Mastering tips requested

I am currently working on writing a track. However, I am fairly new at using audacity and am struggling a bit. I have recorded all my parts. Mainly vocals and acoustic guitars. I do not understand the mixing process. I have tried amplifying various parts of the song and adding echos to certain areas but it still doesn’t sound like a solid cohesive piece. Any tips and tricks on mastering your recording so that it sounds nice and cohesive? What are some of your most used effects or tools to master your pieces? Thank You in advanced! :slight_smile:

I do not understand the mixing process.

I don’t either and I’m not sure any of the other elves are going to be able to start a class in music mixing. There are schools that can do that for you. We’re just the tool kit.

We can help you if you have trouble getting a specific effect to work to achieve a desired goal.


YouTube has tons of mastering how to videos some using Audacity. Lot’s of info online just by Googling.

Use Audacity to trim ends or maybe a simple mix if multiple tracks… It’s really trial and error… And no one really wants to share much without making some ca-ching (spelling?)— well unless you start getting into the specifics/as in one or two questions at a time — and there’s some knowledgeable people on here. Record in Wave format/lossless not lossy (and do not clip). Until you can develop your own editing prowess, you can send a Wave of your rough or rough mix to this site and they’ll do it for you, for free:

Ronald Newman

I’m sure you have finished this specific song, but a couple tips work checking out is to use a de-esser as part of the mastering chain. It really helps get rid of a harshness that can be brought out as the level of audio is brought up. A couple plug ins to check out: Slate FG-X (pretty cheap, pretty decent limiter), Sooth (intelligent de-essing), and the PSP Xenon (limiter, has ISP and look ahead, can be pushed decently).

If you wanted to send you mastered file to me at [Hot link removed by moderator], I’d be happy to give you some first impressions.

[Moderator comment: This looks very much like touting for business, which is not permitted on this forum. Perhaps that is not the intention, but to avoid confusion, please keep discussions in the public forum (doing so can also be of benefit to other Audacity users that may be browsing the forum).]

I have learned by trial and error and now get decent results - here’s my most valuable tips

  • keep your levels under -3db
  • listen for frequencies that are mudding up the mix (usually low end rumble). Use spectrum analyzer to help you. Open a professional recording that has a sound similar to what you are looking for in Aud and read the spectrum analysis. Then screen capture the spectrum of your section of music that and use it as a guide to setting up an EQ curve to compensate. When two instruments play the same frequency at the same time, the amplitude doubles. You can correct this by notching the EQ of each instrument so they fit together, or applying a limiter.
  • limiting and compression applied gently can help bring things together a ton
  • keep a step by step log (I just do it in windows notepad) of changes you make,it helps the learning process. Also if you go a long way into an edit then find the track has gone bad, you can undo back to before the damage was done, but still have other steps written down that you can retry.
  • don’t use normalize to adjust volume, I have found it destructive, use amplify instead.

I believe that EQ and compression or limiting are your most valuable tools.
Enjoy yourself

Did we ever establish how you’re listening?

It’s not unusual for a new user to cut a music track that sounds perfect at home only to have it sound really different when presented on a larger sound system. If you’re doing this for your own amusement it doesn’t make any difference, but if it’s for wider distribution, it’s good to know how it sounds on a better system.

You might also get little surprises like being able to hear traffic rumble or other thundery sounds—but not on your speakers.


What’s going to get you 75% of the way there is equalizing each track in solo and in combination with each other, compressing each track more than you think it would need, and getting relative levels set between each other. All in that order. After that you can tweak the settings and start adding reverb and whatever other effects. But those are your three main steps in the right order. The rest is practice.