Audacity: Truncate Silence and Sound Like A Pro (Windows 7)

Truncate Silence

After last week’s eye-crossing tempo + pitch changes, we are pleased to offer an Audacity tutorial that is beyond simple to use!

In today’s post we walk our readers through the process of using our favorite free, open source audio editing software for PC, aka Audacity to remove extra silence from anywhere within your recording!

How would I use this tutorial?  If you record spoken word for a podcast or radio show and have extra silence in-between segments or mid-sentence, this post is for you!  Also, if you find yourself removing a lot of silence from your recordings, this is an excellent way to automate the process.

Before starting: Looking for Setup instructions?  Our recent Audacity 2.0.0 for Windows Installation Tutorial should do the trick!

For today’s walk-through, we’ll be applying the Truncate Silence effect using Audacity 2.0.0 (Windows 7) as run on Parallelsa virtual machine booted in ‘coherence mode’ running on a MacBook Pro.

Step 1: MP3 Download

Already have your file ready to go on your desktop?  Skip to Step 2!

Before one can edit their AudioAcrobat recording in Audacity, the first step is to make sure that the file resides on the hard drive of the computer on which editing will be performed.

1. Login to your AudioAcrobat account
2. Click Audio (L)
3. Click the Title of the Audio you wish to Download
4. Click Download Audio

Looking for Expanded Steps?  Try HERE.


audacity-logo

Step 2: Open in Audacity

Now that the file our readers wish to edit is on their computer’s hard drive, they will want to open the file with Audacity.  Right-click the file and choose Open With and select Audacity from the list.  Don’t see it listed?  Open Audacity from Programs folder in the Start menu.  Open the software and click File >> Open, selecting the audio to be edited.

Once the file opens in Audacity, our readers will see something like this:

Audacity-Waveform-Raw

Click to Enlarge

Listen to the above clip!


Step 3: Highlight, Truncate + Export

This part is really simple.  Click and drag with the mouse cursor over the area you want to apply the effect, or for those keyboard enthusiasts out there, use Shift + Left / Right arrow keys to make your selection.

For the Truncate Silence effect, our readers will want to select Effect >> Truncate Silence as seen below:

Audacity-Effect-Truncate Silence

Immediately after selecting Truncate Silence, the following pop-up window will appear:

Audacity-Effect-Truncate Silence-Popup

For today’s example, we’ve left the settings at their defaults, but could easily tighten up the Max silence duration as far as a value of 200 milliseconds without sounding too “squished”.

If you’d like to reference the more technical side of this effect (min/max silence duration, silence compression, threshold for silence), we recommend peeking at the Audacity Manual.

Here’s what our finished version looks like after applying the above settings:

Audacity-Waveform-Truncated

Click to Enlarge

Listen to the above clip!

When satisfied, select File >> Export to save the newly edited version and head over to AudioAcrobat in an internet browser to begin the upload process.

Aside: Notice how the truncated clip is much shorter overall, and with the gaps of silence being closed up sounds much more fluid than the original (raw) recording.  This is what this effect does best!  It is also helpful to review your recording before exporting, just to make sure your audience is receiving the highest possible quality!


Well that was quick … we’ve already walked through the process of downloading/opening our file, applying the Truncate Silence effect using Audacity 2.0.0 for Windows 7 and exporting the file for upload to the Web … and yet it seems as though we had just begun.  If you agree, go ahead and click the ‘Previous Post’ link beneath this article to continue the joyride!

Did you get stopped somewhere in the process?  Make sure you have LAME correctly setup then shampoo, rinse and repeat the steps listed above.  Success will be yours!


Did you find the above process helpful?  Were you able to follow-along?  Please let us know!


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