!

There’s no reason to use Audacity rather than any other audio editor, other than:

  • Audacity is relatively easy to use
  • Audacity is capable of very high, professional quality work
  • Audacity is free
  • Audacity has great support :wink:
  • Audacity has comprehensive documentation
  • Audacity supports multiple tracks which can be mixed together
  • Audacity launches quickly, so there’s little waiting around for the app to start
  • Audacity works on Windows, Mac and Linux, so you can use the same app whichever computer you use
  • Audacity includes lots of effects as standard
  • Audacity supports thousands of third party effects
  • Audacity has low system requirements
  • Audacity was built with love
  • Audacity has a huge community - everyone know Audacity
  • Audacity is extremely versatile
  • Audacity is actively developed
  • Did I mention, Audacity is absolutely free
  • Audacity does not require registration or “dongles”
  • Audacity is suitable for both beginners and audio experts
  • Add your own reasons here …

Many people do just record live and upload to their preferred site with no editing. Personally I find those videos almost unwatchable. The “ums” and “errs”, the fan noise and other background noises, the erratic pace, the lack of structure, and many many other distractions destroy all chance of me enjoying watching the video.

You must have watched videos that are made so badly that they are painful to watch, and you must also have watched videos that are really well made and are a joy to watch. Most fall somewhere between the two extremes. It’s your choice how much time and effort you want to put into the production values of your videos.

I don’t think that “covering up” unwanted sounds with fan noise is a good solution to the problem of unwanted sounds.

Using a microphone that is fairly directional can help to keep unwanted noises to a minimum.
Using a “soft touch” keyboard can help to minimise keyboard sounds.

For speech recording, it is best to keep effects to an absolute minimum. Effects are mostly used to compensate for problems, but it is much better if you can fix the problem rather than having to compensate for it.

I use a Blue Yeti on the cardioid directional setting, with the gain turned all the way down. I also have my mic on a boom arm with a shock mount on it, as well as having a pop filter on the way. Yet after all of this, I still do have those background noises. My room also gets extremely hot, so that’s another reason I like to have my fan on. Would Audacity’s noise reduction help get rid of the fan noise? Would it help get rid of those background noises without the fan as well?

That’s kind of what I figured. I think my voice sounds fine as far as bass and volume and that stuff, but again that’s my opinion. As I said, the only things I notice are my fan in the background and how my voice peaks sometimes (but that I can fix in video editing). Do you recommend any effects as far as fixing the fan noise? Would there also be effects for fixing background noise without the fan? And finally, do you recommend any effects for fixing my voice peaking in volume at some parts, or would it still be better to just turn down the volume at those parts during video editing?