MIXING

YOUR DIGITAL AUDIO TRACKS IN AUDACITY

You can combine TWO or more audio files by mixing them in Audacity. There are few tools that you should learn to do it right:
  • Selection
  • Time Shift
  • Envelope

STEREO vs MONO

Audacity-Stereo-Tracks.png
If your recording generates TWO parallel tracks, it means you've recorded in STEREO


Audacity_Mixdown01.png

The SELECTION TOOL

Audacity-Selection-Tool.png
  • Start with MUSIC
    Generate a 20 second soundtrack using Creative Commons music and by using the SELECTION (and ZOOM) tool to trim it down to the precise desired length
  • Add DIALOGUE
    Use PROJECT - IMPORT AUDIO to add a recording of a voiceover. You should probably use EFFECT and NORMALIZE to optimize the levels of the wave. Use the SELECTION Tool and CTRL-I to chop the recording into sound bites
  • Add SOUND EFFECTS
    Use PROJECT - IMPORT AUDIO to import Sound Effects into the voiceover project

    (You now have to TRACKS of audio. The voiceover is a MONOPHONIC track; the soundtrack is a STEREOPHONIC track. The duration of the soundtrack should ideally be just a little longer than the voiceover)
Audacity_Mixdown02.png

The TIME SHIFT TOOL

(Fine tune the timing)
Audacity-Time-Shift-Tool.png
Use the TIME SHIFT tool to slide the starting point of the Voiceover
(Ideally, you want to leave a little space at the beginning of the announcement for the music to catch people's attention, and a little space at the end for it to wind down)
Audacity_Mixdown03.png

The ENVELOPE TOOL

(Control the relative volume levels)
Audacity-Envelope-Tool.png
Use the ENVELOPE TOOL to "Squeeze" the amplitude of the soundtrack wave where the voiceover starts so the soundtrack doesn't overwhelm it.

(It's MOST important that the voiceover is easy to hear and understand. BALANCING the volumes or LEVELS between the two tracks is the sound editor's first responsibility)
Audacity_Mixdown04.png

FADE IN and FADE OUT


  • Use the ENVELOPE TOOL to SHAPE the Start and End of the soundtrack so that it fills the event more dramatically
  • You can also taper the Voiceover so that it minimizes any noise at the start and end

    (You can shape the "Envelope" of the tracks so that they complement each other - the soudntrack fades OUT as the voiceover fades IN. The envelope tool changes the levels NON-DESTRUCTIVELY - that is, the audio waveforms aren't actually altered - just their MIXED LEVELS are at different points in the timeline)

TIP -
  • To DELETE a control point on the envelope, grab the point with the tool, and drag it up and off the top of the clip

SAVE YOUR WORK
  • SAVE the SOURCE
    • Use FILE - SAVE PROJECT AS to store all the source files and the mixing information so that you could RE-EDIT the project later
  • SAVE the FINISHED PRODUCT
    • Use FILE - EXPORT AS WAV (or MP3) to create a playable copy of your project.

      (The MP3 format is "lossy" and potentially has audible flaws - but is compact and generally good enough for most playback)

      You'll be prompted to include "meta-data" about your MP3 file - genre, track name, artist etc. You don't NEED to fill it all in - just the track name and artist for now



Accapella Exercise
  • Choose a Tune - (Frere jacques, MoTown Philly,)
  • Set Preferences
    • MONO vs Stereo
  • Lay down a click track
  • Set Input Source -
    • Check Preferences if Need Be
    • Latency
  • Record First track with cue notes
  • Add Harmonies
  • Adjust Time Shift if need be to synch
  • Trim to the first beat
  • Copy and Paste to add repeats
  • Time Shift to align