Using AUDACITY for recording

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Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 29 Jul 2017 23:40

Using AUDACITY for recording

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If I launch Audacity before I do anything else, this is what I see:

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On the bottom left of the screen is the Project Rate, 44100 Hz. Tony's comment (above) was:
It's far, far better to make the initial recording as a WAV file at least at CD quality (16bit 44.1kHz) - I use 24 bit 96kHz.

So what we have (which is the 'default') is fine. You can choose a different rate by clicking on the drop-down box. These are the options you get:

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Now make a mental note of what is at the top of the screen. Next to the microphone symbol the default is eg. Microphone (Realtek High ...). If you click the drop-down box this is what you see:

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And to the right of the microphone symbol are the Speaker options ie. what you are listening with.

If you then plug in the USB lead from the UCA202, nothing changes. No other options appear. ie. the Audacity Program does not recognise something that has been plugged in after you have launched the program.

So what you must do is to set up your recording equipment before you launch Audacity.

This time I have plugged the USB lead into my Laptop (the green light has come on on the UCA202 showing that it is powered up) and then I have launched Audacity. Now see what I get as my options for the 'Microphone'. This is what is in the drop-down box, so I have selected Line In (BEHRINGER USB ...):

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You get the option Speakers (BEHRINGER USB ...) in the right hand box too, so I have clicked on this and will plug my headphones into the Behringer UCA202 to monitor my recording.

I should add at this point that you should make sure that the box to the right in the Microphone section is saying 2 (Stereo) Recording. If it says Mono, change it to Stereo.
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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 30 Jul 2017 18:30

Right. All set up to record. I have a floppy disk with a song I have recorded 'ready to play'. My Laptop is switched on. The Phono to Phono cable is connected from the LINE OUT of my AR to the LINE IN of the Behringer UCA202. The Behringer UCA202 USB lead is plugged into a USB Port of my Laptop (I have two). No drivers required .. just 'Plug and Play'. The UCA202 has the green light on, showing it is powered up. Headphones are plugged into the UCA202, headphone volume is turned to Maximum. I know about what volumes to set everything at as I did a little experiment beforehand to check it out!

Now I launch Audacity. Check List: Microphone = BEHRINGER USB; 2 (Stereo) Recording; Speakers = BEHRINGER USB. And at the top .. Mic Volume on '+' (Recording Volume: 1.00); Speaker Volume on '+' (Playback Volume: 1.00).

At the top of the Audacity screen are Recording/Playback symbols for Play; Pause; Stop; Home; End; and Record (the red dot). I prefer to use the keypad for starting and stopping the recording:

R = RECORD
Spacebar = STOP

Start the music and press the R (if there is too much 'silence' at the start I can remove it afterwards). Wait until the piece has finished playing and then press the Spacebar to stop the recording. Wait until you hear silence (can you actually hear silence?). Don't want to 'chop' that last note off in mid sound.

This is the waveform of my effort. The moving green bars, top left and right, showed the recording volume (right) and the playback volume (left) as I was recording. Could have done for the volumes to have been a bit higher, but this can be sorted afterwards.

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And this is what it sounds like (click on the LINK below). Yes, very quiet .. but at least there is no 'clipping'!

My recording of Say The Word

What to do next I will explain in my next posting.

Hugh
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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 30 Jul 2017 22:31

I have a recording that is too quiet, so I need to 'up' the overall volume, but without going 'over the top', causing 'clipping'. This is easy to do electronically, and the process is called Normalization.

From Wikipedia:
Audio Normalization .. audio normalization is the application of a constant amount of gain to an audio recording to bring the average or peak amplitude to a target level (the norm). Because the same amount of gain is applied across the entire recording, the signal-to-noise ratio and relative dynamics are unchanged.

Audacity has the means to do this. Click on Effect (at the top), and in the drop-down box choose Normalize.

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We are then asked to what maximum amplitude level do we want the Normalization to be carried out ('0' being the top point at which clipping takes place). It is best to have -1.0dB as this top level. So choose that.

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This is what my recording of Say The Word looks like after Normalization:

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.. and the recording now sounds like this:

Say The Word recording after Normalization

That's better!

Next, we need to SAVE what we have done as a music file (WAV or MP3).
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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 03 Aug 2017 10:43

Saving the Music File in Audacity

Click on File, at the top. Look at the options in the drop-down box. Now you would have thought that one could just 'Save' the file, or 'Save File As...', but if you look at the next picture you will see there is only a 'Save Project' or 'Save Project As...'. This is NOT what we want! In their wisdom they have decided that the terminology to use for saving the file is to Export it.

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So the one to choose from the drop-down box is Export Audio.... If you prefer to use the keypad rather than go down the 'File' route, with your recording showing on the screen, hold down the Ctrl and the Shift keys, and press the letter E (for Export).

Ctrl + Shift + E = Save your music file

A drop-down box will appear. Put in a NAME for your song. To save your file as a WAV file, choose WAV (Microsoft) signed 16-bit PCM. This is the one you need for making CDs. You will not see an option to save as MP3, as to get this option you have to download an 'add-on' called LAME, which I'll explain in my next posting. But it's best to save your file as a WAV file in the first instance anyway (as Tony has said above), as that is the best quality.

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You must also choose where you want it saved. Look at the top of the box. Save in: will tell you where it's going to save it. You can click on the drop-down arrow on the right of that box and set up where you want it saved. If you haven't made a note of where it is saved you may never find it again!
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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 03 Aug 2017 13:44

Audacity say that they didn't include the option of 'saving' as MP3 because of Software Patents. However, to include this facility as a 'plug-in' by a 'third party' seems to get round this. So, to work with mp3 files, Audacity also requires the LAME mp3 add-on (also free and Audacity itself will prompt and guide you through the process of installation).

Go to:

Do a right-click on this and choose Open link in new tab ..
http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/faq_ ... .html#lame

.. where you will see further LINKS to download LAME for Windows or Mac. If you have a Windows computer/laptop you can just click on this LINK below to go diectly to the page you need:

http://manual.audacityteam.org/man/inst ... ml#winlame

Follow the instructions. You only have to do this the once, and then when you Export Audio you will see the MP3 option available.

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Note: When 'Exporting' either a WAV or MP3 file, It is not necessary to enter anything in subsequent boxes that come up asking for information about the track. You only need to NAME the track in that first box, and this is the File Name.

Hope this article has covered everything, but if you have any questions .. just ask!

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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 04 Aug 2017 16:46

At the beginning of this topic I was talking about 2-track Mono (ie. the same signal on both left and right channels). I have come across another example of this, this time on YouTube. I have been working on Cavatina (from The Deer Hunter) and am aware that this was played by John Williams on guitar. I find that bit in the middle (where he plays notes on his guitar running downwards) difficult to play, so thought I would have a listen on YouTube.

I found this clip from a concert John Williams gave in 1979, and whilst listening to it I realised that the music I was listening to was in Mono, not Stereo.



The extract from the middle section in this clip is below:

Do a right-click and open this up in a New Tab or you will be taken away from this page
Cavatina .. John Williams, 2-track Mono (MP3)

.. and this is the waveform of it. Looking at the two channels they are definitely the same, so this recording is confirmed as being in 2-track Mono.

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And below is another clip on YouTube, and this one I reckon is in 'true Stereo'.



Here is the 'middle bit' .. this time it's in Stereo. What a difference Stereo makes! So much better to listen to!

Do a right-click to open this up in a New Tab
Cavatina .. John Williams, 2-track Stereo (MP3)

And the waveform of the middle bit is below. You can see at a glance that the waveforms for left and right channels are completely different. This is 'true stereo'.

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My version of Cavatina (with help from Hank Marvin) is here:

Do a right-click to open this up in a New Tab
viewtopic.php?f=2&t=5469

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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 11 Aug 2017 21:53

For anybody who wants to print out the instructions for Recording to Audacity, click on the LINK below and a PDF document will come up, which you can print out. Do a right-click if you want to open it up in a new tab.

Recording With Audacity

If you hover your mouse near the top right of the screen a PRINT symbol will appear. Or you can do a Ctrl + P and put in your destination printer. There is also an option to DOWNLOAD the document if you wish to have a copy of it.

The document prints 9 pages of A4 (in colour).

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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 07 Dec 2017 01:33

There is more on the Behringer UCA202 and UCA222 here:

viewtopic.php?f=200&t=5859&p=38270#p38270

.. and a check-list for when doing a recording.

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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 03 Feb 2018 10:48

Like all these programs, (and our keyboards too) there are so many options available one never knows what half of them do, or if one would ever use them to do anything useful.

In Audacity, I frequently use Normalize (Effect, Normalize) as this will bring your recording up to optimum levels without distortion (clipping). It is always better to 'under-record' something than to have the volume up too high resulting in distortion, and no way of being able to do anything about it afterwards. I remember the days when the only way to get a recording just right was to adjust the volume controls to where you thought they should be before starting the recording. Inevitably the recording would end up too quiet, or just clip on one place that was too loud, usually at the end of a piece. This would result in having to do the recording several times to get it perfect. I'll give an example of a piece that has been 'clipped' in my next post. So best to under-record and use Normalize.

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When you click on Normalize, these are the options you get.

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1. Remove DC offset .. no idea what this means. Perhaps someone can tell me. The 'default' is for it to be ON.
2. Normalize maximum amplitude to .. this is the level you want it brought up to. I never do zero, but keep it just under the 'clip' situation. -1 or-2.
3. Normalize stereo channels independently .. the 'default' is for this to be OFF, so the piece is Normalized 'overall'.

Until a couple of days ago I had no idea how useful this function could be. And that is when one channel has inadvertently been recorded much lower than the other. By checking (ticking) this box I have been able to adjust the recording Ken did (ken horton) of his song Candy.

Click this LINK to see how this has worked out.

Do a right-click to open it up in a New Tab
viewtopic.php?f=232&t=5670&start=35#p39012

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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby JohnT » 03 Feb 2018 12:11

Lost me after the word Hi. John
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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Brian007 » 03 Feb 2018 13:36

Hello John,

Try this as this is more what your after.



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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 03 Feb 2018 17:07

Brian,

The version I have of Audacity is Audacity 2.1.3. I have looked for the latest version and that appears to be Audacity 2.2.1. So from the above, I presume that if you download this latest version you no longer have to do that extra 'step' of installing the LAME 'add-on'. The choice of Saving (sorry, Exporting) now automatically has MP3 as one of the choices? That makes downloading it and using it far less complicated!

Am I correct in this assumption? Of course I don't need to upgrade my Audacity program myself, as it already does everything I want it to do, including having MP3 in the drop-down choices for Saving your file. This was added into the drop-down list in my version by installing LAME (you only had to do it the once).

Hugh
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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby JohnT » 03 Feb 2018 19:28

Hi Brian. Thanks for that. Looks FAIRLY straightforward. Maybe able to manage that. Will download new version on my laptop later. I used to use freeserve with no problems but when I tried to do one over three minutes it wouldn’t do it unless I bought the proper version. Not spending any money on that and that would mean no posts unless it was less than three minutes which would probably be enough for you to listen to. Thanks for all your help. See you Monday or Tuesday. John

Hi Hugh Thanks for your help and perseverance had a bad day Sunderland got beat again. Relegation looms. Must practice my Ballads for Monday. All the best John
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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Brian007 » 04 Feb 2018 09:34

Hi John,

Thought that may be a easier way to go to achieve what you want, which is basically a conversion from wave to mp3
Not too sure about monday night, will be speaking to the daughter this morning so will know more later.


Hi Hugh,

If the version of Audacity you are using meets your needs , then no need to change, after one of my laptops died I had to reinstall
Audacity and it was the new version and it does exactly the same as the older versions but layout and menus are slightly different

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Re: Using AUDACITY for recording

Postby Hugh-AR » 17 Feb 2018 13:21

Thanks Brian. But in the end I was curious about the new version of Audacity and have now upgraded the version I had. My comments about the new version Audacity 2.2.1 are here:

viewtopic.php?f=200&t=6077

And as far as I can tell, if you are downloading Audacity for the first time then you do have to download the LAME add-on in order to Save as MP3.

Hugh
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