Have you ever wanted to add a musical intro to your spoken word recording?
In today’s post we walk our readers through the process of using our favorite free, open source audio editing software for Mac, aka Audacity to add a short intro to any spoken word audio track, such as interviews, coaching sessions, teleconferences, audiobooks and more!
How would I use this tutorial? If you are a Mac user who has the need to spice up the beginning of your spoken word recording with a bit of intro music, this is the tutorial for you!
Before starting: Looking for Setup instructions? Our recent Audacity 2.0.0 for Mac OS X Installation Tutorial should do the trick!
For today’s tutorial, we will be using Audacity 2.0.0 (Unicode) for Mac OS X.
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.
Step 2: Open in Audacity
Now that the file our readers wish to add intro music to 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 Applications folder in the Dock.
Once Audacity is open, choose File >> Open or use the keyboard shortcut (⌘+O), selecting the audio to be edited.
After opening the file with Audacity, our readers will see something like this:
We will now want to add a second track to our Audacity project, which contains our intro music. To do this without creating a new project, we’ll use the File menu and choose to Import >> Audio, or use the keyboard shortcut (⇧+⌘+I) and select the intro audio.
After importing the intro music, you should see both tracks in the same window, like this:
Step 3: Arrangement
Knowing that we want the music to overlap only a short portion of our spoken word track, we will need to move the spoken word track farther to the right, in essence placing the intro music at the very beginning and overlapping just the last short bit before the spoken word is the only track playing.
This can be done easily by clicking the Time Shift Tool icon and clicking + dragging our spoken word track to the desired location as seen below:
After listening to the arrangement several times, we decided on the placement seen above.
When comparing the two waveforms however, we can tell that the intro music is going to be much louder than the spoken word. Take a listen below, and you’ll hear exactly what we mean:
Step 4: Amplify
What we will want to do next is lower the volume of the intro track to better match that of the spoken word. This will keep the sonic distance between the two much closer, for a better sounding end product. To do this we will click back to the default Selection Tool and click and drag to highlight just the intro music, as seen below:
After highlighting just the intro music, we’ll select the Amplify Effect and take it down by about 5dB (this value will differ from project to project).
Our applied effect will render the project to look more even, like this:
Step 5: Fade Out
While this is starting to sound pretty good, there is one more adjustment that will get our intro whipped into shape.
Listening to the overlapping area, we hear the voice ever so slightly overtaken by the intro music. What we can do to help this out is to apply a simple fade to the intro music.
Again using the default Selection Tool, click and drag with your cursor to highlight from the very end of the intro music to a short distance prior to where the spoken word begins, like this:
After making our selection, we’ll use the Fade Out effect to smoothly fade the intro music out to silence.
Looking at our newly faded waveform, we can see that the volume smoothly decreases along the length of our selection.
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: Using the above steps, you now have the power to add multiple tracks to an Audacity project and perform a variety of fades and arrangements that will suit many different types of audio editing / mixing projects — yay!
Well that was quick … we’ve already walked through the process of downloading/opening our files, setting our arrangement and applying the Amplify and Fade Out effects using Audacity 2.0.0 for Mac OS X, as well as 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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Coming up next … #FolowFriday!