Radio Tacoma Audacity Classes

Here is a series of files and a description of the Radio Tacoma Audacity class. All tools you need to work with Audacity in the classroom are available here, so it might be a good idea to have this open in a browser window while you work.

Important Links

Installing Audacity

Saturday, October 13th

Part 1

  1. Installation (Windows and Mac, I'm Assuming)
  2. Introduction to UI
    1. Tracks
    2. Zooming in and Out
    3. Recording
    4. Panning
    5. Levels
    6. Clip Detection
    7. Copying and Pasting
    8. Saving and Basic Encoding

Assignment 1

Edit This File: Editing_Lesson.flac

Open the file Editing_Lesson.flac and edit for content. This is a brief interview between Sam, Becky, and Carol, where they are supposed to be discussing the podcasting miniterm class that happened at SAMI last January. Remove ums, ahs, awkward pauses, tangents, or anything else you feel that is unneccesary or uninteresting. Rearrange segments of dialogue if you want to. Your final product should be no longer than 5 minutes. Export as MP3 and upload for review.

Part 2

  1. UI Continued
    1. Working with Multiple Tracks
      1. Discussion of Multitrack vs. Single Track Recording
  2. Levels, and Decibels, Etc.
    1. Explanation of dBFS
    2. Amplification
      1. The Concept of Headroom (…and why there was no headroom in the thing you edited yesterday)
    3. Normalization
    4. Compression

Assignment 2

Edit This File: OW_MY_FACE.flac

Open the file OW_MY_FACE.flac and process for sound. Use the split tool, Normalize, and Compress to minimize the dynamic range. If you are successful, the waveform will look much more consistent throughout the whole recording. Export as MP3 and upload for review.

Saturday, October 20th

Part 3

  1. UI Continued Pt. 3
    1. Importing Audio
    2. Fades and the Envelope Tool
    3. Panning
    4. Mute and Solo
    5. Sync-Lock
    6. Discussion of Effects
      1. De-essing
      2. Noise Gating
  2. Rendering and Mixdown
  3. Lossy vs. Lossless reexplained
  4. Metadata
  5. Podcasting
    1. Websites
    2. RSS Feed
    3. Aggregators
  6. Broadcasting
    1. FCC-safe Language
    2. Dead air is bad
    3. Fixed time
    4. Maybe a bit on the compression wars

Assignment 3: FINAL EXAM

Edit This File: Processing_Lesson.flac Open the file Editing_Lesson.flac and process completely for release. You should complete the following steps, but they don’t need to happen ENTIRELY in this order.

  1. Process for sound: Use Amplify, Compress, and Normalize to minimize the dynamic range of the recording.
  2. Intro and Outro music: Use the envelope tool to provide a smooth transition between music and the interview.
  3. Edit for content: This is mostly a repeat of lesson one but because you will be editing from tracks, this time you will also have the opportunity to eliminate taps and dings. You should also be aware that there is profanity in this track that must be bleeped or eliminated for broadcast.
  4. Process for export: Use Mix & Render, Edit Metadata, and Export to produce a FLAC file and an mp3 of your recording. Upload for review.

Part 4: Extra Innings

  1. Equalization
  2. Noise Reduction
  3. Fun Stuff?!

Assignment 4: "EXTRA CREDIT"

Edit This File: Noisy_Interview.flac

Open Noisy_Interview.flac and process for sound. Play with the Noise Reduction and Equalization tools to improve the overall sound quality of this recording. There is no specific best process for this—you will be successful if you feel more familiar with the tools that are available to you to solve these specific sound problems.

Royalty Free Music for Assignments

Here is some not-all-that-great Royalty Free music for intro and outro.

Examples of Audio Problems

Lossy vs. Lossless Encoding

Lossy encoding methods such as MP3 will throw out some data in order to get a smaller file size. Lossless methods such as FLAC do not throw out quite so much information. For archiving, FLAC is better than MP3 because repeated encoding will cause artifacts, which are noises we don't want.

MP3 Files:

FLAC Files:

Example of Audio File with DC Offset

This is recorded from Radio Tacoma's EAS1). It uses a radio that does not filter out DC bias from the audio. The bias appears as an offset from the waveform's centerline and the 0 point in the audio channel. Normalizing to remove the DC offset fixes this.

Emergency Alert System– the thing that replaced the emergency broadcast system.