Newbie needs help

Hi all! I have just download audacity and am trying to learn it a little to edit some songs our band had recorded. Seems a bit overwhelming!!! I’m not to puter savoy. Anyways, I was wondering if theres anyone that could help? l would reallly like to see what changes (improvements) can be done to our songs. We use basic Tascam studio recorder, but we are hoping Audacity could really help clean up the recordings. Would anyone be willing to take a song and show me what can be done?

I changed your email address. It’s a bad idea to post a real address on the forum. We get crawlers looking for addresses to commercialize.

Are any of your songs available on-line anywhere? You can post a really short segment of music on the forum.

There are two things that kill musical performances almost immediately: overload by using the computer wrong, and room echoes. You cure both of those before Audacity gets the music.

Looking forward to your post.


We use basic Tascam studio recorder…

Is it stereo or multi-track? What kind of instruments/music? What kind of microphones? How are the acoustics where you are recording?

…but we are hoping Audacity could really help clean up the recordings.

That really depends on what’s wrong.

There’s really no substitute for starting-out with a good recording. Even with modern professional software, pro recordings are still made in soundproof studios, with good mics, good mic position, good acoustics, and good low-noise, low-distortion, equipment. (Plus, good talent and good instruments. :wink: )

It’s probably best to start by adjusting the volume. You can use the Amplify effect to adjust the whole file and you can use the Envelope tool to adjust and/or fade-up/fade-down various parts of the recording.

Professional recording/mixing engineers use quite a bit of dynamic compression. Compression evens-out the loudness by making loud parts quieter and/or quiet parts louder. In practice, it’s often used to make “everything loud” without introducing distortion. If you over-do it (and many modern recordings are over-compressed to make them as constantly-loud as possible) you kill the dynamic contrast in the music, and the music gets boring.

You can experiment with the Equalization effect to boost/cut certain frequency bands. This can help if the recording is “too dull”, or “too bright”, or if there’s not enough bass, etc.

Reverb is another common effect. If you are not recording in a room with plenty of natural reverb, you can probably benefit from some added artificial reverb.

There is a Noise Removal effect that works by feeding-in a “noise fingerprint” (a sample of noise-only), and then it tries to subtract the noise from the signal. Noise reduction works best when there is a constant low-level background noise. If the noise is bad, noise reduction can make the recording sound worse.

When you’re done with everything, it’s a good idea to run Amplify (or Normalize) to make sure your peak levels don’t go above 0dB. Do this after processing, but before saving. If your peaks go over 0dB and you save, you can get clipping (distorted flat-topped waves).