Some basic Audacity questions


Forgive me if my questions below are too basic for this group. I’m getting a podcast up and running for work, and I’m basically a one-man band – recording, editing, hosting myself. It has been a fun process, but now that I’ve done one, I have a couple of questions:

  1. If I am editing one audio track, how do I keep the others in sync when I add time or edit out time from one of them? Right now, I’m just making sure I highlight all of the tracks when I do the insert or delete, but I thought there might be an easier way?

  2. I’m probably going to standardize my intro so I don’t have to record it each week. Is the best way to handle that to make an MP3 file and drop it in every week? And will that have to be its own track, or can I drop it in the beginning of another track? (So far, every time I add even a second of sound, the only way I know how to do it is to create a separate track. Can I add a file to an existing track to consolidate a little?)

That’s it for now! I appreciate any suggestions/guidance.


You need Sync-locking.



No problem. Any questions about how to use Audacity effectively are appropriate, no matter how big or small or complex or simple.

There’s an option to “Select in all tracks” that you may find helpful.
“Select menu > Tracks > In all tracks”
Keyboard shortcut “Shift + Ctrl + K”

There’s also the “Sync-Lock” feature. This can be very useful for this kind of task, but it can also be quite confusing.

The “Shift + Ctrl + K” shortcut is something that you can start using straight away without disrupting your normal workflow, but I’d suggest that you take some time to play with “Sync-Lock” before you start using it with important work. Details about Sync-Lock are here:

The best way is to make a WAV file and drop it in every week.

MP3 is a “lossy format”. Every time an MP3 is re-encoded, it loses a bit of sound quality (like taking a photocopy of a photocopy).
WAV files are a lot bigger than MP3 files, but they are much better at preserving the sound quality.

Importing a file always puts it into a new track by default.
You can cut and paste it from there into one of the other tracks, but I wouldn’t bother doing that. It’s easier to leave it in a separate track, and that also allows you to process other tracks without affecting the intro.

Note that Audacity is designed to work with multiple tracks. Don’t feel that you have to always consolidate down to a minimum number of tracks. Much of working with audio is about finding what works best for you, but also experimenting with other ways to see if there’s a better way to do things.

For a start I would recommend using WAV for your intro so you don’t get additional MP3 comptression damage (generational loss)

If you Import the into file it will come in on its own track.

If you paste it in then you van past it wherever you like by placing the cursor.

But you’ll get more control with multiple tracks.


Even if you do work with the recommended multiple tracks, Audacity will mix down to plain stereo or mono automatically when you export the show. If all your tracks are mono (one blue wave) then you’ll get a mono show.

There are more complicated ways to mix down to the final show ahead of time, but you don’t have to do that.

Don’t fall in love with MP3. Even if your eventual show is MP3, Export your Edit Master as WAV and then make the MP3 copy if that’s the product format. That lets you conveniently go back to earlier shows for content with no sound damage.

The obsessive Producers will make a WAV copy of raw voice tracks before editing. That covers you if Audacity or the computer goes face-first into the mud while you’re editing. You don’t have to perform again.

MP3 has time-bomb curses. If you use OK-sounding downloaded MP3 music in your show, you might find that the delivered MP3 product has badly damaged music (playing into a milk jug) because of re-compression errors.

There was a poster who used download music for a broadcast music review show. He delivered to the station as MP3. It broadcast OK but the station couldn’t make the on-line podcast. The music turned to trash.


I’m basically a one-man band – recording, editing, hosting myself.

Producer, Performer, Engineer. The engineer part will be important the first time you have a guest or try to produce a show with Zoom content. Neither of those is as easy as you think. You may need to explain to the Producer that this week’s show may be late.


Y’all are all so helpful. Thank you so much!