Hi. I’m new. Since I’m new to Adacity, I want to find some plugins. I still don’t know how to use them but as I look at the websites used to download Audacity plugins, I don’t know which plugins should I use because there are two much. Can you suggest me some main plugins you think people need to use with their recording, some things great you are using. It will shorten down my time for looking for them because I have no experience. I’m much appriciated getting your helps. Thanks.
I’d recommend that you start with those that are included by default. You can add additional ones if you need something that is not included as standard.
I’m just using the software to record sound but why there are so many plugins for Audacity. I don’t know how many kinds of plugins are there out there and how to find them but I’m looking for some voice changing plugin. Could you give me some information about the plugins you use. Thanks.
That’s a hard question to answer, but I’ll try to give you some guidance.
Download the optional LADSPA plug-ins. Those, along with the included plug-ins may be all you need. If you ever need additional or better plug-ins… You’ll know if you nee them.
What do you plan on doing with Audacity?
Plug-ins (effects) are tools, so it’s a bit like walking into a hardware store and asking, “What tools should I buy?”
Let’s start with the philosophy that a good recording doesn’t need any effects or processing. I reality, most modern recordings have LOTs of effects, but there are some classical & jazz recordings where they just set-up some microphones in a good room and “capture” the performance. Or, right now I’m working on making MP3 audio files from some concert videos. I’m not using any effects, I’m just doing basic editing… Cutting, splicing, fading-in and fading-out the applause/crowd noise at the beginning & end of songs, crossfading, etc.
Some common effects:
Equalization, or “EQ” - This is a fancy tone-control. You can use it to boost (or cut) the bass or high frequencies, or some frequency-band in-between. It’s normally used when something is wrong with the recording, or if there is a limitation in the playback equipment (especially speakers) or room acoustics. There are different “kinds” of EQ, but a graphic equalizer is the easiest to experiment with, and in most cases the only one you’ll need.
Compression & Limiting - Dynamic compression evens-out the volume by making quiet parts louder or loud parts quieter. In practice, it’s mostly used to make “everything loud”. It works by boosting the overall/average volume without boosting and clipping/distorting the peaks. (Note that dynamic compression is totally unrelated to file compression, such as MP3.)
Limiting is a special type of compression where the peaks are rounded-over (instead of being hard-clipped) while the overall volume is boosted.
Most modern recordings have a ton of compression & limiting to make them “constantly loud”. But, it’s difficult for amateurs to get the same “loudness” as modern commercial CDs without excessive distortion. (Many of us feel that modern releases are over-compressed, killing the dynamic contrast in the music, making it boring. It gives an initial impression of “excitement” or “intensity”, but like constant shouting, the impact wears-off quickly and most listeners just turn-down the volume.)
Delay & Reverb - We say delay, but it actually means echo. A delayed copy (or several copies) is mixed with the original to get an echo… “Hello… Hello”. Delay is a creative special effect used to enhance the recording.
Reverb is a different kind of echo, and it’s more natural. In a concert hall (or a tiled bathroom), you don’t hear the individual echos (because there is not as much time-delay), but you hear the sound bouncing all around in the room… “Helllllooooooooo”. Most modern recordings are recorded in “dead” sounding recording studios. Artificial reverb is added to music for a more natural, “more musical” sound. (Reverb is not normally used on spoken-voice recordings.)
Again, there are several “kinds” of reverb and some good reverb plug-ins cost several hundred dollars.
Noise Reduction and Noise Gating - Noise reduction uses a “fingerprint” of noise-only, and then it tries to separate the good sound from the background noise.
Noise gating cuts-off the sound completely during silent or quiet parts such as between sentences on a voice recording.
Both of these can result in artifacts (side effects) that sometimes make “the cure worse than the disease”. Professionals try to minimize noise in the first place by recording in soundproof studios with very-good equipment.
Speed and Pitch adjustment - Changing speed & pitch together (like playing a record at the wrong speed) is very straightforward and can be done without side-effects.
Adjusting speed or pitch without affecting the other requires advanced FFT processing, and there can be artifacts.
Plug-ins like AutoTune or Melodyne can correct pitch note-by-note, and when done skillfully they can be used transparently to fix flat or sharp notes. Or, they are sometimes as a creative tool used to get the more-obvious “Cher effect”.
That should get you started… Note that many effects can boost the volume into clipping (distortion), especially things like boosting the bass. Audacity can go over 0dB (the “digital maximum”) internally/temporarily without clipping (distorting), but after applying effects it’s good practice to use the Amplify effect to bring the peaks down to 0dB before saving.
Thank you. Very useful information. Thanks a lot.