Recording with Audacity for free!

Discussion in 'Recording Studio' started by 68Sg, May 27, 2007.

  1. 68Sg

    68Sg Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Austin
    I've been tinkering with this free software lately. The learning curve is quick and it's really fun to create song's with.

    First there are prerequisites-
    computer with adequate hard disk drive space
    guitar
    amp with headphone or speaker out (line outs)
    1 guitar cord for guitar
    1 guitar cord to plug into computer soundcard(color coded pink input usually) using a 1/4" to 1/8" mini-jack (radio shack..cheap)
    decent sound card or very good onboard sound card- My motherboard has NVidia N-Force sound built in and it's pretty decent
    creativity :D


    Once your good with the above-

    Download Audacity version 1.2.6 below
    http://audacity.sourceforge.net/

    Also download Audacity beta version 1.3.3 as it handles clipping and input WAY better and will make the above version work better too.

    Now Install both versions of Audacity*****It is ok to have both versions installed, and from what I can tell version 1.3.3 is totally stable and doesn't crash-

    Download Lame MP3 Encoder below
    http://www-users.york.ac.uk/~raa110/audacity/lame.html

    # When you have finished downloading LAME, unzip it and save the file lame_enc.dll somewhere it won't get deleted and that you can find again, easily. I chose to create a folder within the Audacity folder called 'lame'

    # The first time you use the "Export as MP3" command, Audacity will ask you where lame_enc.dll is saved, and you will then have to browse to that file.


    Once you get the software installed you need to get your guitar working with the computer and it's easy.

    Connect a guitar cable with the 1/4" to 1/8" adapter to the microphone "line in" on the back of your computer and the other end goes to the speaker out on your amp or headphone line out.

    I connect headphones to the computer so I can record anytime.

    You should immediately hear the guitar coming through, if not check your sound settings.

    2 things I know that wills top you from hearing anything is-

    1.bring up master volume screen and click on the advanced volume tab and de-select center speakers and woofer are connected to microphone- you dont want that
    2.de-select the 'mic boost button'

    If your guitar is working you can now open Audacity and hit record and play a song or riff.

    For every additional track you just hit the record button again.

    Tips- I usually lay down the entire rhythm track at once, and then I hit record again and play a lead part. If I know it's what I want to stick with I can play that part and during a transition I can hit the stop recording button, and hit it again for another track, and I continue to the next part.

    For example- I'll create multiple tracks so I don't have to sit there andplay the same intro lead part a million times because I can't get the next part just right. I'd rather record that intro lead part, then start my next track during that part so I can only concentrate on the next part.

    This is if you mess up badd, so you don't have to start all over. You can just hit stop and select edit then undo from the menu up top.

    You can click on the line anywhere and that's where the song will play from or start recording at.

    Most of all

    Have fun and hit me up with questions and I'll help.

    I'm learning too myself.

    Ryan
     
  2. 68Sg

    68Sg Member

    Joined:
    May 4, 2007
    Messages:
    76
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Austin
    Once you get a song or riff down. You can go file then export as MP3..The default WAVE creates MUCH larger file sizes!

    If you did the LAME mp3 encoder thing above, you'll be fine and the MP3 exporter will work.

    Ryan
     
  3. ericseanjohnson

    ericseanjohnson Member

    Joined:
    May 22, 2007
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Tempe, Arizona
    Audacity is a great program for free.
     
  4. vkgphil

    vkgphil Active Member

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2005
    Messages:
    5,097
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    in my own little world... apparently
    good post

    i wonder about the direct into the soundcard approach. there are a ton of usb interfaces with more flexabilty that are not that expensive...

    i had an old audigy soundcard that took up a drive bay in the front of the case that you could connect guitar right into and it also had an optical input and two midi inputs.
     
  5. hellsbellsx81

    hellsbellsx81 Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2005
    Messages:
    489
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Boston
    Ive been using this program for about 2 years now, mostly to record LP's, but it does a great job with guitar too!
     
  6. antichef

    antichef Member

    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2005
    Messages:
    127
    Likes Received:
    0
    Great thread - you can also use a 1/4" to 1/8" adpater to plug the guitar into the soundcard - maybe a little noiser than a cable with 1/4" on one side and 1/8" on the other.

    I use an audio interface now, but I can say that going from nothing to recording through my soundcard into audacity was a huge deal, and going from there to what I'm doing now was a smaller deal.
     
  7. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,310
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    negotiable
    68Sg
    Thanks for this topic, I found my version is older than either you mentioned. Will update ASAP! O0

    [quote author=antichef link=topic=13716.msg182419#msg182419 date=1183178718]
    Great thread - you can also use a 1/4" to 1/8" adpater to plug the guitar into the soundcard - maybe a little noiser than a cable with 1/4" on one side and 1/8" on the other.

    I use an audio interface now, but I can say that going from nothing to recording through my soundcard into audacity was a huge deal, and going from there to what I'm doing now was a smaller deal.
    [/quote]
    I don't understand, please explain "deal". Is it a "hassle" or a "pleasure, a "problem" or "mess of fun"?
     
  8. SG Lou

    SG Lou Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    7,334
    Likes Received:
    380
    Location:
    Fords, NJ
    Sounds easy enough. Now let me throw a question at ya?

    I have several "Pre-Recorded" Backing Tracks ( Drums, Bass & Vocals ) loaded on my computer.
    How would I got about recording them through Audacity so I can add the Guitar tracks?
    Or It can't be done? ???
     
  9. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,310
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    negotiable
    BW
    The following is according to my version (1.2.4) not the latest so although some things might have changed, I'd assume the menu and basic commands remain unchanged.

    Inport sound file
    -Open audacity, click "Project"
    -click "import audio"
    (a window appears allowing you to select whatever file you want to import)
    -click on the file you want to import, then click "open"

    After you have that track opened, you can hit play to verify it's what you want and at the right level, etc.

    Audacity setting
    -click "edit" then click on "preferences"
    my first tab says audio I/O and has 2 check boxes at the bottom
    -make sure "play other tracks while recording new one" is selected

    Open or inport
    Much like the inport command, you can also "open" the file via the "file" menu, then click on "open". Unlike the inport audio function, the "open" command allows you to open Audacity "projects". So if you have to leave a project with numerous and or unfinished files, save the session as a "project", that way the next time you open that project, it should all be there right where you left off. Comes in handy sometimes.
     
  10. SG Lou

    SG Lou Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    7,334
    Likes Received:
    380
    Location:
    Fords, NJ
    I did as Duane suggested and I came across hurdle #1

    When I went through the steps I got this in a pop up window !

    “Ya da Ya da Ya da \05 Paranoid w-Vocals.wma” is a Windows Media Audio file.
    Audacity cannot open this type of file due to patent restrictions.
    You need to convert it to a supported audio format"

    So is it safe to ASSUME I have to convert the files I want to load, into lets say an MP3 file?
    And if so how the heck do I do that?

    [move][size=40pt]HELP[/size][/move]
     
  11. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,310
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    negotiable
    [quote author=brucewayne131 link=topic=13716.msg199039#msg199039 date=1194967349]
    ...

    So is it safe to ASSUME I have to convert the files I want to load, into lets say an MP3 file?
    And if so how the heck do I do that?

    [/quote] File converter, yes. MP3, yes.

    Why didn't it work
    Your file format is not compatible with Audacity program. ;D (you already figured that) Here's a quick and dirty way to "know". Open the open/inport function, there's a little pull down box toward the bottom called "files of type". Click on that pull down button and you will see the list of file formats Audacity is able to handle. If your file is not on that list, then you need a file converter to make it compatible with Audacity.

    Note: File format is signified by the last three characters of the file name, i.e. rock.mp3 or rock.wmv etc.

    Anyone know of a good file converter to download? I would assume there's plenty out there and easy to use...
     
  12. Raging Taco

    Raging Taco Member

    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2005
    Messages:
    737
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    ohio
    if you go to download.com and just search for mp3 converter you get all kinds of stuff. but just a heads up, wav files are a lot better for recording
     
  13. mr_dj07

    mr_dj07 Member

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2005
    Messages:
    364
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Laval, Quebec
    Itunes can convert WMAs to pretty any file format.

    In the iTunes preferences, set the desired format in the importing section (AIFF, Wave, MP3...)

    Load in the WMA files in iTunes and they will be automatically converted to the format you selected in the iTunes preferences.
     
  14. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,310
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    negotiable
    [quote author=Raging Taco link=topic=13716.msg199724#msg199724 date=1195583592]
    if you go to download.com and just search for mp3 converter you get all kinds of stuff. but just a heads up, wav files are a lot better for recording
    [/quote]
    Good point about different file types being better suited for initial recording verses distribution for example. As I recall, .wav is an uncompressed file, so you should get the best quality (highest resolution, most accurate) recording, but at the expected cost of [size=12pt]seriously large[/size] file sizes. Conversely if it's just for play, lightweight mp3 is all ya need. A thousand songs in a Bic lighter sized MP3 player.
     
  15. everdying

    everdying Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2004
    Messages:
    1,879
    Likes Received:
    295
    i'm using a creative audigy4 sound card...
    in its bundled software, there is a creative audio converter...that is what i use to convert file types...its also good for reducing bitrates from 320 to like 192 so you can squeeze more songs into your mp3 player.
     
  16. SG Lou

    SG Lou Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2004
    Messages:
    7,334
    Likes Received:
    380
    Location:
    Fords, NJ
    OK so I finally figured it out and "Cut" my first recording.

    I used a Black Sabbath Paranoid Backing track W/Vocals and I laid in the rhythm track and than the lead.
    Sounds pretty good for a "First Timer"

    I was gonna upload it tonight while in work but............after ripping a CD to bring with me, I never bothered to check if the MP3 ripped properly :?

    When I loaded the CD in the P/C here at work it was BLANK >:( ;D

    So anyway, I'll try again tomorrow.
    In the meantime............how do you adjust your recording volume while recording?
    I can barely hear my guitar coming through the P/C speakers while the backing track is playing.

    Any Ideas?
     
  17. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,310
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    negotiable
    post 1of2 [quote author=brucewayne131 link=topic=13716.msg200193#msg200193 date=1195867206]
    ...

    So anyway, I'll try again tomorrow.
    In the meantime............how do you adjust your recording volume while recording?
    I can barely hear my guitar coming through the P/C speakers while the backing track is playing.

    Any Ideas?[/quote]

    Glad to hear your your plugging away at it. I upgraded to the latest version so I'm up to speed again.

    Volume Controls
    Audacity
    The master volume and mic/input controls are conveniently located at the bottom left of the tool bar area, signified by little speaker and microphone icons.

    You can also control each track separately via the Volume/Left&Right/Solo/Mute functions located at the far left of each track window.

    Windows
    Click on the speaker icon from the windows power bar, location default is bottom right hand side of your screen. Your sound card might have it's own audio control icon so you'll have to find that out yourself.

    Still stuck? Then click the start menu, click on control panel, then double click on "sounds and audio devices". Then click on the sound recording button, then re-adjust whichever input your using. Make sure the check box is selected on the correct function.
     
  18. 1Way

    1Way Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    2,310
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    negotiable
    post 2of2
    To Boost or not to boost
    It's quite possible that either Window's or Audacity's audio control was simply set too low. With different mics and sound cards and system variables, you might also experiment with the mic boost function to see if that helps.

    Before beginning to record, do a mic level check with Audacity's microphone level indicators (top center right) to make sure the recording level is properly adjusted.


    Multi vrs single track recording
    Try recording everything separately so that during each recording you only get one instrument, not your rhythm guitar plus backing track together. That way you can adjust the level of just the lead or rhythm or back track separately, and at any point and for any duration. You can also individually adjust the timing, but not if you record it all together.

    However another school of thought is to just record it all together at once to get more of a "live" feel. Neither way is necessarily right or wrong, but keeping things separate certainly leaves more editorial control. I'd suggest good padded headphones for the backing tracks and monitoring the recording progress.

    Where do you set your mic? Hope this helps.
    ;)
     
  19. TheOwl

    TheOwl Member

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2004
    Messages:
    81
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Atlanta GA
    Even though I don't record with Audacity, I have have found it invaluable for editing audio files. Very versatile and the price is hard to beat! :D
     
  20. Kevin Brown

    Kevin Brown Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2009
    Messages:
    64
    Likes Received:
    0
    Wow, old topic. I'm gearing myself up to try this, but one question:

    The speaker output from the amp wouldn't overpower the line in to the sound card?

    And then if I want to record the amp output itself, just hook a microphone up to the PC line in, put the mike in front of the amp, and plug away with Audacity similarly?
     

Share This Page