Putting pre recorded tracks together for choir

I am completely new to this and hope someone can help. I would like to create a mix of pre recorded voices of songs from my choir. My laptop uses Windows 10 and I have downloaded the latest version of Audacity. Can someone explain how I do this or where in the manual I find instructions for this? I am not a tecchie, just learning as I go along!
Thank you :slight_smile:

I would like to create a mix of pre recorded voices of songs from my choir.

Need a little more. You want to make a “mix tape” of several songs one after the other, or you want to mix all the voices of your choir recorded at home into one song? Both are possible.


Hello Koz
Thank you for your reply. I’d like to make a recording of one song using the tracks recorded by individuals in four parts against the original backing track

Hopefully, all the tracks are in WAV or other uncompressed format.

Import the backing track and then each of the singers. They should stack up, one over the other.

What provision did y’all make for synchronizing? Some people put a clap track at the beginning of the backing track and the performer claps in time to it.

clap clap clap clap “Up the lazy river by the old mill stream…”

This is dangerous, but you can include the backing track as the Right channel and the voice on the Left and send everything as a stereo performance.

After you get everything stacked on the timeline, you can select them one at a time and use the Time Shift Tool (two sideways black arrows) to push them around so the beginnings line up.

Screen Shot 2021-02-21 at 10.35.51 AM.png
There is a more serious problem where the internal metronomes of all computers don’t come out the even, so Alice may get to the end of the song before everybody else. Try to figure out how much ahead, select Alice, and Effect > Change Speed. You would think this would be a Tempo problem, but not in this case.

After that, use the SOLO and MUTE buttons at left to turn people on and off as you want and Select tracks and apply effects and corrections as needed.

Audacity will smash everything together when you export a simple sound file (WAV, MP3). Export an Audacity Project to save everything stacked where it is. Projects do not save UNDO.

There’s another trick I need to look up.


De-select everything and Track > Mix > Mix and render to a new track. This will give you an additional single track with everything together. Use this track to make sure the volumes aren’t too loud or there are any other problems that only show up in Mix. Select View > Show Clipping. that will give you red bars anywhere the volume is too loud.

Reduce the volume of that track until the red bars go away and that can be your edit master. Select it. File > Export > Export Selected Audio. Do this to Perfect Quality WAV first, then you can make a lesser quality MP3 for friends and family.

I’m doing this on a run. Let me know if I left anything out.


Hi Koz
Thank you so much for your detailed reply with instructions. As yet I haven t got any tracks from the choir so will ask them to record their parts with claps at the start. They will be sent to me in Mp3 form. I ll let you know in due course how I get on.
Thanks again

will ask them to record their parts with claps at the start.

A word about that. They are mirroring the claps you put on the backing track. That’s how everybody ends up with the same timing of the first note. This isn’t a big problem if you have a song with a good dance beat, but if you’re doing an expressive medieval madrigal, not having a click or clap track could pose problems.

They will be sent to me in Mp3 form.

MP3 gives small, good-sounding sound files, but you should be crystal clear of the downside. MP3 is a delivery and listening format, something you go running on the beach with, not a production tool. MP3 gets its small files by cleverly hiding sound damage. If you make an MP3 from an MP3, as you’re planning to do, the damage isn’t so hidden any more. By the third pass, the sound can start to be seriously damaged with “singing into a milk jug” quality. You can’t equalize you way out of that or “clean it up.” It’s permanent.

If you’re determined to work in MP3, use very high quality numbers. 256 or 320, not 32 or 64. That way you’ll have a fighting chance of making it past the third layer.

Another MP3 catch. Not all players support Variable Bit Rate, one of the Audacity export options. Use Constant Bit Rate for distribution.


Hello again
I have only got as far as importing the backing track with all 4 parts plus 2 other individual tracks as a test. I can hear the sound when I play the backing track, but when I play the other two individually all I can hear is a loud hissing noise. Can you please tell me how I can hear these tracks? All 3 are in MP3 format so I don’t understand why I can hear one but not the other two.
Thank you

I’d guess they aren’t really MP3. Or maybe they are corrupt. Audio compression is a lot like encryption and if it’s not decoded/decompressed correctly you get garbage (noise).

Can you play the files in Windows Media Player (or whatever you normally use to play files)? What version of Audacity are you using? The current version (2.4.2) will usually report an error with a bad MP3.

Check the files with [u]MediaInfoOnline[/u]. If it’s really an MP3 you should see MPEG, Version 1, Layer 3 in the bottom-audio section. If it’s a different format you can re-name it with the correct file name extension and you may need to install FFmpeg for Audacity to open the particular format.


:frowning: What you’re trying to do is VERY difficult if you want good results, especially if you’re not all professional performers with nearly-professional home studios. And it’s very time-consuming and probably not practical. :frowning:

Sometimes one person will make a musical backing track and send it to another person to add vocals. Beyond that, and you’ve got too many cooks in too many different kitchens…

Thanks for your advice again. You re right though, this is way beyond my capabilities and equipment! Never mind, it was worth a try.
Thanks again

People do perform this way. It does have a stunning learning curve. All the possible errors and misunderstandings pop up at once. No, all computer sound files are not MP3.

You’re not herding cats, you’re marching them.

Do you have any public way to post long-ish sound files? The forum will only let you post short samples, but Drop-Box or other services may let you post all four voices plus the backing track sound files.

It might be fun to let us take a crack at them. What is the work? Please tell me it’s not Mo-durn Atonal Expressive or anything like that. We have to be able to tell when we hit it.


Our choir Heaton Voices does a very eclectic mix of World music, folk, jazz and blues but I m not sure whether I can send you anything as our choir leader s arrangements are copyright and he is very precious about sharing them!
Here are a couple of links for recordings of our choir on Youtube to give you an idea.



OK. Worth a shot. I’m in the odd position of being able to tell you how to assemble a fragmented performance without having actually done one. So I know the mechanics, but not the tricks.

Thanks anyway.