Audacity is a free downloadable software which is used to record and edit audio material, available for both PC and Mac OS X. Many podcasters swear by this program because it’s user-friendly, versatile, and free.
For editing, you can:
1. Cut, Copy and Paste, Delete, Insert Silence, Duplicate and Split the audio files.
2.Apply the plugin effects to any part of your recording.
3. Customize playback rate on each tracks.
4. Align the audio segments.
The new version has fixed its bugs from the previous version. Its improvements are as follows:
1. Normalize preserves the left-right balance in stereo tracks by default and has an option to normalize stereo channels independently.
2. Spectograms allow window sizes to 32768 and frequencies to half the sample rate.
3. The Mix and Render function preserves the clip length by not rendering the white space before the audio starts and also preserves it before time zero.
4. CleanSpeech Mode is removed from Preferences, but you can still run or disable it in 1.3.14 by changing the Preferences in the previous version.
5. For OS X, there is added support for Audio Unit Music Effects but no MIDI support.
Check the site and download it HERE.
After you have downloaded Audacity, you need to set the Preferences before recording your project. This will ensure that the playback and sound source options are correctly set with the bit rate, quality indicators, etc.
Steps in Setting Preferences
1. Launch Audacity and go to Edit > Preferences.
2. From the Preferences dialog box, choose Audio I/O. This will tell where you will record your sound from and where to play it back.
3. From the dropdown menu under Playback, select the output device you would like to route your sound through. If you’re using an interface, you should install its driver and select it, but if you’re using your computer’s soundcard, then select it.
4. Under Recording > Device, select the sound source. If you’re only recording your voice, there’s no need to check the Record in Stereo box. Check it only if you’re recording music as well. You may also uncheck the ‘Play other tracks while recording new one’ check box.
5. Set the audio quality under the Quality tab. Set default sample rate at 44100 Hz for a good sound quality. The higher sample rate it is set, the better audio quality you’ll get but it will consume a large amount of file size. Leave the other settings at their default.
If you’re using the new version, it may look a little different, so here’s a screen shot. You can follow the steps above.
Set the channel to 1 Mono since Stereo will use up a large file size when saved.
You may also watch these video tutorials to learn more about Audacity: