Using Audacity for sound editing . . .

GBarrington

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I know this isn't a very focused post, and I apologize, but Audacity is a BIG subject and I'm finding it a bit overwhelming.

I've read enough about Audacity to think it's value as a sound editor is pretty high. And I've even downloaded it and used it to record a voice over narration. However, I suspect I am tapping the bare minimum of its capabilities.

Part of the problem is that I don't think the user interface is very user friendly (noise control is pretty obtuse for a newbie, for example).

I gave up editing the voice over narration in Audacity, when I started to feel I was in over my head, and just moved it over to Camtasia for sound editing.

I did that because it made a lot more intuitive sense to me, though I suspect Audacity might have been faster and would have provided a better sound "product" if I had known what I was doing.

The various tutorials I've found for it don't really give me what I'm looking for. I'd like to see a tutorial that can give me an overview of what can be done with it, and maybe some pointers on how to get started with those functions. I can find specific tutorials on specific functions, but I can't seem to find help on deciding when to use Audacity (and why).

Do any users have some tutorials in mind that can help me figure out what is possible?
 

exakta

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What is it that you are trying to accomplish? I've used Audacity for years and it's a great audio editor but as you noted it's not the most intuitive to use. I already had a good background in audio so I'm able to get what I want out of it.

The noise reduction works by selecting a section of audio that contains only the noise(s) you want removed...hiss, hum, etc. and then it will remove that noise from any part of the audio you select. It works well as long as the noise is not too loud or complex, otherwise there are audible artifacts of the processing.
 

SVQuant

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The noise reduction works by selecting a section of audio that contains only the noise(s) you want removed...hiss, hum, etc. and then it will remove that noise from any part of the audio you select. It works well as long as the noise is not too loud, otherwise there are audible artifacts of the processing.
I record performance videos for kids' events and I find that it also does a great job of removing (or damping) audience noise. For that, I usually record a little segment (30s or so) prior to the actual performance as it picks up the audience murmur and use that as the reference for noise removal.
 

GBarrington

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I'm producing video tutorials with Camtasia, and I've discovered that trying to do screen capture and voice capture at the same time is very difficult for me, so I'm trying to do them separately whenever possible.

What drew me to Audacity was that while Camtasia's sound capabilities are pretty good, things like noise control are kind of inconsistent in how well they work, and I was looking for a more consistently predictable sound. I like the results I've gotten so far with Audacity, and would like to explore it further.

I've pretty much gotten the noise control in Audacity figured out, but the overall workflow, and when and how to CHOOSE to use a specific tool, seems to escape me. I think I'm looking for help in figuring out a usable workflow and I've had some real trouble in getting the ffmpeg files to even download successfully even though I've gotten the LAME files to load. (Is there not an *.exe file for this?)
 

SVQuant

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... I've had some real trouble in getting the ffmpeg files to even download successfully even though I've gotten the LAME files to load. (Is there not an *.exe file for this?)
I solved this recently after I upgraded my Audacity install. Different versions of Audacity look for different versions of ffmpeg. Look for a download called "FFMpeg for Audacity" to make your life easier. I can post more details later today when I am at the PC on which I did it.
 

DanS

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With regards to editing audio, one of the biggest issues most people face it the steep learning curve of the subject matter. It's not nearly as intuitive as stills and video. With stills and to a much lesser extent video, the changes you make are readily apparent as you see them instantly on screen. For audio, the final output is behind the abstraction layers of wave-forms & frequency distributions etc.

If you want to learn about audio editing in general, Curtis Judd has a lot of good generalized videos, and he has some for audacity specifically if I member correctly.

For audio I use the paid desktop version of Auphonic, the web based version is free up to a certain amount of processing hours a month. Like other web apps you can buy more processing time if you need it, or you can buy one of the desktop apps. It's an automated application, so you give it a source and set some settings and it does the rest. Unless the audio is really poor quality, it does a really good job. The main reason I chose it, is because it loudness normalizes your audio for you, and that's a non trivial task. It's a standard/Law for production work, and it really helps for things like YouTube as your videos are the same volume from one video to the next (viewers likes this).
 
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