Author Topic: Some help with Audacity please  (Read 284 times)

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Offline batwoman

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Some help with Audacity please
« on: February 13, 2018, 04:55:35 am »
One of my goals this year is to learn how to use Audacity, rather than just taking pot luck which usually results in a mess and a lot of time wasted. My problem is I don't know what words to search for in the manual.

I've searched through the manual and can't find an answer to the following three questions. Links to the manual would be awesome, so I can figure this out for myself.

1. I don't know how I put the red line down the bottom wave form at the 3 mark. Another question, what does the 3 mean? What I want to know is what it's called, and how I repeat this?

2. Is it possible to colour a section of the wave form in different colours?

3. The track labels. I can't figure out how I got some of the single chords eg C, F etc on the top line and others are on the bottom line. I've spent an hour messing around with this and can't work it out. I want all the single chords on the top line.

Hope this image is clear enough. Had to learn how to use Paint 3D to get it. If you click on the image it will take you to imgur.com where you can enlarge it by hovering your pointer over the image and clicking.


« Last Edit: February 13, 2018, 05:11:24 am by batwoman »

Offline Majik

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2018, 10:15:43 am »
If you are going to commit time to learning a recording tool, I would suggest you get, and learn, a proper DAW like Reaper or Cubase, Ardour, Mixbus, etc.

Audacity is a decent audio recording tool with many nice bells and whistles, but it's not really a DAW and, in my experience, is quite limited and clunky compared with a real DAW application.

IMO a DAW may have a bit of a learning curve, but will ultimately be easier to use and give you more capability.

Cheers,

Keith

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Offline batwoman

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2018, 01:35:39 am »
If you are going to commit time to learning a recording tool, I would suggest you get, and learn, a proper DAW like Reaper or Cubase, Ardour, Mixbus, etc.

Audacity is a decent audio recording tool with many nice bells and whistles, but it's not really a DAW and, in my experience, is quite limited and clunky compared with a real DAW application.

IMO a DAW may have a bit of a learning curve, but will ultimately be easier to use and give you more capability.

Thanks very much Keith, I appreciate your advise.

Offline MrBumble

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2018, 08:34:28 am »
Keith gives good advice. Audacity is limited compared to the other full function DAWs.

Where it comes into its own is providing a quick easy way to make a recording without having to fiddle around too much.

I have Audacity, Cubase and Ardour. I use Audacity for editing backing tracks for church, taking a verse out or adding an extra one for example.

For anything more complex I use Ardour which is very comprehensive and really good value for money (I have a monthly subscription but I believe it is still free if that is your preference). I've not yet learned how to use it fully but I'm learning!

As with any software package it takes a while to get to grips with it.

Good luck anyway, and don't let the technology get in the way of enjoying the music!
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Offline J.W.C.

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2018, 08:52:46 am »
1. I don't know how I put the red line down the bottom wave form at the 3 mark. Another question, what does the 3 mean? What I want to know is what it's called, and how I repeat this?

I'm not sure what that red line is, so I can't help what that.

Quote
2. Is it possible to colour a section of the wave form in different colours?

Not that I'm aware of. You can sets colors for waveforms on a track-by-track basis (i.e., different tracks can have different colors), but I don't know of a feature that allows different colors for sections within the same track.

Quote
3. The track labels. I can't figure out how I got some of the single chords eg C, F etc on the top line and others are on the bottom line. I've spent an hour messing around with this and can't work it out. I want all the single chords on the top line.

I'm not an expert, but I didn't see any obvious way to do this. You might consider creating two separate label tracks. Once they are separate label tracks you can position them however you like. You can add a new label track by selecting Tracks > Add New > Label Track from the menus.

On the subject of DAWs, you'll definitely have a learning curve, but I agree they're much more capable. Audacity is great, and you can do a lot with it, but it has its limitations. If you want a free DAW, Ardour is a good choice. Again, it has a learning curve, but it's a pro-level piece of software, despite being available free of charge (it's open source). The for-pay DAWs are equally capable, of course (and some may be easier to use and/or have support with the purchase). Personally, I mostly use Bitwig.


Offline MrBumble

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2018, 09:48:13 am »
The for-pay DAWs are equally capable, of course (and some may be easier to use and/or have support with the purchase). Personally, I mostly use Bitwig.

The support is, in part at least, what you are paying for.

Support for Ardour is not brilliant but there is a good manual and some forum support.
One thing to be aware of is that Ardour was originally developed for Linux and support for Windows issues is not particularly good.

One of these days I'll get a Linux machine up and running and give that a try. But I'm drifting off topic so I'll shut up now.
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Offline LievenDV

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2018, 09:52:47 am »
Even though I use Reaper, Audacity is still part of my workflow.
In my opinion, Audacity can complement your more "pro" toolbox nicely

- it has a simple, userfriendly noise reduction tool that I've used for more than half of my projects (music and professionally for video, interviews etc)

- It is very handy for cutting and pasing and permanently amping something with a limiter

- it has a "portable" version I can run on my companies laptop so I don't need to install anything (no admin rights :))

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Offline Majik

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2018, 10:52:30 am »
The support is, in part at least, what you are paying for.

Support for Ardour is not brilliant but there is a good manual and some forum support.
One thing to be aware of is that Ardour was originally developed for Linux and support for Windows issues is not particularly good.

I've only ever used it under Linux, although a lot of people (including the original developer) use it under Mac OS.

Ardour support is mostly community based, although that community includes the developers so, unlike commercial apps, you can discuss things directly with the people developing it as well as many of the authors of plugins and other related apps, and get direct and honest answers. A warning: if you are the sort of person who likes to have their ego stroked and who is used to the marketing platitudes typical of most commercial support ("thank you for your comments, we have fed them back to our product team"), you may find that directness and honesty a bit jarring.

Windows support is relatively new so if there are any issues specific to Windows there will be fewer people around to support it. Windows support was originally added to enable the Windows version of Harrison Mixbus, which is the commercial app based on the Ardour engine.

Note that Mixbus itself is another option worth considering. The basic version is $79 but, apparently, they often do great offers on the full "Mixbus 32C" version, and you can download a free demo of both.

Quote
One of these days I'll get a Linux machine up and running and give that a try.

If you do, I highly recommend the KXStudio distro.

Even though I use Reaper, Audacity is still part of my workflow.
In my opinion, Audacity can complement your more "pro" toolbox nicely

I agree. I often use Audacity for small editing jobs. After all it is, primarily, a sound file editor.

It's grown more "DAW-like" features over the years but, compared with DAW apps, the workflow is quite clunky for proper multi-track working and it lacks many of the capabilities that proper DAW apps have.

Cheers,

Keith
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Offline J.W.C.

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2018, 11:24:31 am »
I still use Audacity for some things, too.

(I'm on Linux, as well, so I can't comment on Windows support for Ardour, but I found the documentation to be pretty good.)


Offline MrBumble

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2018, 02:35:49 pm »

If you do, I highly recommend the KXStudio distro.


Thank you for the recommendation Keith. That looks very interesting indeed.

I have a couple of redundant laptops which I've been meaning to re-purpose as Linux machines, one to be dedicated to audio.

I just need to find the time to get on and do it!
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Offline batwoman

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2018, 10:37:06 pm »
Wow what a wealth of information. The only Linux I know is Charlie Brown's friend, yeah yeah, I know it's spelt Linus.

Had a look at the intro video of Reaper. What a head spin! Learning curve? More like climbing a sheer, vertical, ice-covered rock face with a blizzard howling around me.

Don't want to waste the time I've put into learning the rudiments of Audacity, but can see the value of a real DAW. 

Not sure what to do. Perhaps best for now is to use my time to learn and apply my theory, write songs, improve my dexterity. I don't have any grand plans for recording at this stage, but I've discovered that as I learn and grow as a guitar player, I keep moving the goal post.  Not discounting the idea of learning Reaper, but not for now, too distracting.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2018, 11:42:13 pm by batwoman »

Offline J.W.C.

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2018, 11:04:03 pm »
Learning the ins and outs of a full-featured DAW can be intimidating and time consuming. It may, indeed, be a rabbit hole you don't want to go down, right now.

My instinct on this is that you are probably better off concentrating your time and attention on your guitar practice, and making use of what you already know with Audacity for basic recording. Sounds like you already are on that track.

One tip with Audacity and labels. You may want to familiarize yourself with Audacity's Sync-Lock feature. It "ensures that length and position changes occurring anywhere in a defined group of tracks also take place in all audio or label tracks in that Sync-Locked track group even if those tracks were not selected. This lets you keep existing audio or labels synchronized with each other even when carrying out actions like inserting, deleting or changing speed or tempo." Useful feature.  The linked page, above, also shows some screenshots that illustrate multiple label tracks in use.

Offline batwoman

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Re: Some help with Audacity please
« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2018, 11:18:02 pm »
Learning the ins and outs of a full-featured DAW can be intimidating and time consuming. It may, indeed, be a rabbit hole you don't want to go down, right now.

My instinct on this is that you are probably better off concentrating your time and attention on your guitar practice, and making use of what you already know with Audacity for basic recording. Sounds like you already are on that track.

One tip with Audacity and labels. You may want to familiarize yourself with Audacity's Sync-Lock feature. It "ensures that length and position changes occurring anywhere in a defined group of tracks also take place in all audio or label tracks in that Sync-Locked track group even if those tracks were not selected. This lets you keep existing audio or labels synchronized with each other even when carrying out actions like inserting, deleting or changing speed or tempo." Useful feature.  The linked page, above, also shows some screenshots that illustrate multiple label tracks in use.

Thankyou J.W.C you confirm what I'm thinking. Big thanks for the link. Really useful. I enlarged my wave form and now my labels don't match. Reading quickly, it seems that sync-lock will sort that out.

PS, just used sync-lock and ta daaa .... all my labels match. Thankyou.

I really appreciate your help.  :)

 

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