Podcasts with Audacity

Optimizing the Recording

When you create podcasts in Audacity, you often need to reposition a recording in order to organize multiple recordings from different audio tracks. To reposition a recording, press F5 to select the Move tool (alternatively, the switch with the horizontal double arrow in the toolbar). Then click on the area you wish to move and drag it to the left or right to its new position. Finally, press F1 to return to normal selection mode.

When combining recordings from different locations or rooms, you will quickly notice that the volume of the tracks is different. Audacity offers you the possibility to normalize the volume of an audio track. Select the desired area of a soundtrack and click Effect | Normalize. Just confirm the preferences to normalize.

To create a transition between two audio tracks, place the tracks one after the other so that they overlap slightly. Now select one or two seconds at the end of the soundtrack you want to fade out slowly and click on Effect | Hide. To increase the volume of the track you want to fade in, select the first one or two seconds and use the Effect | Fade-in option.

Intro and Outro

Experience shows that the desire for perfection grows with an increasing number of podcasts created by the producer. A common way to add a professional touch to podcasts is to add music at the beginning and end of the recordings – an intro and an outro.

No need to infringe on copyrights: A wealth of free music is available on the net, which you can use without licensing costs and which covers almost all your wishes. Just click through the Free Music Archive [4] or listen to Bensound [5] and see if some of the tracks meet your expectations.

To include the songs in the podcast, import the music files into Audacity first. To import music, download the file from the web and store the track(s) locally on your hard drive. In Audacity, click File | Import | Audio, navigate to the downloaded track, and confirm your selection. Shortly afterwards, the track will be available as a separate audio track in your Audacity project.

If you only want to use a small part of the work as intro or outro, edit the soundtrack exactly as you did it with your own recording. In the case of the intro, move the entire audio track to the beginning of the Audacity project. After exporting the Audacity project to a common format, the intro and outro form an integral part of your podcast (Figure 2).

Figure 2: The same content as in Figure 1 – but with a musical intro and transitions.

Exporting Your Work

Under the hood, Audacity does not work with audio data in a common format; it uses its own raw format for saving. If you want to make your podcast available to the world, you need to export it as an MP3 or Ogg Vorbis file.

Before you export, be sure your podcast is finished: Add any intro and outro effects, remove background noises, adjust the volume throughout the podcast, and make sure no audio tracks overlap.

To convert the result to a popular audio format, click File | Export | Export as MP3, enter a meaningful name in the file selection window, and click Save or Save as (Figure 3). Then upload the file to the Internet, where your listeners can now enjoy it.

Figure 3: In order to create a working podcast, you need to export to MP3 format – no problem for Audacity.

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