mixing narration and music

Trying to follow the manual regarding mixing some introductory music into my 15 minute program. But my music file is only less than 2 minutes. That’s all I need. A little at the beginning, a little at the end. The directions for mixing music and narration don’t seem to apply to such a small music file. Help!

I assume you have both tracks available. Import the voice track and then the music track and they will appear one above the other and play at the same time.

Use the Envelope Tool (two white arrows and bent blue line) and the Time Shift Tool (two black sideways arrows) to position the lead-in of the music exactly where you want it and then fade out when it’s no longer needed.


Or fade it in. Up to you. I did my silly podcast test with a brief vocal intro (stinger) followed by a forceful music sting, Under, and then voice over introducing the rest of the show.

This next bit can be done several different ways… Import the music file again and it will appear as a third track. Use the Time Shift Tool to shove it so the two ends line up, your vocal and the music. Fade it in and it will take itself out if you got the time shifting right.

When you File > Export the show, Audacity will push all the tracks into one show.


When you import the music track at the beginning, Immediately Duplicate it (Control-D) to get the outtro music.
Track 1 is the voice, Track 2 is the intro music and Track 3 is the outtro music.

Post back if you get lost.


Thank you Koz! It worked! Later on today you can check me out at sermonaudio.com/aservant70 to see how good a teacher you are.

Which presentation? I picked the 8/23 talk which didn’t appear to have music in it.

And while we’re on the 8/23 talk, it appears to be very low volume. I thought there was something wrong until I turned the speaker volume way up.

It is recommended that you record your voice with the Audacity recording meters bouncing along at about -6 in the yellow zone (Audacity 2.1.0 and 2.1.1). It’s OK to be a little under that, but you shouldn’t go very much over (red zone).

You can boost the finished show volume before posting by running the Normalize tool.

Select the whole clip or show by clicking just above MUTE.
Effect > Normalize: [X]Remove DC, [X]Normalize to -3.2 > OK

That will produce a presentation with the approximate loudness of an audiobook.

The down side is it’s not going to match the older talks. So anyone listening to the older talks will get blasted with the newer ones (which are actually correct).

You could boost and repost the older ones.


Very helpful again, thanks.

I just posted the 8/24 podcast. First ever with music. May seem a little ragged to you, but I was pretty excited. Any further tips will be appreciated.

Now to go work on that volume. Using realtek mike & speaker that came with Toshiba laptop. Have a yeti, but can’t get it to behave. Feedback. Delayed sound. etc.

Have a yeti, but can’t get it to behave. Feedback. Delayed sound. etc.

Turn the speaker system in the computer off or all the way down. Leave it off while recording. Connect the Yeti, wait briefly and restart Audacity.

Plug your headphones into the bottom of the Yeti. There’s a headphone volume control right on the front of the Yeti, although I would not touch the Yeti during a performance.

Never use a speaker and a microphone in the same room unless it’s part of an intentional special effect.


May seem a little ragged to you

I can do ragged. My last podcast test is a bunch of errors.


I have regained use of my yeti. Thank you once more! It used to work fine, then I started messing with settings.

About that volume. I read somewhere that “zero” is actually the goal, as far as distortion etc. So when I saw the sound waves going to -5 and +5 etc, I figured I was distorting. Now you tell me that negative 6 is ideal… Must be talking about 2 different meters on audacity?

Thanks for dealing with elementary questions. You’re really a blessing.

The blue waves go in percent. The sound meter uses dB. -6dB on the sound meter works out to 50% (half-way up or down) on the blue waves. That’s the goal for live recording.

We picked -6dB on the meters to allow you some artistic freedom before hitting 0 (100%) which is overload.

The digital system assigns numbers to all your sounds. At the overload point, the digital system runs out of numbers and stops following the performer. The resulting sound damage is instant, easily audible, annoying and permanent. You can use 0dB for post production where you have good control of your sound, but even that isn’t such a good idea. ACX AudioBook uses -3dB as the loudest possible sound they will accept.

Audacity uses a special sound format inside itself that doesn’t overload so easily. This lets you accidentally overload with effects, filters or tools and recover by simply bringing the volume back down. No harm done. But that means Audacity will not Save a sound file. It only saves in its own wacky sound format. To get a common, ordinary sound file, you have to Export one and that means you’re back to overloading at 0 again.