In this video, examine several options for routing audio into Audacity in order to record. Options for both Macs and PCs are covered, including built-in options, as well as how to connect and set up external USB audio input devices.
- [Instructor] In this chapter, we're looking at how to record with Audacity. But before you can do so, you have to be familiar with your computer's input capabilities and how to route the inputs into Audacity. Now, even though many computers these days, especially desktop PCs, still have input and output ports like we see here, most modern computers no longer have input ports. And that's generally okay because these ports weren't that great for capturing high-quality audio. For good audio quality, you'll want to use a USB input device. A USB device will give you a cleaner digital signal, as opposed to the analog sound the input ports on most computers will give you. Plus, a device like this, which is the Scarlett 2i2 from Focusrite, it contains ports that allow you to connect standard microphones and instrument cables without the need for additional adapters. Now, I can't really recommend a single USB audio input device here since there are so many different uses for them, but if you do a web search for best USB audio interface with the current year, you'll find lots of reviews and recommendations. Now, even if you only want to record basic voiceover audio with a microphone, you might want to consider a simple USB headset mic. Or if you're converting old records, you'll find it easy to connect a USB-based turntable, rather than string together a series of cables to connect a traditional turntable to your computer. But the point is, using a USB-based device is going to sound better, and you'll also be able to use it with any computer since all computers have USB ports, but not all of them have audio input ports. Now, some newer computers, like Apple's MacBooks, only have USB-C ports, so you may have to purchase additional adapters in order to connect certain devices. Again, you'll have to do a little research to find the best device for your particular setup and needs. But okay, the first step is figuring out what type of inputs your computer accepts and what devices you want to record sounds with. Next, you have to figure out how to get those sounds routed into Audacity. Now, for this example, I have a Behringer USB device called the UMC202HD connected to my Mac via USB. Again, I'm not recommending any particular device here. This is just what I currently have in my studio. So I'm going to open up Audacity, which as we know, opens up a new blank project. Now, we'll talk about setting up a project shortly, but for now, I want to focus on getting audio into the program. So I'm going to come up here and choose Audacity, Preferences. If you're on Windows, you'll go to Edit Preferences. And under the Devices category, you'll find the Recording section, and this is where you can select your devices from this menu. Audacity should recognize any devices you have connected to your computer. You can see I have quite a few here. Now, in this case, I'm going to select the UMC202HD, but you would select whatever device you're recording through. Now, while you're in here, you may want to set up the Playback options. In some cases, the device you're using may have its own headphone jack, which you can use to listen to the playback. Or you may just want to select your computer's built-in speakers. It's entirely up to you, but this is where you determine where the sounds from Audacity will be played through so you can hear them. Just click OK when you're done. You can test your input and check your levels by clicking on the Input Level Meter, which is right here. And I have a microphone connected to my device, and I can speak into it. This is me testing levels of the microphone. And you can see the Level Meter here in the Mixer Toolbar. So when checking your levels, you want to make sure that they don't hit too far to the right of the meter, which usually means your audio's going to be distorted or blown out. Now, depending on the input device you're using, you may or may not be able to adjust your levels from here on Audacity. Notice if I come over here to the microphone levels, it says it's unavailable and I should use the system mixer. That's because the device I'm using has its own input level dial, which is a physical dial on the device itself I can turn to adjust how much signal is going into the computer. So even though I can move the slider, it's not really doing much of anything in this case, so I need to use the actual physical dial. And as I do that, you can see it's getting louder, and the meter's moving more to the right. Now, I definitely don't want it this loud because you can see it's now going to be clipping. I'm going to adjust my level back down. And that's probably right around the level I want it at this point. And I'll just click this to stop monitoring for a moment. Now, even though we selected our default input device from Preferences, I can actually come to this menu right here so I can always choose the device I want to use from right here in the Audacity interface. Now we'll get more into setting the proper levels shortly, but for now, that's how you get audio into Audacity.
- Downloading and installing Audacity
- Importing audio
- Setting up hardware to record
- Recording two tracks simultaneously
- Basic editing and common effects
- Splitting clips
- Exporting a project
- Inserting silence
- Bleeping unwanted words and sounds