new user HELP!!!

i’ve never used Audacity before and just finished downloading it on my windows 10 laptop. im wanting to use audacity to edit audio that i have on a Sony Digital Voice Recorder that has a USB cable and a micro SD card along with audio from videos i have on my iphone. i need to remove background noise like an air conditioner running or a TV playing in the background and make the enhance the voices from different people so you can actually hear them clearly. i was told from someone who uses Audacity frequently that in order to edit the audio from my iphone videos, i would have to use an app that extracts audio from video in order to import them. so i installed the app and have all the audio extracted and converted them to aiff files. these aiff audio files are now stored in google drive.

if anyone has any tips or trick or advise on what i’ve mentioned about then i please let me know. if there is anything important that a first time user like myself might need to know about i would also love to here it. any help would be greatly appreciated!

i need to remove background noise like an air conditioner running or a TV playing in the background and make the enhance the voices from different people so you can actually hear them clearly.

Audacity can remove minor, quiet, constant background noises, but not noises the same volume or louder than the voice. It can’t do the other two at all.

TV in the background is one of the problems that can kill a show.

We can’t take apart a performance into individual actors or instruments and that’s what you need to do to amplify or process one separate from the others.

While it seems like sound capture should be easy, it’s actually much more difficult than aiming a camera. There is no “zoom microphone” so you have to get a microphone close to the performer and there are not a lot of options.

My Olympus sound recorder has a good trick. They can process the microphones to narrow the acceptance angle and help reject interference like room noises or other conversations. But that means you have to aim it and that risks picking up hand noises, particularly if the performer is moving. You can widen out the angle for times when you need to record a conversation of two or more people from an unattended position. But there is no easy record everything and select the performers later, and background noises like in a restaurant will just kill you.

That’s why newsies still do this.

And this.

Many people have a good idea how to shoot a movie with a camera, but less well known is what the sound people go through to get the voices.

People do shoot news interviews on a phone, but generally voice-only and important group interviews feature a forest of hands jammed in front of the performer in order to get good sound. Sometimes they shoot split sound, where the video and sound are shot on separate devices and put together later in editing.

Then there’s the Dreaded Reshoot. “We didn’t get good picture or sound. We’ll have to get everybody together again and reshoot it.”

Crazy-important shoots may be double recorded. That’s what this is. I’m the microphone on the left. The backup microphone and recorder is on the right.

You do have some pieces of this down. I’m finding how difficult it is to get content from an iPhone, particularly if you don’t have on-line storage available.

You may not have needed to split video and audio. Audacity will open many video formats and split the sound for you.

After a couple of passes at this, you’ll know what to avoid on your next show.


Here’s the thing! I’m disabled and my health started deteriorating about 2 years ago to the point where I had to move back in with my parents. Since then my mother and I are constantly butting heads. She’s had me arrested for things that never happened which I had videos of. She calls the cops almost every other day doing everything she can to break me day and to have me locked up somewhere. Something in my gut kept telling me she was up to something a lot more serious than her normal games. Well, I’m right! I placed an iPhone to use as a security camera in the house and could view what she was up to from my personal phone when I have dr appointments 2 hours away. She’s been secretly meeting someone who is teaching her how to shoot a gun and the conversations is what I’m able to hear shocked me. She’s aware that I’m listening but doesn’t know she turns on 3 humidifiers, every tv in the house and the two of them whisper when they talk to each other. I have to find a way to somehow make their conversations clearer to bring to the police. I know the voices I’m trying to hear but other people listening to the recording won’t. I’m new at this and don’t really know what I need to buy or use to do what I need to do. Audacity was recommended so I thought I would give it a try! Also once I import a file into audacity, is there a way to put a password or code on the file to protect it from being accessed or deleted?

There is a phenomenon called Rorschach audio, (analogous to Rorschach inkblots), a form of pareidolia, where listeners interpret random noise as whispering speech where occasionally a word is perceived, but it’s an auditory illusion.
That may be what you are hearing on the recording, rather than actual whispering voices.
Like the ink blots, what’s on the person’s mind influences their interpretation of the random stimulus.

Audacity can’t help you with hidden sounds in a recording - as Trebor says, the sounds may or may not be there.

If you are concerned for your safety you should go direct to the police. If you give the police your recording, they will advise you if they can pass it on to an audio forensics expert. Such an expert will have special software for picking out hard to hear voices and any evidence the forensics expert provides will be legally admissible in a court.

You can use Windows Encrypting File System (EFS) to encrypt files so that they can only be opened when you are logged into the computer. If anyone else knows your user login password, then it doesn’t provide any protection at all. See “How to Encrypt Files on Windows using Encrypting File System (EFS)” about half way down How to Encrypt Files on Windows - Tutorial - Tom’s Guide | Tom's Guide. After encryption, reboot to remove the temporary unencrypted copy of the file.

Or, encrypt the file by creating an encrypted ZIP file using WinZip or 7-Zip.


Thanks for the assumption that I’m hearing voices which is not the case! Also,she’s retired law enforcement and they won’t listen to me! I’ve tried! I’m just need something to help make ther voices a little clearer in order for it to be dictated.

Thanks for the assumption that I’m hearing voices which is not the case!

Not you. Anybody else listening to a very ratty recording is going to start making up their own words. They can’t help it. That’s how your head works. Three different people are going to come away with three different versions of what was said. That’s why surveillance recording is harder than everyone thinks.

The best we can do is Effect > Equalization > Select Curve: Telephone filter. That eliminates all the tones that aren’t needed for speech.

All the other tools depends on knowing the start and stop point of the words. That’s generally missing in a voice buried in the noise.


The pareidoia voices in noise are an illusion*****, not a hallucination : it’s normal to hear them : I hear them.

The giveaway-sign that it’s just random-noise is that it’s just the occasional word or short phrase, interspersed with much longer intervals without clear words.

Only a few roast trays look like the “king of pop” …

I imported the recordings from the Sony voice recorder, selected a section to edit and clicked on play! When I click on the effects tap everything is greyed out. There is absolutely nothing to use. Am I doing something wrong? It sucks not being able to pick up the phone and speak to someone who can walk you through things! Lol

Is that Lawrence Welk?

It sucks not being able to pick up the phone and speak to someone who can walk you through things!

It sucks not being a large corporation with an office of people to do real-time telephone help. Audacity is managed by five guys in a rusty Winnebago in Penzance, so on-line help is all we got.

Effects only work from Stop. If you are in Pause or any of the motion modes, nothing will work.

If none of the effects show up at all, you might need Add/Remove Plug-ins…


You have to stop play-back , then select the audio you want to apply an effect to.

( the effects are greyed-out when the track is playing ).
Demo of Amplify in Audacity.gif

If you want phone support, you typically have to pay for the software. Audacity is free.