New to digital -- and I miss my tape system.

I’m having a difficult time adapting to this digital recording system. Tape, for me, was so easy. But not wanting to be the one to be left behind I went out and bought some new equipment.

I now am the proud owner of:
2 each, Rode-NT1a large diaphram phantom power microphones
2 each, Lexicon Omegas, (only one running at a time)
all running into a Dell with very ample (250G) project drive space

So, after tinkering, I can get a voice track recorded… sort of. I still cannot figure how to “punch-in” the track to continue where I left off or give myself a do-over. I cannot figure out how to add other tracks in the same project, like a backing track for music and such – and make it all come out in one project. I’ve just printed off the entirety of the Audacity manual and will be doing some light reading tonight but thought I would frizbee my questions here too.

I am trying to record some spoken word work with background music. Shouldn’t be that tough but it’s kicking my butt right now. Any word of advice and help are thankfully received!


It’s no Studer reel to reel and Scotch 206, no. Who made the blocks? I want to say EditTech? No, wait, EdiTall! For extra credit, who made the razor blades and grease pencil?

Where are you getting your phantom power from? The mic needs it and the interface doesn’t supply it.

Anyway. Audacity 1.2 doesn’t do punch in. You can start a new track or a new work window and cut and paste between the two. Audacity 1.3 does do that with a key stroke I can’t remember. If you know you’re going to need this, Record-Pause audacity and it will obediently sit there at the end of part 1 and wait for you to start capturing part 2.

I don’t know where you’re going with this, but you can have two stereo tracks one above the other. In 1.3, it’s Track > Add New. Put the voice on one and the music on the other. Mix between them with the envelope tool. The envelope tool gives you an elastic tuning line in each track and you can pull the line up and down to increase or decrease the volume of that track at that point. Audacity will always play the combination of all the tracks unless you Solo or Mute (the buttons on the left).

Audacity 1.3 has scary labels of Unstable!, and Flee! Flee!, but the program is just on the edge of becoming Audacity Stable Release 1.4, so it’s not the unstable mess it used to be. Plus, 1.3 has tools that simply aren’t available in 1.2. If you’re on a modern powerful Mac, there is no 1.2 for us.

Audacity doesn’t Save sound files. To get a Stand-Alone Sound File, you have to Export one. WAV files are perfect and uncompressed and big. MP3 are much smaller, supported everywhere and cause sound damage. WAV is for production, MP3 is for delivery (If needed).

Anyway, this goes on forever, so let’s see where you get stuck next. It’s is highly important, if completely disregarded advice to do a sample show all the way through so you don’t post here trying to rescue 53487 sound file capture snippets in your five hour, irreplaceable but crashed show.


Phantom power is indeed supplied from the Lexicon. 48 VDC – steady as a rock.

Here’s the bit that would save so many tears:

You should definitely use Audacity 1.3 rather than the old 1.2 version.
As Koz says, with digital there is a more flexible method of dropping in that does not require “punch in/punch out”.
Unlike tape you have virtually unlimited tracks (depending on computer performance) and tracks can be mixed and bounced losslessly.

To do a typical punch in recording the digital way, starting with a track that has a duff bit that you need to correct:

  1. Locate the duff bit, select it by clicking and dragging across the track with your mouse, then cut it out using “Split delete” from the edit menu (or Alt+Ctrl+K. There are shortcut keys for most common functions that speed up the process).

  2. Click on the track a little before the duff bit and hit the record button (R key) - a new track will be created and you can start recording your new bit.

  3. When you have gone past the end of the duff bit, press the stop button (Spacebar)

  4. At this point there are various tools for making the drop in seamless - you can use "Fade in / Fade Out from the Effects menu, or Crossfade In and Crossfade out (same principle but a different shape fade), you can use the Envelope tool, or if there is a suitable point you can simple trim the audio clips. If the timing position is not quite correct use the Time Shift Tool (double headed arrow) to drag the clips left/right. Use the track volume slider to get the volume levels the same.

  5. If at any point you don’t like what you have done, Ctrl+Z to undo.

  6. Mixing down occurs automatically when you Export your audio file.

Start practising with short clips rather than huge projects - they can come later as you get to know your way around.

That’s why I love my reel to reel machines and 35 year old JVC amplifier with RIAA connection for a turntable.

I got a new Citronic TT last year with a very heavy platter for excellent stability.

Regards, Raymond

PS the audio is via the camera microphone.

What a lot of nice R2Rs (and a lot of nice clocks too)… How I miss thos lovely analog VU meters with the swinging needles, aahhh

On point I would note - it looks from your vid that you may be in danger of oversaturating your signal. Digital Audio is not like tape (the physics is different) - there is no going temporarily into the red - if you do that in digital you will get clipping.

And that R2R isn’t running at 7.5 ips - despite what you say in your post above :slight_smile:

But welcome to the world of digital audio - and in particular welcome to Audacity.