This is an illustrated step-by-step guide to recording, editing, rendering (exporting as mp3) and publishing a basic podcast using Audacity software. Get Audacity, free for PC and Mac, here: https://www.audacityteam.org/download/
Configure your input (microphone) and output (listening) devices:
Press red Record button to the upper left when ready to record, black Pause button to pause, and black (when active) Stop button to stop:
Note the Mute and Solo buttons in the left side panel of the recorded track. These allow you to Mute or play Solo a track in relation to others. This can be useful if you are recording or mixing overlapping tracks (music, sound effects, etc.) where you want to edit them in isolation or in various combinations.
To add recording tracks:
Mono (single channel or source) is usually fine for single point of input sources of audio (e.g., one microphone) while Stereo (multiple channels), which creates a left and right channel, is good for multiple inputs or else a stereo capable microphone.
Save your project - and be aware that an Audacity project (.aup) is not an audio file, but a collection of files and effects that you will later render and export to an audio file (e.g. .mp3 or .wav).
Editing and Sound Design
To add music to this project, you could create an account at Uppbeat (you will have to give credit when you post the podcast online): https://uppbeat.io:
To add sound effects, you could record your own or create an account at FreeSound (you will have to give credit when you post the podcast online): https://freesound.org:
To import clips from downloads or other projects:
Rename a track:
Audacity allows you to mix a project by adjusting individual tracks' volume (- / +) and left-to-right position panning (L/R) relative to one another so that the end product sounds full and well balanced. You might, for example, center a narrator's voice while panning music or effects to the left or right, or you may have two people in conversation sonically situated to the left and right of one another, simulating a real world situation. You can also Mute a track or play it Solo (muting all others) during playback while editing. These controls are found to the left in individual track displays:
To trim a track, place your cursor over the beginning or end of the track so the cursor becomes joined left and right arrows, then click and drag the chosen margin to trim.
To cut a passage of a track, click and drag to select the passage and cut as you would in a text processing application (Edit -> Cut).
To split a track (whose resultant fragments can then be moved by placing the cursor in their lighter grey headers, where the cursor turns into a hand):
Reduce ambient noise in a vocal track:
Select a section of your track without vocals and follow Step 1:
Select entire track and follow Step 2 (presets are likely fine):
Compression is used to reduce the dynamic range of signals with loud and quieter elements so that both can be heard clearly. Compression allows a fair bit of control but requires trial and error and further understanding (or, alternately, luck) to use effectively. More here: https://www.buzzsprout.com/blog/how-to-use-compressor-in-audacity.
Try the default settings first and otherwise adjust the decibel (db) threshold to the level where quieter passages are peaking (as indicated to the upper right during playback):
Alternate reverb settings to try:
Equalization (EQ) manages the overall balance of frequencies in a track or passage. You can boost bottom (bass) or high (treble) ends, for example, using Audacity presets:
Reduce or boost volume levels of passages on tracks that you have selected (click and drag the cursor); the example below mutes an unwanted sigh:
Select (click and drag) a portion of one track or more to fade in or out:
Export Audacity project in chosen format:
Create an account at Anchor (https://anchor.fm/) or another hosting service and upload your podcast:
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- Marc Bragdon
- Head, Harriet Irving Library Research Commons
- UNB Fredericton