Applies to: Microsoft Windows, All current versions.
Last updated: Wednesday October 02, 2010
Recording audio and video using the PC is an ever increasing demand. With the popularity of websites that can host personally created media content for free, more people want to be able to have their own virtual recording studio in their PC. On the MAC, Garage band is considered the number one application for audio content creation. For those of us that use Windows on the PC, there is a very powerfull solution available to us as well. It is called Audacity. It is aan open source project from SourceFordge.net. And best of all, it is free!
Audacity can be used to record spoken word for presentations, interviews or podcasts. It can also be used as a multi track recorder for creating your own music. With a little ingenuity you can also use Audacity for "ripping" external audio sources such ad CD's, vinyl records, and audio cassettes. You can also save out to .wav as well as .mp3 files
First you will need the installer for the Audacity program itself. If you want to save out to MP3, you will also need the "Lame MP3 encoder" as well You can download both from my website using the links below.
AUDACITY: audacity-win-2.0.6.exe (2.82 MB) Last updated: February 1, 2015.
LAME ENCODER: Lame_v3.99.3_for_Windows.exe (515 KB) Last updated: February 1, 2015.
You can also find these files as well as a lot of information on the SourceFordge project site at http://audacity.sourceforge.net
Run audacity-win-2.0.6.exe will start the setup wizzard. Click "next" then accept the license agreement and click "next". On the information screen click "next". On the destination location window.
Leave it at the default (C:\Program Files\Audacity) and click "next".
You will get a prompt asking if you would like to create the program folder, click "yes". On the "Additional Tasks" window. Just click "next". On the "Ready to Install" window click "Install". Once it is done, uncheck the box that says "Run Audacity" and click "Finish". Now you have installed Audacity.
Lame Encoder v3.99.3:
Run the file Lame_v3.99.3_for_Windows.exe. You may get an "Open File - Security Warning. If so just click "Run". This will start the setup wizzard. Click "next" then accept the license agreement and click "next". On the destination location window.
Leave it at the default (C:\Program Files\Lame for Audacity) and click "next".
On the "Ready to Install" window click "Install". Once it has completed click "Finish". You have completed installing both programs.
This next process has been written specifically for a friend of mine who wants to listen to a Rolling Stones song, play along with it on his guitar, and record the whole thing (original song as well as him playing along) so he can listen to it later and critique his technique.OK Ron, the first thing you will need to do is to connect your guitar to your PC We discussed several methods covering everything from a simple patch cable running from the line out on your guitar amp to using a USB A-to-D converter, even a mixing board. That can be covered on a separate write up on this site later if people want. For this example I am using a USB Audio converter. Now you need an MP3 of the song you want to use. For this example I will be using "I Can't Get No Satisfaction". I'm sure that won’t be a problem.
Once you get to the end and press stop, you can press the "Mute" button on the track you just recorded, press the "Record" button again and record a second track. And a third, and a fourth, etc.. At any time you can save your project to disk so you can go back to later and work some more. From the menu simply select "File" Save as", give it a name, and click "Save"
Congradulations, You have now recorded audio for free with Audacity.
Audacity is also a very powerfull audio editing tool. The tool palete to the left of the control buttons are used to change the cursor and its function during editing. You can zoom in and out. Move a track left or right, adjust volume using the envelope tool, or select a portion of a track for cut/copy/paste actions. If you select "Effect" from the menu you will see a lot of other tools like compressor, fade, equalization,echo,phaser, wahwah, and many others.