Audacity CATESOL 2008
Creating Sound Files with Audacity
Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for
Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.
You can use Audacity to:
Record live audio.
Edit MP3 and WAV sound files.
Export MP3s with the optional LAME encoder library.
Edit easily with Cut, Copy, Paste, and Delete.
Download two items:
1. Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
2. LAME MP3 encoder, which allows Audacity to export MP3 files.
Tutorials and references at Sourceforge http://audacity.sourceforge.net/manual-1.2/
Recording with Audacity at Sourceforge http://audacity.sourceforge.net/manual-1.2/tutorial_basics_4.html
Flash tutorials published on Podagogy.com and hosted at Spring Arbor College. The 5 tutorials include
Download Audacity | Download MP3 Plugin | Install Audacity | Set Up MP3 Plugin | Record Audio | Fix Errors
Mattʼs screencast of editing in Audacity. He walks you through several tips and tricks for using Audacity, e.g.
deleting sections, adding and mixing tracks, fading out, etc. (Done in Camtasia Studio 2)
Marshaʼs enhanced podcast describes how language teachers can import a student recording, record
comments and corrections, export the file as an mp3, and teach listeners to hear one or both tracks. (Itʼs called
an *enhanced* podcast because it integrates photos with audio, all of which can be loaded onto and played on
an iPod. Done in Audacity, GarageBand, and other tools) http://www.ourmedia.org/node/166635
6. Set the default sample rate at 11025 Hz.
Getting Started 7. Set the default sample format at 16-bit.
1. Plug in your microphone (or use internal mic).
2. Launch Audacity.
3. Open Audacity Preferences.
4. Select your recording and playback device(s),
e.g., built-in audio or external mic. 8. From the File menu, Save Project with an
5. Select record in Mono. appropriate filename in a place where you will
be able to find it easily. Example:
Marsha Chan Page 1 of 3
Audacity CATESOL 2008
Recording your Project
9. Click Record and other buttons on the main tool bar
Click on the red Record button to begin recording.
Click on the blue Pause button to pause the recording. Press it again to continue.
Click on the yellow Stop button to stop recording. The cursor will return to its previous
position, before the recording was started.
Click on the green Play button to listen to the audio in your project.
Click on the purple Go to Start button to place the cursor at the start of the project.
Click on the purple Go to End button to place the cursor at the end of the project.
You can now play around with your recording and explore the editing capabilities of Audacity. You
can use the Undo function almost without limits.
10. Check the amplitude (volume) of your recording. Exporting your Project as an MP3.
If it is low, select the sound clip (or a portion of An MP3 file is a compressed file that occupies
it). much less space than the original or a WAV
file. For example, an Audacity project of 14.6
MB is exported as an MP3 of only 3 MB.
12. From your Audacity project, select Edit >
Then select Effect > Amplify. Audacity Export As MP3.
calculates an appropriate amplification rate with
the default Donʼt allow clipping. Click OK.
Name the file. Example:
13. Now you can upload the mp3 file to a
website, import it into a multimedia project,
11. File > Save Project often. email it to students, and much more.
Marsha Chan firstname.lastname@example.org 2 of 3
Audacity CATESOL 2008
Using Audacity to Comment on Student Voice Files
Marshaʼs 2-track convention: Student = Left 17. To add a track, from the Project Menu, click
(original recording), Teacher = Right (corrections New Audio Track
14. From the Project menu, select Import Audio,
browse to the studentʼs sound file, and click
15. From the drop-down arrow, change the
studentʼs recording to Left Channel.
16. Set Sample Format > 16-bit.
18. From the drop-down arrow, select Right 20. If desired, click Name the channel by clicking
Channel. Name. Enter your name.
19. Set Sample Format > 16-bit. Record, check and save as described in the
Exporting your Project as an MP3. Transferring your MP3 files
22. From your Audacity project, select Edit > Send as an attachment in email.
Export As MP3. Upload to a digital drop box (Angel,
Blackboard, Yahoo Groups, etc.).
Transfer the files to studentsʼ computers in a
lab with a classroom control system (Genesis).
Burn to CD and give the CD to each other.
Copy to a USB flash drive and give the media
to each other.
Copy to a floppy disk (if < 3 minutes) and give
Marshaʼs file naming convention: Add my the disk to each other.
initials to the end of the studentʼs filename,
Marsha Chan email@example.com 3 of 3
Marsha Chan on using Audacity to create voice files: excerpts from her presentations at TESOL 2006 EVO Oral Skills and Technology Page 1 of 4
OralSkillsandTechnology@yahoogrou employ an audiotape laboratory in the for a long time, including listening- stopped using and promoting it when
ps.com past. In 2003 I led the drive to procure speaking, pronunciation skills. I would Qualcomm confirmed several years
Week 5 Distance Education and the college's first interactive like to offer these oral classes either ago that they would not update
Oral Skills: Using Audacity to multimedia language laboratory for as hybrid or online classes if I can get PureVoice to work on Windows XP or
create voice files the ESL Department. The classroom department and college approval. Macintosh OS X. I still use Media
management software is great. Through my business (where the Master/Language Player on Windows
My name is Marsha Chan. I teach approval process is easy!), I've (98/2000/XP), which is easy to use for
ESL to adults aged 18 to 75 (average I have published a few books, offered pronunciation and accent recording, but it is proprietary, not
age around 30) at a community articles, videos and audio CDs, modification by web and telephone. free. I am experimenting with
college in California. I've taught at mostly about pronunciation and GarageBand on Mac OS X, which is
Mission College for over twenty teaching with technology. I give This week I'll present some cool and powerful, but since most of
years. Previously I taught a year each presentations at TESOL and TESOL information about Audacity. I will you are using Windows, I advocate
in Hong Kong, Chongqing, and affiliate conferences and at schools explain what Audacity is, direct users using Audacity because it is free,
Beijing, China, and at elementary and and businesses. where to download what, describe cross-platform, and not hard to use.
adult schools in California. I own a how to use the software for voice
small business, Sunburst Media for I am interested in discussing with our recordings, and describe and provide Web support
language learners. TESOL friends around the world examples of use with language There are nice tutorials and help
about teaching and learning oral skills learners. pages on the Sourceforce web page.
I'm female. I posted my photos on our with the help of technology. During However, since their audience
site: Week 5, I'll present some information Week 5 Distance Education and includes musicians who do more
http://ph.groups.yahoo.com/group/Or about Audacity sound recording Oral Skills: Using Audacity to complex things, I thought it might be
alSkillsandTechnology/photos software. create voice files easier if I distilled some information
for our purposes – spoken voice
I will be a Guest Speaker for Week 5: A little background on my experience What is Audacity? recordings.
Distance education and oral skills in distance education: Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio
editor and recorder for Windows, Mac How to use Audacity to record
My teaching assignments at Mission I have been teaching ESL to adults at OS X, GNU/Linux, and other your voice
College vary from one semester to Mission College, a public community operating systems. You can use Today, I'll tell you how you can get
another. Among my classes, I always college in California for over twenty Audacity to: started using this software with some
choose to teach oral skills. Currently, years. In the past, I taught at * Record live audio. basic steps. In the next few days, I'll
I am teaching intermediate elementary schools and adult schools * Edit MP3 and WAV sound files. explain how to convert the original
pronunciation and listening, low- in California and a few schools in * Export MP3s with the optional file, which is big and ends in .aup, into
intermediate listening and speaking, China, but those all experienced LAME encoder library. a small .mp3 file to use on the
and clear communication for occurred before the digital era. I own * Edit easily with Cut, Copy, Paste, Internet. Later, I’ll elaborate on how I
advanced learners who are health a small business, Sunburst Media for and Delete. use the files in a distance learning
care employees at a hospital. In language learners. environment or for web enhancement
addition, I have been teaching an What can I use Audacity for? of a face-to-face class. I’ll include
online advanced grammar and editing My first distance learning class used My husband uses Audacity to record procedures for teacher and student
class since 1997. one-way video, two-way audio and edit his music. I use Audacity to recordings and teacher comments
through phone lines. That was in the record and edit spoken voice and corrections. Stay tuned!
I enjoy enhancing learning activities late 1980s and did not last long. recordings. Most of these are
with current technology. Over the Through my business and through teaching materials for my students. I Downloading the software
years, this has included audiotapes Mission College, I've been teaching convert the recordings into .mp3 files, You'll need to download two items:
and recorders, videotapes and classes in an online web-based which are compressed and much 1. Audacity
cameras, CD-ROMs, DVDs, email, environment since 1996. So far, the smaller than .wav files. http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
voice mail, PowerPoint presentations, only solely online class I've taught 2. LAME MP3 encoder
overhead projection, online chatting, through Mission ESL Department is Why use Audacity? <http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/f
collaborative writing with computers, an advanced grammar and editing I have used other sound recording aq?s=install&item=lame-mp3> ,
using and creating websites, digital class. I have been using the web to software, too. I used to use which allows Audacity to export MP3
voice recording, and so on. I used to enhance all of my on-campus courses PureVoice, which is also free, but I files.
Marsha Chan on using Audacity to create voice files: excerpts from her presentations at TESOL 2006 EVO Oral Skills and Technology Page 2 of 4
http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/fa Effect > Amplify. Audacity calculates your voice too much and back the
q?s=install&item=lame-mp3 What to do now: an appropriate amplification rate with slider to the left towards Less.
Download the software, plug in your the default Don’t allow clipping. Click
Getting Started microphone, and record a short OK. This feature is nice because I use the Noise Removal feature only
You'll need to set up your preferences passage. Save it to your hard drive. sometimes you record something and if I’m being picky about my own
and device: Let me know if these instructions are the volume is not great enough. This recordings for publication/broadcast. I
1. Plug in your microphone (or use clear/unclear, easy/hard to follow, and way, you don’t have to record again don’t fuss with this feature on student
internal mic). if you were successful in recording with a bigger voice, you just adjust recordings because it takes time out
2. Launch Audacity. and playing back your passage. the recording in the software. Often I of the content, that is, responding to
3. Open Audacity Preferences. find myself recording comments to what my students say.
4. Select your recording and Tomorrow I’ll explain how to make students at home at night when my
playback device(s), e.g., built-in some simple edits on your file, and family is sleeping and I don’t want to I recently made a recording in my
audio or external mic. why and how to format your file as an use my broadcasting, or public living room, and I can hear the water
5. Select Record in Mono. .mp3 file. speaking, volume. In addition, if you in our fish tank gurgling in the
6. Set the default sample rate at record bits and pieces – phrases, background. I haven’t tried to see if
11025 Hz, To download my file with these dialogs, paragraphs at a time - the Noise Removal will get rid of the
7. Set the default sample format at directions in text and pictures, go to sometimes they’re at different gurgle. I’m probably more sensitive to
16-bit. our YG site Files section and click on volumes. You can take the low bit and stuff like this. I noticed that none of
8. From the File menu, Save Project the folder Week 5 Distance education increase the amplitude so that it my students said, Hey what’s that
with an appropriate filename in a and Oral Skills. matches the others. I use this when I gurgling noise? They were
place where you will be able to receive my students’ recordings, too, concentrating on my voice and
find it easily. Here's the example Week 5 Distance Education and because some have a big voice and practicing the intonation patterns of
that I give on my handout for Oral Skills: Using Audacity to edit others have a tiny voice. I’ll talk more questions in that recording. So you be
students: Joanne_ch07c.aup your voice files about students’ recordings later. Stay the judge about the need to remove
tuned. noise or not.
Recording and Saving your Project Today, I’m going to assume that
you’ve recorded a bit in Audacity. You don’t want to allow clipping You can play around with the other
1. Click Record and other buttons on Some of you have used Audacity because that distorts the sound. It options, but I think Amplify is the most
the main tool bar before, but perhaps you have not clips, or cuts off part of the sound useful for language teaching
2. Click on the red Record button to been aware of the various settings information. purposes.
begin recording. and features to enhance your
3. Click on the blue Pause button to recording. I’ll refer you back to Noise removal Setting the Sample Format
pause the recording. Press it Message 724 for prior instructions If there is a constant sound, like Audacity is for musicians, but I’m not
again to continue. just in case. static, throughout your recording, you using it for music. I can’t speak in
4. Click on the yellow Stop button to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OralS can remove it from the whole stereo, nor can I provide an orchestral
stop recording. The cursor will killsandTechnology/message/724 recording like this: Select a bit of range in my voice. Neither can my
return to its previous position, recording that has just this static, like students. So, why take up any more
before the recording was started. Editing your voice file with Effects a place that is supposed to be silence bandwidth than necessary?
5. Click on the green Play button to You can now play around with your between your utterances. Then select
listen to the audio in your project. recording and explore the editing Effect > Noise Removal. Click the Get Ensure that the sample format is 16-
6. Click on the purple Go to Start capabilities of Audacity. Here is Noise Profile button. That will tell bit. This makes the file size half the
button to place the cursor at the where Audacity is superior to Audacity what to filter out. Then size of 32-bit. That’s all we need for
start of the project. PureVoice (which I loved for its select all of the audio that you want spoken recordings. If necessary, from
7. Click on the purple Go to End simplicity when I used older operating filtered, choose how much noise you the drop-down arrow, select Set
button to place the cursor at the systems). want filtered out, and then click the Sample Format > 16-bit.
end of the project. Remove Noise button. You’ll have to
8. File > Save Project often. Amplitude play around with the Less and More Ideally, you’ll have set the sample
Check the amplitude (volume) of your slider. If you select More, it’ll alter rate for 16-bit in your Preferences, but
You can use the Undo function recording. If it is low, select the sound your lovely voice, too. So experiment you can always change it before or
almost without limits. clip (or a portion of it). Then select and decide at what point it distorts after you record. When importing
Marsha Chan on using Audacity to create voice files: excerpts from her presentations at TESOL 2006 EVO Oral Skills and Technology Page 3 of 4
students’ recordings (more about that is a free download available for Mac Week 5 Distance Education and After you collect their files, open a
to come), they often come in as 32- and Windows. Oral Skills: Using Audacity to new Audacity file. In the Preferences
bit, and then I change them to 16-bit. http://www.apple.com/itunes/ Maybe comment on students’ voice menu, select Play other tracks while
some of you use this already to play recordings recording new one. From the Project
Exporting to mp3 your music. (If not, you should!) menu select Import Audio, and
When you create a file in Audacity, it Earlier this week, I sent out browse to choose one or more
saves as xxx.aup (where xxx is the Open iTunes > Preferences. Click the instructions on how to use Audacity, a student files. You may want to use
name you give it). It’s big. Very big. Advanced button. Click the Importing free cross-platform sound recorder, to this convention, which I find quite
When you want to use the finished file tab. Choose Import Using MP# do simple voice recordings. Refer to nice: I designate the left channel for
to send as an email attachment or Encoder. Choose Setting Good Message 724 in case you missed the student’s voice, and the right
post on a website or load onto an Quality. Close the Preferences. Drag that. channel for the teacher’s voice. So
iPod, you want to make a small file. your xxx.wav into the iTunes main http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OralS after laying down the student track,
An mp3 file is very small and window to rip it (add it) to your iTunes killsandTechnology/message/724 go to the Audio Track drop-down
compressed. For example, an Library. Select it from your Library. menu and select Left Channel. Listen
Audacity project of 14.6 MB is Choose Following that, I sent out instructions to the student’s recording and make
exported as an MP3 of only 3 MB. Advanced > Convert Selection to on how to do some simple yet notes on paper (or in your head).
MP3. Done! If you want to do valuable editing to voice files and how Then go back and add comments and
Using LAME MP3 Encoder something else with the file besides to compress them to MP3 files in two corrections. Click the purple Go to
If you followed the directions I gave in play it, such as send it as an email ways. I also gave some suggestions start button to place your cursor at the
Message 724, you downloaded two attachment or upload it to a website, on what you might do with your voice start of the student’s recording. From
items: The Audacity software and the you’ll need to follow its path, which recordings. Refer to Message 743 the Project menu, select New Audio
LAME MP3 encoder. If you missed it, might be something like this: HD > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OralS Track. Then go to the Audio Track
don’t worry. Just go here and get it: YourUser > Music > iTunes > iTunes killsandTechnology/message/743 drop-down menu and select Right
<http://audacity.sourceforge.net/help/f Music . Channel. If you want, from the Audio
aq?s=install&item=lame-mp3>. What about using Audacity to give Track drop-down menu, you can
It doesn’t matter where you save it, Now you’ve got your lovely voice feedback to students? Here’s what I rename each track. Press the red
but here’s my file management tip: recording. It is nice and compact. You usually do. Record button and record your
Inside your Applications (Mac) or can copy a 3-minute recording to a comments and corrections in the
Program (Win) folder, create a folder floppy disk if it is properly Collecting student recordings second track while playing the first
called Audacity, and put both compressed like this – you cannot do Students can record their files using track. You may wish to leave some
Audacity and LAME inside. The first that with a .wav or .aup file, which is whatever sound recording software is summary comments to the student at
time you make an mp3 file from tooooo big. You can play your available to them, whether at the the end, too. Save your project, and
Audacity, it’ll ask you to point it to the recording for your students in class, college or at home – their home. I then export it as an MP3 from the File
LAME mp3 encoder. Now you’ll know you can ask them to copy it to their may teach them how to use Audacity, menu.
where to find it! floppies. Of course if you have a USB or I may let them use whatever
flash drive (memory stick), that’s even program they are familiar with. I Listening to two tracks
Open your recording, xxx.aup, and better, because they can store so collect their files in various ways: if it’s You may wish to teach students to
choose File > Export as MP3. Keep much more data. And you can burn a totally distance learning listen to only one track at a time
the same name (or change it, as you them to CD. And you can upload environment, they either drop their because listening to both tracks at
like), and it’ll add .mp3 at the end. them to your course management files in my digital drop box in our first provides cognitive overload for
Point it to the folder where you want system. course management system or email most students. Have them listen to
to save your file, and click SAVE. them to me as attachments. For a their voice alone, to your comments
Okay, give it a try. Let me know if web-enhanced face-to-face course, I and corrections alone, and then listen
Compare the file sizes of xxx.aup and these instructions are clear or not. may collect the files from the to both their voice and yours together.
xxx.mp3. What do you see? computers in our lab, or they may Show them how to open the control
Next time, I’m going to describe how provide their files to me on a CD, a panel for sound on your Mac or PC
Using iTunes to reformat as MP3 to work with student files. USB storage device, or a floppy disk. and move the balance slider from left
Now, let’s say you saved your project to right and back to center again. That
as a .wav file, either from Audacity or Marsha Different channels for student and way they can control how they listen
from another sound recorder. Itunes teacher voice tracks to your file and hear a comparison of
Marsha Chan on using Audacity to create voice files: excerpts from her presentations at TESOL 2006 EVO Oral Skills and Technology Page 4 of 4
their pronunciation, sentence Teacher’s comments and corrections Then, students create their own Thanks for your comments, Becky.
structure, or word choice and yours. in the right channel sentences. You pointed out some excellent ways
(From Carolyn S.) a teacher can guide the listener
Sample file Music in one channel, narration in (student) and reasons why a teacher
To hear a file with a student track and another How to use Audacity. Message 724 should record comments. From the
my teacher track in separate When I did pilot recordings for http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OralS work that you and I have been doing
channels, go to the Files area of our College Oral Communication 1, I killsandTechnology/message/724 for many years, I’d like to bullet for
yahoo group laid a dance tune in the left channel Using Audacity to edit your voice files our readers a few important points for
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OralS and the call (i.e., directions on the Message 743 accent modification or general oral
killsandTechnology/files/ steps) in the right channel. To hear it http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OralS skills improvement:
Open the Week 5 Distance go to killsandTechnology/message/743
Education and Oral Skills folder, http://www.missioncollege.org/depts/e Using Audacity to comment on • Have students record their
and select the file described as sl/coc/940ls.html students’ voice recordings Message voice. A few minutes is
Student voice in left channel, teacher College Oral Communication 776 enough.
voice in right channel. Chapter 1 The Power of Music > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/OralS • Have students listen to their
Activity 29 Dance: Arkansas Traveler, killsandTechnology/message/776 voice, live with you or recorded
Comments and feedback with Caller in analog or digital format
Have any of you been using Audacity (The final version from Houghton Have any of you been using Audacity • Focus students’ attention on
(or other sound recorders) in this way Mifflin uses original music and the call (or other sound recorders) in this way key points of intelligibility.
to give feedback to students? I have and the music are blended into one to give feedback to students? I have • Provide comments on
been doing this for pronunciation channel. You can’t mute a channel.) been doing this for pronunciation students’ strengths and areas
classes for eons (first with analog classes for eons (first with analog for improvement.
tape and later through a series of Instrumental in one channel, vocals in tape and later through a series of • Provide clear instructions for
software), and I find that giving voice another software), and I find that giving voice modifying selected aspects of
feedback that is like instant correction Music without lyrics in one track. feedback that is like instant correction their pronunciation.
is a big enhancement to returning a Singing in another. is a big enhancement to returning a
paper with marks on a script. Students practice it with the model paper with marks on a script.
Marsha Turn off (mute) the vocal track - or Marsha
provide a separate file - and sing with
the instrumental track - Becky Dauer replied:
Week 5 Distance Education and Karaoke In comparison to having a OralSkillsandTechnology Electronic
Oral Skills: Recording in two student recite something in front Village Online Description
channels in Audacity Click track in one channel, language of the teacher, the main
in another advantage of technology is This EVO session provided a forum
What are some uses of two-channel Click track sets a rhythmic beat. feedback: the student can hear for discussion of technologies used to
recordings? Here are a few. I invite Voice track contains a poem or chant what he/she has recorded teach Speech, Pronunciation and
you to add more! spoken with this rhythm. (waveforms, spectrograms, and Listening. Participants discussed their
Students practice it with the model fundamental frequency curves experience or interest in using old
Student voice in one channel, recording, then recite/perform it live or can provide other kinds of and new technologies.
teacher’s voice in another record it. feedback). Of course, I hope that This Session ran from January 16 to
In Message 776, I described a way to I am giving them useful February 26, 2006.
give feedback on a student’s Click track sets a rhythmic beat. comments, but I think that most Moderator: Christine Parkhurst, USA
pronunciation / oral language by Voice track demonstrates the stress- of the learning goes on when the Producer: Buthaina Al-Othman,
recording in a second channel and timed nature of English, e.g., students record, listen, then Kuwait
creating a stereo effect, with The Dean addressed the students. (5 rerecord to try to get it better, Guest Speakers: Randall Davis,
instruction on how to play one at a words/3 beats) listen again, rerecord, etc. I think Christine Bauer-Ramazani, Jim
time: The students were addressed by the the technology creates a Duber, Marsha Chan, .Elizabeth
Student’s recording in the left channel Dean. (7 words/3 beats) practice-feedback loop. Hanson-Smith, Jeff Lebow